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Ask HN: How to find part-time developer work?
217 points by wasd on Jan 17, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 118 comments

At present I derive all my income from part-time work and side projects.

The first thing is to figure out what not to do. You can't work in a field where people routinely hire full-time employees with ease. So you can't do Java work part-time, for example. (Well I mean you can, but it's like saying you can be elected to Congress. Let's do something easy.)

So, you have to start in some field where 9-5ers can't be easily found to fill the position. iOS/Android dev are like that. Maybe there are web specialities that are like that. If you have some deep expertise like machine learning or computer vision or graph algorithms, maybe those specialties are like that. But the operative criteria is to find some field that full-time employees are not easily had.

The next step is to filter by projects where time is not the biggest criteria. Because in spite of Fred Brooks and his MMM, ordinary people still believe that if you work more hours the project will get done faster, and will pressure you to become full-time. So you have to find people who are unconcerned about delivery dates, or rather, who have overriding concerns. Quality concerns. Cost concerns. If you find someone who has a fixed budget for his project, for example, if that person can get a better developer at 20 hours/week than he can at 40 hours that starts to look like an attractive value proposition. Because not only does he get a better developer, but with a lower burn rate it's easier for him to get deep visibility into where the money and time is actually going. Those benefits outweigh the benefits of completing the project faster, but only for projects that have these sorts of overriding concerns.

There's more you can do, but those two steps are probably all you need to start consistently landing part-time gigs.

It's worth pointing out as well, there are a variety of near-part-time deal structures you can negotiate (for example rotating 1 week on, 1 week off). These might be worth exploring depending on your specific motivations for seeking part-time work.

drew here has it right. While it is possible to find money on side projects in more mainstream technologies like Java or .NET; it is easier in specialized fields.

Depending on where you are targeting geographically those technologies vary a lot; I personally have seen a lot of demand for iOS/Android, but even more demand for Ruby on Rails. I think that quite a few Ruby on Rails developers left the community and flocked to Node.js as the next shiny thing and that has just made it easier to find Rails contract work.

Not only is it easier to find work in a less mainstream technology, but you are able to negotiate better rates since it is more difficult for businesses to locate help. After a certain point you can't scale by taking on additional hours; so your hourly rate makes a big difference.

And hourly vs fixed rate contracting should be considered. I will negotiate my hourly rate based on term of contract, but under no circumstances will I take fixed rate contracts any longer. Quite a few of my friends in the contracting scene are the same way. I've seen too many times where this just leads to continual "feature creep" and a strong difference in opinions of if scope of work has been expanded beyond the agreed contract (in all cases it was). I bid a fixed rate contract with a couple of associates against my better judgement. Based on the initial scope of work it should have taken about 3 months. Instead it took over a year and the lead developer on the project walked away making a rate of right around $10/hour.

And this point can not be overstated.

Network! Network! Network!

If you are an introvert you are going to have to get over it. It doesn't matter if you have the raw programming skills of Linus Torvalds or John Carmack; if you can't get out there and make connections you aren't going to make any money.

I am very introverted by nature, but I force myself to regularly attend meetups and conferences; and make a point to connect with new people at those conferences. You need to grow your real social graph; not your Facebook/LinkedIn/etc... Nothing makes the same lasting impression as a firm handshake and 5 minutes of conversation face to face.

I second the network point, but not quite in the same way. I often find meetups and conferences can be hit-and-miss (though a developer conference may be more useful!), but I agree that connecting with people is good.

In the thread on consulting a few days ago a great point came up: if you can translate your skills into value to a business, you might end up having conversations with people they didn't know they wanted to have. An example: you can go to a tech meetup and pitch yourself as a full-stack Rails developer, and try to get work from people who know they need Rails developers -- or you can go to a finance meetup and pitch yourself as a solutions builder, and end up getting 10x the revenue from a project that's turning a spreadsheet pipeline into a CRUD app.

