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Want to quit that day job? Take these steps first. IT freelancing Want to quit that day job? Take these steps first.

Dear Molly: Is it possible to get a job in IT that I could do part-time out of my home? I work now as a systems analyst and am well-versed in several IT areas. I have family responsibilities that make me want to work at home part-time for a few years.

Molly says: It’s possible depending upon how much money you need to make and what kind of experience you already have in IT. One tricky bit is landing enough well-paying work to fill your part-time hours without letting the projects spill over into your personal time. That’s a balance you’ll have to strike over time–with input from clients and family, no doubt!

Next, you’ll have to pick one (or a few) areas in which to specialize, and you’ll need to choose some kind of IT work that doesn’t require daily face-to-face interaction. Programming, Web site design, and even multi-site project management are three such areas that spring to mind immediately. You may need to pick up some additional training through short seminars or online courses to learn the skills you need.

The next tricky part is finding companies that will farm out work to you. Work hard at lining up a few clients before you quit your current job–discreetly check around with companies in your area. You can also register yourself with various Web sites that cater to IT freelancers and independent contractors. There are lots of these sites, so pick a couple to get you started and then branch out from there. Otherwise, you’ll be spending all your time signing up for these sites and not doing anything else to market yourself.

Here are two Web sites to get you started on your work-at-home career: All Freelance, a Web site with lots of links appropriate for freelancers, and Work at Home Careers, a Web site devoted to the SOHO lifestyle.

Molly Joss also writes the monthly Career Advisor column for ComputerUser magazine. Ask a career-related question at [email protected]

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