How to Make Money as a Freelance Programmer

Making Money as a Freelance Programmer

Freelance Programming is a great way to make money from home. There are freelance jobs available in many areas of technology, including web development and app programming. 

We will help you learn how to freelance as a programmer so that you can start making extra income today! We’ll discuss what it takes to make money as a freelance programmer and how you can be successful. 

Build an Attractive Programming Portfolio

Many employers require freelance programming applicants to hold an associate’s degree or higher along with professional certification such as Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE), Oracle Database Administrator (OCA), and Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP). 

As a freelance programmer, no skills or certifications are required, but you will need to know how to program and have a portfolio showing your skills.

Building a portfolio is essential for freelance programmers to be able to get clients and actually make money. To build a portfolio, freelance programmers create projects that they can show off to potential clients.

The ways to build a portfolio are diverse, but freelance programmers typically use one of the following three methods:

  • Develop an app or program that other freelance coders, developers, and programmers will find useful. This is one of the best ways to build a portfolio because it allows you to showcase your programming skills while also providing value for others in the industry.
  • Choose to create open-source projects to which they contribute code too on GitHub or another online repository where software engineers worldwide collaborate with each other on coding projects.
  • Use paid programming gigs at start-up companies as opportunities for building portfolios. These small businesses typically do not have established products yet, so they cannot show off what was built aside from someone else.

Successful portfolios will include examples of coding projects completed by freelance programmers, examples of work done for paid gigs at start-up companies, and screenshots or links to profiles on sites where freelance programmers’ code contributions are publicly available.

Some sites for portfolio building include Github, Stack Overflow, and LinkedIn.

Consider Doing Free Work to Build a Programming Portfolio

Beginning with free work for friends or family can help build a freelancer’s portfolio.  This portfolio can also help land freelance programming jobs. However, there is a downside to starting with free work: low pay and the possibility of not getting paid at all.

Starting with free programming work to build your portfolio is a good idea if you are just starting. You can continue this freelance work until you build a good enough portfolio to gain clientele and receive paid freelance programming jobs.

Plan on Charging Once Experienced

Once you have your first few clients and are comfortable with freelance programming, go ahead and start charging for your work. Setting your prices is a more complex issue, but many freelance programmers work on an hourly basis.

It’s also important to remember that there are other fees you will have, including taxes and expenses for business tools like your computer or Internet connection.

An alternative is to charge a flat rate per project instead of billing by the hour. If you do this, be sure it’s fair for both parties involved in the freelance programming job—you get compensated fairly while keeping your clients happy with their projects completed within budgeted time frames. 

You can set up pricing tiers based on how long the freelance coding project takes you, so everyone wins! Just know when starting as a freelance programmer, it may take some time before making decent money from your work.

Learn Multiple Programming Languages to Get Noticed

It is possible to become a freelance programmer without any experience. There are freelance programmer jobs that do not require previous experience. Freelance programmers should know at least one programming language but gaining a large skillset will help you get noticed more quickly. 

There are plenty of smaller freelance programming projects where the client will need to provide more guidance than with larger, independent freelance work. 

You can also try looking through job postings on job boards like Indeed or Craigslist and responding only to those listings which say they accept applicants without prior experience. Then you would follow up by saying why you think your skills make you a good candidate regardless of a prior freelance programming work history. 

How Do I Learn Additional Programming Skills?

Learning programming languages is the first step for a freelance programmer.  If you don’t have a freelance programming job, building expertise in your preferred language is the best way to get started.

There are three main ways freelance programmers learn new languages: 

  • By reading documentation and doing tutorials online
  • Through self-study or mentorship programs
  • Taking formal classes from schools offering certification courses for popular development tools.

These methods are based on your preferences and come with very different price tags. Traditional education may be more costly but will provide you with the ability to work for private employers. Self-study and online resources are less expensive and perfect for freelance programmers.

Programming Books Will Help You Gain Additional Skills

There are several books on the market for learning coding and programming.  These books are ideal for freelance programmers who want to learn how to code. 

The Best Programming Books on the Market:

  • Python Cookbook, Third Edition (Oreilly)
  • Head First HTML and CSS (O’Reilly)
  • Learning Java by Building Android Games (Apress)

These books will help freelance programmers develop the skills necessary to be a freelance programmer.

Look for Online Programming Education Resources

Using online resources is an ideal way to learn programming languages for a lower cost and smaller amount of time dedicated. 

There are several online resources available to freelance programmers who want to learn new coding and programming languages. These include GitHub, Stack Overflow, Code School, Treehouse, and Codecademy. 