My take on networking, and what's been working for me, is to reach out through people you already know. They might not be hiring your skillset, but they might need a solution to a problem. Almost all of the work I've been doing lately has come through intros, and several of those started off as fairly cold relationships. For example, I applied to a startup incubator, whose founder decided I was smart but too early in my idea, so hooked me up with another founder who needed some heavy lifting done on the Android side. Other projects have come through more direct referrals, but almost all have been for startups who are flexible on parameters (including time, remote, etc) and who don't even have websites, let alone job ads.


Definitely they are hit and miss; but I have found that to be true in all forms of networking. This should certainly not be your only avenue for networking.

I take multiple approaches to networking. Meetups, events, conferences, calling/emailing people I already know, cold emailing companies directly if I know they use a technology I specialize in. I also wear T-shirts almost constantly that are simple and state the nature of my business and a phone number to reach me at.

Solid points all. I guess what I didn't say but was trying to get across was: if you are uncomfortable cold-introducing yourself repeatedly at a large gathering of strangers, you don't have to do that.

Does the T-shirt approach work? I've wondered what would happen if I put my details on my laptop skin, as I work from a lot of SF/Valley coffee shops :)


I have bought large numbers of T-shirts and give them away as well as wearing them myself. I honestly don't have any statistical evidence that shows they have worked to gain me more business. However I always wear these when going somewhere that I specifically intend to network. In the same way as having business cards does; company branded T-shirts lend credibility to your business and I have been approached and directly asked questions about my business from wearing the shirts.

And believe me; I totally understand the uncomfortable at introducing yourself point. I am an introvert by nature. I have a rule for myself when I go to these places; I force myself to do a minimum of 2 new introductions each time. More is better, but a minimum of 2.

I keep expecting to see a win-win industry where introverts with skills revenue share with extroverts who can sell their skills. Specialization is a good thing, it seems inefficient for people who don't enjoy networking to need to do it in order to make money.

But then the best extroverts will want to work with the best introverts and vice versa, so the introverts still have to "sell" themselves!

Or the best extroverts will seek out the best introverts. If you are selling something, you want to sell the best product around - it makes your life easier - so you find the best possible thing to sell.

Right, but how do they know who the best introverts are if the best introverts are not marketing themselves in one way or another?

But isn't that how most companies no matter how big or small operate? You have the developers creating and the sales team selling?

Yep, but it isn't how the market for developer skills works. Seems like there's probably a reason companies do it the way they do.

> Instead it took over a year and the lead developer on the project walked away making a rate of right around $10/hour.

To me, this sound like: if you accept a fixed rate contract knowing it'll work out to $10/hour, you can be employed for an entire year. Yes, please.

To put it into perspective; my average hourly rate is $75/hour and I charge as high as $100/hour. I use a sliding scale that goes something like this... If the project is shitty cleanup work and the client is desperate = $100/hour. This is typically someone who outsourced the work overseas for $20/hour labor and is now surprised that X feature doesn't work or Y won't scale. I don't like cleaning up other people's messes; so in that case you pay a premium.

$75/hour is my standard rate and this is anything that lasts 2 to 5 months and is either new project/features, or a generally decent code base (most clients are happy to allow me to look at the code before we agree to rates and moving forward; some may want a non-disclosure signed at this stage though)

If the work is guaranteed for a 6 months + contract then I will bid my normal rate of $75/hour to start, but will then negotiate with the client and give them a better rate, but then there is a signed contract clause that explicitly states there is a time based discount contingency; in they event they cut it short then it they essentially owe the difference between the normal rate and the discounted rate.

Putting that into perspective; if a fixed rate contract comes out to $10/hour then I'm making in a day what I would typically make for 1 hours worth of work.

