Programmers are required everywhere; there is an abundance of work available for the people with the skills to code and develop.
Businesses need programmers, developers need programmers and the nature of the job is such that it is not always necessary to physically travel into an office to work effectively. The recent situation in the world has shown people that there are other ways to earn a living, including remote working and freelancing.
Freelancing can be daunting, with The Guardian revealing the fear of leaving job security behind a major factor in people not going down the freelancing route. However, those that do enjoy a certain freedom to their work have the ability to move between locations and set their own work schedule.
Find Your Niche
Programming is a wide-ranging subject which covers a multitude of languages and abilities. In terms of freelance, there are two types of programmer: generalist and specialist. A generalist takes on most jobs, whereas a specialist will focus on a key area such as stock management, understanding not only the coding but the wider industry too.
If you have five years or more experience working for a company in a specific area, perhaps focus on specialist and look for roles around the industry you know. Sometimes, generalists are overlooked as being new to coding, although that does not mean the work is not out there.
If you have worked for a company for a while, you may not have the equipment needed to carry out successful freelancing from home. While you do not need an all-powerful laptop or desktop to start coding, you will still need something that can handle all your programming needs. Fortunately, a HP feature on the best tools for remote work points out that laptops are becoming increasingly powerful every year and comparable to desktop PCs. However, computers are still the best, as they have multiple USB slots, options for optical disc drives and card readers, and better processing power. Regardless, aim to have at least an Intel i5 or better processor with at least 8GB of RAM, but ideally 16 or 32.
Consider having a couple of monitors as well; certainly have two as a minimum. The Small Business Chronicle explains how it is far easier and faster to use multiple programs simultaneously by having multiple screens, which means less time flicking from one to the other.
Build Your Brand
This may seem like an odd choice for a single programmer looking to freelance, but often it is personality and style that people are drawn too over skills. If you have the same skillset as the next freelancer, how will you stand out? What is it about you that grabs their attention, or keeps them coming back for your services?
Social media can facilitate this; do you have a professional account on the likes of Instagram? Make sure the content you share is relevant, bearing in mind whatever niche you have chosen to focus on. Also, concentrate on how you are with people too. Are you displaying the sort of interpersonal skills that make you easy to employ, or to re-employ? Getting a freelancing gig is not when you know you are a freelancer, getting them again and again from the same employer is.
If you have worked as a programmer for a while, you should have the contacts needed to ensure you set sensible rates. Once you have agreed on an hourly rate, stick to it; do not devalue your product. Freelancing is not just sitting at home all day; it is challenging, and you must not undersell your skills.
If you have chosen a niche, do not deviate because paid work comes in, especially if it is not something you are comfortable with. It is better to do no work than produce something substandard which affects your reputation. Use one of the sites from our article Top Freelancing Websites for Professionals and Beginners to search for work that fits your brand, your niche, and your skillset.
Whether freelancing as a top-up to your existing salary, or as part of a self-employed drive, make sure you make the most of the freedom it allows. It is easy to get bogged down in the day to day humdrum of office life, so make sure you explore the positive aspects of freelancing; flexible schedule, being at home with the people you love or just having your destiny in your own hands.