UX Career Crossroads: Is freelancing a good option for you?
When you choose to become a UX professional, there are multiple paths that open up — working with a design studio, becoming part of an in-house design team of a large company (tech or otherwise), jumping onboard a startup, or you could even go out and start on your own as a freelancer!
While the first few options are fairly common, the freelance route is also becoming increasingly popular.
Freelancers in the areas of web and mobile development and web design in Bengaluru, for instance, report earning anything between Rs 2 lakhs/ year to Rs 45 lakhs per year. A recent TOI article quotes that 23% of those surveyed earn between Rs 40 lakh and Rs 45 lakh a year.
From our network, we found that UX professionals with a minimum of 2.5 years of experience and a good portfolio, earn up to Rs 2500 — Rs 3000 per hour, as the general market rate.
Of course, this depends on a variety of factors such as scope of the project, budget, and whether the freelancer is working part-time or full-time. Those working full-time usually demand higher rates — one has to factor in risks, project cycles, delays, slack time and irregularity of projects — for instance, you could have an active project this month, but not the next.
More experienced freelancers of 6+ years in the field demand Rs 5000 — Rs 6000 as their hourly rate. However, hourly rates aren’t the only way to charge — people also work out project based fees with their clients.
What to consider before going down the freelance path:
- Your financial goals
- The opportunity cost of the projects you choose
- Whether you can freelance part-time or full-time
If you’re already working full-time and looking to get into UX, you can focus on getting a strong foundation and building your portfolio. You could start with part-time freelance projects, and test the waters to evaluate if this path works for you.
As you practice, your expertise will only grow and so will your opportunities to earn more, on your own terms.
To begin your practice with a strong foundation, check out our 12-week intensive program in User Experience & Interaction Design, aimed at helping you kickstart your UX practice! See more about our program here, and do reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below with your questions.