André, one of my early students at my “Coffee Break Python” email series, asked me the following question:
“How much do I have to learn to become a Python freelancer?”
My answer is very simple: start right away — no matter your current skill level.
But I know that for many Python coders just starting out, it’s very difficult to start right away. Why? Because they don’t have the confidence, yet, to start taking on projects.
And the reason is that they never have quite finished a Python project — and, of course, they are full of doubts and low self-esteem. They fear not being able to finish through with the freelancer project and earn the criticism of their clients.
If you have to overcome this fear first, then I would recommend that you start doing some archived freelancer projects. I always recommend a great resource where you can find these archived freelancer projects (at Freelancer.com). On this resource, you’ll find not only a few but all the freelancer projects in different areas — such as Python, data science, and machine learning — that have ever been published at the Freelancer.com platform. There are thousands of such projects.
Unfortunately, many projects published there are crappy and it’ll take a lot of time finding suitable projects. To relieve you from this burden, I have compiled a list of 10 suitable Python projects (and published a blog article about that) which you can start doing today to improve your skill level and gain some confidence. Real freelancers have earned real money solving these projects — so they are as practical as they can be.
I recommend that you invest 70% of your learning time finishing these projects. First, you select the project. Second, you finish this project. No matter your current skill level. Even if you are a complete beginner then it will just take you weeks to finish the project which earned the freelancer 20 dollars. So what? Then you have worked weeks to earn $20 (which you would have invested for learning anyways) and you have improved your skill level a lot. But now you know you can solve the freelancer project.
The next projects will be much easier then. This time, it’ll take you not weeks but a week to finish a similar project. And the next project will take you only three days. And this is how your hourly rate increases exponentially in the beginning until you reach some convergence and your hourly rate flattens out. At this point, it’s important that you specialize even further. Select the skills that interest you and focus on those skills first. Always play your strengths.
So my answer to this question is: start early, start now.
If you need some more confidence then go read my article about the 10 practical Python freelancer projects, select one, and finish your first project yourself. This way, your learning will always be as practical as it can be.
If you want to know how much you can earn and get the overall picture of the state of Python freelancing in 2019, then check out my free webinar: How to earn $3000/M as a Python freelancer. It’ll take you only 30-40 minutes and I’ll explain you in detail the state of the art in freelancing, future outlooks and hot skills, and how much you can earn compared to employees and other professions.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Tell me by commenting below. If not, also comment and ask me your question: about which topic in the Python space do you want to learn?
While working as a researcher in distributed systems, Dr. Christian Mayer found his love for teaching computer science students.
To help students reach higher levels of Python success, he founded the programming education website Finxter.com. He’s author of the popular programming book Python One-Liners (NoStarch 2020), coauthor of the Coffee Break Python series of self-published books, computer science enthusiast, freelancer, and owner of one of the top 10 largest Python blogs worldwide.
His passions are writing, reading, and coding. But his greatest passion is to serve aspiring coders through Finxter and help them to boost their skills. You can join his free email academy here.