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My math skills and my interest in programming led me to search for a field combining the two, and I found data science/analysis, machine learning, but I was surprised that there was almost no demand for those fields in the job market in my country.

As an alternative, I have considered freelancing, but was wondering how to go about evaluating whether that is a viable option?

I am very new so I need some perspective.

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  • This doesn't seem to specifically be about freelancing, but rather software engineering in a broad sense.
    – morsor
    Feb 23, 2023 at 9:00
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    @morsor For what it's worth, this kind of career advice question is off-topic on Software Engineering SE. So you've got it back :) Feb 23, 2023 at 10:36
  • Find a programming job in an engineering company or in scientific research, there you will need both kind of skills. Maybe also at an insurance or bank, when you are a fan of statistics (but that may count as data science).
    – Doc Brown
    Feb 23, 2023 at 10:36
  • @PhilipKendall: No problem. Perhaps Workplace is a better fit?
    – morsor
    Feb 23, 2023 at 11:15
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    @PhilipKendall: Fair enough. I think I'll attempt to edit it on-topic here then and see if the OP agrees
    – morsor
    Feb 23, 2023 at 11:20

3 Answers 3

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Generally speaking, there is very little demand for freelancers who are simply math skills and programming. On the other hand, there is a large demand for people who know business and have math skills and programming. Take a look at what a technology MBA is and the demand for people with that. The consultants who can use their ability with math and computers to advise managers have a market.

General advice for anyone with technology skills who want to be consultants / freelancers would be to learn as much as possible about business.

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  • thank you for the advice, Ok, can you tell where can I learn about business, I mean what kind of courses do I need to take to become business consultant. Feb 24, 2023 at 19:49
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    There are two ways to learn about business. The first is to take courses such as accounting, personnel management, finance, etc. That is essentially the courses in an MBA program. The second way is to join a small business and learn everything you can about it including all the things that go wrong. Typically, someone who learns just from courses doesn't learn the problems, the headaches, or about so many ways that people can mess up a situation.
    – David R
    Feb 24, 2023 at 23:34
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I suggest doing the following, which works for employees and freelancers, at any age i.e. level of experience. You may repeat this iteration, with ever increasing focus.

  • Compile problems and known solutions people DO have in the field of your knowledge and interest
  • Try distilling very urgent needs with no or no good solution
  • See what your part can be in making a solution work for them
  • Team up with others who provide skills you miss in providing said solution.

This way you „build-in“ demand for what you‘ll offer.

If in doubt, don‘t „decide“ but contact and discuss with those having the urgent problem. I.e. do resonance-navigation. It‘s the process of learning, understanding, and getting acquainted with each other (visibility).

Yes, and stay away from job-adds … they won‘t help you much, if you think about their history and process (highlander principle: there can only be one … if any hired).

Compile like wild, review, restructure, select problems. The purpose is to narrow down, to a very specific set of people, in a field you enjoy.

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In my experience there is a lot of demand for data scientists (e.g., if you look at freelance small job sites like Upwork), but there are also lots of data scientists, who actually did their degree in data science. It is usually difficult to compete with them, if your background is in another field.

On the other hand, I found that there is demand for good math skills with moderate requirements for programming when it comes to developing algorithms for analyzing domain-specific data: modeling for biological systems, counting molecules/proteins, climate science, modeling of various kinds of sales, breaks, flows, etc.

I worked on a similar kind of project where I had to implement an algorithm from a scientific paper in python or R, and then pass it to professional developers for writing an industrial scale code. Another type of project involves evaluating feasibility of certain type of algorithm.

However, besides math and moderate coding skills, this requires some domain knowledge and reasonable background in statistics.

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