How old can you be and still be a successful freelance coder / developer?
Gonna be a short article and VLOG, it’s mostly just a ‘WOW’ piece. For a quick refresher check out this and that previous article but there’s a man out there who is still a freelancing programmer at 83 years old!!
I mean C’mon! That’s insane! This guy either loves what he does, or owes some serious money. But it really does go to show you that age is just a number and where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Check out the VLOG for the whole story and keep on rockin’ in the free[lance] world! -Enjoy!
<Shameless promo> check out the really cool and thoughtfully put together courses that we offer. Whether it’s freelancing, or learning web development, you’ll be taking advantage of almost 3 decades of experience in all these subjects AND if you click here, you can take advantage of a super deal! We’ve teamed up with InMotion hosting for a really amazing offer where they essentially pay for you to take my course and learn how to become a web developer. Links to all these offers are below as well. -Enjoy!
Do you need certifications as a developer? Will a certification help you land that juicy software developer job?
Great question. In the past, certifications were a great way to show that you were knowledgeable in a certain skill/area of expertise and that you took the time/initiative to learn it. However this was also in a time before the internet and (relatively) free flow of information… We have indirectly addressed this in this article but let’s be a little more direct…
Full transparency: We offer certifications to schools that teach our courses and we are even working on certifications upon completion of our courses to the general public, but we’re going to address that tout-suite (right away).
So, “…certifications have a certain limited role, I mean [they] do play a certain limited role but they do play a role. In my own hiring practices…I admit that I do look at what, if any, certifications they may have: whether that is a university degree, college degree, or a boot camp…or just a certification in general. It plays a minimal role, how much does it impact my decision-making? …for me experience building real things is more important, but good certifications do indeed play a role”. Here’s a theoretical: if you’re working or looking to be employed by a ‘top shelf’/prestigious consulting firm and you’re wondering: ‘do I need a certification?’ The answer is, “…if the certification was going to cost you thousands of dollars, I probably wouldn’t… if it’s costing a couple of hundred dollars to get a few certifications to show that you’re up-to-date… it could impact your ability to get a job (not necessarily as a freelancer) …but as a consultant, it does add a bit”.
Another thing we’ve talked about before is that as any kind of person looking for work: freelancer or 9-5’er, you have your reputation, skill sets, and IP (intellectual property). “…certifications are part of your reputation; building structure, if you will.” So long story-short: in most cases (depending on who you’re working for or trying to get hired by) certifications will pale in comparison to real world experience, but much like having a secret bottle of rye whiskey hidden away in the back of your top drawer…on certain occasions it does help…
Check out the VLOG for a full dive into the grey area of certifications and experience. If ever there was a VLOG to check out, let it be this one -your job may depend on it… -Enjoy!
Do you need to have had work experience working for someone to become a freelancer?
American poet and playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay is quoted as saying, “I am glad that I paid so little attention to good advice; had I abided by it I might have been saved from some of my most valuable mistakes“. Even though that classy, gangsta quote sounds like something the Dowager Countess of Grantham would say on Downton Abbey, it is super applicable today when we broach the topic of freelancing and previous experience.
On our ‘code-on-the-go’ segment we answer the oft-asked question: should young devs get experience working for a company prior to getting into freelancing? Can a self-taught freelancer get as skillful as a dev who works within a company?
“Short answer is yes – not a problem. I’ve had many of my mentees come right outta school and they start freelancing; working for me as contractors: I start them with little projects and they would build up that way.” We’ve talked about this in past and even dedicated a whole article to it regarding field experience vs. class/book learning, but essentially “…learn your foundations, one or two quick project courses and then what you do is you start asking around local businesses about whether they need a website (if you’re doing web stack), and start with small simple projects…the key is to build your portfolio…yes, self-taught programmers can become just as skillful…”.
Check out the VLOG. Although it’s short I can guarantee you’re going to be illuminated. Also<Shameless Plug> if you’re interested in freelancing but don’t know where to start or you’ve just started and don’t think you’re doing it right, check out our course: ‘The Complete Freelancer‘. We wouldn’t offer it unless we were confident that you could profit from our over 3 decades of experience in the field. Links down below… -Enjoy!
Marketing yourself as a developer is the best way to get the word out so you can build a reputation and secure work for yourself, especially if you intend on being a freelancer. Great, so what do I need to start getting myself out there? I’m Glad you asked…there are essentially 3 things you need to get started: 1- Skill Sets (both Technical and Social) – Skills you’ve developed through education/experience. 2- Reputation – The better it is, the better the chance you have of getting work. 3- IP (Intellectual Property) – What have you done in the real world. Projects you’ve worked on, jobs you’ve completed: for free or for pay.
