It is the job of a freelance programmer to translate commands into language a computer can understand, known as code. Once the code is entered and interpreted by the computer, the results are displayed for anyone to see. For this process to occur, the freelance programmer must write a program, test it several times, and maintain it once it is up and running.
Everything on computers, from games to websites, requires coding to work. Log-in systems, shopping carts, tables, databases, and even simple designs were all coded at one time by a programmer. Not only does he have to learn the many languages involved in most software and Internet sites, but he is also expected to write new programming languages for specific projects. His job is not done until the computer displays the necessary design, content, and applications. The grueling hours and large demands are typical parts of this job.
Though the most successful freelance programmer can perform myriad functions, programmers are often divided into two categories. The applications programmer writes, tests, and maintains programs for specific software. Most programmers fall into this category. The less well-known systems programmer is in charge of writing programs for entire computer systems, often including large databases or systems that are networked together.
The freelance part means that the programmer does not work for just one company in an office setting. Instead, freelance programmer jobs are often performed from home, and those doing them may work for several companies at once. The freelance life offers flexibility in the programmer's work schedule and typically a higher hourly rate, which is why many programmers opt for this title.
Many companies are comfortable hiring freelance programmers because, though they often pay them more per hour, they do not have to pay benefits that full-time employees receive. This includes healthcare, overtime, and paid sick leave. If the company dislikes the freelancer's work, they can simply end the working relationship without having to pay unemployment compensation. Furthermore, most freelance programmers provide their own computer and software, which adds to a company's savings.
Both freelance programmers and those that are employed full time should know several computer languages, since many are similar to each other. Most people have heard of many such languages, but formal classes — or at least intense study — are usually required to learn them. These languages range from newer languages like Java, C++, and Visual Basic, to the older ones, such as FORTRAN, COBOL, and C.
Since the Internet now plays a big role in everyone's life, programming has become both more necessary and increasingly complex. With additional Internet users, more programs must be written, more websites need to be developed, and more applications are necessary to satisfy web users. Companies are looking to save money every way they can while adding to their web presence. For these reasons, freelance programming jobs seem likely to be here to stay.