* be an excellent communicator
* be high bandwidth. F2F, skype, etc.
* be a whole stack developer
* manage "up". Think of things before your manager does, alert the manager to dangers and problems, give expert advice, avoid the problems. Managers love people who solve the total problem; they hate people who solve one very very narrow niche problem and then leave them (the manager) dealing with a leaky bag of shit. Saying "well, that wasn't in scope!" does not make them happier about holding the leaky bag.
I guarantee you that no one bidding $5/hr and working on a timezone 12 hours away delivers this.
So, to recap:
1) work in a city when young
2) make contacts
3) be good at what you do
4) manage up ; solve the REAL problem
Do that and you'll have lots of work and make good money.
I agree, and I hate it. What happened to the days when I could just be productive? Now, I have to spend hours "working as a team" (ie, socializing) on Slack. I hate it so much that I've dramatically cut down on the work I do. It's not that I'm asocial, it's just that I don't want to be exchanging memes when there's work to be done. I want to do the work, and do it well, so I can spend time with my wife and kids. Work for work, socializing for after work.
Even with IRC, it didn't use to be like this. What happened?
For the record, I'm not talking about being responsive, or good communications. That's critical. I've always responded to client emails within 2-3 hours (I break up my day into 3 email checks). But I find it impossible to get much done with teams that expect me to hang out in Slack or Hipchat all day long. But the younger kids love it. Maybe they code and chat at the same time, I don't know. I can't do it.
Doesn't anyone just hire people to do a job anymore? Are even contractors doomed to spending their days "meshing"?
What I'm talking about now is working as a contractor/freelancer for short-term projects, like even as short as 3-4 week projects. Most of the good freelance jobs expect you to be on Slack coordinating with their team in Eastern European country X. It really didn't use to be like this, I used to be able to make good money as a freelancer just coordinating with other freelancers and the contracting company/individual a few times a day. And in my opinion, it worked a lot better. Yeah, the irresponsible devs can't screw around as much if someone's keeping tabs on Slack, but the productive ones are significantly less productive this way. And why would you hire a remote freelancer you didn't trust to do the work?
And jobs that are paid per job and not per hour aren't any better, in my experience. Everyone has to be online, checking in, chatting, exchanging memes.
Maybe I've just had a streak of bad luck this year, but it definitely seems to be a significant trend.
I don't know, maybe I need to make a concerted effort just to work for small businesses, and not start-ups or mid-sized companies.
You work with people. Those people know people. They know other people. Someone says 'I need a good PHP guy' and a guy in the network replies 'I know a guy, SadWebDeveloper - here is his email address'. Boom: you have made contact with someone who wants to hire you.
Join the Whatever User Group in your area. Go to the meetings - introduce yourself. Be a presence on their mail list. Boom: more networking contacts.
This is a really good example. TJIC and I have talked on the internet for -years- via email and twitter and blog. A customer of mine mentioned she was looking for a local developer (Los Angeles) but couldn't find anyone who met even her minimal standards.
I said 'Hey, I know a guy', he lives 8,000 miles away, he's about a hermit and a half, and he knows his sh*t' and a few weeks later TJIC got some months of work and everyone was happy.
And now, here we are, talking. Maybe I can be converted to a networking contact. You never know, hunh?
No they don't. And your solution to not being stuck with closed and insular groups is join some closed and insular groups so that your name can be passed around as one of the group.
All you have to do is set your mind to it.
...and you're doing a great job so far!
* I emailed a band I liked whose song was featured as Demo Of The Month in a magazine, asking to buy all their CDs. We kept in touch, and months later they asked me for some (free) advice about setting up their website. Later again, one of their friends was looking to hire someone & they recommended me - I worked remotely for them for 10 years.
* I wrote a script in PHP and made both a free version & a paid version, then mentioned it on a forum. I got a handful of sales, but one of those customers liked the code quality so much they asked if they could hire me for contract work. That work was done remotely too.
* I went to a blogger conference overseas & before I went I made a Twitter list of all the attendees, read their tweets and made online friends with a few who I found interesting. I met some of them at the conference, and one of them I kept in touch with for a year after the conference. We grabbed some coffee when they visited my city, I mentioned I was having a slow work period, they mentioned they needed someone technical, and we worked together for a couple of years. Again, mostly remote work (though I did fly to their offices every few months).
