Freelancing offers some great benefits to engineers who decide to choose this path forward in their careers.
Freedom to Choose Your Work and Your Schedule
While “freedom” is a broad term, it’s an oft-cited reason for engineers to pursue freelance work. Having control over the type of work they are doing, and control over the hours they work and the schedule they keep, are some of the top reasons engineers choose gig work. They want the choice to pursues their passions and interests through the work they do, and balance their employment with family time and leisure activities—key aspects of the much-touted ideal work-life balance.
Extra Cash for Your Wallet
For many engineers, the choice to work freelance is financially motivated, either to augment their existing salary with the occasional side-project, or to provide their entire paycheck because they are uninterested in—or unable to find—full-time employment in the traditional sense that offers them what they need.
Dedicated freelancers can earn a decent wage, one that provides enough of a financial cushion to offset downsides such as the lack of employment benefits for medical or vacation. Plus, the more individual clients a freelancer has, the less any individual job ending will affect their bottom line. It comes down to how much time you want to devote to freelancing versus how much of a monetary return you’re looking for.
Convenience of Location
The convenience of working from home is the main driver here. Not being required to commute to a physical office location can often save significant time and money. Depending on where you live, commuting distances can often be make-or-break when you are looking for a job. Working remotely, from your home or a local coffeeshop or office-share, can mean saving the price of gas, parking and other vehicle costs. Cutting out the commute also contributes to a better work/life balance by freeing up more time for leisure.
Hone Your Talents
Obviously, no matter where and how you work, you will always be improving and strengthening some aspect of your skill set. Engineers, however, are susceptible to becoming almost too specialized—where the day-to-day job involves a handful of specific skills or knowledge areas, in which you become extremely competent—but at the expense of other underused skills at which you begin to lose proficiency.
This is a particular issue for engineers who later must search for a new job, only to find that they are not up-to-date on other relevant, essential skills. Since freelancers can choose their projects, it’s easier to keep a wide variety of their skills sharp and current.