While on premises permanent jobs may be easy to come by in some locations and impossible in others, freelancing online is something that does not need you to commute and suits the beginners a lot, specially where cost of living is lower and you can reach out to clients in high cost areas, making returns a lot more profitable. Things are not that easy as this sounds. After the initial learning curve, the biggest challenge a new freelancer faces is how to find work.
This is a dilemma both for the client and the freelancer that its hard to find the perfect match. There are often clients who look for low budget work where quality does not matter as much as the cost, lets call this type as Average Joe. Now Average Joe makes up a big percentage of the clients looking to find freelancers online. Average Joe also has a bad habit of getting distracted by a new idea and not focus on finishing one thing, often leading to non-payments.
Similarly there is a programmer who has little experience but wants to earn money, lets call him John Coder. John coder does not care much about the rate he gets as it takes him considerably long time to do anything that goes above a certain complexity.
Average Joe and John coder make up a good match with a learning curve and turn into the better counterparts over time.
Then there is the Super Architect, a great developer with higher expectations who would love to work for small and medium business or Pro clients.
Its often that the Super Architect cannot find anyone but the Average Joe. Similarly some Pro client cannot find anyone but a John coder. It gets quite messy when expectations don’t meet reality and we either see largely bloated apps with no structure, high maintenance cost and code with no bounds, or the case is a demotivated developer with not enough payment and lousy jobs that don’t add much to the experience.
The role of online portals providing the connection between the freelancer and the client is very important. There is a steady growth in this market and the portals themselves are earning a handy amount. Now there are quite a few which can be mentioned here but the important aspect is the approach. If a portal can successfully map the skills of the developer with the quality of a client, the portal will be very productive.
Having used a few of these, I find that most of the services available online do not do enough to provide the best match. For a client, there is often a huge clutter of bids with almost very little to chose between, clients can easily be confused and chose developers who have non-related experience, or are overly busy etc etc. Similarly for developers, the competition of price is quite devastating, often resulting in quality compromise at the hands of even the most experienced.
So far I have found one good portal in the name of toptal which seems to have an elaborate screening process, kind of a niche service only for the best. There should be more services like this one who put in their own hard work to help people get rated , categorized and matched. Even if they take a reasonable fee, both parties are at much more ease and peace of mind when they exactly know the capacity, capability, mindset and approach of the other.
The way they portray it, I feel eager to join their mobile app developers group and work on fresh ideas.