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How to Make Money in Software Development From Home

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

You know you're a software developer when someone asks what languages you know and you respond with C++, Javascript, PHP and Python. The Internet, programming frameworks and collaboration tools such as Git enable software developers to work from virtually anywhere. The hardest part of working from home as a software developer usually isn't finding work, it's making money. This can be particularly challenging when you're competing with bids in a global marketplace or working on a fixed rate and the number of hours you invest begin to rack up.

Freelance Broker Websites

There are many websites that broker different types of freelance services, including software development. Sign up for a site, create a profile that describes your education and experience, select the skills you have and post your picture. Search by category, skill or key words to identify the projects that require knowledge of a particular programming language that you're comfortable with or that require experience you have that other freelancers might not have, such as front-end design experience or back-end integration with a particular database.

Quoting a Fixed Fee

When a project requires a fixed fee, carefully read the information provided by the project sponsor to ensure you're qualified to perform the work and that you fully understand the scope of the project. If the description or specifications are not clear, post specific questions to the sponsor on the project page, but keep in mind that all bidders can view the questions you post. When you submit your proposal, be very specific about what you will deliver. For example, don't submit a proposal to create a website without defining the number of Web pages, the content management tool and whether the website will include functionality such as a shopping cart or payment gateway.

Bidding an Hourly Rate

When you bid an hourly rate, determine whether low cost or high quality is the sponsor's primary consideration by reviewing the project description and the sponsor's past projects. In most cases, the provider with the lowest cost will be located outside the United States in a country with a significantly lower wage scale. If there are several qualified freelancers bidding substantially lower than the rate you might propose, move on to other projects for which you are more uniquely qualified. If you choose to put in a higher bid, explain how your communication skills and command of the English language lower the risk that a sponsor will be surprised by additional fees because of miscommunication.

Using Craigslist

Craigslist is also a good source for software development opportunities for freelancers. Browse the job listings in "Web/Info Design," "Software/QA/DBA" and "Gigs-Computers." Companies that want to partner on an as-needed basis with software developers, often to create websites using WordPress or a similar content management tool, frequently post ads on the site. Companies also post ads when they're looking for both full-time and part-time software developers who will work virtually. Create a portfolio that showcases the websites you've designed, tools you've developed or software you've created to showcase your talent to prospective employers.