Finding Freelance Programming Jobs: How To Think About It

Freelance programming is a great way to make some money, but it has its own unique set of considerations. One of the main differences between freelance programming jobs and regular jobs is that they often lack the stability of full-time employment. In other words, you’ll need to be able to handle the uncertainty of not knowing how much income you’re going to have in any given month/week/season. This can be hard at first, but there are ways to manage it (which we’ll discuss later).

The rest of this article discusses some common considerations and tips for freelancing as an independent developer.

I Tried Freelance Programming for a WEEK on Upwork
Freelance programming is a popular career choice for many developers, offering flexibility and potential for high earnings.
To get started in freelance programming, you need to have a strong portfolio, a network of clients, and the ability to market yourself effectively.
There are many websites and platforms available for finding freelance programming jobs, including general job boards and specialized platforms for developers.
Building relationships with clients is important in freelance programming, and maintaining open communication and delivering high-quality work is key to building a successful freelance career.
Freelance programming can be a challenging but rewarding career path, providing opportunities for personal and professional growth.

You’ll Need To Acquire New Skills. You’ll Need To Upgrade Your Current Skills

As a freelancer, you’ll need to keep up with the constant changes in languages and frameworks.

You’ll probably want to learn new languages and frameworks, but you definitely won’t want to stop learning about the ones you already know. If they’re your bread and butter, don’t let them go stale! New releases of languages or frameworks will come along and add features or do things differently than before. 

You can be sure that some of your clients have never used the most recent versions, so being able to speak intelligently about them makes you much more valuable than the programmer who is stuck in their ways.

Most clients work within a team using tools like Slack, Google Docs, and Jira. They have processes for managing their projects methodologies like Scrum or Kanban that are widely used by software developers everywhere. If you don’t know how any of that works, take some time to read up on it before diving into freelance work.

 It’s not hard for anyone who’s been programming for more than a few months, but if all you’ve done is build your own stuff in a bubble then it might come as a shock at first. There are also many other types of projects that use different methodologies, so try learning about them too (like Agile).

The final thing that I think any new freelancer should focus on is communication: between themselves and their client, but also between themselves and their peers (if there are any). This isn’t just about being friendly with people; it’s an essential part of doing great work as a programmer because almost no software project is ever done without input from other parties even if they’re not programmers themselves! The ability to communicate well can make or break an entire project!

If you’re a programmer looking for freelance work, there are many websites that can help you find the right opportunities. Check out our list of the 15 best freelance websites for programmers to discover platforms that cater specifically to your skills and interests.

You’ll Need To Learn How To Learn

There’s no shell for you to live inside. No one will spoon-feed you the information you’ll need to know in order to complete your projects. You’ll need to learn how to learn. Be able to find the information you need quickly and accurately.

This also means that you’ll need to be able to decide what information is relevant for you, and what is not. There’s a lot of clutter out there on the internet, especially when it comes to programming (and StackOverflow is a great example of this). 

People with opinions about things that don’t matter are often just as loud as those who actually have something worthwhile saying. Learn how to use search engines effectively, so that when people ask questions on StackOverflow or Quora, like “what language should I use?” or “what framework should I start with?”, your answer can be “it depends” or “the one I’m using right now works well” instead of giving them an opinion they didn’t ask for (which they likely won’t agree with anyway).

Understand what information you need in order to get started with a new project. Most likely it will be relatively easy for you if you’ll be working in a familiar language or framework for an application type similar (or identical) to ones that you’ve already built before. Knowing where and how you can apply your existing knowledge will help save time and keep costs low!

You’ll Be Asked About Things You Don’t Know About

Learn How To Say “I Don’t Know” And “I Had A Similar Experience.”

As a freelancer, you’re going to be asked about things you don’t know about.

One of the most important things you can do is learn how to say “I don’t know”.

This is true for more than just tech questions, but for pricing and project questions as well.

Before you answer a question, think about how you would like to be answered by someone who knows what they are talking about.

Do they come across as overconfident or do they have an air of expertise?

The goal here is not to pretend that we know everything, but instead to show confidence in our abilities while also explaining why we don’t have all the answers. Remember: no one has all the answers! Especially not me!

A good starting point is to clarify the question before answering it. This ensures that everyone involved understands exactly what information needs answering and helps avoid unnecessary confusion later down the line. 

For example: “When will this feature be ready?” could mean anything from tomorrow afternoon or next month clarifying before answering allows both parties involved (and perhaps even those not directly involved!) a chance at understanding when work will begin on their project requirements.”

