Freelancing and other programming odd job sites/tips

PrimeSteak

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Nov 7, 2020
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Hey guys, could anyone give me some tips on freelancing, getting odd jobs as an aspiring software developer?

My qualifications:
I don't have a qualification yet (I'm going to start studying next year via UNISA), I only have Matric (matriculated last year), a certificate from a MySQL course I did on Udemy and in 3 months a Professional Certificate in Computer Science for Web Development from Harvard I'm currently taking on Edx.

My experience:
I have some experience making desktop applications for Windows with Delphi (Thread related: https://mybroadband.co.za/forum/thr...-be-for-the-app-i-made.1121848/#post-26848602). I also have some minor experience with Python, SQL (including SQLite and MySQL), Flask, HTML, CSS and a tiny bit of JS.

I considered code mentoring high schoolers with Delphi but I eventually decided against it. Although I can help if someone struggles with certain topics/code, I can't necessarily teach it to them, you know?

My goal:
I want to have a side hustle to have some side income and cause I'm saving up for a new PC, lol. I also want to help out my parents when I can and get some more coding/software dev experience.

Thanks in advance for the advice!

Kind Regards
PrimeSteak
 

|tera|

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Honest advice.
Focus on your studies and job hunting.
Get working as soon as you can. Even if starting low money wise.

The experience and growth you will receive from working, far outweighs the reward of a few bucks here and there.

Focus. Learn. Build, remake and create as much as you can. Even if you don't make money through doing it. You are improving yourself and your skills. Start working and earn a decent salary with a range of benefits in a few years time.
 

PrimeSteak

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Honest advice.
Focus on your studies and job hunting.
Get working as soon as you can. Even if starting low money wise.
Don't worry, I will do that next year and onward, I just thought that if I could freelance (just until the end of the year) for time being, it would've been nice
Focus. Learn. Build, remake and create as much as you can.
I've been playing around with Python's vast array of libraries and so far, PySimpleGUI and Flask (even tho Flask also counts as a web framework) are my favourites so far... But yeah, I've been considering contributing to open-source as well, wish me luck.
 

|tera|

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Don't worry, I will do that next year and onward, I just thought that if I could freelance (just until the end of the year) for time being, it would've been nice

I've been playing around with Python's vast array of libraries and so far, PySimpleGUI and Flask (even tho Flask also counts as a web framework) are my favourites so far... But yeah, I've been considering contributing to open-source as well, wish me luck.
Possible, but not probable.
Freelancing on the web:
There are millions of freelancers. The market has expanded a lot and the competition is endless.

If you intend to make extra cash, I suggest doing it with people you actually know.
Work on projects that may benefit someone else, and give you a financial kickback.
There's no shortcut to success or to be financially independent. It takes work and time.

I'm speaking from experience.
 

PrimeSteak

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If you intend to make extra cash, I suggest doing it with people you actually know.
Work on projects that may benefit someone else, and give you a financial kickback.
There's no shortcut to success or to be financially independent. It takes work and time.
True. The problem is not everyone I know would want software/an app lol, but you make good points.
 

|tera|

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True. The problem is not everyone I know would want software/an app lol, but you make good points.
That's what you need to learn.
It's due to your lack of guidance, advice and knowledge that you don't have an idea. For anyone.

In future you will be involved in sales (pitches, consultation etc.)
Best to get in shape now ;)
 

Skankhunt

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It took me a while to get my foot in the door in the freelancing / contracting world, but it's definitely far from impossible and contrary to what most people think, it's highly sustainable.

Disclaimer: This is what worked for me. Some people say I'm lucky, but when I was just starting out, I would spend about 14 hours per day in front of my computer with goals in mind, so there's definitely a lot of hard work involved as well to get going.

What helped me land my initial clients, I built and launched quite a few side projects (building solutions to problems I'm having) in my free time and added them to my portfolio.
And more specifically, get involved on platforms like Product Hunt and become friends with other developers on Twitter, that way you will build an international network and grow from there. Once you become a word of mouth recommendation, you'll never even need to be interviewed again and you're not competing with those cheap guys on Upwork or Fiverr, who's got quantity over quality mentality.

Benefits are that it's all remote, you can have clients anywhere in the world (think USD and EUR wink wink) and per hour you can make a fair bit more than most corporate IT jobs in ZA. If you find the right clients, meetings are minimal and communication are fully async.

Disadvantages (just like running any business in the world), every month is different, business will be great, not that good, surviving, etc, but it becomes more stable as you become more experienced. You learn what works, what don't, what skills and technologies are in demand / trending, etc and learn new stuff on the fly.
You won't get benefits like pension and insurances, but if you're smart with your earnings it shouldn't make a difference.

Long term, many new tech companies are "employing" internationally. Although this will be contract/freelance based as there's no legal definition of cross border remote employment. Law hasn't caught up to this yet.
It's a growing trend and I suppose with the rise of remote work most companies will start looking for talent internationally instead of limiting themselves to a specific city or country.

See https://remoteok.io/ and https://www.nocsdegree.com/22-year-old-self-taught-web-developer-earns-15k-a-month-in-rural-austria/ for inspiration.

Hope this helps and let me know if you have any questions. :) I've been freelancing as a web dev full time since 2017 right after I finished studies in Economics / Business Administration. I'm a self-taught developer, it's my passion.
 
