Developing software from Turkey: Pros and cons

As you may know from posts before, I am developing software for my customer as a freelancer from Turkey for a year now. Better make a post about this. So, there is a list of pros and cons of this situation, plus a conclusion by me.


  1. I make too much money wrt people around me.
    The pay around professions change a lot in Turkey. This survey shows that average salary of a software engineer is around $1200 after taxes. However, the average salary of any working men is around $385. So, just being a software engineer, you earn 3 times more than everyone around. I don’t personally disclose my rate, but it is easily possible for one to triple that 1200 switching to freelancing. This makes you nearly 10x income earner with respect to average Ahmet. With this kind of income, you will definitely have disposable income.
  2. I have flexible working hours.
    As a freelancer, I am free to choose how many hours I can work weekly. Sometimes I work 20, sometimes I work 40. I can choose to work for 4 days in a week, or 6. When you see the average weekly working hours for a software engineer in Turkey is around 45 to 50, this seems like a solid pro to me. For the one year I freelanced, I never exceed 40 in a week.
  3. I do not get average Turkish work life bullshit.
    Turkish work life spins around loads of bullshit. Promotions or raises are never transparent. Since there is always people around lurking for your job, you mostly struggle with inflation, and work more. Turkish people are constantly burned out, and toxic at workplace. It is a pro to be away from this.
  4. Lots of things are tax-deductable.
    If you live on a salary, your income tax is payed upfront and you cannot do anything about it. However, if you work as a freelancer, the tax is payed quarterly and yearly. You are a business now. So, you have the opportunity to deduct spendings from your earnings. The things you can deduct include technology spendings like new monitors or computers, furniture related to your office, meals out, health insurance, and more. Also, if your customer is abroad, half of your earnings are tax-free.


  1. I do not have work friends now.
    Average work day is 9 hours. Add 8 hours of sleep, you are left with 7 hours with your family. And I also skipped commute and such. These are the people you see the most in a weekday. Removing them will get you lonely during the day. You will see your customer mostly one time in a day, for a few minutes. If you cannot get away with loneliness you may want to search for co-working places around you to get to know people.
  2. Keeping concentration on is definitely harder.
    Staying in the zone as a freelancer is definitely harder. In addition to physical motivators like office space and such, you lack emotional motivators too. There is no clear career path, no promotions etc. You are a “consultant” to your customer, and can be replaced or laid-off easily. You need to get self-motivated all the time. So, good luck with that.
  3. Stuck with islamist government.
    First two problems were not about Turkey, but this one is. Turkey is ruled by the majority government of right-wing governments for more than 20 years. This tells you something about the public too. Step-by-step, we are losing secular privilages around us. This is something frustrated at least to me. Majority of the country do not agree with me, but every day I’m woking up to a more islamist country. Turkey is a country that is strictly coupled with the whole globe, so there is a limit to these limiting things, but it is trying to stretch that limit bit by bit.
  4. Sticky inflation
    Turkey has an inflation problem for as long as I remember. Two-digit inflation is around like for 6 years, and it is not uncommon for us to have monthly inflations that are more than developed countries have it yearly. If you were to be a paid worker, you would be compensated for every six months with at least at the inflation rate. This is not the case with your overseas customer. They do not consider inflation a problem, and your rate does not change even yearly. Of course, the parity between currencies does compansate most of the inflation. But not all of it. It is up to you to cover yourself against inflation with smart investments.


At the end, at least to me, freelance development for overseas companies are definitely do-able. It pays well, it is easier and more free to do, and it has tax benefits. It gets lonely and harder to concentrate time-to-time, but I find it possible to work from co-working spaces and I can get motivated by self-improvement only. I invest most of my disposable income to save myself from inflation. There is nothing I can do against the governing parties right now, but it is possible for me to separate myself from common people with my income. So, it is fine by me. Make your own decision with the given lists.

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