The difference between remote and freelance jobs

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The number of people in favor of remote jobs is increasing fast these days. This type of employment is especially popular among tech related people – developers and other IT experts, but IT recruitment agencies too. It’s no wonder this kind of employment is getting lots of attention and positive reviews because there’s so much good to it. Working from home or from a remote location does necessary require more discipline and lots of planning, and it certainly doesn’t work perfectly for everyone, but it has the goods to back up all of its shortcomings.

This time we’ll focus on similarities and crucial differences between working remotely and freelancing. Many people struggle while deciding which one would suit them and their lifestyle, while others are just not sure about the accurate meaning of these terms. And who could blame them, it’s hard to tell the difference. 

One thing is almost axiomatic – all tech talents are looking forward to working from home at least every once in a while, and most of them would gladly try their luck working for a remote client. Many HR departments and recruitment teams can verify the accuracy of this theory. Staffing agencies are often asked by developers and IT experts if they have job openings of this kind.

Remote and freelance jobs are seemingly alike, but there are some pretty significant factors that separate them.

It wouldn’t matter where you are located or what you’re wearing for neither one of these jobs. You are trustworthy and reliable, you have the skills and the enthusiasm, you have a fully functional computer (or another weapon of choice) and the internet access. These are the inevitable premises to succeed working remotely or as a freelancer.

So, both remote and freelance career choices will provide you with a great deal of freedom. But to work remotely actually does mean to be “conventionally hired”. Everything is pretty much regular, there’s a contract involved and the working hours are often implied (probably flexible, negotiable or part-time but still – they’re often mandatory). The only thing that’s excluded from the deal is the office.

Contracts and obligations

A fully remote job means to be hired by a company or an organization. It is a home-based job but it involves constant virtual presence via communication channels like Slack, Skype, Hangouts and sometimes even using employee monitoring softwares, such as Time Doctor.

Although companies don’t require developers that work remotely to physically make an appearance, they do need to be present. Their work would be evaluated from time to time and they would be communicating continuously with everyone working on the project.  Just like any employee, you would get an assignments and your responsibility would be to complete successfully.

To be a freelancer does equal to have all the autonomy and liberty to make decisions about projects and/or clients. And this autonomy also means they’re not bound by contracts in majority of cases and they can turn down a job offer at any time.

Freelancers, however, don’t have this type of obligations. Their jobs have nothing to do with working hours, they schedule all of the activities and assignments the way they find convenient. It usually involves fulfilling tasks during a period of time that’s been previously agreed. Once you are done, you are free to move to the next project. And their work is being far less monitored by a client. It’s actually almost the other way around – freelancers sometimes need to present their own ideas to make things work. 

The selection process

If you are using platforms like Upwork or Freelancer you know how hard it is to land a freelance job these days. Most of the time, lowest bids win. On the other hand, companies that hire remotely usually have two things on mind: (1) do you have the hard skills to do the job and (2) can you communicate efficiently within a remote team?

This usually leads to a way more rigorous selection process. You will apply for a remote position and you will have to prove the requirements on interviews, tests and more interviews. Hiring remote team members requires a well structured selection process.

The thin line between freelancing a working remotely lies in the fact that..

Developing a long term relationship with the client on your freelance job may turn into a full time remote position.

Can you tell the difference now?

The Uncertainty

The coolness factor of freelancers’ life is mixed with the uncertainty. They have only themselves to rely on when it comes to finding a client. The source of income might not always be available and this kind of crises is what makes everything shaky and stressful. This is probably the reason why remote job feels more secure and might turn out to be a better option for some.

 

Nope. Nothing out there.

 

You will have to plan every single detail. There are those situations that are completely out of your control and can make you look unprofessional. We were coming back from a weekend get away with the idea to have a call with an important candidate during a stop on a gas station. Our car broke down in the middle of highway. We had no signal, so we couldn’t even let the candidate know we can’t make it. We also didn’t have water, but that’s another story. (Please take lots of water when traveling by car).

The Loneliness

The downside to both freelance and remote positions is that people might get lonely or bored at some point. Luckily, these problems are easy to overcome. The trick is to maintain a high level of concentration and dose the amounts of other daily needs and interactions. It just takes time get used to working from home. Once you work out a strategy to be productive and don’t miss out on the fun stuff, you’ve got it all. You’ll do what you like and what you do best and be appreciated by your pen friend boss, even though you’re working from the living room couch with your socks turned inside out or from under a coconut tree. 

