Becoming a programmer is one of the hottest, most in-demand careers options out there right now. With high earnings and great job security, it’s no wonder so many people have decided to hop online, sit through some tutorials, and take this challenge on. However, while it’s easy to start learning, actually making money with coding is an entirely different ballgame. Coding skills aside, running a business is something that requires knowing exactly where your abilities lie and how to sell them. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Know Your Worth
While the world of coding can be lucrative, it’s also not something you can come out of the gate expecting to make six figures. Although entry-level pay can be significant, according to US News, the average programmer makes around $79,840, which is substantially more than most other entry- to mid-level positions. But if you’re just getting started, you may need to work for awhile before you’re making money like that.
Still, one of the great things about being a programmer is having a quantifiable list of qualifications that tie directly to your experience (and cost). Additionally, these are usually divided between front-end and back-end work, as well as occasionally full-stack development. When it comes to full-stack work, it tends to be more of a utility role that plays both front- and back-end development for a team which doesn’t have many programmers, but regardless of the kind of work you’ll do, you should make a list of all the programming languages you know. Your ability level will most likely correlate to your price tag.
Finally, don’t list any languages on your resume or LinkedIn profile if you don’t actually feel completely confident in them. Not only will you be blacklisted by recruiters, but you’ll also be in way over your head on the off chance you do get the job. While I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to develop your skills further, be honest about your deliverables with clients to continue to acquire work and establish positive working relationships with your growing network.
Find The Demand
After you’ve established your worth, it’s time to find those that are willing to hire you. This can be somewhat challenging, as every client is going to have different wants and needs per their development. While we’re all looking for the secret to how to make money fast, you’ll probably have to put some effort into finding clients that meet your skill sets.
Start your research by looking at the types of companies you genuinely want to work for; one of the greatest freedoms of freelancing is the ability to pick and choose what jobs will give you the most personal and professional satisfaction. Many freelance programmers end up working with startups, but be careful to engage only with those who have obtained solidified funding.
One of the most booming startup industries is blockchain, which according to CB Insights raised $2 billion in the second quarter of last year alone, eventually surpassing even venture capital. When it comes to working with startups, it’s never a bad idea to check SEC filings to ensure they genuinely have cash in the bank before coordinating with them to do any programming work. Another pro tip? If a company offers a generous equity package, take the leap. This could potentially be your ticket to one day getting rich.
There’s only so many freelance gigs you can apply to, so learning to network yourself as a freelancer is an absolute must. According to Payscale, an estimated 85 percent of jobs are found via networking, which goes to show the strength of knowing someone who knows someone.
First and foremost, start reaching out to those you know personally and professionally who might need your services. Honestly, when it comes to building things like websites, there’s much more of a demand than you might imagine; a functional, appealing website is a must-have for businesses and blogs of all shapes and sizes. Additionally, start attending networking events, as these are excellent hubs for industry professionals and a chance to mingle with other business owners who may need your coding skills.
Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out to the companies you really want to work for, even if they aren’t hiring. Showing passion for the work you do can go a long way toward helping you establish new connections in your network.
With nearly 34 percent of the US workforce clocking in through the gig economy and the number of freelance coders and programmers growing, there is some sizeable competition out there for someone trying to break into the industry. Nevertheless, you can build a successful freelancing career if you’re willing to make the right moves to establish yourself.
What are some things you look forward to with a career in freelance coding?