In this blog post, we take a look at the three major categories of freelance websites and the top 7 websites for finding freelance coding jobs.
The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of remote work culture, and businesses around the world are shifting to a flexible workforce to stay agile. Hence, several developers are transitioning from full-time jobs to freelance coding.
However, freelancing is a challenging career choice. It definitely has the advantages of greater flexibility, work-life balance, as well as the freedom to work on exciting projects from beautiful locations. Yet, working remotely can also be tough with one having to tackle loneliness and fatigue. Of course, there are well-documented ways to address such remote working challenges.
With an understanding of this context and by picking the necessary skills to overcome the challenges, you can build a very rewarding career in freelance coding. But starting your career as a freelance coder can be daunting. The sheer noise in the market and high competition makes it hard to get a steady stream of freelance projects.
So let’s take a look at some of the best places where you can find quality freelance jobs online and get hired by top companies.
Generally, freelance coding sites can be grouped into three broad categories:
- Job boards
- Freelance marketplaces
- Vetted tech talent networks
Let’s go through them in detail.
1. Job Boards
Job boards represent the lowest barriers to entry, as apart from basic form fills, they seldom have any screening process for freelancers.
These websites update their job feeds with new jobs added every day. Generally, they also provide ample information about the role, clear job descriptions, and contact details of the employer. Further, most such sites also verify companies and the jobs they post.
Freelance coders can browse the sites for job listings, and sort and filter them according to location, salary, etc. This includes filtering for contract roles only as many jobs are for full-time positions. If a job stands out, freelancers can either apply directly via the job board or through email or third-party HR sites.
- We Work Remotely is the self-proclaimed ‘largest remote work community in the world’
- According to its website, it gets over 2.5 million visitors each month
- The site lists remote-only jobs across 8 verticals – including freelance coding, design, and product management
- Coding jobs are the site’s specialty and around 5-10 jobs are posted each day
- Some of the most exciting and fast-growing tech startups post jobs on We Work Remotely
- However, some freelancers located outside the Americas and Europe can find it tough to get jobs, as most of the companies who list jobs on We Work Remotely have a preference for hiring only from the same time zones as developed markets
- In addition to jobs, the platform offers several resources for freelance coders, like a Slack group, blog, forums, guides, and even a podcast
- Remote OK is very similar to We Work Remotely
- In addition to tech, design, and marketing roles, it offers remote-only jobs in non-tech and customer support roles
- Jobs are easy to browse, and the site also provides a ‘verified’ tag for jobs which have been vetted
- Like We Work Remotely, this site too has freelance coding jobs from top tech firms and is more popular among EU-based tech companies
- The platform also curates a ‘top remote companies’ list for job seekers
- Hubstaff Talent differs from other job boards, in that it allows potential employers to browse freelancers’ profiles without them applying
- Once they create a profile, freelance coders can be contacted directly by interested clients, and can also browse jobs posted by companies
- There is no manual vetting to determine a coder’s quality
- It is a free service for both employers and freelancers
- The lack of additional features makes Hubstaff Talent a less-ideal solution to hire quality, pre-vetted freelance coders
If you couldn't find a suitable job on the above methods websites, you could consider searching on Jooble. However, not all their job postings are remote.
2. Freelance marketplaces
Pure freelance marketplaces share similarities with traditional job boards. Their users can browse lists of jobs posted by companies on the platform, and apply to the ones they like. However, unlike job boards, freelance marketplaces typically work on a bidding system; i.e., freelancers are required to submit ‘bids’ (quotes) to the employer stating their rates to find freelance jobs online.
The employer can then evaluate freelancers who’ve bid on the project and select the right candidate. Typically, the freelancer who has bid the lowest amount has the highest chance of converting the job.
By depending on the market to set the price, the bidding system fails to assign a fair value for freelancers’ services. Great freelance coders are often forced to lower their rates to land projects – and for the employers, a lower rate rarely translates to genuine quality.
- Upwork is one of the largest and most popular freelance marketplaces
- The platform caters to 50+ categories of freelance jobs
- It doesn’t have a serious vetting process, and hence employers are required to conduct their own screening when they’re evaluating freelance coders
- Upwork displays ratings and reviews on a freelancer’s profile to help employers
- However, these ratings and reviews can’t be relied upon entirely, as they are easy to manipulate
- Upwork’s focus is on volume and affordability rather than quality
- It can be frustrating for freelancers if they get stuck with an unreliable client
- Freelance coders have to pay Upwork for each job they apply to
- Read our in-depth Upwork review here
3. Vetted tech talent networks
Vetted talent networks focus on preserving the quality of both freelancers and clients on their platform. Hence, they conduct stringent screening of freelancers and employers.
Freelance coders have to go through a multi-stage vetting process. This typically consists of an initial profile review, technical interviews, and coding tests to determine their technical proficiency. Further, the screening also includes tests for communication skills and other key soft skills.
All in all, these insights allow the networks to gain a thorough understanding of a freelance coder’s previous experience, skillset, and proficiency in remote working. This in turn helps them match freelancers to the right projects.
Additionally, they have a dedicated support team to take care of other ancillary tasks related to freelance coding – like invoicing, contracts, and troubleshooting throughout the length of the project. This allows the freelancers to focus wholly on core development work.
- Flexiple is a premium tech talent network with a community of the top 1% freelance developers and designers
- Flexiple’s highly flexible hiring solution can be tailored to suit very specific requirements, be it a bootstrapped start-up or an MNC
- It has a rigorous screening process to ensure the quality of freelance coders
- Most importantly, the screening process is asynchronous; i.e., freelancers can complete steps in the process only when there is a requirement that matches their skillset
- Flexiple has a dedicated support manager for round-the-clock support throughout the engagement
- Established in 2010, Toptal is the freelance tech talent industry’s leader
- It provides freelance developers, designers, product managers, and financial consultants
- Toptal has a large community of quality coders
- However, it has a long, rigorous screening process
- Due to high competition on the platform, freelancers sometimes struggle to get projects, even after spending considerable time in its drawn-out screening process
- Toptal is known for charging high commission rates from its customers, sometimes charging 2x the freelancers’ rate
- Read our in-depth Toptal review here
- Arc.dev started out as CodementorX, a mentoring platform for coders to seek and obtain professional help on coding problems and skill improvement
- The platform recently re-branded and introduced a tech hiring solution
- Like Toptal, Arc has a stringent vetting process that uses high-caliber assessment tools to ensure the quality of coders
- Arc’s hiring solution is more flexible and affordable than Toptal’s
- In addition to freelance coders, Arc also offers employers the option to hire full-time coders on a permanent basis
In conclusion, when you’re starting out, it is important to try out the different sites that offer freelance jobs online, and test the different sources of freelance coding projects before settling on what works best for you.
When you begin freelancing, you most likely would have set financial goals – like an earnings target – for yourself. To generate a steady stream of income and meet those goals, you’ll have to ensure that your pipeline of projects doesn’t run dry. Hence, you should look to pursue multiple sources for projects instead of relying heavily on one.
Online freelance websites, because of their convenience and efficacy, are the best places to find freelance coding jobs, but you could also try other non-conventional methods.
So what’s next? After you get the job, how do you ensure that everything goes on smoothly? In the next two blogs, we cover just this - how to make sure you get paid, and an easy invoicing guide to help you.