Freelance or Full-Time Developer: What to Choose as a Career?


Thanks to the numerous developments in the IT employment sector, developers are now in demand more than ever.  Companies are looking to expand their web resources and get the best out of them by hiring the best developers. This has put the developers in a position where they can now freely choose between working from home or working in the usual full-time office setup. 

This scenario has also brought about the times of freelancing where a lot of development individuals are taking the leap of faith and going full-time freelancing. Going down the entrepreneurial way and becoming a freelancer can be your own choice. Staying in your usual full-time job is also going to be your choice. If you are a developer who is also torn between these choices, this article is here to help you better.

So, if you are presented with the option of choosing one, you must clearly assess your career goals, your current pay, and the employment opportunities insight to choose better. Both are viable options and must be examined thoroughly with the pros and cons. So, let’s begin the analysis of Freelance vs. Full-Time Developer, and what to choose as a Career.

Freelance Vs. Full-time: Employment Stability

Being absolutely secure about our career options is our primary motive when we are juggling the decision of changing our mainstream careers. All of us crave the stability of our career options so that we can be sure that we have a stable income coming in at regular intervals of time. 

A regular paycheck, along with benefits, bonuses, and other perks is our primary wish. As a full-time employee, you get these. However, as a freelancer, security and stability are taken away because you are working on contracts that come with a certain duration. Once this contract comes to an end, you have to go looking for other freelance job opportunities where gaps are non-avoidable. As your list of clients dries up, you might have to struggle to get hired at new freelance jobs. 

Freelance or Full-Time Developer: Pay

Well, this is the most important determinant in the choice of a career. The more attractive the pay, the more are the chances of inclination toward a particular career mode. It would be fair to say that freelancing can help you make way more money than what a regular full-time job might offer.

Working as a full-time employee under some IT employer ties the individual down to dedicate all of their work hours for limited pay. However, a freelancer is free to get hired for several jobs at the same time, which leads to an addition to the stream of income. Hence, more money. However, based on the progress in your freelancing career, this might differ. A lot of new freelance developers have to struggle to get hired since the freelancing development world is quite a competitive one.

Freelance or Full-Time Developer: Flexibility/Freedom

This factor is by far the most common cause of why developers or other working individuals plan to fly solo. The mere thought of working at one’s own will, at flexible hours, and with absolute freedom is the topmost reason why people want to leave their full-time jobs and take up freelancing. 

As a freelancer, a developer gets to work flexible hours. They also get to choose if they want to work 5 days a week or 7. Based on their lifestyle, they can earn more and more money if they are dedicated to spending all their time on their contracts. This, however, is not the case with a full-time job. There are fixed office hours, ‘in and out’ time that you have to abide with, and a boss who orders you around. 

Freelance or Full-Time Developer: Work communication

If you are planning to make the transition from your full-time job to freelancing, you must be prepared to challenge the communication barriers that come with it. 

As a developer, you are required to make hundreds of tweaks in order to get a change perfectly done. When you are working as a full-time employee where your boss or project manager is just around the corner, you can easily get these changes approved. However, as a freelancer, getting these changes approved might take time due to the difference in time zones. If not tackled properly, this can also affect your performance at the job. 

Hence, if you are capable of breaking down these barriers i.e. work as per the time-zone of your clients, stay super-responsive to their messages, and become more patient when it comes to seeking their approval for milestones in your project, you can go ahead with the transition. 

Freelance or Full-Time Developer: Knowledge Training

A lot of working individuals underestimate the knowledge gap that occurs in their stream of work. This knowledge gap happens when development individuals fail to keep themselves updated with the latest trends in coding and other relevant skills. 

The web development world is highly competitive and there is new technology coming up almost every day. In order to be an efficient and desirable developer, you need to stay updated. Without any ongoing training, exchange of information, or courses, you might miss out on these. 

When you are working as a full-time developer with a company, your employers help you stay updated by providing you with courses or training, at their own costs. However, as a freelancer, you will have to take out the time and money to invest in your professional development. This will also mean that you will have to cut down the time spent on your contract in order to learn these new skills, which might lead to a cut in your earnings. 

Freelance or Full-Time Developer: Work-Life Balance

As a freelancer who is working from home, you might get to spend more time with your family. However, this might pose a challenge due to the distractions that are caused. You might also struggle to meet the due dates and that is when the time dedicated to your family might experience a downfall. If you live alone and are someone who craves social interaction, freelancing might be a tough road for you.

Talking of the individuals in a full-time job, you might end up spending several weeks or months working longer hours than normal due to stressful deadlines. However, you will always have co-workers who will keep you motivated and stress-free. 

Freelance or Full-Time Developer: Work motivation

Staying motivated at work is a huge factor that decides if you love your job or not. In a full-time job, you definitely have to perform, given your work performance report. Every now and then, you might be instructed by your boss to do well, which might both be a form of either positive or negative motivation. However, when you are a freelancer, internal motivation will be at play, which might or not come easily.

Freelance or Full-Time Developer: Long-time Goals

Your long-term goals will truly help you determine if you want to be a freelancer developer or stay in your full-time job or vice-versa. You definitely need to have some pretty specific reasons for your transition. You must determine the things you want out of this change. If you are somebody who is looking toward a better work-life balance, freelancing must be the choice. However, if you are looking toward a fixed paycheck every month, a full-time job is your deal. Again, if you want to go down the entrepreneurial path, you can choose to be a freelance developer.


Choosing between a full-time job as a developer or a freelance development gig is all about mental adjustment. It is true that a lot of people are ditching full-time jobs to become freelancers. This might seem like a very desirable trend but the decision will always vary from one individual to another. 

There are always certain factors at play that will impact your decision. Knowing them and the other differences will help you make the right decision. And with the considerations that we have mentioned above, we hope that you are now able to make the right choice between being a Freelancer or a Full-Time Developer.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.