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Becoming A Freelance Computer Programmer

Usually, when a student or prospective computer programmer envisions working in the field, they think of working for a company, the government, or some other formal entity as a direct employee, enjoying the perceived security and benefits of working for an established entity. For some, working outside of the office as a freelance computer programmer is a terrifying prospect.

For others, confident in their skills and attracted to the prospect of flexibility and higher compensation, it’s the ticket to a whole new ballgame. Freelance programming is an avenue that offers significantly higher pay coupled with very flexible hours. These individuals, working as freelance programmers, accept short-term (or less than permanent positions, in any event) from a variety of companies that employ them to complete specific projects.

For them, the higher pay and flexibility is too attractive to resist. And when you factor in the opportunities to both apply your skills in a number of environments and gain very valuable experience, and the chance to earn outstanding compensation; it’s easy to see why many make this their preferred career path. Why do companies use freelance programmers?

For one, freelancers are cheaper. While freelance talent is in fact more expensive on an hourly basis, freelance programmers are usually significantly more cost-effective in the long run. That’s because freelance programmers are paid only for the time they spend directly working on a given project, can be let go without penalty once their part of a project is complete, and aren’t given any benefits like healthcare coverage, which can be very costly to a company. Contract programmers are also called in when a project needs to be completed within a tight timeframe.

And even though the company may have the resources to do the work in-house, contract labor typically works faster and more efficiently than in-house staff. Maybe the easiest reason to understand of all, is that companies hire contract talent to do the work that, quite frankly, they don’t have the skills to complete.

It could be that their company doesn’t even have any in-house programming talent at all, or that a given app they need to develop needs to be developed on or interact with a platform they don’t have any familiarity with.

Now that you’ve made the decision to become a freelance programmer, here are your next steps. First, build your skills. Perhaps the most important thing to do before deciding to become a freelance programmer is to build your base of skills, knowledge and experience.

Remember – your customers will be paying for your ability to deliver excellent work quickly, and they won’t pay for you to learn on the job. As a freelance programmer, you’re expected to be a hired expert, capable of hitting the ground running. So, to that end, you should focus on beefing up that resume and skill-set as much as possible.

Another good reason for expanding your knowledge base is that it will give you a greater range of projects to work on. After all, as a freelancer you’re being paid for your knowledge and skills – so the more you have, the more you make. A good place to start building your skills is a coaching site like www.becomeacomputerprogrammer.com

Next, begin to work on building up your customer list. Your goal should be to have enough to keep you busy and fed at anytime and have some new projects in the pipeline to work on when the current projects are completed.

You can begin your search for work on websites like guru.com, elance.com and rentacoder.com. These websites do not pay market rate for contract programmers, but they can give the opportunity to build up a portfolio to present to corporate clients.

In the end, is it better to work as a freelance programmer? The answer is that it really depends on you. If you seek security (real or imagined), and don’t like the idea of keeping your own books, paying for your own benefits, or working in an office, then a career as a freelance programmer probably isn’t for you.

But if you like flexibility, the potential for high compensation, and the opportunity to do your own thing and build your own business, then you should seriously consider working as a freelance programmer.

About the Author: Ken Dancek considers the role of the Computer Programmer the hottest
in the Information Technology industry. If you would like to earn more money
and have more fun working as a Computer Programmer visit:
How To Learn Programming Fast

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