How Much Does a Freelance Programmer Earn

Freelancers' work is often associated with the stereotype of small and precarious earnings

How Much Does a Freelance Programmer Earn

Oksana Korotich

09.11.2021 | 05:01



It is believed that a person without official employment cannot have a high income capable of providing a comfortable standard of living. But, is this so, how much does a freelance programmer earn, and what affects his income — find out at the job search site Login Casino Work.

This article contains all relevant information about making money via the Internet for beginners and experienced developers. After reviewing the information below, you can determine how much a freelance programmer earns, whether it is worth switching to freelancing, and if so, when and under what conditions.

What Determines the Income of a Freelance Programmer

There are many reasons to go freelancing. Someone does not like to work in the office; someone does not see the point in wasting time on the daily trip back and forth; for someone, it can be family circumstances.

If you decide to work remotely as a programmer, you need to think about creating conditions that will help you not just to survive by small orders but to regularly find good customers who can provide you with a decent income.

To begin with, let's determine what factors affect how much a freelance web developer earns and how to organize your working time usefully.

  1. Reputation. Novice freelancers with a zero reputation on specialized sites are unlikely to be immediately entrusted with a large order with good pay. Be ready for the fact that at first, you will have to work for the minimum wage until you have an established reputation and feedback from established clients about your conscientious and high-quality work.
  2. Professionalism. Those with experience, enough knowledge, and skills to quickly and effectively cope with the tasks set make fewer mistakes. Accordingly, it takes them less time to correct errors and more time to complete orders; therefore, they can earn more.
  3. The direction of activity. Programming today is a fairly broad concept. The people in this profession can work on the websites creation, software, and applications for mobile phones. Each direction uses its programming language. The more complex the law, the higher the pay.
  4. Ability to organize your work time. Perhaps this is the main difficulty that every novice freelancer faces. To make money from remote work, you need to be able to allocate your time effectively. If the office has management that controls the workflow, then freelancing means that you are boss for yourself. Indeed, you have to force yourself and motivate yourself sometimes, but this ability is worth it.
  5. Persistence. Remember that a freelance programmer is also a natural person who may have a bad mood, failures in their personal life, a quarrel with a customer, etc. This should not stop you from striving to achieve your goal. If you want to earn more remotely — be persistent, show perseverance in your work, and everything will work out.

What Income Can a Novice Developer Expect

Once you take the first step and register on one of the freelancer resources, you need to determine the amount of payment for your work per hour.

As a rule, the programmers show the rate on most specialized resources and how much a freelancer earns. However, most novice remote workers start with the rate they had at their principal place of work.

A fairly common practice is when an employed specialist takes orders for freelance, gradually increasing the rate. Thus, you can assess the possibility of switching to this activity without loss in the earnings.

Although in reality, most developers on specialized resources work for a minimum wage, which today is less than $ 5 per hour. As a rule, these are specialists without work experience or those who are satisfied with such an income, and they have been working for years without boosting their professionalism.

What Can Go Wrong? Official work in the company gives the employee financial security for those periods when there are no active orders. During this time, you can take a paid vacation and not worry about finances.

As for freelancing, no one will pay you for breaks in work, so when calculating the rate, you should take this moment into account and calculate the rate taking into account the need to form some kind of financial cushion in case of long breaks in orders.

How to Get Ahead of Competitors

Let's say you started with the minimum bid, worked for a while, and are ready to increase the rate. At the same time, you are already moving to a new level, where programmers earn from 5 to 10 dollars per hour.

It is more difficult to compete with such market representatives since they can demonstrate their professionalism to the customer, and the experience gained earlier allows them to speak the same language with the customer.

What to do, how to successfully compete with more experienced colleagues, and how much do freelance programmers with serious experience earn? Take advantage of a few tips from those who have already walked this path before:

Read more: What a Beginner Programmer Should Know

  • Regular training and professional development. The field of information technology is one of the fastest-growing. It's simply impossible to achieve success in it without regular professional development. This also applies to freelancing. Wanna earn more and be better than your competitors? Then it's worth keeping abreast of updates coming to the market, new development tools, etc. All this can help you become more efficient and then more successful than your competitors.
  • Increasing the speed of order completion. Very often, the customer needs his order "for yesterday." Therefore, those specialists who can complete the work faster than others are highly valued. Without loss of quality, of course.
  • Improving the quality of work. This advice is closely related to the first one. If you improve your professional level regularly, then the quality of your assignment will be at a high level.