As a freelancer, it’s important to know where to find the best gigs that match your skills and interests. Our guide to the top 8 places to find freelance gigs for programmers can help you navigate the world of freelancing and find the right opportunities to grow your career.

Don’t Go In Blind. Try To Set A Solid Rate Before You Start The Project

Finishing the project takes much longer than we originally expected. It turns out that some of the details we had planned to include were completely inappropriate for our site; they were fine as stand-alone projects, but obviously not appropriate for our site. 

We had to strip them out and edit everything down to basics, which also took a lot more time than we thought it would. The entire process took almost two weeks, so it’s best to prepare yourself before you start a project like this don’t go in blind and try to bring the vision you have in your head into reality all at once.

Set Expectations With Client And Make Sure Everyone Is Clear

You should ask yourself what your expectations are for the project as well. What do you expect to achieve? In addition, how much time do you have to dedicate? Be sure that both you and your client have a clear view of the project this will ensure that everyone is happy when things wrap up.

Another goal here is to establish a cadence for communication. If you’re working with someone in-person, this is more likely to happen organically. If you’re working remotely, though, it’s important that you not just agree on how often to talk but also when and where these conversations will take place (e.g., over Google Hangouts). This way there are no surprises or miscommunications down the road!

Once all of those questions have been answered and both parties have agreed on the scope of work, finalize the contract together before starting any actual work. At this point, only move forward if everything makes sense and aligns with your expectations as well as those of your client.

If you’re new to the world of freelance programming, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Our beginner’s guide to freelance programming web sites can help you understand the basics of freelancing and provide tips for finding your first programming jobs.

Ask For A Down Payment Or Deposit When Appropriate

In the past few years, freelancing has become a viable career path for people who are tired of the 9-to-5 grind. Though we’d like to think that we can make money doing absolutely anything, in reality, most working jobs need to be performed by someone with certain skills or experience. 

That’s where freelancing comes in: if you have experience or skills that are highly attractive to clients (for example, if you’re a programmer), these clients will often commission you to do work for them even if you don’t know programming yourself.

To take advantage of this phenomenon, let’s look at how it works from a client’s standpoint: When a client hires a programmer (or another type of freelancer), what do they really want? From their perspective, they’re looking for skilled service providers who will produce high-quality work and deliver on time. 

If their needs can be met by someone who doesn’t know to program but has the necessary experience and qualifications (say, an accountant or marketing consultant), why spend money on an untrained party whose timeliness is questionable? The same applies to projects that involve freelance editors or graphic designers they’ll assign those types of jobs to people they trust because they know they’ll get quality results and on time.

Unfortunately, many people don’t see it this way; they view themselves as experts at whatever the job is they’re charged with completing and see nothing but bad motives in those looking for ways around those experts’ ability to complete their project quickly and correctly. 

But what if we all just took a step back and thought about things from their perspective instead? Consider that when you hire anyone else (whether opening a restaurant or replacing your toilet) there are steps involved: 1.) determine your needs 2.) choose whether hiring an expert is needed 3.) research potential candidates 4.) interview 5a.) set expectations 5b.) interview again.

There are many programming websites that offer freelance opportunities, but it’s important to find the right ones that match your skills and interests. Check out our list of the top 10 programming websites to locate freelance work to discover platforms that are tailored to your expertise.

Explain Trade-Offs And Make Sure Stakeholders Understand Them

As a freelancer, you are the expert in your field. You know what’s possible to build and how long it will take. The client is the expert in their business, they know which problems need to be solved and why they need to be solved.

It’s important that you communicate with the stakeholder (the person who pays for you) that tradeoffs exist in any project or feature request. The stakeholder needs to understand what they are asking so they can make an informed decision about the project. If they don’t know what tradeoffs exist, then how can they make the right decision?

When there is a misunderstanding about tradeoffs between a freelancer and their client, it almost always ends badly for both people involved. Both sides should get clear on what decisions need to be made and why those decisions have to be made. It’s also important that both parties are open with each other and communicate often—this helps minimize misunderstandings from occurring in the first place.

As a freelance web developer, finding ways to increase your income and improve your skills is crucial to building a successful career. Our guide on 14 proven tips to make money as a freelance web developer can help you learn new strategies for boosting your earnings and finding more satisfying work.

