A Programmer’s Journey (Part 3) – Working Abroad to Freelancing

This is my programming journey story. If you like stories, please kindly read through. Otherwise, if you want to jump start your software development career without wasting time like I did, download your FREE copy of my Software Developer Compact Career Guide.


In part 2, I got my first real programming job and went jumping from company to company. In this last part of the series, I will tell you my huge transition. From working overseas, working remotely, and finally (so far), freelancing.

Working Abroad

Again, I’m not actively looking for another job but got a call. It turns out that one of my previous colleagues who transferred to the calling company referred me to them. Unfortunately, it was a work abroad. I never intended to work overseas but our financial situation calls for it. So I accepted the job. I had to stay overseas for 8-10 months. And then go on a 2-week vacation until my assignment is done.

I worked as a Database Engineer. It was a per-project assignment. Meaning I had to travel every few years from country to country. Although I worked extensively with databases, I am always learning something new. Oracle APEX, Silverlight, WPF among others. I learned by creating tools that I would think will help me and others do their job better. I will then share what I made with my workmates in our home base in the Philippines as part of a presentation. When I learned about Agile methodologies, I tried to convince my boss to adapt it. But they are not interested in it. After all, we were really not a software company but only software support for construction projects.

Getting a College Degree While Working

During this time, I applied for an education equivalency in order for me to get a degree based on my work experience and other training. After the evaluation, I only need to take 4 subjects including a thesis to be able to graduate with a Computer Science Bachelor’s degree. If I were to choose IT, I don’t need to take up anything. So I took the subjects online while working and acquired my diploma in 2011.

I noticed that some of my workmates have been working abroad away from their families for 15-20 years. I told myself I will not be like that. Because I just want to, and no concrete plan in place, I bought my own domain (codefrost.com and several others) around 2010 and set up a blog website. I did some blog posts before but then I was just experimenting so it did not last. 

I’m continuously learning something new in my free time. In 2013, I developed my first Android app and deployed it in Google Play Store and then created another one. I don’t plan on monetizing those apps. But I think they are useful for me and for others. I haven’t updated them ever since but that’s on my todo list.

After working on a couple of assignments more, I decided to resign after 8 years. I don’t want my 2 children to grow without me with them. I also planned on becoming a freelancer someday.

Back to Makati

With my experiences, I was able to quickly get a new job in Makati. The travel this time is worse than before. Even if I bring my car or commute, I’ve always felt tired everyday. In this company, we were using Agile methodologies, doing daily stand-ups, we had chapters, etc. But code-wise, we were not doing TDD. I like the job but I cannot stand the travel. After a few months, I decided to transfer to another company. This time, it was full-time remote work for a US-based company.

Work From Home

This new work is fantastic. I worked as a Senior Software Developer using C# and I only need a 4-hour overlap with US time. I can spend the remaining hours anytime of the day. My priorities then changed and I now wanted to work part-time. I resigned in order to be a true freelancer after 4 years. I thought that I was already a freelancer. Soon, I realized that I’m still an employee working remotely. That is why I have this feeling that I never have complete control of my time. 


In 2018, I started this very scary transition. I have no clients. Upwork keeps rejecting my application to join. But I tried to join many other freelancing platforms. I even thought of coming back to work full-time. In fact, I tried to apply for it a couple of times.

Upwork accepted me after a month or two. I got a few clients there. And then Freeeup accepted me where I got my long-time client that I’m working with at present. Another freelancing platform also accepted me. But since my priorities have shifted, I never got a client there.

What’s Next?

Working as a freelancer forced me to learn a lot more new technologies and frameworks. But I know that this is not the end for me. I have my time in control most of the time. But I still feel that I was tied to work. Nevertheless, as much as I could, I will not go back to work away from home anymore.

I have more than 20 years of programming experience now. Although I learned a lot in my corporate jobs, I just wished that somebody told me to go straight to freelancing as soon as possible. I never thought that what I was doing at the early stage of my career when I’m taking side projects is the right track. Perhaps I was afraid that it wouldn’t be enough. But if somebody told me that it could be done, I would’ve gone for it. 

I will still be a freelancer but I aim to become an entrepreneur next. I hope you will support me in my next journey. And I hope that you learned something in my experience.


It took me 20 years to figure out what I really wanted to do to my career. It’s mainly because I don’t have a guide on which track to follow.

If you want to save years and jump start your Software Development career, download this FREE Software Developer Compact Career Guide.

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