The freelance scene in Singapore has evolved considerably these past few years especially with regards to high level professionals such as app developers. This may seem like a good sign, but it is spurned on by poor economic growth in the country. There was merely 0.2% growth during the last quarter as compared to the former quarter’s 6.2% improvement as reported by Focus Economics. At the beginning of this year, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) expressed concerns over the unknown variables of the freelance industry and has since announced measures to help freelancers, including a job fair to connect them with new clients.
Let’s look at the ground realities and compare the advantages and disadvantages of choosing freelance Android development as a living in Singapore.
The good news
The biggest perk of being a freelance developer is the freedom. You have no one breathing down your neck and you can choose which job to accept. Having direct talks with the clients gives you a better idea of what they want and no one can interfere with your creative process. This makes things more efficient and you only need to answer to the client.
Easy to enter
The Android industry is progressing spectacularly in Singapore right now. The country was the first in Asia to introduce Android Pay, the new version of Google Wallet, in collaboration with MasterCard just last month. There are plenty of resources to get you started on your own and fewer restrictions by Google Play Store during app launch.
Apple and other major operating systems are pricey when it comes to development. Both the hardware and software is costly, making it difficult for a freelance app developer. Android is the best choice with a one-time registration fee of 25 USB compared to Apple’s annual 99 USD. The standard 30% commission applies for app sales on Google Play Store.
An app developer cannot survive without tools so you need to look closer at the costs involved there as well. Apple’s SDK cost is included in the annual iOS Developer Program fee but Android’s SDK is completely free and available for download on Windows, Linux, etc.
Time is right
As the Android industry is at its peak in Singapore at the moment, there couldn’t be a better time for looking into freelance Android app developer. The growth is expected to increase in the near future as there is a huge market for Android apps in the country.
The bad news
There are so many versions of Android still in use among the population that most businesses prefer to launch their Android app on more than one. There are still more to come so it is harder to design apps for numerous versions according to the device specifications.
Less legal protection
Since there is no proper union for freelancers in Singapore, they are not eligible for benefits like medical, leaves, legal rights like regular employees. However, positive steps are being taken in this regard. In March this year, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) stressed that freelancers required a reliable system to safeguard their rights.
The biggest issue in freelancing is money although native Android app developers are very well paid and in high demand. Even when the task is complete, the client may be lazy about transferring your payment. They are often under the impression that rates are negotiable and they can get the work done for cheaper just because you are a freelancer. There is also no annual raise like permanent employees receive.
Being a freelance developers sometimes means that you cannot claim intellectual and confidential property rights to your work. This may hinder your professional growth and of course, you might refuse jobs such as these reducing your options.
No third-party support
If your professional rights are violated in any way, you cannot seek the help of a union because such a thing does not exist in Singapore. You will either have to give up or settle for something much less because there is no suitable representation for you by law.