What is your niche as a freelancer

Freelancer & Founder

Software developers are at the top of the ICT companies' wish lists, as confirmed by a recent Bitkom survey. Application supervisors and administrators, on the other hand, are in demand in user companies. The most important areas of responsibility in companies are business applications, IT security and cloud computing.

This forecast also applies to the freelance project market, as the market study by the broker Solcom shows. "Although the economic indicators are pointing downwards, the demand for IT freelancers remains greater than the supply," confirms Thomas Müller, managing partner of Solcom Unternehmensberatung GmbH in Reutlingen. The freelance software experts surveyed there also see their greatest opportunities in future topics such as cloud computing. According to Müller, this calls for specialists who are familiar with databases and the handling of large amounts of data, but also network professionals who provide interfaces.

According to the Solcom study, most jobs are still for SAP professionals, Java and C ++ developers. Above all, clients are looking for highly specialized IT freelancers. That is why Müller recommends the freelance to improve their own competence in depth. There is little point in writing Java programs today and managing Windows systems tomorrow. Some freelancers apply for three or four different positions because they have implemented a project in each direction at some point, "says Müller." However, since they lack in-depth knowledge, they are not eligible for any of the projects. "Supplemented new market trend your own knowledge, it makes sense to further specialize there. "But constantly changing horses is neither good for the CV nor the order situation."

Stephan Petzchen has been working in IT for 17 years, and seven years ago he dared to start his own business. His first assignments took him to public administration and then to industry. Petzchen, who with his company Gesius GmbH specializes in Java Enterprise and Open Source, is currently working on a project for documentation and maintenance in the energy industry.

So far, he has never had problems getting into projects. New orders were either follow-up projects or were passed on to him through word of mouth: "Through the various industrial projects I have been able to expand my knowledge enormously, which is a great advantage for freelancers."

Opportunities through the cloud

The freelance software expert expects that the economy will slow down somewhat and that companies will hire fewer employees and also reduce the number of projects. As in 2009, this could also affect the demand for freelancers, he fears. He still sees good opportunities in the areas of standard software, cloud computing and virtualization. He also expects a further growing number of projects for web applications. His conclusion: Freelancers who are flexible, keep their knowledge up to date and acquire new technologies can look to the future with confidence.

Dennis Hoppe decides anew for each project whether he needs to deepen his knowledge for it. The more he specializes, the higher the fee he can demand, argues the freelance Sharepoint and C # developer, "When it comes to flexibility and knowledge, freelancers have to be one step ahead of employed software professionals." Overall, he sees the need for IT freelancers as very high. The freelancer recommends not simply accessing project offers, but first observing the market and asking around among colleagues: "You should only take on the new job when everything is right - but then with full commitment."