There’s more to being a programmer than just fiddling around with computer systems and figuring out what works. Since it’s a job, and not a hobby, you’ve also got to think about your working environment, and specifically whether you’re going to work for yourself or for a company. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. In this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the pros and cons of going down the self-employed route, which will hopefully make making the decision a little easier.

Pro: There’s Plenty of Work

You may have noticed that...computers are everywhere! And they’re not going to go away any time soon. Indeed, while it might seem like computers have infiltrated all aspects of society, the truth is that there’s still a long way to go on that front. The next couple of decades are going to see a huge demand for programmers, and actually, there are some corners of the world that have so many programmer jobs that they can’t fill them all. As such, you won’t have to worry about trying to find work and getting zero results after you’ve hit search.

Con: Competition Is Tough

There might be plenty of work, but it’s also true that there are plenty of programmers, too. And the number is expected to rise significantly in the years to come. Because of the sheer volume of qualified people, some companies look to play workers off each other, resulting in a “race to the bottom” when it comes to wages. So if you take the self-employed route, you’ll have to be able to showcase why you’re worth paying a little extra for! And you’ll need to learn the art of patience when you see advertisements offering what feels like pennies for professional work.

Con: More Than The Work

When you work for a company, you’re able to dive into the world of programming and pretty much forget about everything else. You’re there to do a job, and things like corporate taxes, regulations, and all the other rules that companies have to follow just won’t be on your radar. When you’re self-employed, those things will become important - and will need to be dealt with on top of your actual work. So you’ll have to get used to thinking like a business!

Pro: Easier Than Ever

The good side of this is that functioning as a business is easier than ever, thanks, of course, to technology! You can make the most of the best free tax software to handle your taxes, and handle your invoices, and so on. For things like marketing, you can outsource the work to a third party. So while you do have added responsibilities, they’re not quite as time-consuming or as difficult as in the olden days.

Pro: Job Freedom

Let’s end with another pro. Working for yourself gives yourself the freedom to work on the projects you like, and also on your own terms. That’s something many regular workers wish they had, and as such is a big, big plus point!

Walter G. is a software engineer, startup co-founder, former CTO of several tech companies and currently teaches programming for a coding bootcamp. He has been blogging for the past 5 years and is an avid BMX rider, bio-hacker and performance enthusiast.
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