What’s your story? Would you be interested in working from home or from an unusual location you always wanted to visit? 

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Build an Online Presence and Make Connections as a Junior Developer: How to Start?

So many established developers are already getting people’s attention online, so why should you even try to get out there? Well, because you can and because it will help you in so many ways. For example, you will rank better on Google, so when potential clients search your name, they will find your work quickly. Next, you will get noticed! Having a discussion with other professionals can help you learn and find a job opportunity that’s the best for you. That’s why having a blog and online portfolio is essential in IT world.

Moreover, an online presence is a must-have thing for a developer because you’re building your personal brand. So, let’s start branding!

Why and how to start blogging?

Blogging is freeing experience - you can use it as a way to show your personality and interests outside of code. Still, coding is the priority, so you should start writing about programming even though you’re not an expert. Write about your learning process, what did you try and what had worked the best for you. You know some useful websites or tools? Write about it! Go outside your comfort zone and start typing.

Creating a blog is simple and it doesn’t have to be flashy or expensive - you can use a Wordpress blog with a free theme, or you can write on platforms such as Medium or Jekyll. As this may be your first blog, the important thing is not to overthink. Just write about topics that inspire you, because the most crucial thing is that IT recruitment agencies and like-minded people can actually find you online, see what you’re about and contact you if needed.

Another goal is to document your learnings that will be useful for both you and your audience. Don’t try to sound too smart and to share advice about topics you’re not familiar with. You’re just starting your developer career, so don’t act like you know everything.

Further, a blog will help you connect with people and discuss things that are trending in the industry. So, when you use new technologies, you will have someone to ask for help or advice. This may be the most awesome benefit of blogging - connecting with strangers you have something in common. Let’s be honest, you can’t talk about coding with everyone, so chatting with these people may be relaxing for you.

The blog is your voice

There are few things you should consider before starting a blog. Firstly, pick a blog name carefully. This is something you can’t just change. A blog name should set the tone of your blog, and tell people what you’re actually writing about. This also refers to your web address. Secondly, you have to think about the visual identity of your blog. Determine your blog’s color palette and keep this identity on social media platforms, too.

You are creating your blog’s personality, so you have to think about details. When it comes to your writing style, you have to sound like a human while writing, so you have to inject a bit of your personality into your content. Standing out from others is not a simple task. Your style and authenticity are the things that will attract people, so they will keep coming to see what’s new on your blog.

It’s important to stay consistent to your blog voice and to post regularly.

Choose the most respectful form of yourself and your passions because it’s hard to remove and forget what’s done in the online world. People are judgemental, so don’t let them turn you into a crabby person. Think twice before you post, and keep it respectful.

The importance of tidy Github account

GitHub can help you show your best work in developers community, as long as you tidy up your account regularly. You can highlight your most elegant code and projects you’re proud of but you can also learn from other developers.

Moreover, this is the best way to present yourself to IT recruitment companies. You may have a number of skills written in your CV, but recruiter can check on GitHub if you’re lying about it. Your code will tell them more about your work then your CV. That’s why you have to make sure that your account is not messy and half-finished.

Update account regularly and delete projects that you don’t have the intention to finish.

Here is a piece of advice - update account regularly and delete projects that you don’t have the intention to finish. Push code for both big and small projects. Don’t underestimate small projects because they can show that you have initiative and passion to develop in the field. Your account should present you as a compelling candidate, so don’t let IT staffing agency reject you before even hear from you.

Make a portfolio website

Are you credible to write about coding? You have to give people evidence of your accomplishments so they can believe you.  Give them first-hand evidence - pictures, links, references, publications, etc. A list of your skills is simply not enough. You have to organize and update your portfolio, add insights into the technologies you’ve learned and into the problems you’ve solved. Moreover, you can add your blog to your portfolio, so people will see how passionate you are about coding.  

[caption id="attachment_319" align="alignleft" width="602"] Credits: https://dzonint.github.io[/caption]   Everyone should make a portfolio, especially front-end developers and UX designers. If you’re one of them, established websites such as dribbble or Behance can help you get inspired and heard by other professionals.

Branding on social media

You may not be much of a social media person, but you have to make an effort to present yourself at your best. LinkedIn is a must-have in developers world, but Twitter will also help you build an online presence.

[caption id="attachment_322" align="alignleft" width="200"] instagram.com/wibibibiii[/caption]

A recruitment agency that has a perfect job for you may find you on LinkedIn, while on Twitter you can connect and actually discuss some topic with most prestigious CEOs. Both social media platforms can help you stay up to date and see what’s trending in the industry. You can even find out some interesting events and meetups that will help you connect with people in person (Meetup is also a great place to find events for developers in your area).

