Becoming a freelance programmer is quite a lucrative prospect, especially for people desiring freedom and the ability to dictate their own life. It is also quite desirable for those with a creative streak and the ability to manage time effectively. However, it is not that simple to become a successful freelance programmer. This career path requires a substantial investment of time and resources. But the potential returns on success are also proportional to the hard work required.
Having said that, some of the steps that are helpful in becoming a successful freelance programmer are provided below:
- Learn the required Programming Languages
This is the fundamental requirement for becoming a successful freelance programmer. It is important to learn multiple programming languages as that will help in taking on multiple projects and increase your reach among prospective clients.
- Expand your Communication Skills
Communication skills are an essential part of freelance programming. It is very important to communicate with clients in order to get a sense of what they require and deliver that as per specifications. Also, communication skills are essential in forming professional ties to retain clients in the long-term.
- Set basic Working Rules
Some basic working rules are required to become a successful freelance programmer. The most important rule is to have a fixed schedule that is strictly adhered to. Also, a fixed basic pay rate for clients is required. Moreover, a rough schedule of meetings, updates, deadlines etc. should be fixed with the clients before the commencement of the project for optimal results.
- Build your online portfolio
An online portfolio is necessary for a freelance programmer as it is an introduction for prospective clients. It can be used to showcase past projects as well as testimonials for them. Moreover, an online portfolio should include interaction opportunities such as links to social networking accounts.
- Learn Content Marketing
Content marketing is extremely helpful in finding prospective clients. Online content marketing involves creating an online presence. This may include a portfolio website, a blog, an account on LinkedIn etc. Offline content marketing involves meeting people face to face and utilizing word of mouth as well.
- Know your Target Audience
It is very important to establish a target audience and get to know them very well. This involves understanding the location, industry, age, gender etc. of the target audience. Then a connection can be created with the target audience using various services such as blogging, Email, YouTube etc.
- Contribute to Open Source Projects
Contribution to open source projects can be used to build credibility for prospective clients. This can include working on the issues of already existing open source projects or creating your own open source projects. Either way, open source projects provide credibility and are an excellent booster for your portfolio.
- Stay abreast of Current Technologies and Languages
It is necessary to stay abreast of current technologies and languages to remain relevant. This can be done by subscribing to publications, joining online courses, reading newsletters etc. on the required topics. All of this helps in obtaining industry-relevant skills which in turn lead to more clients and increased potential for earning.
Finally, to become a successful freelance programmer requires a lot of patience, a great work ethic and a strong network of clients. All this combined with continued growth leads to success that can be expanded over time.