I'm not sure if I'm like most software developers, but I've always found that the product I'm working on mostly doesn't matter. What really makes me happy, and gives me fulfillment in my work, is writing beautiful code. Whether it's an operating system used by billions of people or a CRUD app for a small business, I can apply my love of software craftsmanship - minimalist, clean, easy to read and understand - it’s art that has utility. Software craftsmanship makes me happy and I want to optimize my work life for that.
That led me to contracting. Making the jump from full-time software engineer to full-time contractor was scary as hell. I knew nothing about business. I had always thought about getting out of my corporate job and working for myself, but fear kept me there. While working at Netflix, the perfect contract fell into my lap, and so I decided to go for it.
It was mostly amazing. No commute, no office politics, no "reviews", and no boss! I was spending much more of my time writing code. Of course, now I had to do sales to find work for myself, and I didn't have my work friends anymore, which made things kind of lonely. I'll be honest - I hated doing sales. I love sales now, almost as much as I love writing software, but it took many years to get here and I think a lot of software developers aren’t interested in becoming a sales person. That gave me an idea.
There has to be thousands, maybe tens of thousands of other devs like me out there. Devs that wanted to leave their full-time job and try contracting, but felt like they couldn't because they didn't know where to start. Could we create a business model that was designed to solve the challenges that prevent software developers from becoming contractors? So we did.
The Facet Developer Network
The Facet Developer Network (FDN) is a network of senior software engineers, that are based in the US, and that have spent 3+ years at a FAANGetc (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google, etc) company. To join, you just fill out a developer profile to tell us what your areas of expertise are and what your availability is. As long as you meet the requirements, you are in. By becoming a member of the FDN, you get a sales team, project management team and a billing and collections team, all provided by Facet. You also get co-workers in the form of other Facet contractors and free office space in Seattle if you want to use it. We handle the parts of contracting that suck and you optimize your work life for writing code.
In some cases you’ll make more money as a FDN contractor. In some cases you’ll make less money as a FDN contractor. It depends on your goals. In all cases, you’ll spend more of your work life writing code.
People become contractors for many reasons - to bootstrap a startup, to have a better work/life balance, to live as a digital nomad, to travel more or to just escape the corporate bureaucracy. We want to make it easier for software developers to achieve their goals by eliminating as much of the risk as we can.
We started this experiment a couple of months ago and the initial results have been very positive. We want to grow it slowly to make sure we can provide enough work opportunities to the developers in our network. That said, we currently have many more work opportunities than developers. We need more dev contractors now. If you are interested in becoming a contractor, please sign up!
A Call to FAANGetc devs
If you are currently a senior dev, working full-time at a FAANGetc company, and have thought about a career change to become a contractor, you should join the Facet Developer Network. We’ll send you information about contracting opportunities we find. When the right opportunity comes along, you can take the leap. I promise you’ll love it! Until then, keep doing what you’re doing.
Why only Senior devs?
In the vast majority of cases, our clients don't want to pay for your education. They want developers with many years of experience already in the relevant languages and technology. If you were a full-time employee, they can make the investment to train and develop you, with the hope that you will stay at the company for a long time and pay back the investment.
Why only US based devs?
Because Facet is based in the US and nearly all of our customers are based in the US right now. We hope to expand to other countries in the future.
What companies are FAANGetc companies?
The FDN isn't limited to only former Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google developers. It’s a lot more than just the 5 in the abbreviation, but we don’t have a list. When we receive an application, we do some research on the companies on your work history. If they are known for their high quality engineering teams, we accept the application. For example, GitHub, Slack, Stripe, Cloudflare,Microsoft, Expedia, to name a few.
Why only former FAANGetc devs?
Because we can’t do extensive interviews and vetting for the developers in the network. By only admitting FAANGetc devs, we rely on the thorough interviews already done by FAANGetc companies. It’s a hack that saves us a ton of time. It’s also a great differentiator to use when we are selling your services to companies. “We only hire developers who have many years of experience at companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google” is a really effective message for winning customers for you. We realize that this excludes a whole host of amazing developers that don’t have a FAANG like company on their resume, but like many hacks, it’s inefficient, but it works for us right now. We have a TODO to remove this hack in the future.