I decided to begin contracting in 2011; the work was sporadic at first, but for the last year and 1/2 it has been growing steadily. Last year I left hours on the table (e.g. existing clients wanted more of my time than I could fulfill; and this was with bringing aboard 2 sub-contractors). I spent 3 years of hard work networking and selling myself, but the last 3 contracts I had were acquired by people in that networking calling me and asking if I was available. From 2012 to 2013 I saw a 3000% increase in revenues. I expect to grow revenues again this year contingent on finding good subcontractors, but not nearly as much so as from 2012 to 2013. I would anticipate somewhere between a 300% to 400% growth rate is more realistic this year.

I've been doing odesk/elance gigs for a few years, and though I can find work at $25/hour, the competition is stiff, it's a pain trying to get paid for all hours billed, and the clients aren't those you can easily list on a resume (good portion of the jobs are well-paid corporate sysadmins/programmers outsourcing their jobs, or shady fly-by-night spammer/advertiser types). All meaning, if companies really think $75/hour is normal in some areas, but more established programmers are unwilling to do fixed-price contract, then those contracts are low hanging fruit for the likes of me.

If you have $150/day of living expenses, no thanks.

$150/day living expenses? $4500/month? Where are you?

Near Stanford.

I was just wondering, could one have a contract like this (I haven't done freelancer work yet, but might look in future): "Up to 3 months of development time, I will take a fixed rate. If the development goes beyond that, I will charge hourly."?

I haven't done a contract quite like what you describe, but as has been pointed out, if both parties agree, anything in possible. I have found more success in a "retainer" model of consulting. We agree on a certain number of hours needed up front, say three months. If they pay a retainer up front, they get a 5%, 10%, or 15% discount (dependent on negotiations). They then burn time against these "retainer hours". At the end of their retainer you can slip into a normal hourly rate billing cycle or negotiate for another retainer at a discount. The client knows more fees are coming as the retainer approaches zero, and thus will very often not allow scope creep to come in.

I often try to keep a little retainer left over at the end. Some say I should keep this for "change" orders. However, I will give it back to the client! Why? 9 out of 10 times when I offer to return the leftover they are ready to add it to a new retainer for another project. You can't make a client happier than saying "here's the final demo of your project! It was great right? Oh by the way we came in under budget." Just make sure you are in constant communication with the client, have regular demos, and deliver something amazing.

I haven't used a retainer model in the past, but I have offered term of contract discounts. Some people tend to think that a contractor that bills hourly is just going to try and waste time to make more money. I have only seen this with one contractor that I came in contact with (I'm sure there are others), but most contractors will not do this.

People talk about people; within your network you quickly learn who is reliable, who is honest, who isn't, etc...

Also when I bid work for a client; while I bid hourly I am open about the reasons. I tell them point blank how many hours I believe their requirements will take to implement in a worst case scenario given they do not change the requirements. I then tell them that likely it will take less hours than that, but they need to know how much the total cost could potentially be. If the customer is still insistent on a fixed rate contract I explain that it can be difficult to prevent scope creep for customers when there is no dollar amount tied to it; and that I want everyone to be happy. I explain that if they really want a fixed bid I can make an exception, but that the fixed rate pricing will be double to triple what we have agreed upon as the max cost associated with the project. I explain this is to cover the scope creep that will inevitably be introduced and to protect myself from the loss risks associated with such a decision. Most clients then agree to the hourly rate; the rest keep looking for someone else.

If the other party agrees to it, any contract is possible. However, in this case you get more money if somehow the project is delayed over the three month period; so you have an incentive to work slowly or to have the project creep up in scope. That's not a good basis for a contract for your client may complain that you should've worked faster, even if you've put in all-nighters. Given a fixed price, it's easier on the relationship to have the fixed price be renegotiated on basis of objective measurements that you used to arrive at the fixed price in the first place. Examples are the number of pages in a site or screens in an app, the number of revisions of the visual design, or the number of function points [1] if you have data available for that. Mention in the contract that if a client wants more than X screens, Y pages, or Z revisions, the fixed price is to be recalculated.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Function_point

The are so many part-time offers for Java programmer. I had plenty jobs in that field(now I'm Scala freelancer).

