Here are some important steps that are part of my experience and learning hope they help you.
I have been constantly receiving queries on “How to get G.I.S. Freelancing project work?” I am receiving this same query from all around the globe.
Till date I have tried to reply every e-mail and message that I have received regarding same. Since I am an individual it in next to impossible to address every request that I receive. Here are few points that I would like you all to follow to pursue a freelance career working project on G.I.S.
Firstly, create your profile on any free online freelance working portal. Make sure that you mention all the skill sets that you possess, mention all the work experience that you have. Be more specific on all the skills that you possess. If you are fresher I would always recommend to take up an internship project while you are pursuing your studies. Read more about different technologies and ideas. That will help you understand what is the market ready skills that you require to have in you. Read more about different big companies that you know on the online resources. Try to connect with as many people that can guide you on what you must do and what not.
Once you create an online freelancing profile start checking with key words certain projects. Whenever you find a job that you think you can do it, read it carefully repeatedly. Try and understand what the client requirement is very carefully. Mostly in all the freelancing sites there is a certain system that needs to be followed for application to any project. If you have understood the project requirement well then reply to this job/project as if you are answering to their requirements. This will create a connection between you and your client. Listen well and jot down all the points that they need. Repeat key words in any kind of conversation verbal or in a chat that, this is what they need. Clients will get the feel that you know and understand project requirement. You can ask the queries if you have received the interview invite or if your profile is shortlisted. It is okay to ask doubt in the same conversation, so make sure your notes are ready before you are talking or chatting. This helps you to understand on what is required. There is huge competition in this field I believe. So do not just go and keep applying to all the projects that you come across. Apply to only those on which you are sure that you can make it.
Avoid faking anything about your education and work experience in your profile. You can fake it there but you get caught in your work and ratings. Always start with smaller projects/jobs. Here you will learn more, work more and earn less. Slowly once you gain experience in certain parts you can certainly grow yourself . Your Microsoft office skills must be through. Within no time your MS office should be hands-on skill. There are many softwares that are used like ESRI suites, opensource like QGIS, Autodesk and many more try to do some small experimenting works with them. I am a Geologists by education while studying it was very important for us to go to field and study more practically. G.I.S. is also a similar field where at some point you need to collect data in field. It may be going into field or just gathering online available in formation. I would suggest for freshers go to field collect any data and try to put it on different types of maps try to an analyse that data. Next time when you go to same field data collection you will first prepare an inventory in the lab and then go to the field and plan your field data collection. This exercise will help you to study and analyze how stuff works on the real world. This practice will save your money and valuable time. This is just one example. While I was fresher in in a G.I.S. field we used to have lots of discussion about different topics on G. I. S. and geology. In that I remember my seniors talking about future will be all around G.I.S. and that is true. Any part of the world if you need to order food to your location you just use a food APP that is nothing but a G.I.S. application. SO whenever in your day to day life if you come across any such G.I.S. application sit with someone who is not from G.I.S. field and explain how this application works. Your thoughts will get organized and your skill about talking on your technology will improve. It will be tough in the initial stages in freelancing or full-time job as you will feel that you are putting lots of efforts and time but things are not really helping your way out. Do not let yourself let down. Try your skills on little bit of programming languages. At least basic C and C+ then may be C# and SQL queries this write small programs/routines and run them to create small tools. There are lots of tutorials available on YouTube which are taught in highly skill full ways which is freely available. Join online forums where you can get your queries solved. Slowly you will gather lots of skills.
Try to do your projects in a simple method rather than any complex processes. Once your project is done and delivered try to do same thing in different ways and get the accurate results. Asking for help form others it can be your senior, junior or any colleague doesn’t matter ask when it is necessary. Keep it give and take policy, not necessarily monetary. Once you are growing in your field you are getting good projects to gain bigger projects you many need to team up. For some instances you may not be able to visit and XYZ location but you will have to bring the data then you have to follow-up with all your connections. Explain your requirement and then get your data within the stipulated time in such a way that in case of any issues if you need to ask for more data it does not hamper your deadlines with the client. So, while working it is very important to maintain the good relationships. You will have to form a reliable team who are multi skilled and multi-talented. Remember while working for any project that you are working as freelancer or on a job your first concern is, work that you deliver, needs to be perfectly done and on time. You need not to keep asking about money to clients as you are selected for the project because of your skill. Still if you are working as a freelancer for first time for any individual you might be worried if the project is submitted will they pay me? In such type of cases you might create a milestone. SO you can say at particular milestone you will give you this part delivered you pay me 20 % on next pay me 50% and so on. SO whatever you deliver, quality and time is very important. To continue working with same client again you need to either follow up or while working on it keep an offer for additional maintenance or other version of same output with nominal costs. So if they are happy with your work they will come back to you. Set your deadlines and files that they need in output from you in the beginning of the project.
It is always understandable that since you are new to this field you may be working on opensource or some cracked version of software if the client asks it is okay to mention them rather than finding it in the later stages that your output will not be accepted since it was not created on a licensed software and you many not even get paid for the work. Maintain your own work status and record it. You can backup your completed projects for future references.
Client will rate your work and provide a feedback on the work that you did for them. SO try and maintain good relations and set small milestones and work accordingly. This rating will always take up your freelancing profile up on any portal. Sometimes client may change their requirement in the middle of your work and you will not be in state to say anything. You need to be calm and think on what best can be done. Ask them you need some time to work on your logistics to think on your changed parameters. Get back to them with all your queries. Crosscheck again with what is the output that they are looking for, how much time do they give you and any other things, if needed. If you are not be able to give completed output, in the time that they mention, you need to explain them and justify to get some additional time. Keep everything in black and white always better.
There are certain tests to be appeared on your skill in these sites. These tests are specific to your skills. You can always take these tests it will also help you know your own level of knowledge. If you score good they can add value to your profile. Be careful while sharing your personal e-mail address or Skype address in the conversations as some freelancing sites do not allow it. This is already mentioned in terms and conditions or policy. That we just select on “I agree” and never read it. You profile may get blocked or inactive or even removed without even you realizing what has happened.
Every 3 months analyze your own status of work. What new skills are you using. What new is coming in the G.I.S. market. Try to keep your mind continuous in the quest of achieving something innovative of your own. Whenever you get any ideas note it down and try and work upon it. Make your thoughts more on practical implementation based rather than just a theoretical interpretation. You can always create a group of people whom you can show your ideas and ask an open review about what they feel on your ideas. Keep your mind open for all the variety of suggestions. For this, your selection of people need not be from a G.I.S. specific background. They can be of any age group, gender, and better if they are from different field of interests.
All the freelancing/ job related inputs are not only applicable on G.I.S. but also on many of the fields it is the same process that can be followed. I will keep updating this blog every now and then as I receive any query or comment on the point which I may not be aware or missed to mention here. I hope this small piece of information helps you in some or the other ways.
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