However, you have to watch out for mistakes! Your posts can see everyone, so make sure that you’re decent, kind, but also interesting and unique. Photos of your meal or inappropriate jokes are a no-no in the professional world. You are branding yourself, so you have to give people some kind of value. There is a thin line between being cool and unprofessional. As you can see, you have a choice, so try to present yourself as an intelligent, ambitious team player. Remember, your reputation is important, so don’t let an inappropriate post damages it.  

Expand your audience

It takes time to brand yourself, so you probably won’t have many visitors on the blog at first. Remember, you’re doing it for yourself, so if you’re consistent and devoted to your work, people will keep coming.

Start small - share your post with your friends and colleagues. Ask them for feedback, so you can improve your content. After that, you can share your posts on forums or even websites such as Reddit or Hacker News. Nevertheless, once you establish yourself as a blogger, you may have to deal with criticism. Don’t let this kill your enthusiasm for writing and remember your goals in these situations - you want to learn more by writing, to connect with like-minded people and boost your online presence. Also, social media platforms can also help you boost your blog traffic and expand your audience. Make sure that your content is catchy, so people will like, share and comment your posts.

Your passion is your gift

Yes, having passion and experience is the best combination, but you’ll get there. Passionate people learn quickly, enjoy their work and don’t give up after the first obstacle. Don’t underestimate an online presence because it can help you connect with many professionals and IT recruiters that will help you boost your career and establish yourself as a credible developer. Stay consistent, get up and code!

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Working remotely – knowledge sharing

Omnes organizuje svoj prvi meetup u Starit centru u Novom Sadu, 06. decembra u 18č. Namenjen svima koji se nose idejom o započinjanju rada u remote timu, ali i onima koji su već članovi remote timova. Da li ste se ikada zapitali kako je raditi od kuće, kao nezavisni kontraktor ili kako da ispregovarate bolje uslove u takvim radnom okruženju? Ukoliko želite da saznate više o alatima koji poboljšavaju produktivnost u remote timovima i da čujete iskustva ljudi koji rade ili su radili remote, pridružite nam se na prvom meetupu koji organizujemo u Novom Sadu. Meetup namenjen svima koji se nose idejom o započinjanju rada u remote timu, ali i onima koji su već članovi remote timova. Razmena iskustava u svrhu obaveštenosti o dobrim i lošim stranama rada na daljinu, u timu sa ljudima koje poznajemo često isključivo preko ekrana. Meetup će se održati u Startit Centar Novi Sad, 6. decembra sa početkom u 18č.  

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How to work from home?

Working at home can be more challenging than you think, especially when you switch from an office job to a remote job. When you work in an office, you simply get used to the noise so even the silence can distract you. Moreover, working from home requires certain skills aside from your professional field. It has some advantages and disadvantages, just as any other job, so it’s better to be prepared before you start.

The home job is a real job!

There is a difference between a freelance job and remote job that many people don’t understand. So, what is a remote job? The remote job requires constant virtual presence - it’s just like you’re in an office. You have a contract and fixed working hours. Freelancers, however, don’t have this type of obligations. You have tasks that have to be done, but you can finish them in any time during a day. Home-based works are getting very popular, so it’s sometimes hard to find the right one. Yes, the home job is a real job, but there are many scams, and these are usually the jobs that are too good to be true.     You have to understand that home employment requires similar skills to those needed for working in an office, and sometimes more. You have to be experienced or skilled in some field if you expect a good salary. For example, if you are a front-end developer, you may need to be experienced in CSS, React, JavaScript, etc. However, there are plenty of jobs for beginners online, but we’ll get to that. First, let’s see if you are a person who can manage to work from home.

Is a remote job is actually right for you?

Remote employment can be challenging, so you should ask yourself if you are ready to face these impediments.

Motivate yourself

Procrastination is the biggest enemy of people who work from home. Once you start, you may catch yourself sleeping longer, doing a laundry or watching Netflix when you should work, or checking social networks too often. The solution? You have to create your ideal schedule and motivate yourself to finish it. Give yourself daily, weekly, or even hourly goals. It can be hard at first, but once you accomplish them you’ll feel proactive and satisfied with your work. If you don’t motivate yourself, you will end up with a bunch of unfinished tasks so you won’t be able to relax even when you’re not working.