Now, I know you’re looking at this and thinking these are all things that you get by doing real world work, how can I get real world if I don’t have these things? Ahhhhh…the catch 22, my friends…
The short answer is by any means necessary. Go out and do some free work/small project(s) for a small local business (not a long time, maybe 3 months or until the small project is done). At the end of that, yeah you may not have any money, but you’ve just got all three things you need to put towards getting a paying job (it might not pay much, but it’s a start), and when that paying job is done, you’ve got even more skill/rep/IP to put towards your next gig. From there you rinse/repeat ad nauseam and BOOM! work/life balance and a happy ending, LOL. Just kidding,, but it’s a good start.
Wriggity-wreck yo’self on the VLOG for some great advice on this subject from an almost 3 decade experienced ‘warrior of the code’ turned ‘diplomat of the code’, I guess… also a great analogy that might make you real hungry…you’ve been warned. -Enjoy
We received an email from someone recently who hasn’t worked in the field for about 10 years now. They have a computer science degree and are wondering about our courses and what they need to get themselves seen in today’s market…
The advice in this VLOG is good for both people returning to the fold and for those just starting out, but I’m going to cherry-pick a few good starters to <hopefully> whet your appetite…
– “In the last ten years the big change in the web development field has been front-side development: HTML5, CSS3, etc. and how people work with front-side frameworks a lot more than they did 10 years ago…”
-Freelance work or not, you should have some sort of website up and running. Designer or code-monkey, get something that “legitimizes your profession”.
– Our courses (links at the bottom) teach the basics, it’s true, but we also teach how to build “simple but real-world projects”, that way you can launch right into it. So in other words, “you won’t be building facebook (yet), but definitely the beginnings of facebook.”
-As a freelancer PHP is a good way to go because a lot of small businesses use PHP, but you’ll also get a well rounded education on the “fundamentals”, so you can use whatever you need to get the work done efficiently and quickly.
There’s sooo much more that is touched on in the VLOG and you would really be doing yourself a favor to check it out. In the meantime, check out the links below to the courses we offer. Whether you’re the new kid on the block, curious about freelancing or a grizzled old veteran who just wants to sharpen their skills, we have something for everyone.
Thinking of kick-starting your freelance web design career?
Alright, it doesn’t matter the reasons that got you here, (but I agree, if you have to listen to one more of Brad-in-accounting’s “tight” 2 minute sets that he’s put together for his always upcoming/never happening open mic night, it was either gonna be him or you!), you’ve decided to strike out on your own and become a freelance web designer, congrats!
Now before we get to work, we just want to make sure that we’re clear on the terminology here when we say freelance. We don’t mean that you shopped your resume around and found work with another small company or start-up…
We’re talking <Peter Parker selling his “pictures of spider-man ;)” to J.Jonah Jameson, for money and if he doesn’t do it again tomorrow, he doesn’t get paid/doesn’t eat > freelance. But we’re not just gonna leave you “hanging” with no help at all; we’ve got 7 great tips that will help propel you into the freelance web designer-verse. Go get’em tiger!
Make Sure It Looks Good: You’ve got your skills and you feel confident. Well, the client may have no idea what they’re looking at, so always make sure it’s aesthetically pleasing (pleasing to the eye) that way even though they have no idea what it is you do, they know it looks great!
Small Jobs/Practice Jobs: Heads up you may work for next to/nothing your first few gigs. It’s fine: think of it as stretching your legs and seeing what you can do. Contact friends, family, or friends of family and local businesses to get these small jobs. You’re really just learning to work with other people/clients and gaining reputation…rep. is huge (we’ll get back to that).
Try Online Markets: If you can’t find local stuff (or you’re tired of it and want to try something a little more challenging and “long distance”, there are websites where you can sell your skills (not for much though, remember you want experience and reputation). Some quick sites that come to mind: “Fiverr”, “upwork”, to start. But google it and you’ll start your journey down the rabbit hole…
Social Presence: This is just becoming a MUST for anyone in almost any field. You know the rules: keep it professional. Let people see what you’ve achieved (ie: certifications) and what you’re capable of (the work you done for others). Again, build that reputation!
Specialize in a Business Sector(OPTIONAL): Not strictly necessary but it does help. Maybe you work designing websites for only coffee shops? There’s lots of them (and more on every street corner, amarite?), but it would be a specialized area to know exactly what every coffee shop needs if they want to seriously compete in the online space. Real estate agent websites are another really good expertise to have, which brings us to our last tip…
Develop Workflows to Cut Down on Time & Maximize Profitability: A mouthful of a final tip but it’s the very zenith of freelancing…to be so damn good/knowledgeable at what you do that you can get it done fast/easily and for muchos bucks!! This is where reputation kicks in. Now that you’re known for doing that thing you do so well, you can finally charge what you’re worth (and then some), and do it in half the time while still making it look tight and outta sight!
You’re money, baby!
Of course, check out the vid for more detailed info for each step, plus a little PSA about keeping your body (almost) as sharp as your mind. Trust us, it’s all fun n’ games until you pull a muscle getting off the couch one day… Enjoy!