Freelancing & Academia to Industry panel

October 18, 2019

On October 11th we hosted a panel at PyConDE with Matteo Guzzo, Tereza Iofciu, Katharina Rasch and Sieer Angar and I had the pleasure to be the moderator.

These are some of the takeaways:

From Academia to Industry

  1. As a PhD student you learn how to learn

This will be extremely useful to help you moving to industry and to learn new skills as fast as possible.

  1. Do your homework, be prepared

If you don't want to be perceived as a junior during your interviews prepare yourself beforehand, try to understand what companies are looking for and how to approach the interview correctly. If the interview process is something new for you have some dry runs with companies you don't want to work for.

  1. There are pros and cons on both worlds

Katharina Rasch keeps teaching although working as a freelancer and consultant. You can move to industry without fully leaving academia.


  1. Wanna be a freelancer? Just do it

If you think you want to do it just do it, you always have a rollback plan: finding another job as employee.

  1. You have to create and grow your network

Meetups, conferences and generally sharing your knowledge is a great way to do it, make yourself visible.

  1. Freelancing platforms can be a great way to start

Pivigo, Fiverr, Toptal, Upwork are a great way to kick-start your way to freelancing.

  1. Create a cash buffer

Having a cash buffer is fundamental if you want to be able to sustain your first months as a freelancer, that will give you financial freedom and reduce stress.

  1. You rates will suck at the beginning

And that's fine. But don't forget to raise them and keep them updated considerinng market rates.

  1. Berlin is a bubble

While knowing German might not be a requirement in Berlin the rest of Germany is different although things are changing.

  1. Just freely approach companies

If you want to collaborate with them and/or create new connections as a freelancer.

  1. Take care of the bureaucratic stuff

Being a freelancer involves some bureaucratic burdens you have to take care like accounting and health insurance.

The panel has been recorded, it will be available on the PyCon DE youtube channel.

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