Beginning this month I joined a company called Xebia (http://www.xebia.com).
Xebia is an IT consultancy and project organization focusing on Enterprise Java technology, Agile development methods and outsourcing services. The India office is based out of Gurgaon on NH-8 (pretty close to where I live) & consists of a small team that is growing rapidly. Xebia also has presence in The Netherlands and France & I believe the biggest chunk in terms of work-force is in The Netherlands. So far I have spent around two weeks in office and I think I made a good choice to join them. Some good points about Xebia that I could notice in this short duration are
- Everybody at Xebia (irrespective of the no of years of experience) writes code & people are pretty passionate about it.
- These guys practice Agile by the book which ensures daily progress & high productivity even with distributed teams (sometimes across 3 locations)
- A great work environment that is very developer focussed.
- There are a plenty of senior people around who have spent years in programming Enterprise Java. Working closely with them is definitely a good learning experience.
- My learning curve (Enterprise java) is already started to move North.
This also obviously means that I would no longer be working as a freelancer. I enjoyed my freelancing stint a lot (here’s why) , but it was a conscious decision to move away from it. Though Freelancing offers a lot of freedom in terms of work, but it also comes at a cost – There are times when you have more work than you can handle & similarly there are also times when you don’t have work & I’m not prepared enough to be sitting idle.
To summarize – Though I enjoyed freelancing but I’m equally happy & excited to move to Xebia & am really looking forward to have a good time at there.
Its been six months since I quit my last regular job. I have been working as a freelance software developer in this duration. I have really enjoyed freelancing and provide below a few good reason for you to consider it as well.
As a freelancer, I’m more productive at work. The reasons for this are not difficult to understand – I concentrate on completing my work. There are not too many meetings; There are not too many coffee breaks; there is no office politics to be worried about. All these things that usually have a negative impact on a person’s productivity are not there at work any more – Hence a boost in productivity.
Sharper Learning Curve
This one too is not difficult to understand either. Since the duration of work at different assignments would be shorter as compared to regular job the learning curve would obviously be sharper. For example, in the last 6 months I have written an application to simulate increasing load on a web-site and monitoring its performance; I have worked on building an application over salesforce’s force.com platform; I have written a scrapper application that can compare prices of similar products on different websites & last but not the least I have built a website – http://www.chahiye.info with a partner.
More Hands On
If you have a decent number of years of experience in IT industry in India, you would have noticed how quickly on joining an organization you are given a team to mentor and grow. Gradually as the team grows, your daily routine moves away from actually solving technical problems to helping your team solve them for you. This definitely takes away the fun out of work. With Freelancing there is no team to worry about. Its only you and the problem – the stronger one would win (and here I hate to lose)
Freelancing work usually fetches more money as compared to a regular job. The organization hiring you (as a freelancer) does not much over-head in maintaining you as an employee. There is no PF, no medical insurance, no stock options, no annual increment/bonus, No need to worry about under-performance; no need to worry about quality of work assignment etc. All these reasons are good enough for an organization to dish out slightly more than a regular employee of similar back-ground.
Leaves with you more CPU cycles
With a regular job, a work assignment was more like “My Work” which resulted in my mind spending more time thinking about it. Even after work the mind was usually at work. A bright idea could strike in the shower or any where else. However with freelancing the association with work is not that tight – Somehow that association with work is weakened. Though I still think about work when away from it, but the frequency has reduced. As a result you are left with more free thinking time.
Stand-out in the crowd
Not many people in India seem to be doing what I have chosen for myself. This can be considered as an advantage as well as a disadvantage. When relatives ask me what do I do – I’m at a loss at explaining them. However I’m already getting exposure to meeting a lot of interesting people at a lot of interesting companies doing a lot of interesting work. This advantage clearly out-weighs the disadvantage.
Yesterday I got paid for the first job completed as a freelancer. I spent two weeks working on this project and built a Java application to simulate load for a .NET based web portal – Will provide details on the project shortly in a separate post.
Though the amount is not too big, but I have two reasons to feel good about it – a) It’s my first cheque working as a freelancer and therefore it is obviously special; b) based on this work I got a longer term project with the same client [22 hours a week for next 3 months]
Overall my first completed job experience has been pleasurable. I enjoyed working for this start up – interacting with their team allowed me exposure to a different style of work & am hoping to gather some knowledge of a new vertical in the near time to come.
Its almost a month since I quit my job and the journey so far hasn’t been bad. Some highlights
- Managed to find a work area for myself in Udyog Vihar Gurgaon. It’s a single seat in a BPO kind office but is peaceful. The office provides decent intenet connectivity, is not too far from home & is not very expensive. Find my office Address at “Contact Me” section on my website here.
- Got a brand new DELL laptop to work on (the fact that prices of the model fell a week after I bought was the only disappointing thing about the deal).
- Raised my first Invoice to a company that I spent 2 weeks working with. These guys are again a startup working in travel industry. Interesting bunch of people who liked my work. I enjoyed working for them too. Talks are in progress for longer duration project with them.
- Worked on a mini project in C# (my first exposure to .NET world) – The client appreciated my work and I expect to do business in near future with him.
- Managed to clear my mind of all apprehensions regarding starting up. Two months ago, my mind used to come up with all sorts of questions like a) How am I going to pay my EMI if I quit my job b) How will I find work for myself etc etc. Now that I have actually quit and have to fend for myself, these questions don’t reallybother me any more. Perhaps my mind has stopped treating them as threatand is now treating them as problems which can be solved & at the moment I’m sure I’ll figure out the answers.
This IMO has been the biggest achievement
of this month not sure how I managed it though 🙂
- Interfacing with a lot of interesting people (entrepreneurs & techies) who are able to connect & relate with what I’m doing.
Now Some negatives
- Didn’t meet my target – Despite the fact that I got paid for some work items, I didn’t meet the target that I had set for myself at the start of the month but What the heck – this is my first month !!!!!!!!!
- I’m yet to figure out a long term strategy for myself. I know for sure that quiting a regular job and starting up independently was the right decision for me (the fact that I’m enjoying my work more now is a proof of that) but where do I want to go from here is something that I hope to figure out soon in the coming months.
Today was my last day at Gisil; After ~9 years finally I have quit my job to set up my own business.
I’m really excited about the new world that I’m walking into. This new world that brings with it a lot of challenges & uncertainties. For example, when I wake up on monday, I don’t even know where to sit and work – to find a work environment is the first challenge. The next one being setting up a legal entity to allow me to do business in my country; Finding enough work for myself is also not going to be easy. There are many more challenges that are hiding there waiting to get discovered.
The fact that I have no idea on how to solve some of these issues is definitely a cause of concern, but at the same time, I know the amount of pleasure that I’m going to derive out of scaling each one of these issues in the coming days. This pleasure of winning the game after being labeled as an under-dog (I don’t have any partner in my venture, which is why a lot of people think that what I’m doing is insane) is what is going to drive me to perform.