So, you wanna be a freelancer?

This is a talk I have given for Bitmaker students in 2015 and 2016.

I recently spoke at Bitmaker about being a freelance web developer.

Bitmaker runs a 9-week web development bootcamp in Toronto, Ontario. I was a part of their March 2015 cohort and graduated in May of the same year. Since graduating, I have been freelancing in Toronto as a web designer and developer using the skills I learned there.

As virgin programmers, Bitmaker alumni go out into the world after they graduate looking for full-time jobs. Some students get work right away, due either to these students exhibiting some sort of programmatic brilliance or to the practice observed by some technical arms of startups of hiring new developers in order to shape the way they program. The rest, unfortunately, struggle to find jobs right out of the gate. This is largely due to the fact that companies want developers with a bit of experience, and Bitmaker alumni do not have this experience when they are fresh out of the program. But how does a programmer gain experience when no company will take a chance on giving them their first one?

A good answer to this problem is to start freelancing. As long as potential clients can see you’re capable by looking at your previous projects (in the case of Bitmaker students these are the assignments they complete during the course), they will often happily go with a developer who hasn’t worked a lot already. While Bitmaker alunmni wait for this experience they need to accumulate, they have the option to freelance like this and build a portfolio for potential employers to look over in six months to a year, as well as many important skills associate with managing a small business.

My goal in giving this presentation was to make the idea of freelancing after a coding bootcamp to seem more plausible and less abstract by giving students some tips and tricks for getting started, as well as showing them what is involved in working for yourself. My hope is that it will ease some of the financial burden of doing a 9-week intensive course can bring upon alumni and that students will be able to say “Hello, World” confidently when they step out of school for the first time.

The slides from the presentation can be found here: