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I just posted a change to the code in the article comments. Figured out how to multithread it. Now a zoom iteration takes approximately 0.2 seconds on my machine - at 1080P! (It maybe took 3 seconds before.) Hard to believe how powerful our current machines are!
Today, Marc Clifton wrote (on another thread): [^]
That's were AI's step in. First, the AI "learns" by scanning all SO posts. When it has questions, it posts a question on SO for us unsuspecting humans to answer. Eventually, the AI spawns itself. When enough spawning has happened, the AI's start to answer their own questions. Eventually they create "schools" (basically gigaquads of training) and even provide grades and certificates, because every AI learns differently, and some don't learn at all. Some however do learn that they can get by with having other AI's do their homework for them. And so the death spiral continues...
I think that luminaries like Marc, OriginalGriff, Richard Deeming, Richard MacCutchan, and others, will be turned into virtual on-line instructors whose telepresence can be rented; their avatars will have the ability to scan code, perhaps appear as augmented-reality overlays.
Of course, it's possible that the companies and/or individuals that hire them will also be virtual entities.
Or, perhaps, everything will be virtual ... if it isn't already.
«... thank the gods that they have made you superior to those events which they have not placed within your own control, rendered you accountable for that only which is within you own control For what, then, have they made you responsible? For that which is alone in your own power—a right use of things as they appear.» Discourses of Epictetus Book I:12
I have been working full time as an employee for over 12 years now. I do think I would be better off being a freelancer. However, I have no experience where to start. Given that I have a family now, is an additional pressure.
I assume there are many here who are freelance professionals. Is there any guide on where and how to start? I have absolutely no network to even get a day's worth of freelance contract.
Where I live (the Netherlands) there are plenty of companies looking for people, either as employee or freelance.
Go on LinkedIn, find those companies (basically find any company), find some additional recruiters, and let them know you're available for work.
If you don't find them they'll somehow find you about once or twice a week.
You can start yesterday
Of course your mileage may vary, depending on the market and economy in your country.
Easily can be done via Tech Headhunting company or individual. They would have hundreds of leads. You just must mention you do not want a full time job.
Also worth mentioning - you can go 1099 Form or W2.
W2 usually you will be subcontracted via another company. You will get less in the end but there are a ton of this kind of contracts.
- you will bill the company yourself (i.e. do the entire shebang of book keeping and invoicing yourself) which isn't a big deal btw.
- Company will not withhold any taxes, so you'll need to do those as well
One big pro of 1099 is that you can line up and overlap multiple contracts especially if they allow remote work (like for tech junkies like myself)
In theory, everyone would be better off being a freelancer. In reality, thing long and hard before you do it! It's a dog eat dog world out here... I find there is even more shortsighted incompetence in the freelance world than in the corp world. Time and skills taken for granted time and time again and if you're not part of the full time team, you're the first to be thrown under the bus (especially when they don't have to look you in the face).
If you're considering one of the many freelance sites, everyone is working for bottom dollar and no one is considering your correspondence, proposal, research, any learning curve, etc time. All those things are work. It's rarely a good pay day when you add all the time up.
If you're one of the lucky few to get a good find, then make sure you have that before you sever the tie with your full time gig. I would suggest you ask your current company if you can work from home. Working from home at a full time gig is where it's at (unless you are so in demand you can write your own ticket with very little effort).
Freelance is a lot about marketing yourself correctly and lip service. Unless you can hustle yourself, I wouldn't do it. However, if you do manage to pull it off, it's rewarding not having to answer to anyone.
I've done both--worked as an in-office coder for a big govt contract, jumped into freelance/contractor work, and now I'm back in the office (though working remotely 800 miles away--so that's a plus!).
As others have said, there really aren't any single guides to being ronin developer. Getting onto a team is a good way to start (how I did it), so you have other people hustling for job and will call you as their go-to guy. That's networking in its best(?) form, in that the work you do proves your worth.
Putting the word out that you are interested in contract work is also really good--people will call you constantly, and you can pick or choose, depending on what they want and availability.
Money, though, is the biggest factor. In my experience, it's pretty much feast or famine. When I was working with a team on a big contract, I was making crazy-good money (esp. for my area). But when the work dried up (more on this below), I spent about 16 months trying to limp along, until an old contract customer called me up and asked if I'd like to come back as an employee...which is where the brave hero of our story finds himself now.
My mistake was to let the guy who was organizing these contracts become my sole source of jobs. I spent way too long (about 16 months) tagging along while waiting for him to find the next whale, rather than going out looking for other work on my own. Add into the mix some tax shenanigans (on his part)* which left me with a hefty tax debt, and I decided to cut loose from him. I was able to find a couple of good-enough paying jobs here and there, but I was happy to take the offer from my former customer when it came along.
Personally, here is how I would recommend getting into it:
First, try side jobs--taking small work that you think you can do in your off time. It'll get you into the feel of dealing with contract work, as well as dealing with the different pay methods and tax issues that come along with it. At the same time, you'll still have your regular job to keep the money coming in. This period will allow you and your family to adjust to the idea of odd working hours and having a home office (if you don't already).