Any specific pointers? I'm very fluent in Java and I'm very productive in it, but can't seem to find small freelance projects, and small is all I have time for now.

Have you looked there https://www.odesk.com/jobs/?qs=java ? I see many small jobs right now.

odesk? I thought that was realistically only for low-cost overseas outsourcing.

I'm moderately successful on oDesk doing continuous delivery/AWS/systems/networking work at $100/hr. There are many lowballers out there in the space, primarily from abroad. The trick is to offer value. So far in 2014 I've worked with two US businesses who preferred native english speakers/US contractors. I've billed around 15 hours and have about a 20% hit rate with online interviews over email and actually worked on about 10% of the jobs I've applied for.

Some tips:

Set up a complete profile. Put as much detail about yourself as you can muster. Clients will keyword search for their positions, you need to come up.

Take the oDesk tests. Qualify yourself in your field.

Learn to pattern match your ideal clients. For me this is US based and paying with OPM (Other People's Money).

Make the case confidently that you are THE person for the job. Some won't have the budget, that's fine, you don't want to waste your time with them anyways.

Always give 5 star feedback for all your clients on completion of the job. Ask them to leave feedback for you. Try to get as many 5 star reviews as you can. Clients filter on this.

Over-communicate. Share docs on Google Drive. Create diagrams. Email, ask how they want to be contacted. This is your chance to shine. The lowballers can't afford to put this much effort into the job. Make them realize you were the correct choice.

For reference, here's my oDesk profile. If anyone is looking for help in the above areas, hit me up.


I've looked at some of the software tests on oDesk (and elance, and other sites'). There are a lot of very poorly worded questions/questions riddled with grammar problems that were obviously written by non-english speakers, questions with ambiguous or outright incorrect answers, and questions with answers that assume certain programming practices that aren't actually imposed by the language's standard (this is especially the case with the C and C++ tests). If I were looking to hire a contractor from oDesk, their test scores would be one of the last things I cared about and, at best, I'd only consider it a negative if they scored really exceptionally low on them.

I found similar problems. The client doesn't necessarily know how broken the tests are though. Taking a few tests in your area shows initiative and backs up your English comprehension. Again,think differentiation.

s/heard of the Silicon Vally/heart of Silicon Valley/ in your profile. Sounds like you're doing something right there, good luck.

Yup. Fixed, thanks! Also, should add, the main reason I like doing contracting gigs like this is to stay sharp. At least twice this year something I've learned on a side gig has directly helped my dayjob company. Nice effect that.

On the surface it seems that way. There are a number of people who comment here every time this comes up though that swear they make a living through oDesk. Though they don't typically specify what "making a living" means to them or where they live. There are higher paying jobs on oDesk they are just a lot harder to find and get. I suspect if you are highly specialized in a small set of popular thing then you can probably under bid the outsourced competition on many of the posted jobs and that is how people who make it there are successful.

Yeah; I would recommend staying away from odesk unless you are overseas and can live off of $10 to $20 an hour.

I just checked the site and it just seems ridiculous, QA/Security Consults/Engineering/Drupal/GUI/(buzzword) all from the same guy for $4/hr...lol The signal to noise ratio is why I'm not even gonna try using it. (Note to self: start ridiculously padding resume.)

With that said, you usually want to solve a problem for a client, not write code in language X.

First, talk to people looking for developers. That part is fairly easy: just about any networking event in NYC has a dozens of people looking for devs. I don't know where you're located, but the same is probably true for your area.

Once you're talking, convince them that working with you will be easier/quicker/more-effective than working with anyone else. That's the hard part, which definitely requires some practice. Pro-tip: don't try to convince anyone that you'll be the cheapest option, which is almost always a losing game to play.

If you prefer, I'd be happy to do the hard work for you. I run a startup that connects senior freelance developers with high-paying companies: http://getlambda.com.

I was corresponding with you guys and never got an email back from Ken. I was also asking about part-time work.

