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Best Career for self employment

  1. Apr 21, 2008 #1
    Which degree electrical engineering or computer science (programming) would be a better choice for a freelancer?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 21, 2008 #2


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    Programming can give you flexibility as long as you keeps your skills current. I wrote application programs for local business for a year or so, and it was pretty interesting. The problem with that model is that I had to take care of all the business aspects (marketing, advertising, etc) and all the programming, debugging, installation, follow-up, training, etc. You'll have to be pretty disciplined if you want to self-employed in programming. It took me about 6 months of good customer recommendations, referrals, etc, before I built up enough clients to allow me to stay busy programming without having to spend a lot of time drumming up business. You'll have to budget your time and finances for that. I worked a lot of 16-18 hr days during start-up.
  4. Apr 21, 2008 #3
    If you don't mind me asking, what types of applications did you write and for what type of businesses did you write them for. Do you think it's possible to earn a six figure salary after taxes doing freelance programming? What languages to you think are essential?
  5. Apr 21, 2008 #4


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    I'm a dinosaur. I wrote applications in dBase III+ and compiled them with FoxRun. I wrote accounting software, inventory-control applications, and other stuff for small businesses. I wrote a complete point-of-sale/inventory control package for a wood-harvesting equipment manufacturer that also had a repair facility and a retail parts department. The receivables from wholesale and retail sales flowed directly to the accounting software that I wrote for his front office. I wrote that entire point-of-sale application in a week, but I was one burnt-out puppy by the end of the week.

    I wrote code primarily for trucking companies, manufacturers, law firms and real estate agencies. The code had to be very lean and clean, because at that time desk-top machines were 286s and servers were 386s.

    6-figure salaries are not in the cards for a programmer unless you have an idea for a killer application that goes viral and attracts real investment backing. Working as a free-lance in a local market, you can expect a healthy 5-figure yearly payday if you're good at it.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2008
  6. Apr 21, 2008 #5


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    turbo-1, I also had the idea of making computer programs to sell to small companies but I only know one particular not heavily-used form of BASIC and it is for Windows only (although the producer of this BASIC is adapting it for other operating systems). I developed some interesting and useful programs to help people mostly in one narrow industry for well defined analysis tasks. I tried calling on the phone to well-suited companies and sent some letters to several companies too, but nobody showed interest. Since nobody ever showed interest, I have not even convinced anyone to help me with testing, so I am the only one now who is aware (or even WAS aware) of my programs. I tend to believe that if someone tries to solicit interest in his own self-created program then the potential customers do not want to know more; if the company knows they want a particular program, then they will either search for it with an existing, producing company or will search for a private contract consultant to create what is needed. Any comments about all this?

  7. Apr 21, 2008 #6


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    I don't know what to tell you. At the time that I was writing apps, there were lots of really heavy apps that would do similar stuff, but the hardware requirements were high, and the software offered lots of "fluff" that real businesses didn't need or that could have been implemented more smoothly with less code. If you can write slim/trim code that does what the customer needs, you're in.
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