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[Start-it-up] How To Become a Freelance Web Developer If you are good at writing long lines of code and can use that skill to develop websites, the gig economy will let you earn without needing to get a 9-5 job.

By Debroop Roy

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Following the internet boom and now mobile phones getting into the hands of just about everyone, the need for web developers have grown exponentially. With so many different specializations out there when it comes to coding, every skilled web developer counts.

If you are good at writing long lines of code and can use that skill to develop websites, the gig economy will let you earn without needing to get a 9-5 job.

Who Is a Web Developer?

Quite simply, anyone who can build and maintain websites is a web developer. As technology has progressed and new innovations made, the job has continued to require more and more knowledge to stay relevant amid the competition that exists.

The Hows

You need to be aware of markup languages like HTML to be able to write web pages. If you have to take it up professionally, you need to keep experimenting, creating mockups and getting better at it.

As a web designer, you need to have the knowhow of two things: front end (which involves the end user interface and user experience), backend which has all the servers, databases, among other things. If you are good with both, you can offer full stack services.

To be a web developer, you need to be good with HTML, CSS and Javascript. HTML or hypertext markup language is one of the most frequently used front-end languages. It essentially gives the structure to the website. CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, basically makes the website look pretty considering only html would look pretty basic. Javascript is essential today as it would help you add dynamic elements such as interactives to your web pages.

There are other things to learn as well including SQL and PHP which would help you get more gigs as go along.

Not an absolute necessity but you should learn the basics of design to be able to build a good looking website for others. Since you would be responsible for the UI and UX, learning some of the Adobe tools will hold you in good stead.

Build a Portfolio

Once you are confident of your abilities, build a portfolio website for yourself. Make the website in itself a different experience, giving potential clients an idea of what you are capable of. Inside the website, use those experimentations from earlier to show them different skill sets, put those design skills to use as well.

There are plenty of websites such as freelancer and upwork where you can search for gigs and put up your skills. With each gig you get, make sure to get testimonials from those clients and show that as a validation of your skills to attract more clients.

Money Matters

Apart from the obvious investment into a fast computer system and internet connectivity, there isn't a lot of investment required for this. A good computer system can cost upwards of INR 70,000 while a good internet connection as little as INR 1,000 a month.

Apart from that, you would need to spend a bit on the Adobe tools. The full stack of products will cost about INR 3,500 a month in case of an annual plan. You might not need all of them, so you can pick and choose to reduce this expense.

In terms of earning, you can charge per project. As an amateur building a simple website, you can start off by charging upwards of INR 2,500 and increase the charge as you gain more experience and have a rich body of work to show.

Debroop Roy

Former Correspondent

Covering the start-up ecosystem in and around Bangalore. Formerly an energy reporter at Reuters. A film, cricket buff who also writes fiction on weekends.
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