Ditto, my guess is they're just skimming for the top earners.

Felt to me like they didn't understand how to sell people who aren't "X experts" - I'm not a digital media expert, I'm not a wordpress expert, I'm not an iOS frontend expert, I'm a generalist. I do software development, which apparently isn't that salable these days ;)

don't think of it as being a generalist. think of it more like multiple specialisms.

Hi, this is Ken. Sorry we didn't get back to you -- we've been getting a lot of interest and it's been difficult getting back to everyone promptly. I can't tell who you are from your HN handle, but I'd be happy to get in touch today if you shoot me another email.

So you will get in touch with him because the issue surfaced on HN. Says something about being proactive. Doesn't it?

I reached out a few months ago with no response. I'm a SF Ruby/Java/JS developer.

I signed up pretty darn fast. I've been doing meetups, networking, everything I can imagine to get business development moving and I still have not found that 'thing' I'm missing to land a new client.

You are probably not using the word "cloud" enough when you speak about what you do.

> I'm a cloud developer

> You mean you work on internet applications?

> No, it means I don't come into the office.


I've found that introducing yourself as a "full-stack cloud" is the best opener.

This thread is weird if you're using the "Cloud to Butt Plus" chrome extension.


That is impressive but how many years of experience do you have in the cloud?

All of them.

Fine print: "fog" is also a type of cloud.

Just do it.

Do you have companies that focus on social good, or at least avoid things that are socially bad (e.g. advertising)?

Last year, we built this site: http://www.thecostofcarbon.org/, which was part of a project for Al Gore's climate change non-profit.

Currently, we're looking for devs for a company that helps museums keep track of their collections, another that makes it easier for people to cook healthy meals at home, and a third that's encouraging universities to incorporate 3d-printing into their curriculum.

So there's quite a bit of variety in the types of projects we take on. Social good is a vague concept that means different things to different people, but we can certainly try to match you with projects that fit your interests.

Why do you think advertising is socially bad? There are many products I would not have discovered without advertising.

It runs the gamut, of course -- someone's out there building an awesome campaign to advertise a blood drive, right now.

But most advertising basically using psychological tricks to push you to want & buy all kinds of stuff that really make a negligible difference in your quality of life, if they add anything at all.

Worse, the best way to convince you that you need X is to convince you that you have an X-shaped hole in your life. That desirable mates are looking for a [your gender] with X. That your neighbors/friends/colleagues/rivals have X, better X, newer X, etc. and are wondering about you.

It's not real, and it's actively harmful -- we find happiness/contentment by being self-aware, by learning what things really matter to us, and finding ways to focus on & improve those parts of our lives; this most commonly doesn't involve buying anything at all -- often it involves getting rid of a lot of stuff and leading a simpler life.

But who has time for clear thought and introspection, nowadays? By default advertisers want you distracted and discontented, your thoughts teeming with desires and urges, racing along on the hedonic treadmill....

Why do you think blood drives are good? Why wouldn't it be better if the standard thing was to pay for blood? If it was typical to pay donors for this kind of thing (organs too), wouldn't that better ensure plenty of supply than making charity the primary source?

There's a big debate about this, though it's a tangent to this discussion. But it boils down to how adding money into the equation tweaks the incentives of those giving blood or donating organs in a way that's not necessarily good.

One obvious way -- suppose you're filling out a medical history form before providing blood or an organ, and you know that ticking "yes" to a question will disqualify you. You really need the money -- will you be honest?

I for one hate it when companies spend money to inform me of products I might like, especially when it potentially saves me dozens of hours searching and doing research. It's the absolute worst when they spend time and money informing me of the features and benefits of their product rapidly and in a fashion where I can tune it out easily it it isn't relevant. Ive never once used brands as a signal to help me decide, nor bought a brand I know and trust like coke when traveling in a foreign area.

Advertising is just the worst, helping get information into the market efficiently, ugh!

