Freelancing as a React Developer: Challenges and Opportunities
IEEE Computer Society Team
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As the Internet continues to grow and thrive as a vital platform for commerce and information flow, the demand for front-end developers remains strong. React has emerged as the front-end library used by many organizations, and those looking to hire often deem experience with React as essential. While React is certainly vital in the corporate world, are there freelancing opportunities for React developers? It turns out there’s never been a better time to consider going out on your own if you’re a React developer.
Solidify Your Background First
Before launching your freelancing career, make sure you have a solid background first. Just toying around with React isn’t enough; organizations looking to hire freelancers want across-the-board skills and a solid foundation. This is critical for a freelancer, as you may be required to fill multiple roles that could utilize different people in a corporate job as part of a team. Freelancers are often expected to be their own “team,” think of yourself as a company providing an all-encompassing solution for your given specialty.
The best way to ensure success as a React freelancer is to go back to basics first, meaning you should be able to work with HTML. Organizations want to make sure you can complete any tasks in your subject area and solve any related problems. Before launching out as a freelancer, make sure you have a solid background and understanding of HTML and CSS. Remember, the bar is often higher for freelancers as compared to those in corporate positions. If you are working on a job as a freelancer and have problems to solve, usually it’s you alone who must provide the solutions. Companies and individuals hiring freelancers don’t want to seek out others to fill gaps in your knowledge.
You’ll also need to have familiarity with Node, Yarn, Redux, and npm. Experience with a code-sharing tool like GitHub is a plus as well.
OK, now that you’ve beefed up your skills, where do you find work?
There are multiple sites that cater to freelancers. The most popular are Upwork and Freelancer.com, where you can register, create a profile, and start bidding on jobs. Don’t just jump on board, instead craft an appealing profile and resume before you begin seeking out opportunities. People Per Hour is another site to consider when building a resume for freelancing jobs. You can even look on Craigslist for opportunities but always do your due diligence. While legitimate jobs are often posted on Craigslist, it’s well known for scamming as well.
Toptal is also an important site to consider. Top companies like Microsoft use it to find contracting talent. However, you should only consider Toptal once you’ve got significant experience under your belt and many references.
Freelancing Opportunities for React Developers and How Much They Pay
To get some insight into the freelancing market for React developers, we consulted Upwork.com. Your location is going to be important for determining your opportunities to land freelancing jobs and will impact your pay. One downside to those located in the United States is that competition for freelancing jobs that don’t require on-site work can be international, which may impact the wages you’re able to command.
However, many companies looking for freelancers will require that you be located in the United States. Searching for React jobs with this restriction, we found 507 active job postings as of March 2022. Pay is given by the job or on an hourly basis, and the need for developers varies by job posting, ranging from jobs only estimated to take a few hours to ongoing freelancing work. Hourly rates offered range typically from $45 to $100 an hour.
Unfortunately, the competition is fierce. Many of the higher-paying jobs have 50 or more proposals submitted. This is why it’s important to have a great profile, solid resume, and good experience before launching into a freelancing career. You should also learn the skill of writing a solid sales letter to introduce yourself and sell yourself to prospective clients.
Looking at all global opportunities, therefore not just from clients looking for U.S.-only talent, there were 8,900 jobs available as of March 2022. However, pay rates drop considerably looking at this option — with pay as low as $15 an hour. If you consider this option, it may be a good way to launch your freelancing business, as many jobs have far fewer proposals submitted. With this method, it will be easier to land some work and build up your resume.
Will Freelancing Work for You?
The demand for React developers is strong, but there’s also a lot of competition. Freelancing in any occupation has its risks and rewards. You won’t have a regular “boss,” but finding and securing regular work to pay the bills may be a challenge. Right now, due to the work-at-home movement during the COVID-19 pandemic, competition for freelancing jobs is furious. However, if you are dedicated and persistent, you can build a solid portfolio of money-making jobs. Take a look at IEEE Computer Society’s job board and blog to stay up to date with the latest industry insights.