Freelance Coding Jobs: What They Pay and How to Find Them
February was a month for celebrating people! Valentines Day, Mardi Gras and Black History Month are just a few of the wonderful ways we've all come together in the last month. But, we also saw yet another round of mass layoffs and industry changes that have left many people feeling anxious about their future. The world is changing faster than ever before, and the effects of this rapid change can be seen in many aspects of our lives.
However, amidst the upheaval there is hope – we are on the precipice of a new revolution that will open up great opportunities for those who are willing to adapt and embrace it. With so much disruption comes immense potential, particularly when it comes to tapping into some of the brightest minds of today who are now on the market. We can all use this moment in time as a catalyst to create innovation and refocus the narrative back on the PEOPLE who make it all possible!
If the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we can work in multiple, flexible ways without sacrificing productivity. This has given rise to remote work culture, where people work from home and earn income via freelancing.
With specialized skills in greater demand, developers have also turned toward freelance coding jobs to diversify their income.
In this article, we’ll teach you how to do the same! We’ll discuss what you should know before you start freelance coding jobs and where to find the best ones.
Can I Do Coding as a Freelancer?
Yes, coding as a freelancer is a very lucrative field. Zippia suggests that the projected job growth for freelance developers is around 21% from 2018-2028 with an average salary of $112,663 - which should give you an idea of the potential in this field.
Despite this, many people have limiting beliefs and still believe they can’t make it big as freelance coders. There are many fears of a beginner freelancer, but the two most common we hear are:
- “I’m not as good as all the other pros out there. I just know a few basic programming languages.”
- “Freelance coding/programming is such a saturated field with high competition. I’ll never be able to stand out from the crowd.”
Firstly, you don’t need to know everything to start as a freelance coder. There’s so much programming information available at your fingertips! By the time you’re done learning much of this information, it’ll probably be outdated and replaced with some other industry standard.
Many freelancers you see today, even the top-level pros working in machine learning, don’t know everything about their field. They’re learning on the job, and no freelance programmer is a stranger to googling answers to a coding problem or scrolling through pages of Stack Overflow.
Secondly, having competition is a good thing. You should fear having no competition because that means that the field of work has limited potential or opportunities for growth, which could be why no one is interested in it.
There isn’t any magic trick to avoid competition and get all the jobs. You’ll have to face these obstacles head-on. A great way to help you stand out is by attaining soft skills to complement your coding proficiency.
Excellent communication skills and a business mindset can go a long way. Countless freelance coders miss the opportunity to make extra money because they need better communication skills.
Rather than copy-pasting cover letter templates, read the client brief thoroughly and write a specific proposal showing interest in the job and the value you provide.
You’ll be surprised how many clients you can land, even with your basic knowledge of coding languages.
How Much do Freelance Coders Make?
Freelance coders make an average of $20-80/hr. Experienced programmers are among the highest-paid freelancers, with Upwork reporting that programmers earn $60-70/hr on average and an annual salary of around $120,000 annually.
How much you make depends on various factors such as experience, coding proficiency, knowledge of programming languages, etc.
Which Coding Languages are Best for Freelancers?
What programming languages you specialize in will direct your career trajectory and how much you can earn. You can’t expect to replace your full-time job by just learning HTML, so here are some coding languages to learn to land you the best freelance coding jobs:
Python continues to dominate the programming industry due to its versatility. With Python, there are endless possibilities: you can write web apps, code machine learning modules, scrape websites, create chatbots, automate tasks, and much more.
One of Python's many benefits is its various packages and modules, allowing you to diversify your skills without writing too much code. Django and Flask are popular frameworks for web development; other frameworks like SciKit-Learn and TensorFlow help create machine learning modules.
You can never go wrong with learning Python.
3. PHPPHP has gotten a lot of hate for being outdated, but the reality is very different. Half of the web today is powered by PHP, and the most common CMS for building websites, WordPress, is also created with PHP. So, despite what people say, PHP doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon.
Learning PHP is great for landing freelance coding jobs related to WordPress development. Many people need clarification about working around the WordPress back-end, and if you know how to operate PHP, many clients will depend on you and desire your services.
If you’re interested in getting freelance coding jobs as a mobile developer, then Swift is a great programming language to build iOS mobile apps. Swift is the programming language used for most Apple products - macOS, iOS, and tvOS are all made with Swift.