Which category of companies do you think are more likely to be willing and able to pay >$100/hr? :)

That's a nice idea. Do you connect people just in the USA or outside as well?

It's pretty much just the USA. In fact, most of our clients are looking for devs in NYC or the SF Bay Area, so even US devs outside those areas are on the waiting list.

Best way is to get a full time job that you really enjoy. After months of drought, the offers for high-payed consulting work (that you can't take) will suddenly flow in.

I told my wife this past October that I'd stop taking side work by November and get our hard wood floors installed.

It's now January and my clients are continually agreeing to more and more absurd hourly rates, making it impossible to stop.

If your rate is higher than the cost of a flooring contractor, why not just hire one?

Too damn true, this. Always come in when you're too busy as well. :\

Oh so true.

I am making my living doing part-time coding (still doing my degree) for the last 2 years, was unemployed for only about 3 months. I am doing PHP and AngularJS.

It's really all about the people you know. I got the best gigs just by asking people (normally other developers) I know if they know someone who needs a developer. So, yes, it's all about networking but not the numbers but quality of connection. No one, who talked to you for 10mins, will vouch for you, really.

I've tried elance a bit, and getting the first gig there looks like a game of numbers. If you apply for many jobs, sooner or later you will get one... But checking new postings, writing decent cover letter is time and mental energy consuming. I gave up there. I don't know, maybe it's worth the hassle getting the first one.

If you try to make a living doing part time, the key is 1) high enough pay rate 2) be strict about the payments.

I used to have a rather low rate and was very trusting (e.g. if the payment is late by 3-4 weeks I still trusted because I 'felt' that he is trustworthy). I ended up in the situation when I didn't have what to eat for a few weeks, while I was getting 'I really made the payment' BS, and 0 motivation and energy to do anything. But now I am happy that it happened, I moved on, and got much much better gigs and 1.5-2 times higher pay rate and payments always on time :)


Depends what you mean, I guess. I am "normally" employed with one company, not a freelancer, but I work "part-time", i.e. 30 hours/week. Getting that type of gig is likely different from getting the freelance/consultant type work.

(For what it's worth, the way I got mine was that I was hired for full-time/40 hours, did that for about nine months, then went to the manager and said "hey, how about I only work 30 hours?" and he said "ok".)

Your situation is exactly what I'm looking for. Being hired by a company but only working part time. Consulting is difficult (for me) because it is a huge time investment.

To fill my experience out a bit more, it wasn't something I was planning to do when I got hired. From a personal standpoint, I had a kid, and my wife got a higher-paying job so my salary became less important. From an office standpoint, there were a couple people already doing a similar schedule (I do three 10-hour days T-W-Th), so I wasn't going completely out on a limb. It really did fall into place pretty easily.

(I work for a very large company which HN would probably scoff at, plus I work with very uncool things like Java and Oracle.)

My situation has me fall in-between for a lot of HR things -- my pay has always been given in terms of a yearly salary, and usually as what it would be if I were full time. I just get 3/4ths of it. And I'm technically paid hourly, which helps keep any requests to come in on my days off to a minimum, since they actually have to pay me for it. I accrue 3/4ths of normal vacation time, but I still get all the other standard benefits. And I get to spend two extra days a week with my now two children.

Really the only "bad" thing is that I know it'd be difficult to get into this situation again, so if my job stagnates, it would be hard to go out and try to find a new job, unless I am ready to go back full-time.

I work for a very large company which HN would probably scoff at, plus I work with very uncool things like Java and Oracle.

Don't imagine that HN is some monolithic group of fratboys obsessed with the latest cool whatever. Some of us are dads like you, some of us work for big companies like you (I don't at the moment, but I have no objection to it), and some of us take pride in being able to use the tools we need to use to create useful stuff and don't care about hacker fads, fashion, or fame.

