Python development freelancing can include contract, part-time, and temporary work, although some freelance positions become more or less permanent. Depending on your goals, experience, and desired income level, freelancing can be your primary goal or something you do to subsidize your regular income.
Customer-to-customer (C2C) freelance work is among the most popular. Here a third-party platform like Craigslist or Fiverr matches a seller of products or services with a buyer. Whereas you might use these for some products and services, the chances of finding freelance gigs that pay well through these platforms are slim.
A job board search is a much better approach. LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, and Indeed are a few of the best examples, but you can find many others. Use the word "freelance" in your search to winnow out some of the permanent roles.
While not for everyone, freelancing can be a great way to make a living. Read on to learn more.
What is a Python Developer?
Python Developers are tech professionals who can work on websites, software, games, or digital applications. Unlike some career tracks, those who fit the requirements of Python Developer often hold alternate titles; these can include Web Developer, Back End Developer, and Database Engineer, to name a few. Therefore, while most of these tech pros know tools like Django, SQL, and Git, not all Python development positions require the same skill set.
Responsibilities for Python Developers vary by industry as well as position. Some have to implement and maintain cybersecurity or integrate data storage solutions, while others mainly design and integrate front end elements with back end applications. Additional responsibilities can include web scraping, automation testing, and data visualization. Check online job postings for detailed lists of industry-specific Python development skills and responsibilities.
Read more about what a Python Developer does.
What is Python Development Freelancing Like?
Freelancers in Python development need to consider many aspects of their work. Running a business differs from a direct employee position in several crucial ways. As President/CEO of your freelance company, you will need a website, a tax ID number, and other considerations. You will also likely need to contract tasks out to other freelancers like yourself for work you cannot do or don't have time to do.
- Choose Your Business Structure - Many new freelancers think they can do a few side jobs without changing their tax status. However, new tax laws require companies like eBay to report earned income over $600 to the IRS. If you plan to make more than that, either full-time or part-time, you need to decide on your business structure. Typical freelancer choices include LLC (limited liability company), sole proprietorship, and corporation.
- Find Freelance Work - The type of freelance gigs you pursue depends on your experience level, availability, and whether you already have a job. Full-time freelancers often choose different lengths of projects, from ongoing part-time work to contract work that runs six months or less. You can start with gigs on LinkedIn or Indeed, and you can also leverage your network for referrals, if possible.
- Negotiate Contracts - Contract negotiation is a specialized skill you may or may not already have as you start your freelance career. While some contracts will be open to negotiation, others state a take-it-or-leave-it stance, including pay rates. Clients may also ask you to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement), an essential consideration if you think you might later seek full-time work.
- How to Communicate with Clients: Best Practices - Every client has representatives who will serve as your contact point. Some are sole proprietorships, while others may have an Administrative Assistant or Human Resources Manager who communicates with you. Best practices for communication typically involve meeting clients where they are: if their preferred method of contact is instant message or email, stick to that. They will appreciate it when you feel like one of the team as opposed to just another vendor.
Is Python Development Freelancing Right for Me?
There are only two ways to decide if freelancing is for you: try it part-time, or take a sink-or-swim approach and dive right in.
The temperament you need to succeed as a freelance Python Developer is independence and entrepreneurship. If you must support yourself on your income alone, you might need to test the freelance waters part-time. You will benefit from learning without too much risk. However, you won't know whether you can make it full-time unless you try to do it.
While launching a full-time freelance career carries obvious risk, it also quickly shows those who attempt it whether or not they can succeed. Once you take ownership of your entire business—including filing paperwork as an LLC or corporation—the thrill of running the show may outweigh any downside associated with long hours or concerns about making it work.
Steps to Become a Freelance Python Developer
Determine Your Path
Determining your Python Developer path means you will target a specific role before you seek formal training. Because so many Python development pros hold different titles like Software Engineer or Game Developer, you should research the job you desire within your current field.
If you are beginning with no Python experience, you may or may not want to level up from a current role. Your path may also depend on personal considerations like availability, budget, and whether you are willing to relocate for the perfect position. Research Python-related job listings to get started.
Learn Python Development Skills
Python development skills also vary by industry, company, and the particular role you seek. Once you have done enough research to plan your path, you should know which skills you will need to learn or expand.
Most Python novices start by reviewing some free online webinars or tutorials, like the free Intro to Python Fundamentals seminar from Noble Desktop. This one-hour video is the perfect introduction to Python and includes information about Python development and data science.
One essential skill for Developers and Data Scientists is Structured Query Language (SQL). Most Python roles require it. If your path includes SQL, check out the free Intro to SQL seminar from Noble Desktop next.
Additional Python development skills can include:
- Django/Django REST
If you train to become a Python Developer, an essential aspect of your education will be hands-on experience. Reading articles or watching webinars can help orient you, but nothing can substitute for the experience of completing your first portfolio project.
How you create and run your first Python project will depend on your experience level. If you know how to code in another programming language, you might already know what you want to do. If not, search online for "Python projects for beginners" or "first Python project" to get a better idea. Beginner projects can include anything from password generators to simple games like Tic-Tac-Toe or hangman.
