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How Does One Become a Freelance Coder?

Seth Richtsmeier
Seth Richtsmeier

As the world shifts to virtual, remote workspaces, becoming a freelance coder has never been more attractive. Freelancing gives you flexibility, mobility, and autonomy over your work, and coding is an in-demand expertise that can generate a sizable income. With the rise of coding education and gig economy platforms, the field has never been more accessible.

Nonetheless, becoming a freelance coder requires dedication and patience. This article will offer insight and guidance as you navigate the beginning stages of your freelancing career.

Learning Coding: Choose Your Language

Spend time researching the differences between coding languages, titles, and industry-specific roles. A coder is anyone who can write computer code as delegated by a developer or programmer. A programmer (often used interchangeably with “developer”) uses complex algorithmic knowledge to direct projects and delegate tasks to coders.

Stay up to date on industry trends as you decide on whether to describe yourself as a freelance coder or programmer. Some clients may already be knowledgeable about this, whereas others may need an explanation.

The coding world consists of numerous programming languages. Much like learning a spoken language, mastering these programming languages requires studying syntax, grammar, and rules of logic. The most relevant ones include:

  • HTML
  • JavaScript
  • CSS
  • C
  • C++
  • Python

The Front End

There are two types of languages: front end and back end. Front end coding, which uses HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and others, controls the appearance of websites and interaction with browsers. Front end coders create a user-friendly experience.

The Back End

Back end languages, such as C, C++, and Python, do behind the scenes work like data and text analysis. Although back end coding is complex and sophisticated, learning multiple languages in both areas is crucial if you want to do freelance coding and programming.

Building Your Business

Learning a programming language is only half of the work. To generate income, you’ll need to invest in your freelance programming business by cultivating your network, negotiation and communication skills, and portfolio.

First, think about your personal sales pitch. What unique skills or expertise do you bring as a coder or programmer? How does your approach stand out in a growing crowd of freelancers? Use specific and concise messaging about your services on professional freelance platforms like Fiverr or Upwork, your website, and in personalized sales pitches.

An important aspect in jumpstarting your freelancing career is pricing your services appropriately. Some freelancers charge an hourly rate, while others use a fixed-price system. Research best practices and successful strategies so that you can stay ahead of the curve and present yourself professionally.

Growing Your Customer Base

Despite the accessibility of freelancing, projects don’t simply start rolling in once you launch a website or join a freelancing platform. Beginning freelancers across industries work diligently and patiently to gain clients without prior experience.

First, build a portfolio with recent gigs, paid or otherwise. You can start by promoting your services in your network of friends and colleagues. Offer services at a lowered rate in exchange for a positive, written testimony on your website or portfolio. You may even consider doing a few small projects for free.

Next, think about your audience. Maybe you want to assist small businesses in your current industry with website development. Or perhaps you’re interested in high-value freelance programming for tech start-ups or companies. What types of projects or clients are you seeking? As a freelancer, it’ll be important to approach clients that align with your desired projects or goals and doing so will help you come across authentically.

You may need to directly pitch your services to buyers via email or other means of direct messaging. Keep sales pitches concise, emphasizing your skills and services initially over the details of the pricing. Even if the offer is rejected, if people respect your professionalism, they may keep you in mind for the future or refer you to someone else.

Listening and responding to your client base is crucial. As entrepreneur Matt Clark says:

“Talk with your customers, even if it’s just via email or surveys, to find out what they like, what they don’t, and why they bought from you. Then adjust your branding and messaging to resonate with others like them.”

To be successful, commit to practicing self-reflection, getting feedback about your offerings, and shifting your strategies accordingly. The beauty of a freelancing career is that you’re always in control of your work.

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