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I'm an experienced developer with a BSc. in computer science. In the recent years I mostly program with Python and Django. I saw many jobs positions, but I got the feeling that almost 100% of them are for full-time jobs - 5 days a week, 8 or more hours per day. I'm looking for a part-time job - in the past I wanted to work 3 days per week, and recently I changed it to 4 days per week but still I can't find a job. I think almost 100% of the companies who hire developers want them to work full-time. It's a problem for me to take a full-time job right now. I also thought about being a freelancer, but also then I have to be good in marketing and selling myself, which is more than two-thirds of the work. But as a programmer, I can't find companies who want to hire developers part-time. This includes jobs posted on Stack Overflow. And I would like to know, are there other developers who want to work part-time and how did you find a job?

By the way, I think this may be one of the reasons why there are so few women developers. Many women just don't want to work full-time, and I think in other positions companies are more willing to hire people part-time. I live in Israel which is so-called a startup nation but almost 100% of the startups here want to hire people full-time.

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And I would like to know, are there other developers who want to work part-time and how did you find a job?

I also thought about being a freelancer, but also then I have to be good in marketing and selling myself, which is more than two-thirds of the work.

My mother made her career this way, and it generally meant working as a contractor. I can't really think of any other way to work 3-4 days a week as a developer (in the United States at least) other than becoming a contractor. I think - even as a contractor - you may sometimes need to work full-time and then add space between jobs. Part-time work is definitely something that is lacking in the software industry.

Another way to work part-time is to start your own business and only accept the amount of work you can do 3-4 days a week. Both of these of course has the drawback that you mentioned of having to find the work and market yourself. I will say that many people who become contractors make contacts during their time as conventional employees and then contract to those contracts. Most do not have sophisticated ways of marketing themselves.

The only other scenario I can think of (I've only known one person who pulled this off) is to work as a full-time employee for a company, get them to like you, and then try to get them to let you work part-time. This is much more likely to work at a smaller company that doesn't have a bunch of policies which will prevent them from even considering it.

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    +1 for working as a full-time employee and eventually seeing if they'd let you switch to part-time. Seems to be the most effective method from what I've seen. – giraffe36 Feb 28 at 4:36
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The problem is that the operational overhead for two part time employees is much higher than for 1 full time employee

Just one developer means that there are no merge issues due to ignorance of what the other is doing, there is less need for spending time on documentation (foolish over the long term, but most don't see it that way), and requirements don't get mangled further in the game of telephone. Most of the informal processes used to replace a formal project management strategy really begin to break down as the team expands. Many of those processes also assume things like "oh, you can just ask X", which doesn't work if X is out of the office half the time (or if they quit, but this aspect is rarely considered ahead of time) and that leads to blocked work.

Programming isn't like McDonalds where the system is designed to make people interchangeable cogs who can be swapped in and out. Some tools like Scrum try to do that, but even then, a developer has to work on a system to develop a base level of knowledge before they are productive.

A highly organized company could pull it off with just part timers, but companies don't tend to be that way when small and if a company is large, they need a whole developer (or several) anyway.

Another problem is that many companies have the expectation of completely owning you career wise for the time you work for them. Instead of buying 40 hours of your time, they see it as more purchasing unlimited capacity from you with an informal agreement that they won't use more than 50 hours regularly. Part time work is clearly pay by the plate while companies are used to effectively having an unlimited buffet.

The shortage of developers also means that many companies would pressure you to go full time as an easy way out of having to put up another job posting.

Some options for you:

  1. Find a company with a compressed work week. My company allows you to compress two weeks into 9 days or 5 days a week into 4. It isn't technically full time but it may suit your needs.

  2. Work full time and then see if their is a parent track. Certain companies also have this arrangement for parents to try and retain workers who have had the circumstances of their life change. It usually is only available to people who would be hard to replace.

  3. Found your own startup. Plenty of business guys out there with ideas so as long as you don't need cash soon and can wait a bit on a speculative return, this could easily work. A lot of startups don't actually require full time tech work.

If none of those work, you could found a job board for part time technical work only.

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  • I have my own startup and that's one of the reasons I don't want to work full-time. But my own startup is not profitable with almost no revenues. – Speedy Match Jan 27 at 17:38
  • @Uri realistically that makes things harder for you as you are also now prone to leaving at any time. Parent tracks earn their keep through greater employee stability. – Matthew Gaiser Jan 27 at 17:49

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