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Freelance Engineers

Freelance Engineers

Freelance Engineers

I was reading an article earlier about the increasing need in industry for freelance engineers. In other words, companies hiring people with the right engineering skills on a temporary basis to help with specific projects.

Have you personally encountered a need for freelance engineers? and if so, what kind of work/services do you think would be in high demand? (any field of engineering welcome). Likewise, can you think of any challenges with this as we look ahead?

RE: Freelance Engineers

Power system engineers. Problem is consulting firms want to abuse people and burn them out. Also they want to only pay for 40 hours, but expect people to work more than that.
Need freelance engineers to keep consultants honest.

RE: Freelance Engineers

No. My employers have generally steered clear of freelancers with a few exceptions for exceptionally skilled previous employees. Engineering competency is a major issue today among smaller companies due to the pace of technology so its generally best to outsource to either a temp agency or consulting firm. If a freelancer is incompetent then it can be difficult/expensive to fire them and work pauses while you work contracts/NDAs/etc with another. OTOH requesting a different, more competent engineer from a larger firm is easy and quick.

RE: Freelance Engineers

We use temp engineers all the time; a small company/division might not have sufficient workload to sustain the expertise of a specialized engineer, so consultants and consulting companies are necessary to fill those voids.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: Freelance Engineers

We fairly regularly outsource CAE to known freelancers (usually ex employees). The internet is littered with CAE 'case studies' by optimistic graduates desperate for freelance work, they won't be seeing any of this.


Greg Locock

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RE: Freelance Engineers

Quote (Jake555)

what kind of work/services do you think would be in high demand? (any field of engineering welcome). Likewise, can you think of any challenges with this as we look ahead?

Avionics systems engineer (start with an electrical engineer, then show them what an airplane looks like with the floor boards removed).

hiring people with the right engineering skills on a temporary basis to help with specific projects.

Yes, I've done that. Mixed results. Some freelancers have only done "X" for their entire illustrious career, so if you ask them to do "V", which is the step that comes before "X", smoke comes out of their ears. Some freelancers didn't benefit from a mentor that taught them how to write a decent structures report, so you get a mess ("uh, what load case is being solved on this page?"). Some freelancers are accustomed to waving smoke and mirrors, which makes for interesting meetings when you call them out on their BS.

I'm not against the practice, I just haven't had much success with it, myself. My previous employer hired mostly temp engineers, even juniors straight out of school. They didn't get training, they didn't get mentoring, and they didn't get told what was going on around them. I was permanent, and the advantages I was getting didn't seem fair. It looked like an abuse to me. I left, for different reasons, but this is one of the reasons I didn't look back.

RE: Freelance Engineers

I have spent 17 yrs as a full time employee at companies that do not have any products of their own and only offer contract engineering services to companies. There are lots of reasons why a company might outsource, sometimes they don't want to hire permanent employees for a short term need, sometimes they are trying to hire and can't find anyone, sometimes design just isn't something they want to get into or don't have any capabilities in that field.

Even within this industry I have hired contractors for projects. Some amount of contractor usage allows me to cut out the worst of the highs and lows of availability swings and keep from having too many people sitting on the bench waiting for work.

We work across many industries, my current company focuses on product development in aerospace and medical with exposure to telecom, industrial, consumer products and others.

Done correctly our engineers get exposure to all phases of product development and many different industries/products/companies/etc. Done incorrectly you end up with people so pigeonholed in specific work you get Sparweb's experience.

RE: Freelance Engineers

Freelance engineers are independent professionals who offer engineering services on a contract basis. They are not employed by a specific company, but rather work on a project-by-project basis for various clients. Freelance engineers may work in a variety of fields, including mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering, and more.
Freelance engineers often have a strong background in engineering, with a bachelor's or master's degree in engineering or a related field. They may also have additional certifications or licenses, depending on their area of expertise and the requirements of their clients.


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