One of the best ways to get comprehensive Python training is through a bootcamp or certificate. These in-depth programs typically include Python as part of a broader development or data science program.
To learn more about the benefits of live online or in-person Python learning, check out Python classes in your area with the Classes Near Me search tool from Noble Desktop. Here you'll find Python-centered bootcamps and certificate programs, some all-inclusive and others focusing on specific areas like FinTech, machine learning (ML), or automation.
Build A Professional Portfolio
Completing portfolio projects is one of the essential steps you need to take on your Python development path. A professional-level portfolio can even help you land an entry-level position whether or not you have a computer science degree.
Portfolio-building is a primary component of certificate programs like the Python Developer Certificate from Noble Desktop. You may already have built a project or two on your own, but portfolio-building under the guidance of an expert instructor is much more valuable.
In certificate programs like this, you will build multiple professional-level projects and have access to 1-on-1 mentoring sessions outside of class. Your instructor can provide a portfolio review, keep you on track with your goals, and offer priceless career advice.
If you aren't yet ready to commit to a full-length certificate program, you can still build portfolio projects under guidance through a course like Noble's Python Programming Bootcamp. However, students can save by taking the Python Programming Bootcamp as part of the more comprehensive Python Developer Certificate, which pairs the Programming Bootcamp with a Python Web Development with Django course.
Whatever your path, your portfolio will travel with you from company to company or job to job if you continue to work for the same organization. An impressive portfolio of projects can open doors throughout your Python development career.
Make Industry Connections
Making industry connections might not seem like a step you can take before you start a job search, but it can be much easier than you think.
Python's massive international support community assures novices and experienced development pros that help is never more than a mouse click away. You can make connections in your industry of choice by participating in online chats, joining Python's open Slack team (PySlackers), and attending conferences.
Your Python training program can provide another source of connections, depending on your fellow bootcamp or certificate participants. Many bootcamp instructors offer 1-on-1 mentoring to their students, including direction on the best resources for making industry connections.
Consider broader sources, too. Networking groups like Business Network International (BNI), the Business Referral Exchange (BRE), or your local Chamber of Commerce may be ideal for connections in your industry. You may also find other resources through LinkedIn, MeetUp, or Eventbrite.
If you already work in your desired industry, your company may connect with other professionals who can help you meet your goals. If not, the abovementioned resources should give you avenues to reach a diverse group of industry connections who can offer help on your Python development journey.
Begin Your Job Search
You chose a path and learned fundamental Python development skills. Once you completed your first beginner-level Python projects, you began building a professional portfolio through comprehensive training in a Python certificate program. Thanks to your growing network, you've created a solid network of industry professionals from various sources.
Now you have another challenging task: finding the best position to meet your interests and skill set.
Your certificate program instructor may have guided your job search, and your industry connections also may have led to applications at appropriate companies. If not, it's time to go back to the job boards.
In your initial research to determine a path, you most likely searched Python-related job listings. With your new knowledge and experience, you can find many more relevant listings than before. Consider looking for titles other than Python Developer, Web Developer, or Game Developer, like:
- Back End Developer
- Full Stack Developer
- Database Engineer
- Software Engineer
- Quality Assurance Engineer
- Software Designer & Developer
- Systems Developer
Not every position will be a match. But if you have done your homework, mastered Python skills, and built a strong portfolio, you can find excellent opportunities within your industry.
Learn Business Skills
As a Python Developer, you can work in web, game, or application development, including audio and video applications. As a freelancer, you will need all the skills of a Python Developer plus the skills required for running your own business.
These can include, but are not limited to:
- Marketing the business
- Finance and contract law
- Web design
- Social media marketing
Even if you plan to contract consultants to help run your small business, you should have a basic understanding of these areas to understand what kind of outsourcing you need to support your freelance work. Consider hiring a CPA to do your annual taxes and having a person available to maintain and update your website.
Learn the Skills to Become a Python Developer at Noble Desktop
To become a Python Developer, everyone needs a range of skills and knowledge. Most people start with basics, like functions, variables, and the principles of object-oriented programming (OOP). Progressing to a development role also can include additional server-side languages like React (JSX), machine learning algorithms, and object-relational mapping (ORM).
Noble Desktop offers a range of online and in-person Python classes and bootcamps for development, data science and analytics, FinTech, and cybersecurity. Instructors with practical expertise teach these programs, which feature small class sizes to ensure individual attention. Each graduate receives a certificate of completion and can even retake the course for up to one year at no additional charge.
Many Python novices review some free online resources to prepare for one of these courses. Noble Desktop’s Learn Hub includes a comprehensive guide to learning Python for development or data-centered roles. Here you can check out free on-demand courses and tutorials on topics like exchanging Excel for Python and making a Twitter bot with Python.
If you’re new to Python training, you might want to start with an immersive course like Noble’s Python Programming Bootcamp. However, you can also save by taking this bootcamp as part of their immersive Python Developer Certificate. This program provides Python fundamentals before taking participants through in-demand tools like Django REST, Git, and SQL. Check course listings for more details, including prerequisite information.