How Do I Become a Freelance Web Developer?

Become a Freelance Web Developer

Web programming is quickly becoming one of the most important and lucrative professions in the modern economy, so it can be useful to know how to become a freelance Web developer. Because website development is a profession that is in high demand, there are jobs available at every skill level. It’s not necessary to have an expert understanding of computer science in order to become a professional Web developer, but knowledge of advanced concepts in computer science can lead to many opportunities that are unavailable to less skilled programmers.

Get an Education

Professional Web developers should at least understand the basics of data structures and algorithms, object-oriented programming, model-view-controller frameworks, server stacks, databases, scripting languages and HTML and CSS markup. Because the field of Web programming is so complex and varied, most programmers focus on a few areas of interest and market themselves as experts in these subjects. Relatively few freelance Web developers have four-year computer science degrees, but most of the work available for freelancers is simple and low-paying. To become qualified for more interesting work, it can help to enroll in a two- or four-year computer science program. Two-year programs typically cover vocational topics, such as Python and Linux programming and the business of Web design. Four-year programs go into much greater depth about topics that are universal to computer science, such as discrete mathematics, formal language theory and software engineering. Anyone who is interested in the theoretical side of computer science should consider studying these subjects in college. Web programmers who deeply understand mathematics and engineering will have much better opportunities in the freelance market.

Gain Experience

College students can gain experience by applying for internships, but there are other ways to become an experienced Web programmer. One of the most popular ways to start learning Web development is to join a public open-source project and begin submitting updates through version control software, such as Apache Subversion or Linux Git. Another easy way to gain experience is to apply for jobs on a freelance marketplace, such as Upwork or Freelancer. The jobs for beginners on these marketplaces may not be the most fulfilling or lucrative jobs in the industry, but they can provide valuable experience for future opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about one in three people in the workforce earn their income from a non-traditional job, such as freelancing. This trend is accelerating, and there are expected to be many more opportunities for freelancers in the future.

Apply for Work

Freelancers can find regular work through online marketplaces or by directly pitching their services to prospective clients. Going directly to clients typically results in a higher income and more interesting work, but it often requires advanced expertise, relevant experience and extensive knowledge of Web development. Building a good reputation on a freelance marketplace takes a few months, but lucrative opportunities are available to freelancers with verified track records and relevant skills. Freelancers can put their skills on display by setting up a marketplace profile and keeping it updated it as they gain new skills and experience.

Related Resource: Top 20 Affordable Web Development Online Degree Programs

Internet technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated and central to everyday life for most people. Web programmers and designers are needed to create and update Web platforms and applications on an ongoing basis. With education and experience, anyone can become a freelance Web developer.

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