If you are a Java developer or want to become one, the good news is that your services are currently in high demand. While you can find full-time work, more and more developers are seeking Java freelancer jobs because they come with the freedom to be their own boss and work with many different clients.
Whether building a huge online system, writing code for small embedded devices, creating a mobile application, or doing software development, Java developers have a lot of opportunities to work with this in-demand programming language. Here's what you need to know to start your own Java freelancer business.
Is Java Good for Freelancing?
Even though there are already 9 million Java programmers worldwide, more Java business startups are needed because of the explosive demand for the development language by a wide variety of industries. If you're outstanding at what you do, you can expect a steady stream of Java freelance jobs and good pay.
Java applications are prized because they have fast processing speeds (often faster and more efficient than PHP to write enterprise applications) and are easily scalable. And because it is a statically typed language, it offers more stability and security than many other programming languages.
Freelance Java programmers are needed by many businesses but you'll need to ask yourself some critical questions before becoming one. Are you disciplined enough to treat freelance jobs as a full-time job that's comprised of part-time work or are you more cut out for the nine-to-five structure of full-time work?
Freelance Java development work does offer the freedom of being your own boss and, perhaps, becoming a digital nomad who works in Thailand instead of New York. But it does come with a lot of requirements to be successful, including:
- Marketing yourself
- Looking after invoicing and accounting
- Managing social media
- Meeting and servicing clients
Of course, you also have to consistently produce outstanding Java programming.
How Much Does a Freelance Java Programmer Make?
The amount you can charge for freelance Java developer jobs depends on the skills you offer, the amount of experience you have, and how sharp your negotiating skills are.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median pay for computer programmers is $89,190 per year or $42.88 per hour. If you go to ZipRecruiter, it lists the national average of freelance Java developer salaries as $106,268 per year or $51 per hour (as of April 2021).
The job-seeking site points out that while it is "seeing annual salaries as high as $166,500 and as low as $23,500, the majority of freelance java developer salaries currently range between $82,500 (25th percentile) to $128,500 (75th percentile), with top earners (90th percentile) making $151,000 annually across the United States."
How to Start Your Java Freelancer Business
When launching your Java freelancer business, not only must you be good at coding but you also need to be able to convey your worth to potential clients and service them well so that they give you repeat business. Being professional means having to set fees and descriptions of services and developing a well-polished brand, a sound marketing strategy, and a well-organized business structure.
Understand Your Market and Types of Java Developer Jobs
To start your Java developer freelance business, you'll need to know what kind of services you'll be marketing to whom and what kind of competition you'll have.
For example, do you generally want to work as a Java programmer, a Java web developer, a Java webmaster, or a Java software engineer? Do you hope to work for large enterprises or smaller ones? Are you interested in game development, web applications, creating apps for Android phones, or developing microservices architecture? Are you going to be a frontend or a backend developer, or a full stack web or software developer? Do you want to use Java to create machine learning algorithms and for the automation of processes?
Create a Business Entity
You could just work freelance, especially as a senior Java developer, but it can make good sense to create a legal business entity for tax and liability purposes. Two common business structures are a sole proprietorship and a limited liability company (LLC), which will usually need to be registered through the secretary of state depending on where you live.
A sole proprietorship is run by an individual, who is then responsible for making all of the business decisions. It's easy to set up, taxed at your individual rate, and offers great flexibility. Since your profits are counted as personal income, though, you could be personally responsible for losses incurred by your business and liable if legal action is taken against the company.
An LLC provides owners with liability protection, clearly separating business and personal assets. This separation also helps if your Java business wants to attract investors and apply for loans (since the company's credit history won't be intertwined with your personal credit history).
Leverage Online Resources
As any freelance Java programmer should know, online resources like websites and social media profiles are essential means to promote yourself, show your best work, and connect with potential clients.
As a programmer, you probably have the knowledge to create your own website; however, you can also use site-building platforms like Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress. Besides having good "about" and "portfolio" sections, you should also have a regularly updated blog. This can help establish your authority in the field and serve as an important component of a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy to improve your page rankings. Your site should also link to your social media channels, which should feature regular posts of your outstanding work and show that you are keeping up with developments and changes in your industry.
You can also market yourself through a site like Upwork, which matches businesses with freelance talent, including all sorts of computer programmers, who can collaborate on remote DevOps teams.
Choose Your Niche
As a freelance java programmer, you can decide to be a generalist or a specialist. A generalist may get a wider range of work, but they usually don't make as much as one who concentrates on a specific kind of work. For example, you might focus on e-commerce web development.
Some freelancers offer a variety of programming languages in the services while others might choose to do only one. This narrows their job description and, if they are lucky, makes them the go-to person when clients are looking for this type of work (e.g., Java for app development).
Create a Personal Brand
If you really want to polish your professional appearance, you can work with a designer or branding consultant to develop a personal brand. They can help establish a logo and visual style that runs across business cards, stationery, marketing and advertising items, your website, and more.
Set Professional Standards
Of course, you'll want to be known for the excellence of your work, your timely deliveries, and the value you're providing to your clients. Part of setting professional standards is knowing what your work is worth, setting rates accordingly, and sticking to them. Through your market research, you should have a good idea of what your hourly rate should be (unless you prefer to charge by the project).
You might be able to increase your rate as your portfolio grows, as you add new skills, or as you upgrade your qualifications.
Deliver Professional Invoices
As a Java freelancer business, it's important to invoice for work promptly so there are no significant gaps in your income. With Skynova's invoicing template, you can quickly create a professional invoice that's customized with your logo, any sales tax, and a P.O. number, if needed. Let's use app development services as an example: A few keyboard clicks will dispatch an invoice to your client and you will be notified when the invoice is opened and read.
Let Skynova Help You With Your Java Freelance Business Finances
As a freelance Java developer, you'll be glad to hear that there is an online resource that can help you run your business more smoothly. The Skynova suite of online software modules can help with handling many different aspects of running a small business.
Our accounting platform can enable you to easily track your income and expenses, giving you a fast, clear financial picture of your business both year-round and around tax time. And to help you run and grow, we have templates for recurring invoicing, generating estimates and work orders, requesting retainers, and much more.
Skynova can help you break the code so that your Java freelancer business can survive and prosper.