You have just finished university in Computer Science and now what to do? You need a job and also experience to get highly paid job. Freelance projects for newbie coders is the best way to earn money while learning new skills. To become a freelance programmer you should be familiar with many factors.
7 factors you should know to become a freelance programmer are explained in this article.
1. What is freelance programming?
Freelancing is a viable option for developers to earn money while working at other jobs or starting own business. Flexibility is the key feature of being a freelance developer. Freelance jobs come up with a range of benefits and a few limitations. This article covers answers to key questions to become a freelance developer.
2. How to become a freelance programmer?
You need to develop a set of hard and soft skills to become freelance programmer. In a freelancing job you are the boss of your own. You don’t have a team to share your ideas and vice versa. You are the only one who will be responsible for the whole project. So it is very important to develop both hard and soft skills to become a freelance developer.
2.1 Hard and soft skills
2.2 Focus on a Niche
Generalist programmers have usually focus on various type of assignments in a wide variety of industry. Low wages are the biggest limitation for a generalist programmer, you may get low wages for your projects because you may be considered as a newbie or fresher in the profession.
On the bright side, If you have a very good command in more than one programming languages, tools or frameworks so there could be a lot of projects waiting for you. For example: A front-end developer working in a range of frameworks such as REACT, Angular, Vue.js, can work on many small projects in all the three frameworks in order to sharp skills.
Specialists are highly paid freelancers with many years of experience in one particular industry within a specific range of programming languages. For an instance: After working on a wide range of small projects, you can focus on one framework such as REACT to become a Native React Developer.
To be a specialist in particular skill set, you can focus on the skills that potential companies are looking for.
3. Skills that will be in demand in the future
As a tech freelancer or developer, It is very important to update yourself with the latest technology. This is the biggest challenge for you to develop a new skill and get expertise in that skill. According to forbes.com following will be four highly demanded skills in tech industry in the future:
4. How much can a freelance programmer earn?
There are various factors that affect wage rates for example experience, where you live, what skill set you are offering etc.
4.1 Factors that affect wage rates
The more experience you have, the more money you can make through freelancing. As a tech freelancer you need to shine in various skills with expertise as mentioned above in order to earn a very good amount.
Location plays an important role in salaries. In some countries, minimal wage rates are decided by government and it is illegal to pay salary below that wage rate. It depends on the local wage rates of your geography.
4.1.3 Skill Set
Well, finally it depends totally on your skill set and your ability to complete projects. A wide range of skills will be beneficial to work on various projects. The more you work, the more you can earn. You can double your income in a few months instead of sticking with the same pay scale provided by your employer in a permanent job.
According to forbes.com “If you’re producing a huge amount of high-quality code, you could easily make upwards of $500,000,” says a company spokesperson.
According to forbes.com freelance web developers are making $26k-$52k a year.
As a newbie developer, It is a good idea to work as generalist for a small amount of money, to become a specialist in a particular industry.
5. How can a newbie developer generalist become a specialist?
It is very difficult to get first project as a newbie freelance developer but not impossible. Be a fearless newbie and jump.
To get very first project you should have soft skills like communication, marketing and customer service skills. It depends, how good you are at convincing others, market yourself/your skills in an efficient way as mentioned above in the article.
After getting your first project, it is time to show your hard skills, means programming skills for example, clean and structured code, full responsibility of a project. Effective and efficient work.
Working as a freelancer is a great idea to gain experience. In this way, you can focus on a specific type of project or skill that you want to learn or sharp. Try to get a project that is very close match of your skills. In the beginning, try to work on a range of small projects to develop your hard skills such as clean code, IDE, testing & debugging etc.
When you feel confident and have very good results on initial small projects than try to figure out your expertise in a specific programming language/tool or framework. For example if you have worked as a front end developer in REACT, Angular and Vue framework on a range of projects then it is time to focus on one framework such as REACT to become a Native React Developer.
5.1 Is it necessary to work with experienced programmers in a company, in order to learn faster?
Joining unpaid jobs or internships in companies whether in a startup or medium sized company is a very good idea to gain experience and develop skills such as IDE, Clean and structured coding. Because you have an opportunity to work in teams with seniors or professionals.
You can share your ideas and get feedback, to improve. Teamwork is a perfect way to develop both hard and soft skills required for a freelance developer.
6. Life as a freelance programmer
7. Challenges of Freelancing
- You need to be your own accountant in regards to pay your taxes, insurance etc.
- Dealing with clients who don’t pay
- Income is less reliable
- No team to share ideas and to encourage in case of some failure
8. Wrap up
Freelance business requires a structured approach to achieve goals. You have to focus on various tasks such as marketing, social media management, invoicing, client meetings, network with other developers etc. So it is important to have daily schedule for all the tasks.
Freelancing career is difficult but may be the only path to pursue creative projects and be your own boss.
If you have any suggestion or question regarding freelance work, Please don’t hesitate to write in the comment section below.