These websites offer free or paid courses on how to code in various different programming languages, including HTML/CSS, JavaScript/jQuery, and Python, which can be used by freelance programmers looking at making money as freelance programmers. 

Do I Need a College Degree to Become a Freelance Programmer?

Freelance programmers do not always need a college degree to make money as freelance programmers.  While some freelance programmer jobs require applicants to have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or another relevant subject, other freelance programming opportunities may be available for those who choose online certifications.

Freelance programmers can become successful without a college degree. There is no requirement for college degrees, but you should be well versed in the skills required to be a programmer. 

Online certifications and resources allow freelance programmers to get into the industry and become successful as a programmer. Though some traditional employers require at least a bachelor’s degree, there are no requirements for freelancers.

Market Yourself as a Freelance Programmer

Freelancers have access to many different online resources to market themselves as freelance programmers. Search engines like Google allow workers across many different industries and companies online, it can often be overwhelming trying to find that ideal job opportunity out there. 

To market yourself as a freelance programmer, it is important to think about what the industry can offer. There are many different types of freelance programmers, including freelance web developers, freelance graphic designers, and more. 

When thinking about your marketable skills as a freelance programmer, consider the following:

  • What programming languages do I know how to use? 
  • How long have I been working with coding?
  • Do I have any other relevant computer science degrees or certifications that make me a stronger candidate for some projects?

There are many different online job board sites available where freelancers can find work opportunities as freelance programmers. Some of these include Craigslist, which allows people across nearly every major city in North America to post.

Marketing strategies often used by freelance programmers include:

  • Networking with other freelance programmers and sharing job opportunities. 
  • Posting a resume on an online freelance programmer marketplaces is highly effective for those who have a strong portfolio showing off their work as freelance programmers. 
  • Participating in freelance programmer forums where programmers can share their resumes or ask for advice. 
  • Using social media to market oneself as a freelance programmer. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are commonly used by freelance programmers who wish to find work on the internet. 

These strategies will help freelance programmers land more paying freelancing jobs with ease! A good way to get started is by joining online freelance programmer communities like FreelanceSwitch that allow you an easy place to start marketing yourself as a freelance programming resource. 

In addition to networking with others in this industry, it’s important that you take time out from your busy day to search through freelance programmer job boards where employers post available freelance programming projects they need to be completed by freelancers. 

Marketing Strategies As a Freelance Programmer

Marketing yourself as a freelance programmer is not easy, especially for beginners. As a beginner, you might have little understanding of what to do or how to market yourself in the right way. Some simple tricks may help you get noticed more quickly and help you acquire more clients. A simple marketing strategy can help you get your freelance career off the ground. 

Here are some useful tips & tricks for marketers working with freelancers online:  

  • Have a clear message, and don’t make it long to explain who you are. Also, try to be as specific as possible about what your clients can get from working with you rather than talking in general terms. 
    • For example, if the company works on WordPress projects, then highlight that clearly instead of saying “I do web design!” which doesn’t say much for a client looking for help online.
  • Having an attractive portfolio that will show clients the type of work you’re capable of and the quality of your work. It is also important to highlight the process you follow for each project either by describing it clearly or through images. 
    • For example, if your company works only on WordPress themes, show that clearly because this will help approach companies who need such work done.
  • Mention why people should choose you as their freelancer. Show off your hard work and be confident in your skills.  

It’s important to understand that marketing is not just about putting up ads on Facebook or Google Adwords campaigns, even though they are effective ways of getting leads. Still, many other tools can be used by freelance programmers, which won’t cost them anything but produce good results when it comes to client attraction.

Use Freelancing Sites to Build Your Brand

To gain clients and become successful as a freelance programmer, you need to know how freelance marketplaces like UpWork and Fiverr work. 

Using Upwork and Fiverr to build your brand as a freelance programmer is a great way to find freelance work online. The key is to build your personal brand on these platforms by building trust with potential clients and then branching out into different territories. 

The basics of these platforms are pretty straightforward. You either put out a job post, or you apply to freelance programmer jobs on these platforms. 

The first step is to know the different types of freelance work available online, including remote freelance programming gigs through Upwork and Fiverr freelancer sites. There are plenty of ways that you can make money as a freelance programmer using these services that will give you more freedom over your career than working for an employer ever could!

Apply for Jobs Using Freelance Site and Job Boards

Finding work as a freelance programmer can be difficult, but persistence is key. There are several freelance jobs sites and job boards. Utilize one or all of these tools to find your clients.

