On the Fast Track

While still a college student, Jeff Wichman built a freelance career that's given him years of professional experience while pursuing his studies.

Jeff Wichman is a graduate student who's also building a successful career as an oDesk freelancer. He heard about oDesk in late 2007, while still working toward his bachelor's degree, and decided to put his web design skills to use.

Jeff Wichman

Jeff Wichman / oDesk Freelancer

I've gained valuable experience that goes beyond my 'work skills'.

He didn't jump right in and start applying for jobs, though, focusing instead on making sure his profile would impress prospective employers. His patience paid off — he landed his first job in only a couple weeks, and has been working ever since. And not just as a web designer. Over time, he's been able to branch out, using the freedom of oDesk to build a resume that includes programming, database design, graphic design, audio/video editing and animation.

As his experience and skills have developed, so has his hourly rate. His starting rate of $10 an hour — "Still more than most of the employment opportunities available to a busy college student," he notes — reached nearly $20 an hour only a year later. On his two-year anniversary with oDesk, his profile listed more than 700 hours worked, and a starting rate of $23 an hour.

More Than the Work

Jeff recommends freelancing as a great way to quickly gain professional experience. He says his oDesk work has done more than sharpen his IT prowess. "I've gained valuable experience that goes beyond my work skills," he says, citing project management; how to sell himself, negotiate, and deal professionally with clients; and managing time and a budget.

"Even after having recently graduated from college," he says, "I've developed skills on oDesk that some people only acquire after years of employment and moving up the ranks to a position of management."

View Jeff's profile here .

Starting Right

Jeff didn't apply for jobs on oDesk until he was ready.

  • He familiarized himself with the marketplace for his skills.
  • He carefully designed a very strong profile.
  • He took the free oDesk certification tests that were relevant.
  • He filled out his portfolio with top-notch work samples.

About Jeff Wichman

Jeff is a freelancer of multimedia production and web development services, with nine years of freelance experience and earned a degree in Information Technology in 2008. He enjoys writing and recording music, fishing, paintball and video games.

Jeff Wichman Data Sheet

Location:
Savannah, GA
oDesk user since:
December 2007
Feedback score:
4.92 of 5
Freelance history:
33 filled jobs