How to Start a Career as a Freelance Programmer

A freelance programmer writes step by step code that directs a computer to run an application in a specific way. According to the instructions provided, the computer executes them in a sequence of logical steps. A freelance programmer gets an opportunity to work with a wide range of clients from different industries like health care, engineering, manufacturing, educational institutions and governmental organizations. If you have the desire to get involved in coding process, then this is the field you must pursue. In order to start your career as a freelance programmer, here is what you need to do:

Obtain the Minimum Qualifications

Although people without any formal education may succeed in this field with their programming language skills, it is better to take the hard way owing to the immense competition in this field. If you want to embark on the career of freelance programmer, then here is how you need to approach it.

  • Graduate high school with excellent scores in mathematics and computer science.
  • Pursue a bachelor’s degree in either software related subjects or mathematics.
  • If you are opting for mathematics or other course not related to software, then taking up programming classes privately is essential.
  • For being hired as a freelance programmer, you need to well-versed in many programming languages along with being an expert at handling database systems.
  • Obtain as much practical knowledge as possible while training as a programmer.
  • Work to get a valuable internship that will help increase your job prospects.
  • Stay current on industry related information.
  • Your proposal must clearly reflect your analytical, problem solving, presentation, communication and programming skills.

Working Conditions

Freelance programmers often work from the comfort of their home. In few cases, they might have to travel to the client’s location. Working hours are flexible. However, it has to be negotiated with the client. Sometime long hours of working might be necessary to meet deadlines. Typical tasks of a freelance programmer are:

  • Bidding on the available projects and negotiating the deal with the clients.
  • After receiving a detailed description of job from client, preparing an outline on how the information will flow using flow chart or other applications.
  • After completion of initial stages, advancing to actual coding process.
  • Running the program to check its efficiency.
  • Debugging the computer programs developed by you.
  • Keeping the client up-to-date on the status of the project.
  • Keeping track of all administrative details on your own.

Advancement Opportunities

After gaining considerable experience as a freelance programmer you might want to take up the job on a full time basis or become a system analyst after gaining necessary knowledge. The option of starting your own small business is also a good option. Programmers with exceptional skills are offered supervisory positions in operational as well as administrative areas. The average hourly wages for a freelance programmer falls in the range of $35 to $60. This greatly varies based on nature of the project, your skills and experience.