Career advice needed please


I wonder if you might have any advice for me regarding my career development. I’ve been a freelance classical musician for about 10 years, based in London, UK, and over that time my ‘hobby’ of web design/development has become more and more interesting, time-consuming and financially rewarding. Although I’m not yet ready to give up on music, I feel that I have a lot of time and energy to invest, and that my web development sideline could become more of a job.

I’ve built up a pretty solid skill-set as a PHP developer: I’m happy with OOP and Design Patterns, and very keen on Test-Driven Development, which I’ve employed on a number of Open-Source community projects. I’ve used Zend Framework to quite an advanced level for most of my recent projects, and Doctrine ORM for database work. I use Subversion, FTP, SSH, have some familiarity with UNIX servers and the command line, .htaccess and various Apache config settings, SQL, etc. On top of the back-end knowledge, I’m happy working in Photoshop & Illustrator, pretty reasonable in CSS and have written some complex JavaScript UI applications using jQuery. I’m a keen advocate of web standards and accessibility, and I even comment my own code most of the time!

Very nearly all of my work so far has been as solo developer/designer from a home office. A couple of times I’ve worked with a designer friend, and I instantly found that in working as part of a team, I was far more productive, constructive and focussed in my approach, and with better results.

I’ve likened this to my work as a musician - rather than wanting to be a soloist, my preferred work was as a valued member of an orchestra. So, what I’m looking for is an equivalent in the web development sphere. My perfect job would not be Mon-Fri, 9-5, but flexible in some way - either a mixture of remote/office work, or flexible days per week or hours per month. But to get out of the house and work with a talented team who share my interests is what I’m looking for.

I’d love some advice on whether such a company would be interested in me, how to start looking for that kind of work, what kind of payment to expect (or indeed ask for), whether my CV is anything like good enough to get any work, and various questions like that. Any mailing lists, agencies or suggestions for contacts I could make in London would also be interesting.

I am of course looking for a solid financial return in the long run, however in the short term I would be happy to work for a reduced rate if it gave me the valuable experience I’d need to get into the workplace. The must important thing really is that I’d no longer be the sole developer/designer, but that I’d be working with a team of designers, developers, UX experts, project managers, etc. and could share with, and learn from, my colleagues.

Any advice would be gratefully received.



Currently, I have a similar skillset and am working for a company. I am finding that they demand a lot of time in exchange for the regular pay that they provide, so much so that I have not been able to operate the other small enterprises that I do outside of web development.

However, I have done a great more work for a far larger number of people than I could if I was working solely on my own, so much so that I feel I have a good handle on a specific niche of site production and could make it on my own if I have to. Furthermore, I can get another job with another firm, though I would imagine that the conditions would be the same. There are some great things to be learned from working in certain production environments.

Ultimately, though, to make a career of being another person’s employee seems to require full-time dedication to a small set of skills and to offer very little opportunity to, say, take a short-term job shooting video (something I like to do) because you are already bound to be working at that time.

That dedication seems contrary to the goal of working as a musician or any other sporadic employment, weather you are a film grip, and audio engineer, or a ski instructor.

The question is not so much if you can get work with your skillset, but rather the kind of work that you could get. At least where I am, I am not seeing a lot of companies hire folks part-time unless it is really marginal work. Rather, if you want flexibility it seems that you have to own the business yourself, so that is where I am putting my efforts even though the time that I have been working as an employee has taught me a lot.

Try craigslist. Years ago, I’ve had spare time to teach few hours a week then I somehow ended up on 1 day/week part time job. Gotta say…finding part time in IT field is quite difficult unless you go freelance.

Thanks for your suggestions!

hey try out on many web development jobs which you will fond on freelancer jobs.

I think you can go forward with your web designing, that’s best for you

I think you should start as a freelance web designer as this will allow you to choose your own hours to dedicate to your web design work and you will also get some time to work as music artist.

Now a days there are so many freelance jobs specially when it comes to internet jobs.