Farhan Ahmed, the Chief Executive Officer of Cognitive Innovations, has highlighted the significant cost advantage that Pakistani Information Technology (IT) experts enjoy over their counterparts in countries like the United States. While IT experts in the US charge more than $100 USD per hour for their freelance services, Pakistani experts typically charge around $30 USD, making them a preferred choice for international clients. According to Farhan, the freelance industry provides a conducive work environment for these experts to market their skills and secure global clients.
Freelancers in Pakistan have a wide range of options to choose from, including web development, coding, voiceovers, application development, and content writing. Farhan emphasizes that a formal degree is not a prerequisite to entering the freelance industry. Aspiring freelancers can acquire the necessary skills through short courses spanning three to six months. Moreover, there is a wealth of online tutorials and free lessons available on the internet to further enhance their skills. However, Farhan cautions that freelancing is not as straightforward as some tutorials may suggest, highlighting the importance of patience, consistency, and active engagement within the freelancing community.
There are several online and physical courses available in Pakistan to help individuals enter the freelancing industry. Here is a list of some popular platforms and training centers offering courses:
- Digiskills: Digiskills is an online platform initiated by the Government of Pakistan. It provides free online courses in various freelancing skills such as graphic design, digital marketing, content writing, and e-commerce.
- E-Karobar: E-Karobar is another government initiative that offers free online courses for entrepreneurs and freelancers. The courses cover topics like freelancing, digital marketing, and e-commerce.
- Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB): PITB offers various training programs and courses related to freelancing and IT skills. They conduct physical workshops, boot camps, and online courses to enhance freelancers’ capabilities.
- Virtual University of Pakistan: Virtual University offers online courses and certifications in IT-related fields, including web development, programming, and graphic design.
- Udemy: Udemy is an online learning platform that offers a wide range of courses, including freelancing skills. It provides both free and paid courses on topics like web development, graphic design, and digital marketing.
- Coursera: Coursera is another popular online learning platform that collaborates with renowned universities and organizations to provide courses. It offers freelancing-related courses, such as digital marketing, content writing, and programming.
- Skillshare: Skillshare is an online community platform that offers a variety of courses on freelancing skills. It covers topics like graphic design, photography, writing, and marketing.
- Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF): PSDF offers vocational training programs and courses for freelancers in various fields, including IT and digital skills. They have physical training centers located in different cities of Pakistan.
- Plan 9: Plan 9 is an incubator program by the Punjab Information Technology Board. They provide training and mentoring to aspiring freelancers and entrepreneurs, focusing on technology-based skills.
- Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB): PSEB organizes training programs and workshops to develop IT skills in individuals. They offer courses in software development, programming, and other freelancing-related fields.
Communication plays a pivotal role in freelance success, and Farhan advises freelancers to create compelling profiles that accurately showcase their skills. Analyzing the profiles of competitors and using impactful words can significantly improve their chances of attracting clients. Farhan also warns against using artificial intelligence to write profiles, as clients can easily discern the lack of human effort.
While it can be challenging for new freelancers to acquire initial work due to client preferences for experienced freelancers with positive reviews, Farhan assures beginners that clients understand their limitations and are often willing to compromise, especially considering the cost-effectiveness of hiring freelancers from Pakistan. To support newcomers in the freelancing industry, the government offers various platforms such as Digiskills, E-Karobar, and vocational training centers that provide free training programs.
When it comes to redeeming earnings, freelancers in Pakistan have multiple options, including wire transfers, Wise, and Payoneer. Farhan appreciates the government’s support for freelancers, noting that opening bank accounts and completing registration processes have become easier and can now be done online.