It can be difficult for a novice freelancer to immediately assess how much an average freelance programmer earns and determine his level and rate, which he can claim at the beginning of his career. To "price the price," you should go through the freelance exchanges and look at the portfolio of competitors.

Estimate whether you can do such work and how long it will take to complete this or that task. If you feel confident, then it's worth a try. For example, take a small order that will take a couple of hours a day.

Moving to a More Responsible Level and Raising the Stakes

To start in a niche where programmers work at a rate of about $ 20 per hour, you need to match their level. There is little competition here, and it is quite easy to find a project if you can prove your professionalism to the customer.

As a rule, specialists working at such a rate are extremely responsible for their projects. Work on orders corresponds to their own goals and beliefs.

After the rate of 20-25 dollars per hour, there is practically no competition. Only those professionals who have proven themselves well can reach this level of earnings. Customers trust them and highly appreciate their work.

When Is It Profitable to Completely Switch to Freelancing and What to Write in the Section About Yourself

Finding a company that pays a programmer more than $25 an hour is quite difficult in our country? If you managed to achieve such results in freelancing, you could completely switch to this type of employment. Or look for a job in Silicon Valley. At this level, it is quite difficult to update the resume on time; there is not enough time for this. There are a few important things to keep in mind when updating data:

  • It is possible and necessary to praise yourself but to overpraise is not. Make sure that the information in your resume is accurate. If you are caught lying, you can ruin your reputation and come into conflict with the customer. This situation can negatively affect your future career.
  • Don't classify yourself as an expert in technology if you've just started learning it. But if you already feel confident enough, then you can say to yourself that you are a knowledgeable specialist.
  • The availability of information about changing technologies will be a plus. This means that you can quickly switch and understand in several directions.

How Much Does a Freelance Programmer Earn on Average

What specialists are most in-demand, and what income can you expect when switching to freelancing? The active development of information technology and the global pandemic of 2019-2020 brought a lot of specialists to the freelance market.

Many of them do not tend to return to the office, preferring a remote work format. Both employers and professionals themselves have experienced that such cooperation can be mutually beneficial.

So, how much does a freelance programmer earn, who earns the most on the freelance exchange today, and in which direction to develop in order to earn more? The job search site Login Casino Work, after conducting research on various freelance exchanges, brought out the following statistics.


Average monthly income, UAH

Web development, layout

до $1 000

Mobile Application Development

$500 -  $1 000v

System administration

до $500

These are the most demanded areas where it will be enough for a novice developer to simply get his first order and start a career.

There are many popular areas in the IT field. This is testing and directly, programming and DevOps. Despite the fact that salaries are constantly growing, the question of how much a freelance programmer earns depends on the direction and current situation in the market.

Programming positions

Average salary in USD







QA Engeneer







Research Engineer







Software Engineer














Technical Lead







System Architect







Salaries also depend on the level of the specialist (junior, middle or senior) and on the region where the company is located.

What Determines the Rate (Rate per Hour of Work) On Exchanges

Looking through offers from various specialists on the freelance exchange, you can notice the dependence of the rate on the following factors:

  • The ambition of a specialist is the ability to present oneself. It is important that real skills and abilities stand behind these ambitions. The ability to realistically assess your capabilities and set an objective cost for your services is very important. If the quality of the work performed does not match the cost, then this may affect your reputation.
  • Customer. For the same work, different customers can pay different amounts. Therefore, often our programmers are guided by Western employers who have the opportunity to pay a higher rate. To do this, you need to know English at a level sufficient to understand the client.
  • Technologies and industries. Specialists who are proficient in rare technologies are paid higher.

It should also be taken into account that the exchange rate depends on the rating. Moreover, at the very beginning of your career, you will have to take on small orders and sometimes risk not being paid. This is how the famous Ukrainian programmer and blogger Dima Maleev, who also knows what freelancing is and how to work on it, says about it:

"Indeed, sometimes it is very difficult to start. Especially if you go to some resources like UpWork, Freelance, or some others... simply because your rate depends on the rating. Therefore, to begin with, you will have to stuff: you will have a lot of all kinds of work for 5 bucks ... you may or may not be fired ... but you will work for nothing. Here you have to prove all the time that you can really do something. However, you will learn a really cool skill: selling yourself. Because selling yourself for a freelancer is almost everything.”

More About Technologies

It is logical that those who own rare technologies earn more since there is less competition, and a programmer can put a high rate. However, do not forget about the experience and professionalism of a specialist.

It is generally accepted that a PHP programmer earns little. However, if you indicate in your profile that you have years of work behind you and you thoroughly know the technology, then you can count on receiving orders at the appropriate rate. The question of how much a freelance programmer earns depends on how much he is an expert in his industry; then, you will always have a well-paid job.

