The freelance economy has grown leaps and bounds in the last few years. In the US alone, there are 53 million freelancers. This corresponds to roughly 34% of the country’s entire workforce.
Freelancing is growing in popularity because of the freedom and flexibility it provides. Unlike employees, freelancers can choose when to work, how often to work, and which jobs to take. What is more, freelance jobs allow you to work from anywhere in the world. You could be sipping a cold beer in a remote tropical paradise while getting some work done. Talk about work-life balance!
For programmers, the freelance market is a gold mine. Small businesses and startups are constantly on the lookout for freelancers to develop apps, websites, and other types of software. In 2015, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics was able to identify 7 million job openings in programming related fields. Moreover, the programming job market is growing at an encouraging clip–over 12% faster than in other industries.
That said, while the statistics are encouraging, the path to becoming a freelance coder does have its challenges. Those new to the field may experience some difficulty landing their first job and building a steady stream of income.
If you’re looking to start or grow your career as a freelance coder, here are some great tips you can follow.
- Build A Solid Portfolio
Most clients get to know freelancers through online profiles. The better your profile, the more likely you are to be hired.
Freelancing websites such as UpWork and Guru allow you to post your complete portfolio online. Use these platforms as a springboard to display your best work. Instead of spending time courting potential clients, let your work do the talking.
- Start Cheap
The fastest way to land a gig is to price your services competitively…even free! Starting cheap allows you to get work right away, which, in turn, helps you add more items to your portfolio.
Once you gain experience and a good reputation, you can start charging more for your expertise. Your focus for the first few projects shouldn’t be making money (although you should certainly get a fair price for your services), it should be about getting one foot in the door.
You can certainly earn a lot as a freelancer, but you have to put in the hours first.
- Diversify Your Skillset
The most valuable programmers are those with a wide range of skills. In the freelance world, having more skills allows you to land better jobs. Be the type of freelancer who can offer multiple services at once. This is a win-win because it allows you to get more work and allows your clients to save money on hiring.
Need ways to expand your skillset? Enroll in a coding bootcamp. These programs are designed for fast learning and instant results. Plus, they’re much cheaper than a formal course and won’t take up a lot of time.
- Just Keep At It!
The freelance life can be difficult at the start. It may take a while to get your first client and even longer to get steady work. But nothing worth it ever comes easy, right?
The best way to succeed as a freelance coder is to keep moving forward. Continue sharpening your craft and learning new skills so that, by the time work arrives, you’ll be more than ready to take on the challenge.
Looking for ways to be a better programmer? Houston Coding Academy offers basic and advanced courses for all of the most popular programming languages.