Avoid distractions

You have to make sure that your family understands that you have a serious job even though you work from home. Kids can be a real distraction for you, together with pets, household chores, TV, etc. So, plan children’s activities before you start working, make yourself a coffee and prepare snacks in order to avoid breaks, and turn off notification from social media. It’s fine to take a break, but not too often. A separate office space can help you minimize distractions and keep you focused.

Communication skills are a must

It’s easy to discuss work when you’re in the same room with your colleague. You can speak about upcoming work with your boss in the kitchen, or go to lunch with your colleague and talk about a project. Nevertheless, discussing the work over the email can be a bit challenging. While you’re writing an email, you have to be crystal clear. You want to skip misunderstandings in communication, so try to write shorter, more succinct sentences that won’t confuse others. Keep your tasks up-to-date and notice others if you going to miss a deadline. If you have some questions, don’t hesitate to ask or even to insist on skype call. Remember, communication is crucial if you want to get your job done well.

Being able to work alone

Sitting in your home alone the whole day is not for everyone. Working from home can make you feel lonely or even socially depressed, especially if working with people inspire you. This is a big change for you, so give yourself time until you get used to the new situation. You will find a way to fulfill the social “whole” in your life. You can chat with colleagues or go to a quiet coffee shop to work. Moreover, if you don’t have fixed hours at work, you can motivate yourself to finish a work as soon as possible, so you can go to a gym or go out with friends.

You must become computer savvy

Your computer is your must-have tool, so it’s logical that you will need to become the computer savvy. That means that you will have to understand how to use different software or to update programs and keep your computer running smoothly. A broken down computer or internet connection is a big no-no. Your boss won’t tolerate your tech problems, especially if you have fixed hours.   You still think that remote job is right for you? Let’s find a job!

Jobs to work remotely

If you’re an experienced developer, marketer, project manager, writer, designer, etc, you can make a lot of money working remotely. However, there are many online jobs for beginners, too. For example, teaching language online is very popular and you can schedule classes whenever you want. Also, you can become a writer, translator or a virtual assistant without experience. Once you become a pro, you can earn a lot of money, but you have to be patient. Many clients are trying to take advantage of beginners and to underpaid them. Sometimes you will have to accept that kind of offer just to get a reference, but once you establish yourself as a professional, clients will keep coming to you.

How to find a job?

First, you have to make a great resume and motivation letter. Moreover, you have to adopt a resume to a job you’re applying. Look at this as this is your work - applying and writing! Try to be original. So, where to send it? Here are some tips where you can find a job that fits you the best.

Job boards

Upwork may be a little crowded, but there are other sites where you can find a perfect job. For example, usual job portals like Indeed or Monster are looking specifically for remote positions. Use the job search engines using terms like "work at home" or "freelance." You will be surprised when you see how many job opportunities you can find, and all you need is to present yourself at your best, spend some time until an opportunity opens and give your best to get the job done.

Direct approach

If you follow the work of some company, and you think that this may be your dream job, you can always ask them directly if they have an opening for a remote job. Send them an email or a message on LinkedIn, present yourself and tell them that they can benefit from your skills. Further, you can ask your old colleagues and friends if they heard about some jobs that allow you to work from home online. Maybe they can recommend you.

Social Media

When it comes to social media, not everything is about LinkedIn, although you can find a great job there and connect with other professionals. Facebook groups are another option. Many people are posting ads about new job openings, and you just have to find a group from your niche. You can also look for hashtags like  #jobsearch or #openposition on twitter, but you have to check if they offer a remote position.

Networking

Networking with other professionals is so valuable, whether you’re trying to find a job or you need some advice. Meetup is a great way to connect with professionals from the field and meet them in person. Also, online communities such as Slack groups are a great option.

Why should you choose to work remotely?

For starter, you will spend less money and time on work - no more traffic or annoying rush hour subway rides, you will eat at home and spend less money. You can work anywhere, as long as you have a good internet connection. Traveling and working - this may sound too good to be true, but it’s possible. You can become a digital nomad and see the world while you have a great job.   Further, if you have a pet, they won’t be alone, and they will be your only distraction. No more drama, no stress, no more people coming to your desk asking questions. More importantly, if you have kids, you will have more time to spend with them.   Now you know the pros and cons of careers where you can work from home, but it’s always better to try before you give up. However, you have to realise, just like companies did, it’s not the location that matters but the talent. That’s why you can find so many jobs online, but you have to work on your skills in order to find a company that will pay you well and appreciates your talents.    
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