Wish you were (software engineering) here? Top countries in 2024 for freelance software engineers

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Freelance software engineers should right now be preparing for an exciting and dynamic 2024.

As the technology industry continues to redefine work in the digital sphere, New Year 2024 brings along many opportunities and challenges, demanding a strategic approach to the evolving freelance labour landscape.

In times of change, staying up-to-date on market trends and promising locations, destinations and countries for freelancing is crucial for every professional, and software engineers are no exception, writes Ivaylo Hristov, co-founder of the leading IT career platform in Bulgaria — DEV.BG.

This is why I’ll pinpoint on the map the top five countries for freelance software engineers in 2024, exclusively for Free-Work.

And I’ll reveal the highest daily rates, the best tech cities globally, and the most sought-after skills that will impress the employers of freelancers in the foreseeable.

1. Canada

Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), and quantum computing are driving innovation across various industries in Canada. In 2024, the country will continue to seek skilled software engineer freelancers, specialising in these cutting-edge fields.

Canadian freelance rates for IT professionals are the highest worldwide, around £630 per day. Yes, I said as much as ‘£630,’ and yes I said, ‘per day!’

The top three cities in Canada for high paid freelance opportunities as a software engineer include Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa. That’s where you’ll find innovative companies that drive change in the Canadian tech sector.

In terms of skills, freelance software engineers with expertise in JavaScript, Java, and Python are very sought after in Canada. Proficiency in cloud computing platforms like AWS and Azure, coupled with knowledge of cybersecurity protocols and AI implementation, remains highly coveted on the market.

2. Switzerland

Switzerland presents a promising landscape for freelance IT professionals in 2024 with a growing demand for specialised skills.

Being at the forefront of emerging technologies, the Swiss private sector currently seeks expertise in software development, cybersecurity, data analytics, and AI.

Remote work culture in Switzerland is also evolving in tandem, with a focus on flexibility and technological infrastructure to support remote setups.

Historically welcoming to freelancers and contractors from the UK, Switzerland offers competitive freelance rates for software engineers, going as high as £500 daily in Zurich, Zug, and Geneva.

These three cities boast vibrant tech ecosystems, a high quality of life, and innovative companies, contributing to the higher rates.

Freelancers with proficiency in programming languages like C / C++, .NET, and Golang will have an advantage for Swiss projects. Strong skills in software development and machine learning are also in high demand.

3. The United States

In 2024, the United States continues to seek freelance software engineers in various fields. The country is at the forefront of adopting technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and Internet of Things (IoT).

Freelance rates for very skilled professionals and complex projects can reach £470 daily in the US, especially in tech hubs like Silicon Valley. That said, competition for these projects remains incredibly high, further boosted by the country’s emphasis on productivity.

The American freelance market specifically looks for software engineers with expertise in Java, Python, and JavaScript. Proficiency in related frameworks and libraries can give you a competitive edge in securing the best projects.

4. The Netherlands

The demand for software engineers will stay high in the Netherlands throughout 2024. Companies across various industries, including finance and healthcare, are actively seeking freelance IT talent to innovate and enhance their digital infrastructure. Moreover, the country has embraced remote work culture, offering support and infrastructure for freelancers.

The freelance rate for a professional software engineer in the Netherlands is around £380 daily. Utrecht, The Hague, and Amsterdam are among the best cities for freelance IT professionals due to their growing tech ecosystems and ample job opportunities.

In 2024, the most sought-after skills for freelance software engineers in the Netherlands include programming languages like Java, Python, and C#. There’s also a high demand for DevOps, Docker, Kubernetes, and Agile Methodologies.

5. Denmark

Cleantech, biotech, and fintech companies in Denmark are actively seeking experienced software engineers. The country has a strong remote work culture with substantial support for freelancers. Its advanced digital infrastructure and flexible work policies enable seamless remote collaboration and help it attract worldwide talent.

Expert freelance software engineers looking for work opportunities in Denmark can expect daily rates up to £340. Copenhagen, Aarhus, and Odense are among the top cities to keep an eye on when it comes to innovative projects.

Programming languages like C++, C#, and Python will remain in great demand in 2024, along with skills in Cybersecurity, AI/ML, and Full-Stack Development.

How to succeed as a freelance software engineer in 2024

We are able to pinpoint these top 5 countries in 2024 for freelance software engineers because my team analysed data from multiple sources (Indeed; Glassdoor, Levels.fyi, PayScale, OECD Better Life Index, Prepare for Canada and Numbeo).

But what about actually succeeding as a freelance software engineer in 2024, almost regardless of location? Well, it requires a combination of expertise, business acumen, and a proactive approach to your independent career.

As technology evolves at an unprecedented rate, staying up-to-date with the latest trends is paramount. Software engineers should invest time in learning new programming languages, tools, and frameworks to remain competitive and adaptable to client needs.

Building a strong professional network through online platforms, industry events, and collaborations can also play a crucial role in securing freelance gigs and temporary assignments. Client testimonials and endorsements can further boost your credibility.

Final freelance thought…

Last but not least, planning ahead as a contractor can help you manage slow periods and ensure your financial stability. This includes anticipating gaps between projects, managing taxes, and setting aside an emergency fund for unexpected expenses. Good luck software engineers, wherever you decide to freelance in 2024!

Written by

Ivaylo Hristov

Tech Entrepreneur

Ivaylo Hristov is a tech entrepreneur. He holds a bachelor's and a master's degree in Computer Science. He is a co-founder of the Bulgarian-Danish software company, Komfo. Currently, he is a co-founder and manager of the largest niche tech job board in Bulgaria – DEV.BG. He has received numerous awards, including Young Entrepreneur of the Year. He is also part of Forbes' 40 Under 40 list.

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