As one of the most technical computing fields in the freelance world, programming has always been exceptionally rewarding – especially if you know your stuff.
But then again, if we’re being honest, it can also go the other way. While we’ve seen quite a number of filthy rich freelance programmers, it turns out we’ve also witnessed a fair share of failed freelance programming careers.
No need to panic though. That won’t be you. In this article you’ll learn the four fundamental strategies to keep the big bucks rolling in throughout your freelance programming career.
How Much Does Freelance Programming Pay?
Earlier this year, Code Mentor surveyed 5,302 freelance developers to get insights into their overall earnings. The results in the end were pretty impressive.
Freelance programmers based in the U.S tie at the top with those in New Zealand and Australia – whose earnings average at $70 per hour. Canada comes second with $65 an hour, followed by the Middle East and Western Europe at $64 and $63 an hour respectively.
Eastern Europe’s freelance programmers, on the other hand, have been making $56 per hour, while programmers in Sub-Saharan Africa rake in $55 an hour. Northern Africa ranks lowest with $41 an hour – which is still a decent figure – slightly behind Asia’s $49 and Latin America’s $51 an hour.
Admittedly, these are some of the highest freelance hourly rates we’ve published so far on FreeMoneyStreams.com. They even manage to dwarf both freelance writers’ and graphic artists’ figures by a long shot.
Pay Scales for Programming Types
In particular, your prospects are quite promising if you’re skilled in AWS programming. Freelance AWS developers attract $73 an hour in average wages – which happen to be the highest – while Ajax, C#, and Android developers make the least, at $59 an hour each.
You could say things are looking up for pretty much all the freelance programming categories.
If you’re thinking of joining this bandwagon, here are 4 critical strategies you should apply over the long haul.
Top 4 Strategies for Earning Big in Freelance Programming
Work Your Socks Off
This is the age-old rule of making money.
Here’s the thing about the freelance programming industry. Freelancers often get carried away by the freedom their work schedules offer, to the point of forgetting this one cardinal rule.
So, as you switch from a regular 9-5 job, keep in mind that freelance programming doesn’t reduce the workload. The secret to a successful career is having the self-discipline to work your socks off. Put in at least 40 hours every week and it’ll pay off.
Specialize in Specific Skills
It’s common knowledge that specialist doctors earn much more money than general practitioners. A neurosurgeon, for instance, attracts a fatter paycheque than a general medic.
And that’s more or less how things work in the world of freelance programming. Programmers who choose to learn a little bit of everything ultimately end up earning less than their specialized counterparts.
So, it might not be a good idea to obsess about all the major programming languages and platforms. Accept that you can’t possibly be good at everything, and choose a popular sub-field to specialize in.
You could, for instance, choose to develop your skills in WordPress development. Then with time and consistent practice, you may finally establish yourself as a certified WordPress expert.
Keep Building Your Street Cred
Freelance programming is no easy feat, especially at the beginning. You’ll notice that in the initial stages, even your past credentials and industry experience won’t help you much, as employers are always skeptical about working with newbies.
So, in short, you can expect poor conversion rates in the first few weeks of freelance programming.
But, don’t let that discourage you. By gradually building your street cred, you can ease your way into the industry, and possibly even establish yourself as the go-to authority.
Now, to achieve that, you’ll need a portfolio website. This is where you showcase samples of your previous projects to give employers a taste of your skills and capabilities.
So, take your time to piece together an attractive website – complete with a professional profile, testimonials, plus a personal blog. You could even share your work with your LinkedIn circles for more exposure.
Play Hard in Programming Contests
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Although we’ve advised you to work your socks off, don’t get too carried away. Consider taking time off your busy schedule every now and then to participate in coding contests.
The challenges themselves run a lot like regular competitions. Coding professionals and enthusiasts – including freelance programmers – basically compete against each other in various project contests, and winners are determined based on creativity, skill, and efficiency.
In most cases, winners happen to get rewards and cash prizes. But, while such freebies are always welcome, your principal goals should be learning and networking.
You can check out coding contests on renowned competition platforms like Topcoder. Then when you finally sign up for exciting challenges, use the opportunities to gain new skills, network with like-minded individuals, and perhaps showcase your programming tricks.
You never know – the biggest tech employers are known to recruit the most outstanding talents from such competitions.
Get In On The Action
In a nutshell, the four things you should keep in mind as you get in on the freelance programming action are;
- Keep working tirelessly.
- Develop your skills in specific sub-fields.
- Find ways to boost your industry reputation.
- Capitalize on programming contests.
Most importantly, always stay on the lookout for better opportunities. Your next big paycheck could come much sooner than you think.
In the meantime, we wish you all the best in your promising freelance programming career.