James Knight recently made an unorthodox career move for a 27-year-old coder: quitting a well-paid gig writing software for Google to go freelance. No more catered lunches, gold-plated benefits or million-dollar views from the search giant’s Manhattan office.
Knight is willing to sacrifice those perks because as an independent he’s pulling down about twice as much as he did at Google. Plus, he has more freedom. In March, Knight and his wife plan to travel to Spain and hopscotch across Europe—all the while writing code for a dating app and a self-portrait app, among others.
“I’d rather control my own destiny and take on the risk and forgo the benefits of nap pods and food,” Knight says.