The Future Of Development: Is It Better to Work As A Freelancer?

30 May 2024

The median salary for a software engineer in Europe is around €70,000, while in the US it is $130,000. Although these numbers might seem high at first glance, they are not as high as they might seem.

Due to rising economic inflation, this amount of money is not only insufficient for investment but is just enough to raise a family. It is true that for an individual, it might be more than enough, but family is something a lot of engineers have in mind.

I am not going to discuss US numbers because I am not from there, but I am going to analyze Europe and see why it is worth it to work on your personal brand rather than working a 9-5.

Solo Ventures

With AI in place, one-man companies are now a reality, which is why Indie Hacking suddenly appeared this year. Now, a Senior Engineer can have five times the output compared to just a few years ago.

Although, in the past, creating a SaaS by yourself was challenging, now, with tools like Co-pilot and Chat-GPT, you can literally speed run the creation of a platform. Even if you're not familiar with the syntax, Co-pilot can assist you, and Chat-GPT briefs you with insights for your code or solves tasks that are not easy enough to remember and you have to Google.


Growth is one of the first things you ask about during an interview. Growth is a very important factor when selecting a company, but in 99% of cases, growth is an illusion that is misinterpreted by developers.

Usually, getting a raise means going from €70,000 to €74,000. You are not guaranteed the raise, and it always comes with more responsibilities that usually don't reflect the money.

In comparison with freelancers, we see a lot of Indie Hackers or Service Providers where a raise means going from €50,000 to €100,000 the next year. If you are active, especially on X, this trend is quite common. Another fact is that even if you get a raise, getting laid off is another thing.

To go over the growth part, growth only matters if you chase a higher position for more than 200K and become a tech lead or software architect.


In the long term, traditional 9-5 employees might not have as many opportunities. I mean, in the old days before 2020, this was different because a 5% salary increase meant a lot, and the cost of living was relatively low compared to today.

Freelancers might not have a guaranteed income each month, but the potential is there. If one month you want more money, you can always work more to get more.

Work-Life Balance

Another significant advantage of freelancing is the ability to achieve a better work-life balance. Traditional 9-5 jobs often come with rigid schedules and limited flexibility, which can make it challenging to manage personal commitments and family time.

Freelancers, on the other hand, have the autonomy to set their own hours and work from anywhere, allowing them to tailor their schedules to fit their personal lives. This flexibility can lead to increased job satisfaction and overall well-being, making freelancing an attractive option for those seeking a more balanced lifestyle.


In conclusion, while traditional 9-5 jobs offer stability and predictable growth, the evolving landscape of technology and the rise of AI tools have significantly empowered freelancers and Indie Hackers.

By focusing on personal branding and leveraging these tools, developers can achieve greater financial potential and flexibility within a year or two.

As economic conditions and job security continue to fluctuate, the future of development increasingly appears to lie in the hands of those willing to take entrepreneurial risks and embrace the freedom of freelancing.

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