Final Thoughts

By this point, you should be pretty comfortable pitching yourself to clients as a freelancer. Keep in mind that there are people out there who can help you with this complex process if you ever feel overwhelmed or simply need someone to bounce ideas off of. It’s never a bad idea to ask questions if you’re not sure about something, don’t be afraid to bring it up with the customer. In order for everybody to get the most out of this project, it’s important that everyone involved communicates clearly and regularly.

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been working in programming for 5 months or 50 years; if you’re just starting out as a freelancer, you almost definitely have things left to learn. However, once you feel confident in your abilities and understand how these types of jobs work, it’s hard not to recommend them! A great job is one that pays well and allows a person the freedom they need; by fulfilling both those requirements, freelance development projects certainly qualify.

Further reading

Here are some additional resources to help you learn more about getting started in freelance programming:

How to Get Into Freelance Programming: This guide from Indeed provides tips and advice for breaking into the freelance programming industry.

Top 7 Websites to Find Freelance Coding Jobs: This article from Flexiple highlights some of the best websites for finding freelance coding jobs.

Freelance Programming: How to Start: This guide from Duomly covers the basics of getting started in freelance programming, including building a portfolio, finding clients, and setting your rates.


What skills do I need to become a freelance programmer?

To become a freelance programmer, you should have a solid understanding of programming languages such as Java, Python, C++, or Ruby on Rails. You should also have strong problem-solving and communication skills.

How do I find freelance programming jobs?

There are several websites and job boards that cater specifically to freelance programmers, such as Upwork, Freelancer, and FlexJobs. You can also reach out to companies directly or build your own network of clients.

How do I set my rates as a freelance programmer?

When setting your rates as a freelance programmer, you should consider factors such as your level of experience, the complexity of the project, and the industry standards for your area. You can research rates on websites such as Glassdoor or talk to other freelancers to get an idea of what to charge.

How do I build a portfolio as a freelance programmer?

Building a portfolio is important for showcasing your skills and attracting clients as a freelance programmer. You can create a portfolio website to showcase your projects, contribute to open-source projects, or participate in coding competitions to build your skills and gain exposure.

How do I manage my finances as a freelance programmer?

Managing your finances as a freelance programmer is important for staying on top of taxes, invoicing, and other financial responsibilities. You can use accounting software such as Quickbooks or FreshBooks to help you manage your finances, or hire a professional accountant to help you with tax filings and financial planning.

What Are Some Things A Developer Can Do To Avoid Scope Creep?

One way is to be direct and ask the client if there are any additional features they are interested in. If they say no, you have documentation to cover your butt a bit later on when the client does decide that they want more features implemented in their app after all.

How Do You Deal With A Client Who Keeps Asking For More?

Sometimes it’s best to just tell them to flat out that this is outside of the scope of what was agreed upon at the beginning and then send them your contract outlining exactly what was covered in your project.

How Do You Say No To A Client?

If you’re uncomfortable saying no directly, telling them that it’s outside of the scope of what was agreed upon is an effective method as well since it reminds them of the boundaries set at first while also being polite and professional. You can even use their own contract against them if necessary!

What Is The Best Way To Manage Time?

There are so many different ways to manage time, so don’t be afraid to try out new methods until you find one that works for you! Personally, I like using Google Calendar because I already check my email constantly throughout the day anyway, so having my calendar integrated into my daily workflow makes it easy for me not only to check my schedule but also update my schedule as needed (more on this later). 

However, there are plenty of other options available from simple pen & paper calendars all the way up to super robust digital planners like Asana or Todoist which both allow collaboration between team members too! These might work better if y’all work together regularly or share responsibilities often enough where keeping track would require something more robust than just keeping appointments on each other’s phones.”

What Is A Freelance Programming Job?

A freelance programming job is one that you work on from home, on your own time. The project is assigned to you and you are expected to complete it within the specified time frame.

Why Do Companies Hire Freelance Programmers?

Companies hire freelancers because they need programming jobs done. They want to fill in a gap in their company’s expertise, or they want to be able to fill an immediate need without having to go through the hiring process.

How Much Do Freelance Programmers Make?

The average hourly rate for freelance programmers can vary depending on the type of project and the company hiring them. According to PayScale, the average hourly rate is around $43 per hour, but can be higher depending on experience and skill level.

 What Skills Do I Need To Become A Freelance Programmer?

There are many different skills needed for different types of projects, but generally speaking, you will need excellent analytical skills and strong knowledge of computer languages such as HTML/CSS, JavaScript, PHP/MySQL/SQL Server or Ruby on Rails. You will also need strong communication skills so that you can communicate effectively with clients and colleagues about your project requirements and deadlines.

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