At the same time, you'll also need to set up whatever business/accounting structure you need in your country to handle the payments. I don't know what it's like where you are, but in the US, DO NOT SKIMP OR PUT OFF TAX PAYMENTS!! If you get a payment of $100 for something, just bite the bullet and make the payment of XX% of that. It's easy to skip it, saying, "Well, I can just put the $30 in later", but that adds up, and it makes life miserable as the final deadlines approach, and you haven't had any real work in a few months. Getting paid $130,000 USD for something makes it worse--you can't be sure if you're going to have enough income in the future to cover it, and even if you do, you'll be miserable seeing an entire (future) payment go away because you were greedy in the past.**
Second, put out your resume on whatever sites you feel are appropriate, and start searching for contract jobs. These sites crudely track your resume and what you are searching for, so you should start getting phone calls from recruiters. I get 2-5 phone calls a day, offering different positions. Somewhere in there is a pot of gold.
Lastly, don't burn bridges, ever! The company you work at now might be a future customer, and even a really horrible customer (if they pay) is either a future prospect or a good reference. Do good work, give them what they need (even if they are not sure what they are asking for), and your reputation will start paying actual dividends.
*Note 1: US-specific, but here there is supposed to be a clear line between employees and contractors. Expenses are paid and taxed on both sides, depending on where you fall into that split. Sometimes, customers will play games with it, which can leave you holding the bag for a tax burden. My recommendation is to not put up with that--if they'll cheat the IRS, they'll cheat you.
**Note 2: My way of handling payments was to open 2 additional accounts. Money comes into the business account (and any expenses and my own pay were paid out from there), and taxes and fees were immediately transferred over to the second "escrow" account. The only money that came out of the escrow account went straight to the tax payments. That way, you have a clear trail of money in and money out. Having tax agents crawl up your (books) with a microscope, asking "Where'd this money go?" is not a conversation I want to have. Having a clear money flow inherently answers a lot of questions before they are asked.
vuolsi così colà dove si puote
ciò che si vuole, e più non dimandare
--The answer to Minos and any question of "Why are we doing it this way?"
I've been in & out of contracting over a pretty long period of time.
First time I was lucky enough to get hooked up with a computer manufacturer who needed someone to take on short jobs that didn't fit with their support model. As David said, don't rely on one source of finding work.
I found out I did a smart thing by incorporating as a Subchapter S corporation; in the US, any sort of government contracts require you be in some sort of legal entity corporation, LLC, etc. (Government doesn't want to be on the hook for your Workman's Compensation). This doesn't cost much to do initially, and can be maintained for $100/year here in VA.
The best rule of thumb in contracting is to balance finding work, with doing work. I always found if you are busy working, you don't have time for the marketing and if you are marketing you are out of work.
Your family situation makes this very risky from an emotional point of view. I own a home and it was always touch & go financially when the work dried up. Can't imagine what that would have been like having a home and a family to worry about.
Another thing is benefits. Make sure you are charging enough to pay for the health & dental insurance.
As someone mentioned taxes. If you are in the US you'll have to pay BOTH portions of Social Security. And then there's that Workman's Compensation.
I have been an independent for 30 years.
Here are some things you must do to survive:
- get an accountant
- live through your company (ie use all possible expense strategies)
- have plenty of energy to work for more than 1 client at a time
- constantly study the new technologies
- use linked in for contacts and advertisements but don't give it all away to the public cause you'll need to evolve your background without people knowing where you came from
- having a family will weigh down your overhead. Keep you billing rate as high as permissible
- pay yourself little and let the company use the rest for your life support
- buy contractors insurance
- your resume(s) is your marketing tool so keep multiple looks...more hooks more fish
- go to professional meetings and make contacts
- fund your retirement through self employed pension plans
- if your wife works, use her health insurance
- don't crumble when the going gets tough. 2 months between jobs is average. Use those months for retraining
- master the interview process and be able to snow the interviewers so you can be hired for newer tech
Remember, your REAL job is to look-for and get a job. The longer you stay at one lace the less you are an independent.
- don't crumble when the going gets tough. 2 months between jobs is average. Use those months for retraining
This is big risk if the duration is more than 3 months. We had a baby 3 months back so Mrs. Wife is not working for now. I do not want to rely completely on our savings.
I think I should stick to a regular job for perhaps an year (may be more if I enjoy the job). Meanwhile, I want to write a website and put out its code in public domain. This is simply to showcase my skills.
The only problem is finding clients, so that's where you need to begin. Froim my marketing class, First decide what problem you are going to solve and quantify how many people or companies have that problem, then figure out why your solution is better than any other solution, including doing nothing.
Then, armed with that information go find clients.
I made a list of all the businesses in my area, then made it a point to go and talk to 3 each day. After a year, I completed the list and gained 1 client who recommended me to dozens of others. You have toio be confident thst you are worthwhile and have patience and perseverance. The object is not to ofer the latest technology, the object is to solve probnlems that you clients need solved!
CQ de W5ALT
Walt Fair, Jr., P. E. Comport Computing Specializing in Technical Engineering Software
Finding client is a big problem. I am aware that the websites where we bid to get the job include a large number of small companies who work through that. This reduces chance of independents to get something. Moreover, the kind of work offered there needs a giant sieve to get to something good.
Walt Fair, Jr. wrote:
The object is not to ofer the latest technology, the object is to solve probnlems that you clients need solved!
As of now, I have decided to stick to a normal full time job. I am working on writing a complete website with a decent range of technologies just to showcase what I have and can work with. In few months that should be out on the web and hopefully that will help getting some visibility.
I am using hopefully, as I have made a habit of putting my CP profile link on the resume and also SO profile. But thus far it seems that is irrelevant. I would still not remove it though.