Gaining experience / freelancing

Hi,

I’ve been fiddling about with web development for a couple of years, in my spare time. I’ve completed the equivalent of the first year of an undergraduate degree, through a distance learning programme Exeter University had open (unfortunately, this has now been closed). With the course above I’ve completed modules in vb.net, java, and basic xhtml / css & Javascript.

Off the back of these courses I’ve also invested in learning via the courses here that Sitepoint have put on - pretty much all of them! (php, css, JS, html5) along with a lot of books on mainly CSS2/3, html5, jQuery, and recently some good books on Typography. I also try and read as many blogs such as the ones here, Smashing Mag, etc to name a few.

I’ve come to the point where I’d like to do this for a career, but obviously lack the ‘career’ experience. I’m toying with freelancing, but doubt it will pay enough to live off initially. I’m wondering whether it would be an idea to try and freelance outside of a more regular job (I’ve been in IT for over 10yrs, more support and network support stuff) building up a portfolio.

My traversals around the web have led me to various impressive front-end developers who work at agencies etc, but freelance. How can this be done? Appreciate it may be a stupid question, but how does the tax side work out? ie. If you are PAYE (in the UK) for a regular job, can you also set up a Ltd. company that deals with all the taxes from freelancing? Is there an umbrella company that can do this?

Sorry, turned into a bit of an epic that question! Appreciate any pointers though, as ideally I’d be keen to try and freelance - but realistically I think I’m going to have to do so alongside a regular 9-5.

Cheers all. :slight_smile:

Sounds like you’re learning a lot of good stuff! You can definitely do freelance work but I might “opt” to work for small company who’s willing to hire non-degree web developer. I’d stay at least 5 years, finish the degree then either go for freelance or work for a bigger company. G’luck.

hi siamino, according to your situation I would highly recommend you to join a small website design/development company as suggested bysg702. However, if you continue working as a freelance I would advise you to build a big list of portfolio websites to showcase your design as this will help you in getting big project as a freelancer or you could also get a good opportunity in a big company if they find your portfolio good enough.