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SYNERGY

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It took me a while to get my foot in the door in the freelancing / contracting world, but it's definitely far from impossible and contrary to what most people think, it's highly sustainable.

/snip

^^ +1

I get work purely by referrals.

It works. Keep up-to date with the latest trends, produce quality work and people will come to you.

Just be aware that you can go for weeks without work to juggling multiple projects at same time. You have to know when to say no, or give an extended deadline.

It's also quite nice to be able to choose your clients. Clients from hell are super real and not worth dealing with.
 
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RedViking

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Freelancer.com
Cheap Labour

Make friends with Filipino's and Indians.

Start making money while gaining experience and connections.

Forget about the cheap labour platforms once you have made your connections.

Earn $€¥.

Build as many projects you can for your portfolio.
 

RedViking

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It took me a while to get my foot in the door in the freelancing / contracting world, but it's definitely far from impossible and contrary to what most people think, it's highly sustainable.

Although I am not a developer, a self proclaimed Architect of sorts, zero qualifications. I started freelancing straight after I left school more than a decade ago, borrowed someones iBurst. Have never done work for South Africa. Have never worked in an office. About 5 years ago I managed to start charging around 25-30 NZD on top of doing work full time for a cheap labour company in NZ. Just before lockdown I partnered with a Finish friend starting a company (registered in Estonia, check out e-residency) , quit the full time cheap labour and now doing consulting work for Architectural firms and developers world wide, mostly in New Zealand at the moment. Business is still young and growing but already paying 39% tax to government on top of 5 full time staff in various countries.


Over the years I have approached local architectural firms and asked if I can work for them, but if it was not race and gender restrictions or the excuse that they can get someone fresh from varsity, they where not interested. They have done me a huge favour.


There is almost no reason for you to work for South Africa, or worry about the job opportunities here, if you have internet, and the ability to build connections and just do it.
 
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PrimeSteak

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Long term, many new tech companies are "employing" internationally. Although this will be contract/freelance based as there's no legal definition of cross border remote employment. Law hasn't caught up to this yet.
It's a growing trend and I suppose with the rise of remote work most companies will start looking for talent internationally instead of limiting themselves to a specific city or country.
I noticed that with COVID, a lot of companies, higher education institutions, etc realised that doing things remotely is a lot better than they thought, so a lot of remote jobs, distance learning programs started popping up. I remember last year with the hard lockdown, my mom worked from home and she had a ball with it.
This was a great article, I must say.
Hope this helps and let me know if you have any questions. :) I've been freelancing as a web dev full time since 2017 right after I finished studies in Economics / Business Administration. I'm a self-taught developer, it's my passion.
I shall m8, could I dm you in future for any advice?
 

PrimeSteak

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^^ +1

I get work purely by referrals.

It works. Keep up-to date with the latest trends, produce quality work and people will come to you.

Do you guys think I should ask the head of the local dirt oval club I made software for, for a testimonial/referral possibly...? I'm also looking forward to September cause the head honchos of the national dirt oval association (who are part of Motorsport South Africa, there is another independent org that I need to mention at least) that the club is a part of is coming here, cause the national trials (they are called SAs) are being held here then and I hope I might be able to wow them with my software. It's the first and only software of its kind that I know of, so I think I should stand a chance of possibly successfully pitching it to them. The standard fare with scorekeeping is just using excel and typing everything in manually, which frustrated me, it was the catalyst for making the software anyway, lol.
 

PrimeSteak

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Freelancer.com
I'm already signed up there, lol
(registered in Estonia, check out e-residency)
I got those ads constantly on Instagram 2 weeks ago, lol.
race and gender restrictions
Everyone's favourite restrictions...
if you have internet, and the ability to build connections and just do it.
Am waiting for fibre (our suburb should be live by the start of June). I've considered posting in the jobs thread, other forums, something else to market myself and maybe strike it lucky and get an odd job.
 

SYNERGY

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Do you guys think I should ask the head of the local dirt oval club I made software for, for a testimonial/referral possibly...? I'm also looking forward to September cause the head honchos of the national dirt oval association (who are part of Motorsport South Africa, there is another independent org that I need to mention at least) that the club is a part of is coming here, cause the national trials (they are called SAs) are being held here then and I hope I might be able to wow them with my software. It's the first and only software of its kind that I know of, so I think I should stand a chance of possibly successfully pitching it to them. The standard fare with scorekeeping is just using excel and typing everything in manually, which frustrated me, it was the catalyst for making the software anyway, lol.

Go for it!

Sounds like you found a niche.

Create a snazzy presentation and have a demo available. Go network.
 

Cage Rattler

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Exploit the niche. Couple of years ago had a bit of free time and got involved in football data analysis. Ended up doing the player and game analysis for one of the English Premiership teams with a partner in Ireland. Currently helping with video analysis for a top Gaelic football side. Once you get in doors start opening if you know what you are doing.
 

Skankhunt

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Jun 1, 2007
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Exploit the niche.

I once read something that kinda made sense, "To become 'big', you have to start small and focused".
Not directly freelance/jobs related, but in the same book they implied, once you've found your niche, go even more niche.

I have a friend who's found his niche in the freelancing world, he optimises and refactors Ruby on Rails apps to run more efficiently, earns something in the $200-$300 per hour range.
 
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