Author Topic: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities  (Read 4323 times)

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Offline embeddedguy85

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Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« on: October 01, 2017, 02:46:18 pm »
I want to go into firmware programming and electronics as a career. Im not exactly young (33) so this will be a risky career change.

Questions are:

1) What kind of freelance gigs can someone get in this area?

2) Is working remote for a company a real possibility?

3) Is demand growing due to the IOT trend?

Any information you can give me would be very appreciated and could save me a lot of time and mistakes.
 

Online Benta

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2017, 05:00:11 pm »
"Beginner" and "freelancer" are sort of mutually exclusive.

A customer wants to see references before he even thinks of giving you a job. Which means some or many years employed in the industry, where you can point at successes during your career. "Yeah, the xxxxx and the zzzzz from company yyyyy are my designs, you might have seen them."
Noone is going to hire you because of the light in your eyes.
 

Offline embeddedguy85

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2017, 05:43:19 pm »
Of course I dont mean getting a job AS a beginner. I want to know which projects I should work on so my projecta align with what the market wants.
 

Online Ice-Tea

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2017, 06:02:56 pm »
Working *completely* remote is pretty damn hard. Most of the time people want to see your face from time to time. And often for good reason. Some things are just smoother/faster/better in person.

And because there are always people willing to show up 5 days out of 7 even doing a part of your job remotely means you'd better either be pretty damn good or pretty damn cheap.

Offline cdev

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2017, 07:06:44 pm »
It might be better for your overall state of mind and health if you keep on doing the things you gravitate to as a hobby, get better and better at them, and then if one of them turns out to lead to a job, be pleasantly surprised.

If you currently have a job I would not change jobs without a new job lined up.

Many people have an impression of computing work as easy. Nothing could be less true. Its also very stressful at certain times, because you may really need to finish some thing and you and your team may be expected to work pretty much all the time until its done.  That means that if you're working on site, you may need to put in very long hours, how long? its smart to keep a sleeping bag, a clean set of clothes, a towel and a set of toiletries, shaving kit, toothbrush, toothpaste.. etc. at work.  As well as a supply of good quality protein.. (protein bars, or similar, and other instant foods)

Most computing workplaces also have showers and kitchens, and they often encourage people to basically almost live there.

Also, even so, when you work from home you are often working much more time wise than if you were on site!

When a project is nearing completion you might essentially be working "all the time" when you are not sleeping or eating (often at your workstation). You often might not get to have weekends like normal people do. Instead you might work the equivalent of a twelve hour day for weeks at a time (rarely more than a month or two) basically tied to your computer and phone, when a project is demanding it. (Other times it may also be relatively slow- you may even have time to go shopping, do your long overdue laundry, hang out with a friend, go out on a date or catch a movie.)

Maybe hardware is different. If so, great for it and its workforce. 

I want to go into firmware programming and electronics as a career. Im not exactly young (33) so this will be a risky career change.

Questions are:

1) What kind of freelance gigs can someone get in this area?

2) Is working remote for a company a real possibility?

3) Is demand growing due to the IOT trend?

Any information you can give me would be very appreciated and could save me a lot of time and mistakes.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 07:11:32 pm by cdev »
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline cdev

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2017, 07:13:59 pm »
The ones that are going to be wildly successful, of course..  (/satire)

Of course I dont mean getting a job AS a beginner. I want to know which projects I should work on so my projecta align with what the market wants.
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Online Benta

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2017, 08:04:01 pm »
I get the feeling that the distinction between "Freelance" and "Home office" is not really clear on the OP's part.
Embeddedguy85, you need to be clear about which you'd like to be.
My answer was based on the "freelance" in your headline.
 

Online rstofer

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2017, 08:10:33 pm »
It might be better for your overall state of mind and health if you keep on doing the things you gravitate to as a hobby, get better and better at them, and then if one of them turns out to lead to a job, be pleasantly surprised.


And it will ruin a perfectly good hobby.
 

Online Benta

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2017, 08:18:20 pm »
It might be better for your overall state of mind and health if you keep on doing the things you gravitate to as a hobby, get better and better at them, and then if one of them turns out to lead to a job, be pleasantly surprised.


And it will ruin a perfectly good hobby.

Cynical, but unfortunately true in most cases...
 

Offline Johncanfield

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2017, 08:38:47 pm »
Do you have any formal education in electronics? Do you have good math and analytical skills?
 

Online rstofer

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2017, 09:20:37 pm »
It might be better for your overall state of mind and health if you keep on doing the things you gravitate to as a hobby, get better and better at them, and then if one of them turns out to lead to a job, be pleasantly surprised.


And it will ruin a perfectly good hobby.

Cynical, but unfortunately true in most cases...


When I was young, all I wanted to do was go fast and perhaps add a few left turns.  I worked on cars day and night.  I loved working on cars!  My cars!

At one point, I went to work as a mechanic in a dealership where I got to work on cars all day long and late on Thursday night.  When the engines were still hot.  After a year of this nonsense, I walked away from working on cars forever.  I have done darn little since.  Maybe an starter or alternator every once in awhile but I haven't pulled an engine in since the early '70s.
 

Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2017, 10:03:33 pm »
1) What kind of freelance gigs can someone get in this area? ...
Does "this area" mean freelancing embedded device hardware/software engineering?
Or do you mean some geographic location?
If "this area" is Silicon Valley or some other concentration of technology, that is one thing.
But if "this area" means West Undershirt, Wyoming, it seems unlikely.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 10:05:50 pm by Richard Crowley »
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2017, 11:42:11 pm »
I did not read any inference of geography in that at all.

This was my understanding:
.... freelancing embedded device hardware/software engineering?
 

