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ESN, freelance or permanent contract, what should I choose?


Working for an ESN, as a freelancer or being hired on a permanent basis by an end client? Which is better according to my level of experience and my expectations?

I have a tech profile, I'm a Dev or a Data Analyst, and I'm wondering what is the best way to sell my skills?

If you only have 2 minutes, we invite you to watch this short interview with Christophe, CEO of Bluecoders, to find out which type of contract might suit your profile.

AND! If you still have 3 minutes to spare, this article recaps Christophe Hébert's advice and the advantages and disadvantages of each career option!


To begin with, be careful! Not every environment is suitable for every profile and will not necessarily meet your expectations!

The first question to ask is: What do I want to do?

#1 Working as a freelancer

Freelancing is about having skills to sell. So if your only goal is to make a lot of money but you don't have enough skills, clients won't fall out of the sky and you won't earn much.

We often hear: "When you're a dev, all you need is a computer and an internet connection to work" or "I work on the beach, under the Thai sun " ... Yes, it sounds like a dream! But these devs have been through several companies before embarking on the adventure of freelancing, have built up a network and have taken the time to increase their skills to become experts.

Everyone wants to do this, but beware of the grey areas! As the name suggests, the self-employed person is alone.

Arriving in a company, working there for a few months to follow a roadmap, advance a product or a service, and then leaving is not for everyone. In terms of a sense of belonging, team spirit and deepening of the subject, there are clearly better things to do!

You'll be on your own to manage your accounts, you won't have job security and you won't get paid when you go on holiday... but at the same time, if you're good at selling yourself, you're very experienced in a subject and you're pretty much a loner, the best way to earn money will be to be a freelancer!

#2 Being hired on a permanent basis by an end customer

As Christophe, founder of Bluecoders and former developer, would say: "The best reason to join a company with a permanent contract is to increase your skills.

Joining a start-up or a big company?

Small businesses and startups :

For people who are curious, who want to touch a lot of things and especially for those who are starting their career, go for small companies and startups with permanent contracts, in which you will really have an impact and in which you will feel that the company needs toinvest in you and make you more competent.

"A great career always starts with people moving up in competence. When I work for someone, what I have to sell is skills!"

Large companies :

At the beginning of your career, you will look for advantages. Why not work for a large company if there is an interest in the project. However, beware: large companies sometimes develop the ability to lock in their employees. They will offer you high salaries, profit-sharing, works councils, etc., but beware, they can become golden cages from which you never really dare to leave and therefore spend a certain part of your life there.

If you are in a large company and you feel that you are not having an impact on the business and that things are not moving fast enough, go to a start-up or to a SME! You'll really feel how much of an effect your action has on the business.

#3 Working on a contract basis for an ESN

The right compromise? Be careful!

The new name of the SSII (Société de Service d'Ingénierie Informatique), the ESN (Entreprises de Services Numériques) outsource their IT expertise. Their role is tosend service providers to companies for temporary work. Basically, you work as an expert in a client's team for a defined period on a specific project!

In other words, you are a consultant.

This could be seen as the solution, the good compromise, since you will change assignments regularly, so you will develop an interest in different subjects and not get bored. But let's not forget that you are being recruited by a company, and that you are not going to work there. You will go directly to the premises of a client of this company and you will therefore have a contract. You will be sent as a consultant on assignment within this client company.

Most of the time, NSEs place their consultants in large companies. Among them, mainly companies in the service sector and in particular the financial sector.

"The biggest consumers of consultants today are banks and insurance companies.

Do you want to make your career in a bank or insurance company?

This is something to think about when you join an ESN or a consultancy. You are supposed to be up and running and have the right skills when your manager tells you about the assignment with a particular client.

For Christophe: "These are companies that are not going to have a great interest in training, given that the more you are on assignment, the more money you bring them. A day they spend training you is a day they lose money.

Thanks to Christophe for answering our questions.

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