Looking for freelance programming jobs? There are plenty of them out there, and this article will show you exactly where to look.
Programming and development is a type of work that works well in a freelance context. It tends to be project-based, so it’s easy to bill either by hour or per project. The nature of the work means that you can do it virtually anywhere – and it’s also largely solitary, meaning there’s little need to go into an office to meet with others.
If you have coding skills, you have EASY access to a freelance career. And you needn’t despair if you don’t yet have the skills, as there are plenty of places to learn online without spending much (or any) money.
Below, we cover the basics of how to get part time freelance programming jobs. We also identify some of the top 10 places to find this work online.
How to Get Freelance Programming Jobs
There are plenty of ways to find freelance jobs in programming: You can directly network for clients or use various websites to help. Sites broadly divide between freelance bidder sites and more traditional job search sites.
On bidder sites, a client posts a job and you submit a proposal for that job, including the price you will charge for it. Freelance bidder sites can be a great way to get freelance programming jobs for beginners. However, a common drawback is that these sites can encourage a race to the bottom for prices, with everyone tries to beat each other’s proposal.
Try not to be discouraged by this. Freelance programmers are often the highest earners on freelance sites like Upwork, with some comfortably bringing in six figures each year. We also have some tips for making the most of these platforms here.
Traditional job sites, on the other hand, use job postings to directly advertise programming roles, without the “bidding” element to the process. Often competition is stiff, as one job ad can attract many resumés. While it’s not impossible to find jobs this way, you will need a top-notch portfolio and work experience to attract clients.
In addition, many sites have ways for clients to search for you based on your profile within the site. There are also sites that let designers compete in contests to gain work (see below).
Building your Portfolio
What do you do if you don’t have a strong portfolio yet, but need to stand ahead of other programmers online? There are plenty of ways to get your first gigs, and you can then you can build a portfolio of projects.
The techniques you can use are similar to those a novice writer might employ. For example, you can try networking for clients in your contact circle. Ask your family, friends or colleagues if they need development work done. You could also volunteer your services to a not-for-profit organisation. You will build experience, and gain a project to add to your portfolio.
You could also attend local developer meetups. Other developers may have overflow work they are looking for someone else to complete. Also consider business meetups, such as Chamber of Commerce meetings. You can introduce yourself as a developer and hand out business cards.
Whether you take the networking route to find clients initially, or feel like diving straight into the freelance websites, here are 10 places to find those freelance programming jobs:
Where to Find Programming Work
Upwork is one of the most well-known places for companies to look for freelancers, and for programmers to offer their services. As such, this is a common first port of call for those looking for new work.
Some of the job categories on the site include mobile development, software development and web development. This is a site where you give price bids on projects, and there’s a secure platform both for invoicing and for completing the work itself.
Freelancer is another site that’s similar in structure to Upwork. You submit project bids on work that clients post. If a client likes your proposal, you begin work through the website.
The site has over 1350 different categories of work, including software development, mobile apps, Linux work and website design.
Guru is another site where freelancers can submit quotes direct to job postings. There’s a dedicated job category for programmers and developers.
Payments can be set up by milestone, by task, per hour or by using recurring payments. This all happens securely via Guru’s SafePay system.
PeoplePerHour is another popular site where people post projects, and freelancers send in their own proposals. However, PeoplePerHour is a little different in that it uses algorithms to connect freelancers to appropriate projects.
Clients must pay a deposit for the project to start. PPH is a UK-based site, but attracts both clients and freelancers from around the world. We have a detailed review of the platform from someone with extensive experience there.
As well as the generalist freelancing sites, there are also plenty that specifically connect freelance programmers with clients. Rent-A-Coder is one such site.
You can search for specific jobs and projects. Clients can also search freelancer profiles under particular categories, such web designers and developers, and mobile app developers.
If you’re beyond the point of your career where you are searching for freelance programming jobs for beginners, perhaps feeling that you’re worthy of “guru” status(!), it’s probably time to check out Toptal.
Toptal advertises as hiring only the “top three percent” of freelance talent, including developers. You have to apply to the system and be invited in. The site looks for top talent – people with years of experience. If you can make the grade, it’s a great way to find good clients to work for, perhaps including some big household names.
Stack Overflow is a popular online community for coders. They have a part of their site where you can search for jobs, and it’s possible to search for remote roles.
We note that putting “freelance” in front of the job title you search for yields plenty of remote roles on this site.
WordPress is a huge powerhouse in the online world, so it pays to check out the jobs section of this site.
You can find many project or part-time freelance programming roles here. Jobs – unsurprisingly – all revolve around working in the WordPress ecosystem.
This competitive site specialises in graphic design, but also includes website and app design projects. If you’re a programmer with an eye for design, it could be an interesting sideline for you.
The site allows you to either work directly with clients or compete in design contests for rewards. If you choose to work directly with clients, you get to set your own prices and use your portfolio to match with their needs.
Dice is a career site that specialises in the tech industry. You can search for developer jobs through the site. Just add “freelance” to the front of whatever job title you search for to yield plenty of freelance roles.
You can also search for part time freelance programming jobs, or filter your search by contract work. The site also has a useful freelance programming salary predictor.
- Need to boost your programming skills? Why not take a look at some training platforms like LinkedIn Learning?
- Want some general freelance tips – how about a huge list of 50 of them?!
- Looking for other ways to find clients? This will help.
Michelle Lovrine Honeyager is a freelance writer who has written features for a number of consumer and industry print magazines, as well as stories for niche websites, digital lifestyle magazines and general news sites.