A career as a freelancer is the reality for 35% of the United States’ workforce. It is designed for people that desire more freedom, or feel working for an employer limits their ability to be creative.
Freelancing is a viable option for programmers interested in earning additional income while employed or starting a full-time business in the future. Both are viable options with a differentiation between active income (working) and passive income (not working to earn income).
However, working as a freelance developer might arouse some questions. What programming language should you learn in order to become a successful freelance programmer? Should you learn a specific programming anguage in 2020 to succeed?
In the freelance world, there are generalists and specialists. A generalist programmer typically takes on all programming assignments in a variety of industries. The downside to this is that you may be seen as a freelancer that is new to the subject, which results in a low or beginner rate.
On the contrary, a specialist is a computer programmer that has worked in a specific industry—like real estate—for five or more years, or one who is knowledgeable of a specific skill set or programming language, like PHP.
The advantage of being a specialist is your rates can be set higher because of the value you can offer the client.
In today's video we are going to discuss what programming languages and technologies you should focus in 2020 to become a successful freelance developer #developer #programminglanguages #2020
Transcript Of The Video
John Sonmez: I'm going to break this down. I'm going to give you an explanation of what technologies do you need to know. Do you need to know specific technologies to become a freelancer? I know a lot of you have that goal of becoming a freelancer, so this video is going to be helpful to you. I'm John from simpleprogrammer.com, and welcome to this channel where we take soft skills advice and apply it to software development, teach you how to be a well-rounded programmer, not just a technical person, but to learn how to develop your communication skills, marketing skills, raise that career level, so you can get up to the higher paying jobs, and to become more effective, and to become a freelancer if you want.
He says, “Hi, John. In the past few years, the most important takeaway from your channel has been focus on one thing and go deep.” Yes, you've got it, all right. “I finally quit my low paying job, and have enough savings for six months to focus on my YouTube blog, which I started about a year ago, and finally getting views and subscribers. I want to start freelancing, but I'm still a Jack of all trades. I like C++. I'm learning data science and machine learning, which I absolutely love because it's math intensive. However, all the blogs I have read, all the videos I have seen, they all say, if you want to work as a freelancer, you need to learn full stack web development, which I absolutely hate.”
I'm going to start off by saying, don't do this. Don't quit your job and save up for six months thinking you're going to start your YouTube channel and blog and become a freelancer. You need to already be making money on the side first, already have a business model, all right? Let's say … Let me just give you an example here, for those of you that want to quit your job. Let's say that you're living expenses … all right, this is the first step, by the way, is to cut down your living expenses. But let's say that you need $4,000 a month to live. Your job, maybe you're making $10,000 a month at your job, great. Okay, so you're saving some of that money, all right? But you've cut your expenses down. You need $4,000 a month to live, okay?
So let's say that you just quit your job, all right? And you've saved up six months of $4,000 a month, so $24,000, okay? Then you've got six months to make this shit work, and if it doesn't, you're kind of screwed, all right? And you're going to spend all that money. Instead, let's say that you started your side business, your side job, and you got to the point where you're freelancing, and you're making some money on the side. You're making $2,000 a month on the side. Okay, not enough to live off of, but if you saved that same $24,000, and you'll save it faster because you'll be making an extra $2,000, you're making $12,000 a month instead of $10,000, right?
What's going to happen is that that $24,000 now instead of being six months worth of runway, it's 12 months, okay? Because you've got two coming in already from your freelancing side business, and you've got two from savings. And during that time, as you increase your freelancing, you're going to increase it over time because you've already got a business built up, and then you can reduce that, and it can last you even longer, and eventually you'll … you won't need that money, that savings. So that's the better way to do this.
It is important to pick one thing and to go deep. Now, it doesn't actually matter what technology you pick for freelancing if you do it the right way. Now if you look on Upwork, and you're looking on freelancing.com or any of those sites, all right? Your best bet for getting freelancing work on there is probably to pick the technology that's most used on there. It's probably going to be Python, right? It's probably going to be something along those lines. Now, that's not what I would suggest doing though.
Instead, what I would suggest doing is picking a specialty, picking something that you can be number one best in the world at. This is what I tell all my coaching clients, all the time is, “Okay, I don't want you to specialize in AngularJS. I want you to specialize in some framework inside of AngularJS, or some component of it, or some way of applying it, or some kind of stack, some way that's going to make it so that you're the best, you're specifically the best at this thing. Then I want you to create a blog or YouTube channel, all right, and promote it, or podcast, and get out there and market yourself. If you want to know more about marketing yourself, I've got a whole course on this on Simple Programmer, just go to Simple Programmer, and you can check it out.
The idea here is that you need to build up a platform, build up a brand, just like this brand, like Simple Programmer, okay? How many emails do I get? How many solicitations when I was doing development work did I get for jobs, all right? How many people were emailing me saying, “I'll pay you $300 an hour to help me with my test automation framework, or whatever, when I was specializing in that? When you have a platform and you have a brand, you're going to have people coming to you, you're going to be able to charge a lot more money, and it won't matter if your technology is the most popular one, because it'll be specific.
When someone's looking for someone … if someone's like, “Okay, I need someone who understands the internals of Direct X. I need to Direct X developer. When they search and they find that you're an expert in it, then they're going to hire you specifically. So it doesn't matter if there's not Direct X jobs on Upwork. Does that make sense? Do you understand what I'm saying here? They're looking for you specifically. They're going to hire you. They're going to pay you a lot more money. The leads are coming to you. So you could do C and C++, if you want. You can do machine learning. That's fine, all right, but pick a specific niche. Pick it specific enough, become the expert on it, okay? Write a blog on it, okay? And produce that content. Write some … or do some YouTube videos on it. Produce that specific content, all right? Do … Write a book on it, give talks on it, all right? Do podcast episodes or do a whole podcast. Create a podcast on that, so that you are the expert, all right? It's going to take some time to do this, maybe a couple of years to build this up, but once you do that, you're going to have a freelancing business where people are going to come to you.
Now you can do the other way. You can search on Upwork. You can compete with everyone from India and third world countries, that are charging like $10 an hour to do work that you would be charging like $75 an hour, okay? You can do that. You can say, “Well, I've got better communication skills, so I can charge them $75 an hour in, and get these jobs over the $10 an hour guys. Fine, try it, all right? You can do that if you want, but if you do that, you better pick the most … the technology that's most used there, all right?You're limited by that. If you do what I'm saying, it doesn't matter what technology you choose, okay? You're an expert in something. There's a wide world out there, okay? People will find you because of your expertise, if you market yourself properly. If you've been a freelancer, you have an experience, share your story. Tell us how you're doing. How's it working out? What's your specialty? And I will talk to you next time. Take care.