Offline embeddedguy85

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2017, 03:32:00 pm »
I meant in the area of embedded firmware. I dont have any formal training. No degree at all. Some college but never completed.
 

Offline cdev

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2017, 04:10:26 pm »
Well, the fact is, it may be possible but I suspect it would likely be very difficult for a person, young or old, to convince people of their skill-set without completed projects. The question then would be what project to do, how does one pick the right thing to do.  I think it comes down to your gut feelings. Some problem you know you can help solve better than others could. Maybe they don't even understand why its a problem, or even that this need exists. But you do. Many people have no shortage of ideas. But are they good ideas? Often, not so much. But many are. Do they then turn them into reality?

There are still lots of self taught people in electronics related fields working professionally.

Jim Williams, who died a few years ago,  was one of the greatest analog engineers - he was self taught.

People like that are superstars. irregardless of credentials.


It seems to me that focusing on a particular niche is what opens doors like nothing else. If you can become an expert in some specific area and really make waves in it.

That happens a lot in the sciences. A particular person becomes the go to person in a specific field for a knowledge domain.

If you love a field that will help a lot in getting that good at it!

So, if you really love some nice in embedded development a great deal, and do it a lot, there is definitely hope you could get paid to do it.  But make sure you have stuff to show people thats yours.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 05:02:34 pm by cdev »
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline igendel

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2017, 05:00:10 pm »
I started playing with microcontrollers as a hobby about 6 years ago (when I was 34), and wrote a lot about my experiences in a blog, on local forums etc. I may be a small fish but fortunately, my pond is also small...  :D so slowly but surely, people started contacting me for advice or development jobs. I had a few mishaps at first when I took jobs where I was out of my depth, or that required more time than I actually had, but I learned to assess these matters better and now it's at a level of a nice side job. Not enough by itself to make a living yet, but it keeps improving.

I certainly did not lose interest - the diversity of the jobs I get (from students, entrepreneurs, HW engineers) is actually quite stimulating.

Maker projects, tutorials etc. on my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/idogendel/
 
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Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2017, 05:18:11 pm »
I was just going to suggest that posting projects online (YouTube, etc.) and especially systems analysis, design process, implementation tradeoffs, debugging, design-for-manufacturability, etc. would be quite a benefit to showing potential customers/ employers your skill level, etc.  And then @gendel posted exactly that experience.
 
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Offline embeddedguy85

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2017, 05:52:07 pm »
One issue that concerns me but I keep avoiding because Im afraid of the answer is: How long would it take to get skilled enough to perform the freelance jobs which are available? Ignoring my client flow or personal marketing and only thinking of skills, if I worked hard for 8 hours per day for one year could I do this as a full time career?
 

Offline igendel

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2017, 05:59:19 pm »
I was just going to suggest that posting projects online (YouTube, etc.) and especially systems analysis, design process, implementation tradeoffs, debugging, design-for-manufacturability, etc. would be quite a benefit to showing potential customers/ employers your skill level, etc.  And then @gendel posted exactly that experience.

Indeed. Also, you don't have to reach expert levels to get jobs - some clients only need a small simple PCB, not a full-blown PC motherboard  :)
Maker projects, tutorials etc. on my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/idogendel/
 
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Offline embeddedguy85

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2017, 06:06:47 pm »
I was just going to suggest that posting projects online (YouTube, etc.) and especially systems analysis, design process, implementation tradeoffs, debugging, design-for-manufacturability, etc. would be quite a benefit to showing potential customers/ employers your skill level, etc.  And then @gendel posted exactly that experience.

Indeed. Also, you don't have to reach expert levels to get jobs - some clients only need a small simple PCB, not a full-blown PC motherboard  :)

Thank you! So glad to hear that.
 

Offline cdev

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2017, 06:41:58 pm »
There are a number of developments in the pipeline which make the future impossible to predict.
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline embeddedguy85

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2017, 06:53:03 pm »
There are a number of developments in the pipeline which make the future impossible to predict.

Explain...
 

Offline cdev

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2017, 08:09:53 pm »
Well, for one thing, the more we learn, the faster we learn more.

When people attempt to estimate the future rate of change, they invariably base their estimates on the rate of change in the past, and so those estimates are consistent in underestimating them.

Also, technology may increase inequality and uncertainty for working people by channeling profits upward and risks downward.  (See: "gig economy" or "on demand" economy.)

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/the-fourth-industrial-revolution-what-it-means-and-how-to-respond
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 10:12:37 pm by cdev »
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline qno

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2017, 09:40:53 pm »

Its simple.
Look around for something you can be improved in the area of embedded electronics.
Improve it.
Talk about it with friends, family, collegues put it on a website.
Then you get questions like if you can do that can you do ......
Or comments like it does not work well it should do this.......
Before you know you are in business.
So just start
Why spend money I don't have on things I don't need to impress people I don't like?
 

Offline cdev

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Re: Beginner looking for info on freelancing possibilities
« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2017, 10:01:38 pm »
I think the advice to 'just do it' is good advice. You may surprise yourself.

Living in the US comes with an advantage - used test equipment is cheaper than it is elsewhere. Right there that is a big advantage. You may be able to afford a better lab than many others with less of an investment. try to figure out where you have a competitive advantage. maybe you have access to other ways to learn.

But, necessity is also the mother of invention and its important to save money. Not spending money unless you absolutely have to is a good habit to get into too.

Just immerse yourself into it. Don't forget to have fun!

One issue that concerns me but I keep avoiding because Im afraid of the answer is: How long would it take to get skilled enough to perform the freelance jobs which are available? Ignoring my client flow or personal marketing and only thinking of skills, if I worked hard for 8 hours per day for one year could I do this as a full time career?
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 10:10:33 pm by cdev »
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 
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