Is a 3 day a week software developer role possible?
Everyone is talking about it, the 4-day work week. Here in Australia, companies are gearing up for a 4-day work week pilot. It seems like in a couple of years, the 5-day work week will be a thing of the past.
But what if 4 days a week is still too much? What if you have a side hustle, another job, loved ones to take care of, want to cut back for health reasons, or simply just don't want to work 4 days a week? Is it possible to land a role for 3 days a week?
The short answer is yes, absolutely. Let me elaborate.
I recently applied for 3-day-a-week roles and was offered two positions within 3 weeks of applying. I was able to do this with only 2 years of development experience under my belt. Here are my key takeaways from the experience if you are looking to do the same.
- Larger SaaS companies won't consider you
- Getting a job at a consultancy should be quite easy
- Agencies aren't interested
- Smaller companies is where it is at
- Expect 60% of a full time wage
- Expect less bargaining power with salary
I applied for many roles at larger SaaS companies both directly and through recruiters. If you have a similar amount of experience to me, I don't think it is possible to land a role at one of these companies. The response from all companies was that I did not have enough experience, and if I were at a more senior level (4-5 years of experience), then they would consider starting the interview process.
I say "should be quite easy" as I never actually applied for these roles, but I had several ex-colleagues, who work at consultancies reach out to me. They explained that many developers had been hired on a part-time basis at their companies and encouraged me to apply.
I am in Australia so I am not sure if the same terminology is used throughout the world. An agency is a place that has designers, developers, and content creators all in one place. They have many clients from small businesses to larger companies who they provide software solutions for. I applied for a couple of roles at agencies and never heard anything back. I am assuming they saw the 3-day-a-week thing and moved on to the next applicant.
When I started looking for roles, I first reached out to my LinkedIn network. After a couple of weeks, once my post was liked and shared a couple of times, I started to get messages from smaller companies who were interested. One was a small e-learning company and another was a small HR management software company.
I interview for them both and was offered both positions. Both companies had no problem with a 3-day arrangement, in fact, the second role actually preferred it.
There is a lot of talk about people transitioning from 5 days to 4 days, but keeping their 5-day-a-week salary. This won't be the case if you are going for 3-day-a-week roles. Expect to be paid 60% of what the full-time equivalent is.
As you probably know, software developers/engineers are in high demand right now and employers are paying more and more for top talent. When I was offered my first 3-day-a-week role, I tried to negotiate salary. I don't have much experience negotiating but I think they were aware that I wouldn't have as many offers, so they could be firmer with their negotiations.
Landing a 3-day-a-week software development role is more than possible and might be easier to do than you think. If you or someone you know ends up landing a 3-day role, please reach out, I'd love to know about your experiences.