We have a few people working for us with similar deals -- e.g., people have kids and switch to reduced hours (this is a pretty good reason!).... We have one dev who is a theatre director for a few months every year; he lets us know well in advance when he's going to disappear for a while, and is available via email to offer advice on urgent issues.

I'd have imagined this would be more common with small & flexible companies; kudos to you for sorting out an alternative setup in a big one! I imagine HR in large companies normally pushes back against any situation that will go outside their normal flow.

I've found it's almost impossible to find good work using cold calls or responding to ads. Try to find people you know. Getting the first job is the hardest, but if you do a good job -- the referrals will start to roll in.

This has been inadvertent, however I've also gotten a lot of work through various projects[1][2] I've done that have gotten big on HN. Write it off mentally as a marketing expense, and spend a few days making something awesome.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5395463 [2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6586867

Any tips for actually getting a Show HN post on HN? I've posted a few things but been frustrated to see them immediately fall out of the new page with only a couple votes.

In order to make homepage, the post should have a catchy title, and be relevant to audience. I checked your Show HN posts. The Seattle film festival one is probably not very relevant, if it doesn't get ~10 upvotes in the first ~1.5hr, it will be gone. Wifi-dynamo-thermometer looks better, just a better title would do :)

Make something genuinely cool.

Not that I do this, but upvote your post with like 10 upvotes in the first 10 minutes. You'll have to use different proxies to mask your IP. Keep in mind that this is pathological behavior for the community though.

This is shitty advice. It gets you to the front page, sure -- but something that isn't interesting still won't be interesting no matter how many votes.

There's a secret to getting your Show HN to the front page: make something genuinely interesting. Do it, and it's dead simple to get on the front page.

I suggest looking for local hackathons or even better, startup weekends near you.


Startup Weekend is a great way to meet connections while helping them build a fun project for the weekend. Show them you are a badass talent. You'll get noticed.

Part-time is easy to come by when you're doing consulting work, since you can work out the requisite hours with your clients. I did full-time remote consulting for about 5 years, dropped to part-time consulting for a year to concentrate on music.

Finding a client that we could be flexible on hours with was difficult, though. Many clients are tied to the ass-in-chair time cycle. We eventually found a small company that was made of people who were largely remote and worked really flexible hours themselves.

Eventually I found a job in SF that offered full-time and part-time, and you can move between the two. This has been really great since we started a family last August - I took a month off, then came back doing 4-day weeks.

If you're in SF, we're hiring - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6477194

Hey, I would like to learn more about where you work. I couldn't find your email in your profile.

December/January are always the toughest month for me. Lots of companies are still working out their annual budget.

I usually just go on vacation.

I have had some luck finding part time work over the HN monthly freelance thread and through developer email lists (NYC.rb specifically). In the case of the email list it was as easy as sending an email to the list describing myself and my past experience and saying I was looking for part time work. A handful of people reached out to me.

If you have a minute, could you go into a little more detail about finding developer e-mail lists? Not sure what you mean here.


Looking through my email now it looks like most of the lists I'm subscribed to are through meetups on meetup.com. I'm a member of a number of meetups that are related to technology I use (e.g. Ruby, Javascript), or topics I'm interested in (e.g. data journalism, I'm a member of Hacks & Hackers). I receive either the emails in real time or as a daily digest. I have only turned to those lists once looking for work and it was a big success.

Do you mean the regular meetup.com mailing list for NYC.rb or something else?

The regular meetup.com mailing list for NYC.rb

The first thing to check is whether your former employer has a need for part time. Both parties are validated, and there is little to no ramp up needed.

The next I'd look at is mobile development. Now that there are multiple platforms to support (iOS/Android/WinMo), the demand for part time specialists is huge. There are a lot of companies that support a subset of those platforms but would like to add more (if they only had the expertise).

I do about 350-500 hours per year of freelance work ($100 per hour usually) in addition to normal full-time job. It is all through people I've worked with in the past who contacted me. If you have previous employers or co-workers, maybe ask if they have any extra work or side projects they need completed.