As another example, WordPress is considered a technology for beginner programmers, and you usually don't expect high stakes here. However, there are a lot of mediocre freelancers on the market and very few experts who are well versed in all the intricacies of technology. So, even working with the simplest technologies, you can earn good money if you know your business well.

The Subtleties of Rate Formation and How It Is Related to Technologies

As we have already said, it is not so important what technology you work with. It is much more important what kind of specialist you are. For freelancing, it is beneficial to be a professional in your field, to know and be able to do more than competitors. Therefore, regular improvement of their skills is mandatory.

What difficulty can arise if you are a highly skilled specialist in simple technologies?

The main problem is that not all employers are willing to pay more for the professionalism and experience of a developer. The competition is high; you can always find a contractor for a smaller amount. Therefore, customers with a limited budget mainly turn to less experienced but cheaper specialists.

Freelancing a Ruby programmer can earn quite a lot even with low work experience, more than a Java programmer who has more than one successful project under his belt.

There was a time when mobile application developers were critically lacking, and such specialists were highly valued. The market began to fill with labor and the cost of an hour of work for beginners decreased.

It is important for a freelancer to keep abreast of changing trends on a regular basis. It's good if you own several technologies and can switch. At the same time, you should not launch a direction already familiar to you. By deepening your knowledge in one and simultaneously studying new products, you can increase your earnings and the number of orders.

Every Freelance Programmer Is a Bit of a Businessman Himself

When working in an office for a specific employer, a developer doesn't have to worry about finding clients. The programmer just does the job; other people do the rest. With the transition to freelancing, the task of finding a customer falls on your shoulders.

It is no longer enough to be just a high-class developer. To earn a lot, you will need to activate your entrepreneurial spirit and become your own sales manager, marketer, and team leader. In the process, you will have to:

  • analyze the market and look for customers
  • negotiate, be able to work with objections;
  • be able to prove to a potential client why it is more profitable for him to work with you than with competitors (who also have a lower price);
  • to form a technical task based on the requirements of the client;
  • prepare reports for the customer and report on the work performed in a timely manner;
  • much more.

Read more: What a Beginner Programmer Should Know

You will have to learn to understand the client not only as a developer but also as a businessman. It is necessary to learn to look at the task through the eyes of the customer, to be able to explain to him why this or that task cannot be completed, or it can be done, but with great time costs, etc.

Pros and Cons of Working as a Freelance Programmer

If we have already started talking about the work of freelance programmers, it is worth mentioning the pros and cons of such an activity.

Understanding the possible prospects and difficulties will help you decide whether it is worth starting this path today or, perhaps, you need more time to learn and practice. Choose for yourself remote work as the main employment or as an additional income.



Work for yourself, with no dependence on management.

You have to motivate yourself and devote more time to time management.

You can create a convenient schedule for yourself and choose the mode of operation.

Irregular working hours.

The amount of income depends only on personal skills.

Uneven load distribution. There may be periods when there is a lot of work, and you have to work almost around the clock, but there are periods of calm.

Can work with multiple clients at once.

Often there is no way to clearly predict future income, or plan a budget.

Work from home.

No paid vacation and social guarantees.

Freelance work can be quite lucrative and tempting. The main thing that attracts young people to this type of employment is freedom of movement. You don't have to limit your work to your own home. Programmers who have adapted to this type of activity have regular and well-paid orders and can work from anywhere in the world. But before that, you will need to gain experience and acquire skills that will allow you to work at a high rate and earn as much as a freelance programmer with a good rating earns.

Regular training in new tools, programming languages, and methods that are used in development will help a novice specialist gradually increase his rate level and earn enough to completely switch to freelancing.

Don't forget to learn and practice English. Today, all programming languages are based on it. All technical documentation on projects and developed software is in English. Reading books and watching films in the original will help you better know not only technical terms but also understand a foreign customer during negotiations.

Where to Look for a Job as a Freelance Programmer

Mostly, specialized sites are used to search for work in this form of employment, for example,,,,, and

They are already well known to programmers from different countries. However, you should not limit yourself to only such resources. With the legalization of the gambling business, a lot of other opportunities and employers have appeared who will be happy to offer their cooperation to young, ambitious, and promising employees, as well as those whose experience will help improve the work of the entire field.

One of these platforms was the job search site Login Casino Work. In addition to posting a resume, here you can find a lot of useful information on how to write a resume if you have no experience, how to prepare for an interview, how to write a cover letter, how much a freelance programmer earns, etc.

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