There are various ways of finding clients who need your services as a freelance programmer: 

  • Project-based service on freelancer sites like Upwork
  • Advertise through direct mail flyers posted in online classifieds such as Craigslist 
  • Post ads on Facebook groups dedicated to small businesses

Finding work is the main concern of freelance programmers. If your contract with a client is project-based, you can always bid for larger projects by building up your portfolio and experience as a freelance programmer. This will also help you increase your hourly price! 

You might want to consider bidding for large contracts through freelance marketplaces like UpWork or Guru, where there are more potential clients who need freelance programming services than local businesses in small communities.

Jobs boards can help you land clients as a freelance programmer. You should be able to find jobs relevant to your programming skills on these sites. However, you must tailor each proposal for the client and use specific language from their job description in your bidding process. 

For example, if they need an e-commerce site built, you must be confident you have the skills needed for the job. If so, tailor your cover letter to let the client know.

Create a Cover Letter to Submit for Programming Freelance Jobs

In your freelance programmer cover letter, try mentioning why you want to work as a freelance programmer. For example:

  • Do you have experience working from home? 
  • Be sure to mention reasons that will be important for this specific job (not generic ones like “I’m looking forward to meeting new people!”). 

One good way of getting freelance programming jobs is by networking with others in the business. Try contacting companies and professionals via LinkedIn or other social media websites. 

If anyone seems interested, let them know about any projects you’ve completed that might help convince them that your services are worth hiring for. The more connections you make now, the easier it is once potential clients start asking around.

If possible, try to branch out into different territories so that even if one market becomes saturated, you’ll still have others open to take on work from other parts of the globe.

Build a Recurring Clientele to Become a Successful Freelancer

As a freelance programmer, you need to be careful about what types of projects you choose because they may affect your ability to work part-time at another job and keep busy while waiting for clients. 

To build your clientele, focus on looking for freelance projects interesting to you and do not require a ton of work. Do quality work to keep your clients coming back for your services. 

If your clientele is limited to one-off projects, it can be difficult to remember how much they enjoyed working with you the last time. If you can provide quality work quickly without charging too high of an hourly rate, clients will be more likely to hire you again rather than bringing on new freelancers or turning over their website development needs elsewhere.

As opposed to worrying about finding new clients each time, focus on ensuring that the initial project goes smoothly so that there’s no issue between billing and payment! Once this happens once or twice, most companies won’t mind using your services again if they had a positive experience the first time.

To make a good impression, be sure that you’re able to meet your deadlines and keep in touch with clients as often as needed without being too pushy or overbearing! 

This will help establish credibility so that clients can depend on your work ethic rather than finding new freelancers each month. With more jobs coming from the same clientele, you’ll have less of an issue generating income quickly.

How Long Does It Take to Get Noticed as a Programmer?

Even though freelancers have more freedom when it comes to scheduling their own work and choosing how much they want to work, freelance programmers must still manage their time correctly. 

To get noticed as a freelance programmer, it may take six months to a year to set yourself apart from others in terms of clientele size and workload offered per job. The key is having the skills and quality to back it up. 

It takes a while to become established on sites like Upwork and Fiverr, but consistent outstanding work will set you apart more quickly than anything else. 

How Much Do Freelance Programmers Make?

Freelance programming can be lucrative, but it takes time to get started. You can earn anywhere from $50 per hour or higher for freelance jobs, depending on the work you can find. If your clients are satisfied with your freelance programming services, they may be willing to hire you again in the future and even send referrals your way. 

Freelance programmers typically make $50-$100 an hour, but most freelance programmers make between $60 and $75 per hour. The average salary for freelance programmers is $73,000 per year. 

Programmers can make more money by specializing in a certain area of programming expertise, which can lead them toward freelance work with specific companies or even working on an as-needed basis while keeping their regular full-time jobs.

How Can I Become a Successful Freelance Programmer?

As a freelance programmer, you will need to learn how to market yourself and provide great work to make money. 

To be successful as a freelance programmer: 

  • Set clear goals for what kind of projects you want to take on 
  • Ensure that you have the skills needed for the job/project at hand
  • Be professional when working with clients

The first step to becoming a programmer is to learn how to market yourself so that clients will hire you. You can start this process by creating a freelance programmer website, providing work samples and testimonials from other freelance programmers who have worked with you in the past. 


To make money as a freelance programmer, you need to be able to provide excellent work that keeps clients coming back. Start by learning programming languages and find ways to market your skills effectively. 

Use platforms like Upwork or Fiverr, which are designed for freelancers just like yourself. Be sure to market yourself appropriately and deliver high-quality work to keep your clients coming back. The key is making sure you’re providing excellent service, so people want to come back for more!


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