If you have a good online portfolio (a site showing what skills you have, what projects you've done, and your personality) as well as good client facing skills, check out matchist. We built it to help awesome freelance web and mobile devs (in the US only currently) find curated projects.

Become active in developer communities, create and contribute to open-source projects on GitHub, and people will contact you.

Companies like Toptal (http://www.toptal.com) mine GitHub and online developer communities looking for talent.

1) Start with craigslist. Lots of ads for people/companies looking for contract devs. Be cheap if you're not experienced/awesome yet. 2) Do a good job, so your references are good. 3) Build your network. Once you have that rolling, you'll never go dry.

For people who are already doing part-time dev work, do you find that people are curious and/or suspicious about why you're doing it part time? ie, "If you're actually good at this, why aren't you a full time employee or consultant?"

Funny thing is when I'm getting really crappy as a freelancer I cave in and accept some fulltime job offer. So it's the other way around. If you are that awesome then why are you working 9 to 5? It's easy and pays well, that's why.

Apparently you guys took this the wrong way. I don't personally hold the view that part-timers aren't as good. I'm planning to be one at some point, hence the question. My intended emphasis was on the full-time vs. part-time point.

My personal theory is that if people don't work precisely 40 hours a weak, Suck Rays from the magnetosphere begin to interfere with performance.

I've picked up side gigs from Hackathons. Typically if you win you'll get a few business cards that can turn into leads. Sometimes your teammates hire you for their own projects.

You know PHP? I'm hiring part time. Can be 100% remote if in the US. I know other people looking for P/T devs all the time for mostly one-off client projects.

Not OP, but actually looking for something in the 20-25 hours a week range. Plenty of PHP experience, do you have some more details and a contact address? (my email is in my profile).

Neither the owner of this thread, nor do I reside in US. But, wanted to check if there is a way you (or) people you know can consider a php dev outside US.

i think it's kind of hard to find specific people targeting part-time developers for a long period of time. they normally want contractors/free-lancers to help out on the project and then they'll cut you out.

I just randomly found one on elance out of nowhere. all i did was post that i did django web-dev for a year and bam, client received. I'm learning a lot though...like... what requirements to set for myself before I agree with the client.

One trick is to start full-time and as soon as you become indispensable to the company ask to go part-time.

1. Get full time job at IBM. 2. Prove your worth. 3. Move to part time.

Honestly, I'm really glad I don't work at IBM. But when I did work there on an internship, I noticed part-time people who seemed relatively respected and secure in their positions. I haven't seen that very much since.

I'm not sure this would work very well lately. IBM had a series of layoffs and are chasing short term shareholder value.

s/IBM/Any big name company with name recognition/g

I worked for Panasonic for a few months, the job sucked ass, but my title of Test Engineer and a quick explanation of what my responsibilities were is solid gold.

I jumped at the chance to be able to put them on my resume and I'm glad I did.

Can you do C#?

If you're starting a pool of candidates, throw me in. I would really love to continue doing C# development on the side.

Sorry, I'm a java/ruby/js developer. I can learn fast and would be happy to become .net/c# though.

If OP can't, I can :) My contact information is available in my profile if you're looking.

Me too - contact info in profile.

Of course! Though I hope you want Windows Store apps, I've been wanting to build another one.

email us at jobs@fcflamingo.com

Are you a recruiting agency? You dont even know what stack the developer uses...

They're a "design, development, and consulting agency based in LA and NYC. We're young, dynamic, and take on lots of cool projects."


I find it impossible to find freelance work when everyone thinks that it's like building a chair, except the chair sometimes turn into tables and it's still called a chair, and refuse to pay for a table because it's still a chair in their mind.

Few options remain for folks like me except to build our own SaaS products or software and hope it pays rent.

1) How do you guys find contract work? 2) How do you actually write up the contract and have them sign it? Is there an open service which does this? 3) How much up front do you charge? 33%? 50%?

diddnt know such gigs existed

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