Instead of being negative, plant the seeds now. Start making friends, keep those friendships alive, keep letting people know what you do, keep creating proof that you're good at what you do (even if it's your own projects). It's a long process and it still won't guarantee you work, but it will give you a much better chance of offers coming your way. That's what worked for me anyway.
Therefore it works for everyone.
There are lots of people that do not make friends easily. There are lots of people that do not have friends in the industry that they work in. There are lots of people that have moved very far away from any friends once or many times in the past few years and have either completely lost contact or don't have friends that would be in any position to throw other contacts your way.
So no, it is not just go make friends and everything will be great.
> No they don't.
Could be you are a deaf and mute yak herder in Outer Mongolia and suffer the heartbreak of psoriasis. Your situation is unique and you have my pity.
For those of us in the mart of competitive commerce there is no possible way a person can exist in this economy without knowing people.
> join some closed and insular groups
You have no idea what you are talking about.
You have my pity.
It may very well be that the best way to kick start your career is to move to SF or some other big city. So be it. I did the first 20 years of my career in the Boston area.
I have no idea what you mean about websites being racist. For picking lower cost developers? It seems odd to call people who give work to people in other countries "racist". Isn't doing that exactly the opposite of racism?
I'm telling you not to use those websites.
Move to the city, make contacts, do good work.
Or establish relationships with people instead of lowest common denominator platforms and let the quality of your work sell itself?
Word of mouth and personal recommendations are worth more than how many stars you are on a platform.
Just so your communication skills improve, discrimination is not the same as racism.
I got a lot more relaxed about language after reading numerous books by linguists (because that is their attitude, they just watch what is going on). In this context, I think the train has left the station (as we Germans say, "der Zug ist abgefahren") and "racist" now indeed has a new much wider meaning in public discourse contexts. It now seems to include "being different", in not necessarily clearly defined ways, the exact nature of the differences are to be taken from context.
I could just yesterday or today read about "racism" in a Guardian article about an attack on a Polish immigrant somewhere in Britain, who certainly wasn't of a different race . However, I'm very relaxed about it - everybody knows what is meant. Also, a shift in meaning in some context does not mean the stricter meaning of the word is lost! The exact same people who may use a word loosely in one context use it with its strict meaning in a different one. If you start talking about biology this will happen. Words and language are extreme flexible, and such a change is not the end of the world.
I think their is some justification: When the word is used in such wider meaning it's more about the effect, not the cause.
My motto for language is the same as in programming: Be as lenient as possible with input - but be strict about output. In the language context that means I won't criticize when I actually clearly understand the meaning, but I myself try to use the right expressions, grammar, punctuation, etc.
 https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/sep/12/polish-man-a... (sub-headline: "...they are treating incident ... as racially aggravated")
The term is used because the person being attacked was thought of as being of a different "race" by their racist attackers (and because that's the reason he was attacked; bot for being non-heterosexual, or for being a fan of the wrong football team). Not because one is in agreeance with the alleged "racial" distinctions (in the mind of the racist).
der Zug ist abgefahren
In English one would say "the horse has left the barn."
At least in my native English speaking world, we also say "that train has left the station". It's even listed as a cliche on a MetaFilter page on cliches and hackneyed sayings.
We also say "that ship has sailed".
But the cat's out of the bag now, so what can I do?
> Not because one is in agreeance with the alleged "racial" distinctions
> (in the mind of the racist)
That's the thing -- "race" doesn't really have a biological meaning. If anything it's just a vague suspicion that certain people are inferior or "alien" because of their DNA, the breeding, or simply their cultural upbringing. Of course it's all invented tripe, and biologically speaking it's equally untenable (from a biological point of view) to think of Poles, Anglo-Saxons and Italians as being of different "races" than it to think of Africans or East Asians in those terms.
But racists aren't the smartest bunch, you know, so in fact that's pretty much exactly what they think.
> "race" doesn't really have a biological meaning
And now the meaning of that word has shifted. That is all I said.