From projects to full-time job

To make a living from project- based work, freelancers need to be versatile and take on a variety of jobs, said Mr Jason Wang (left).
To make a living from project- based work, freelancers need to be versatile and take on a variety of jobs, said Mr Jason Wang.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

After he graduated from the DigiPen Institute of Technology Singapore in 2013 , Mr Jason Wang, 29, thought about finding full-time work here as a conceptual artist.

This involves creating designs for projects in the early phases - a skill he honed during his 21/2-year Bachelor of Fine Arts course in digital arts and animation.

But he decided to freelance instead. This was because it would allow him to continue working with a US-based team on a gaming project he first got involved in during a semester at the DigiPen US campus in the city of Redmond.

About a year after he graduated, he headed to the United States to join the rest of The Good Mood Creators team at their Seattle-based studio and worked as a full-time art director for about two years.

Mr Wang is among a rising number of students who turn to temporary work, such as contract jobs or freelance work, after graduation. For some, freelance work leads to full-time positions, as was the case with Mr Wang.

BEAUTY OF FREELANCE WORK

The beauty of it is being able to choose who you want to work with, and have better control over your work. Work becomes so much more meaningful and less of a routine.

MS TAN YANG ER, 23, who graduated from NTU last year and now works as a freelance artist and photographer.

He returned to Singapore last year and the game Mekazoo, which he was working on, was launched at the end of the year.

Tomorrow, he starts work as an Institute of Technical Education lecturer.

He said there are not many full-time options for those looking for work as conceptual artists. "It's much easier to start off freelancing," he added. To make a living from project-based work, he said freelancers need to be versatile and take on a variety of jobs.

Mr Wang's experience is not unique in an increasingly competitive landscape. Said SIM University labour economist Randolph Tan: "Some grads adjust by taking up short-term opportunities." These include internships which allow them to try out different jobs.

Ms Tan Yang Er, 23, who graduated from Nanyang Technological University last year, worked as a freelance make-up artist for three to four years starting when she was an undergrad. Ms Tan, who continues to work as a freelance artist and photographer, said: "The beauty of it is being able to choose who you want to work with, and have better control over your work."

Demand for freelance work is more prevalent in the creative industry, said Ms Jayce Tham, chief executive of media agency CreativesAtWork. Her firm, which matches freelancers to clients, said demand for temporary workers has grown around 20 per cent on average yearly. Projects range from a few days to three months. Seow Bei Yi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 26, 2017, with the headline 'From projects to full-time job'. Print Edition | Subscribe