Much of my professional working life has been spent in an office of some sort. I’ve worked for bigger companies (several floors’ worth of office space) and smaller startups (just one room!). There are some positive aspects to this kind of life:
Although these are substantial benefits, working in the office can also bring challenges:
A little over a year ago, I decided to make a go of it doing remote development full-time. I’d previously taken some gigs between jobs; this time, however, I didn’t have any immediate leads, and so I struck out into the vast and messy world of freelancing websites. It was a rocky start; the better known of these (Elance, oDesk) are review- and rating-driven, which tend to bias towards users with previous positive reviews (a sort of herd instinct). Wanting to give it a shot, I took on a few short-term, low-paying projects to test the waters and build my profile.
One thing that immediately struck me about this process was the flood of worker candidates offering rates well below my local market rate. This is a commonly quoted problem with these sites: the torrent of job-seekers offering $5/hour for what – at least on the surface – seems like equivalent work. Python development is Python development, right?
Dear reader, please believe me when I say: I am a professional software developer. Really. And like any experienced tradesperson, when you come to me with a problem, I’m going to draw on my skills and experience to help you find a solution. I’ve worked with web frameworks, databases, queueing systems, cloud clusters, authentication systems. So when I look at these jobs and see 30 applicants with technofuture organization names offering barebones rates, it feels…muddied. Conversely, there are also so many potential employers asking for something like “Bitcoin exchange site- $500” that I sometimes lose faith in humanity.
While recently checking out the current freelancing landscape, I came across TopTal. TopTal seems be a curated freelancing site; they profess to rigorously screen both freelancers and clients in an effort to maintain a high potential for quality interaction. No more $7/hr client meets $250/website employer – this site promises to connect people that are serious about doing work with people that are serious about their work requests.
I’ve only just begun the application process, but so far, things already seem much improved over <
So how will things go? Will I make it in, and will I like it if I do? I’ll try and post updates as things go along.