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Jack Goodman
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Hello everyone! It's my first day and first topic in this forum.

Last month I'm thinking about cardinally change life and profession. I have been working in government financial (tax) sphere for 3 years. One month ago started to learn Web development. And it's exiting!

Maybe my thoughts looks a little bit strange, but I really want to give up my career (because I don't like my job)
and start a career as a programmer.

First time I think to start as a freelancer. To be a subcontractor of another programmers.

My question:
In perspective, is it possible to earn 20-24k $/year as a freelance programmer? Or freelance is for student who works for 300$/month ?

I very need your help and advices guys!!! Thanks a lot!!!
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Welcome! Income/salary is going to depend on where you live. Can you share what country you are from? And if a big country whether it is a more expensive city within the country?
 
Jack Goodman
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I'm from not big country in Europe. And here doesn't have good IT market. I'm oriented only to online market, is it possible to earn money by this way? If yes how much approximately?
Or it's a just dreams without real view?
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Online only is tough because you are competing with people from countries where the cost of living is tough. Also, you are starting without experience.

I recommend doing this as a side (evening/weekend) thing until you get more established.
 
Chris Barrett
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Hi Jack,

Welcome to the Ranch! I did something similar as you - I had a career in finance, but I loved technology, and just recently completed that transition to a software engineer with a major firm. I also worked part-time as a web developer while putting myself through night school to learn the skills.

In my experience, it is incredibly difficult to make money as an freelance web-developer. The barrier to entry is super low (a cheap computer, some understanding of HTML, CSS and WordPress). In addition to what Jeanne said, as a web developer with limited experience, you will also learn "exciting" terms like scope creep when dealing with clients. Scope creep killed my profitability all the time - I found myself agreeing to a "simple" build that I guessed (having had no experience) would take 10 or 15 hours for $500. I would also rush to build before having really locked the client down to a design (imagine building a house and then having the client say, "Yeah, that's not what I was thinking it would look like..."). Builds would often run 30 hours or more in length. And since I knew nothing about contracts, and didn't want to upset the client, etc... my hourly income was well below that of McDonald's. And the income is very intermittent.

What eventually worked for me was I started spending a lot of time on WordPress free support forums posting helpful solutions. That gave me a "portfolio" of solutions that highlighted my professionalism and ability to articulate with different types of users. I used that "portfolio" to approach some of the professional WordPress theme developers (you can find many WordPress commercial market sites if you search Google) to see if I could help in their support forums. These are generally private forums that the developers' paying clients use for support posting. Often developers are obligated under marketplace rules to provide support, but many freelance developers don't really want to do it. They were happy to "unload" the support under their watchful eye. I started doing that a few hours a day, which gave me a predictable income stream. As I got to know the theme developers, I was able to learn more and more, plus they became references when I finished school.

Not sure if that approach will work for you, but might be worth trying. Good luck!
 
Keith Nielsen
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What eventually worked for me was I started spending a lot of time on WordPress free support forums posting helpful solutions. That gave me a "portfolio" of solutions that highlighted my professionalism and ability to articulate with different types of users.


Good share Chris.


To OP, consider that you've built some skills in a specialist sector (financial/tax), and doing coding in this space will be where you bring things together -- implementing finance/tax solutions in code.  This is where you'll lift yourself up above the 50 BaJillion code-sweatshop workers.

Being able to sit down with a client, listen to their problems, solicit their pain-points (what they definately DON'T want!), carefully scoping their time/money budget, and then nailing down _exactly_ what will be delivered and, [most importantly] how you both can confirm that you've delivered it without wiggle-room (this means you get paid!).


Pure coders make crap wage unless they are rockstars... gonna take you 15+ years to get their... but people who know how to solve real-world problems in a specialist industry get paid nicely.  IMHO of course.


Cheers,
  Keith.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Welcome to the Ranch
 
Jack Goodman
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Thanks a lot for your questions!

I can't find normal free online courses about HTML/css. Can you recommend something please?

And can we communicate via Skype guys?
 
Chris Barrett
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Jack Goodman wrote:I can't find normal free online courses about HTML/css. Can you recommend something please?


Coursera offers many free university level courses - including HTML & CSS, such as: https://www.coursera.org/courses?languages=en&query=html
If you prefer setting your own pace, Code Academy offers free introduction courses: https://www.codecademy.com/learn/web
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
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