Had this great question come through via email from Joshua Quinn. Joshua is looking at getting into freelancing and wanted to know about whether he should specialize in something to make himself more competitive.
I am new to your site and have looked through many of your articles. I have noticed that you said the best way to make money for programmers is through freelance programming.
Please allow me to give you a brief history of my learnings as a computer programmer. I started programming in SQL and PL/SQL 5 years ago. 4 years ago, I started programming in Java. Last year, I taught myself C++.
However, all of this education seems to be only academic and definitely not thorough enough to do freelancing with. I have taken a look at some sites that offer you the chance to bid on projects (such as freelancer.com) and noticed that the projects are quite a ways above my capabilities.
I was wondering if you might be able to assist me in discovering resources that would improve my abilities to make me able to compete in the freelance environment (or direct me to one of your articles along this topic that I may have missed).
Once again, thank you very much for all that you do.
Here’s my reply:
Thanks for the kind words, great to hear from a reader.
Sounds like your experience is pretty wide and varied to me which is a good thing. I believe strongly that programmers should endeavour to become generalists when it comes to languages instead of just specialising.
You’re right in the freelancing is definitely the easiest way, in fact I’ve recently launched into doing it full time which has been great.
My recommendation would be to pick a specific area that you are comfortable with, like a system you use a lot, and look for freelance work in those categories. Get a website of your own up and running to let people know you are available for hire and start participating in community forums.
The first big lot of freelance work that I had was via a CMS system I was coding in at the time for my full time job called SugarCRM. I was participating heavily in the development forums for the product and people started contacting me out of hours to do jobs for them.
Really it’s all about finding good people to work with and they will keep sending you work if they are happy with the results.
I hope this helps out!
Have a reader question?
Thanks again for sending in the question Joshua. If you have a reader question that you would like answered on the blog, feel free to send it in via the contact page.