Strategies for Achieving Financial Freedom as a Software Engineer. Part 1: Working at a Promising Software Company with Share Options as a Loyal Employee

A good company’s shares reward for loyalty can be quite significant.

Zhimin Zhan
8 min readFeb 12, 2024

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image credit: https://pixabay.com/vectors/money-online-earn-business-cartoon-6780010/

In this Strategies for Achieving Financial Freedom as a Software Engineer series:

  1. Part 1: Working at a Promising Software Company with Share Options as a Loyal Employee
  2. Part 2: Micro-ISV / Start-up Founder
  3. Part 3: Software Reselling (Passive Income Way), coming soon.

This article shares my thoughts, drawing from my personal experience and observations, on how a software professional makes a good living from professional income (i.e. utilizing IT skills, excluding financial investments, e.g. share trading or cryptocurrencies).

I intentionally avoid using “Wealth” or “Rich” in this context. Although the actual monetary value holds significance, additional factors, including job satisfaction, freedom, time for family and a sense of accomplishment, are more important.

For example, an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) with $1000 Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) enables one to live a comfortable life (of his choice) in Thailand. He might think he has more freedom and is even richer than a Senior VP earning a yearly salary of $300,000, who spends many hours on pointless meetings. This ISV might develop ideas for more revenue-generating products/services with that freedom. Upon reaching $2000 MRR, he might opt to reside in China (may develop more opportunities there), and with $3000 MRR, he could even consider Japan (for great food 😊). (Incidentally, an increasing number of developed nations are offering ‘Digital Nomad’ visas.)

If you’ve perused the best-selling book: “The 4-Hour Workweek”, you might find resonance with the idea of the “New Rich” introduced in the book.

Table of Contents:
· Either Way, An Extraordinary Effort is Required.
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Option 1: A Loyal Employee in a Good Company with

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Zhimin Zhan

Test automation & CT coach, author, speaker and award-winning software developer. Help teams succeed with Agile/DevOps by implementing real Continuous Testing.