Making a Living as a Freelance Software Developer

by Lois Leonard

2 min read

If you have a passion for software development, then becoming a freelance software developer is a potentially lucrative career choice. It may not provide the security of a position with a salary, but you have full control over the jobs you take, which can lead to more fulfilling work and higher pay. You can find success as a freelance software developer by building the necessary skill set and connecting with the right clients.

Developing Your Skills

While it takes more to thrive as a freelance software developer than skills alone, you aren’t going to get very far without them. Although education helps you secure jobs, you don’t need a degree to land a gig as a software developer. Regardless of whether you go to school for software development or learn through other methods, you obviously need to be excellent at coding. If you’re starting out, it’s a good idea to begin with a specific framework as a guide. One good option is the Spring Framework, which focuses on web apps. While there are opportunities available in web and mobile applications, the mobile marketplace is saturated, making it harder to find work.

Connecting with Clients

When you’re an independant contractor, you spend quite a bit of time looking for work, especially when you don’t have many or any clients yet. One popular way to connect with clients is through a freelancer marketplace, such as Gigster, Toptal, Upwork, and Freelancer. You set up a profile on the marketplace, and then you can apply for jobs listed on the site. Clients can also find your profile and contact you directly with work offers. While Upwork and Freelancer are open to anyone, Gigster and Toptal only accept a portion of freelancer applicants. Another option is finding clients on your own and connecting with them on social networks, such as LinkedIn, or by cold emailing. It helps to have a website set up, so you have an online portfolio to show clients. While connecting with clients this way tends to take longer than it would with a freelancer marketplace, you often make more money; you can find clients who are willing to pay a higher rate, and there’s no middleman taking a fee from what you earn.

Boosting Your Income

There are more ways to make money as a software developer than getting gigs through clients. Create a useful software of your own; if it takes off, you could make passive income through licencing fees. You could also put together a course or write an e-book with helpful information about coding and sell it on your website. Making enough money as a freelance software developer to support yourself is a challenge, especially in the early stages. Coding skills are a prerequisite to have any kind of success, and you also must be able to present yourself well to potential clients. Once you’ve built up your client base, you can start looking into ways to increase your income.

References & Resources

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