You might fear that you’re limiting yourself by developing only IOS apps, but IOS app development has more potential to make great money than creating Android apps.
Ruby is an excellent programming language that can help you develop full-stack websites quickly. Since many freelance developers are often expected to meet a short deadline, a framework like Ruby on Rails can help you build a fully functioning website from the ground up, equipped with a database and everything.
It may not be the most popular language, but some successful businesses started from Ruby, including Twitter, Airbnb, and Shopify.
Where to Find the Best Freelance Coding Jobs in 2023
You’ve got the skills to pay the bills, so now it’s time to find some clients. Your primary way of getting freelance jobs is going to be one of the three:
- Job boards
- Freelance marketplaces
- Direct outreach
Job boards are a fantastic way to gauge what’s trending in the industry and find many freelancing coding opportunities. These boards are regularly updated with hundreds of jobs daily, and programming jobs are usually the most sought-after.
Although there are many job boards online for remote work, we suggest looking at Talentcrowd.
Talentcrowd features a job board where employers and freelancers can easily connect. Since the platform specializes in recruiting developers, finding a freelance coding job on Talentcrowd is easy.
Many jobs are posted here weekly, and interested freelance developers can filter the results by availability and industry.
Talentcrowd also has a developer membership program where you can create a profile and get matched with jobs that fit your skill set. Signing up is easy; go to the Talentcrowd homepage and click “Join the Crowd.” You’ll be asked a few questions about your position and then gain full access to the job board, where you’ll be able to find your next dream job.
There are also other job boards for developers worth mentioning:
- RemoteOK is a remote job board with 2,000,000+ remote workers updated regularly. It verifies all listings and even includes jobs from companies like Amazon, GitHub, and Shopify. The site is beautifully designed and easy to navigate, giving filters to search through the listings, and even includes “verified” badges for trusted jobs.
- We Work Remotely - a remote job board with 4.5m estimated visitors and many jobs featured daily. Like RemoteOK, it is trusted by Google, Amazon, and GitHub. It also takes a hefty fee from employers, so you know they’re serious about finding a freelance coder for their projects. Over here, you’ll find many freelance jobs, and you can even subscribe to their email feed which will send you timely updates once a new job is available daily.
Freelance marketplaces are platforms where freelancers can market themselves to be discovered by clients looking to complete a project. There are many freelance platforms out there, but we suggest sticking with two:
- Upwork - is one of the most popular freelance marketplaces that makes it easy for freelancers of all levels to market their skills online. It’s a professional platform that enables freelancers to set their rates and send proposals to jobs that strike their interest or are relevant to their skillset.
- Fiverr - is a more beginner-friendly platform, as there are virtually no barriers to entry. Anybody can become a freelancer on Fiverr, and signing up is easy. You’ll create a gig and offer a variety of pricing packages so clients can order the one that suits their needs and budget the best.
There are many different platforms, but we suggest the above because they are professional freelance marketplaces with the most opportunities.
Finally, a traditional way to find remote jobs is to find businesses online that you think might require your services. We don’t suggest this method as your first tool to look for clients as it can be time-consuming and require much trial and error compared to the above choices.
You can start with direct outreach by finding businesses online through a web scraping tool or social media platforms like LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an excellent platform for connecting with companies, giving you various ways to market your skills and perform outreach. On LinkedIn, you can search relevant hashtags, connect with managers, and send cold messages through their messenger.
Another effective way to do outreach is through cold emailing. An email finder like Hunter can list many emails from your industry from whom you could reach and inquire about open positions. Make a list of the emails and send them a message highlighting how you could improve their current website, app, or algorithm and what services you offer.
Many developers have started to adopt freelancing as their main income stream. The high rates that freelance programmers are offered allow them to transition full-time into freelancing and work with multiple clients, diversifying or multiplying their income stream.
Before you get started, you must equip yourself with popular programming languages like Python and PHP and then create a freelance profile to register yourself on a job board or marketplace.
How much you earn will depend on your skills and experience, but to begin, you should focus more on learning to grow your freelance profile and make more in the long term.
Once you’re ready, you can highlight your skills by joining Talentcrowd to increase your chances of landing a job. Signing up is simple; all you have to do is go to Talentcrowd and click “Join the Crowd.” Our personalized onboarding will help you get a job relevant to your skill set and find the job we know you deserve.