The Ultimate Freelance Software Engineer’s Career Development Plan

For the purposes of this post, the title of Software Engineer is not referred to in its capacity as a specialist one within the field of programming, but rather to represent pretty much every type of programmer that exists. So you could be a junior or senior developer of production applications or even something like a web designer/developer – and everything in between. The emphasis lies in the fact that you would have chosen to go the freelance route and we have the ultimate plan for the development of your career in that respect.

Start at the end

What exactly does this mean? Starting at the end of a freelance programmer’s career development trajectory simply means looking at what you’d like to have achieved right at the end of your career. When you think about retirement, which for a software engineer could come as quickly as one app being bought by a big corporation or raking in passive income, what comes to mind? Is it perhaps semi-retirement, where you dabble now and then in some software maintenance?

The ultimate element of what it means to start with the end in mind is to consider some big project you’d want to work on and I’m talking here really big. I’m referring to the likes of seeking to one day be able to say you’ve built your own Operating System, e-commerce platform, B2B production application suite, etc. It has to be that big.

To go through a few more examples, think along the lines of your own CMS blogging platform to rival the likes of WordPress, perhaps an image- or video-editing platform to rival the likes of Adobe’s suite, etc. It really has to be a big project that you would be dedicating the rest of your career to.

Acquiring the necessary skills

Now you go on your way to building that huge, life-long project, by first learning how to code in the language appropriate for that particular project. For instance the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) together with the likes of JavaScript libraries, HTML and CSS, would make for the most logical set of languages to learn if you wanted to build something like your own e-commerce platform as your identified lifelong project.

Start working on the project

So while you’re en route to one day launching your big project you’ve identified to work on, many opportunities will come your way. The most sought after freelancers in this field are those who already have some momentum going. So while you’re taking advantage of the next casino no deposit bonus as part of your typical coding down time, you might just notice some openings for developers who have the set of skills you’re diligently working on improving as part of your colossal project.

While earning some good money in this way, you will always be motivated to carry on working and honing your skills, even if there is no current work to speak of. So you win, whether or not you finally get to finish your identified lifelong project.