Throughout history, some moments color the experience of entire generations. The Great Depression, the Vietnam War, the Summer of Love, or the Civil Rights movement, these consequential touchstones of the last one hundred years defined generational behavior and decision making. We are currently experiencing our own generational milestone with the COVID-19 pandemic. As the population makes its way through the pandemic, their decisions and the post-pandemic life they plan will be shaped by their experience.
Many are making one decision to alter their professional lives, deciding to take the proverbial leap and become their own bosses. It’s a strange but exciting time to freelance, but many have already made the move and found success.
Free to Freelance
Aaron Jack, founder and technical instructor with Freemote, has spent the better part of the pandemic training people to become remote software developers. Many of those who have taken advantage of the comprehensive training that Freemote provides have decided to be freelance developers.
“I think before the crisis, a lot of people would tell you that a full-time job is more stable,” says Jack. But times and circumstances have changed, likely forever. Remote work has proven to provide just as much productivity, if not more, as traditional in-office work. There are more and more opportunities for people to forge their own career paths.
According to a study by Upwork, 36% of the workforce did some freelance work pre-pandemic from March 2019 to March 2020. This number grew exponentially in 2021, in the wake of the pandemic hitting the US. According to statistics, 42% of the workforce was freelancing in 2021. This number is expected only to grow as people find freedom and a push to “follow dreams” of self-employment amid the “Great Resignation” that is currently hitting many industries.
The Great Resignation came about as a direct result of the pandemic. Shutdowns and staffing shortages have put significant pressure on service-based industries, leading to dissatisfaction with the work and many reevaluating their options. The human toll of the pandemic has led others to take a “life’s too short” approach to their careers, taking a risk to become their own bosses.
Pandemic Proofing Your Career
Once one decides to head out on their own and start a freelance career, they may have many questions about how that is done. There’s a plethora of information available on the internet for all manner of industries that support freelance work, from the arts to customer service to tech. Jack and the team at Freemote strongly encourage people to consider learning developer skills, as it’s a skill that can be applied to a variety of industries and is consistently in demand. Their seven-week intensive program has helped many learn a high-earning skill that students can then turn around and offer to companies, quickly establishing a solid freelance portfolio.
Developing, coding, and other tech skills are nearly pandemic-proof. When the world shut down, and people went remote, the developers and IT gurus kept things working.
Choosing an industry to kick off your freelance career will come down to your skillset, interests, and what makes economic sense.
Charting Your Own Path
As members of the COVID-19 generation, we will forever remember what it felt like to weather uncertain moments and watch the world change in real-time. Those taking this experience and allowing it to influence major changes in their careers are in good company.
Jack acknowledges on the Freemote site that investing in oneself can be “scary”. Education is expensive and time-consuming. When a person decides to pursue being their own boss, they want to earn money right away. Finding a learning platform that is affordable and offers quick results is vital.
Charting one’s own path with their career can be a terrifying concept. The unknowns can seem innumerable, and the learning curve, depending on the industry of choice, daunting.
Educators like Freemote’s Aaron Jack are setting out to offer options for people looking to change their lives. The results have been promising, with many of Freemote’s students gaining clients and well-paying projects shortly after beginning their coursework.
The pandemic is generation-defining, and that generation is taking control of their destinies by learning new skills and applying them to being their own bosses. How this plays out in years to come in changing work as we know it remains to be seen but will make for a fascinating study of the economy and history as a whole.