Becoming a contract programmer is a career path that is attractive to many people who have chosen to become computer programmers, whether they are still green or they already have a bit of experience to speak of.
The life of a computer programmer may seem to have a little more freedom than that of a programmer employed in a particular company on a full-time basis.
For one, contract programmers are paid more than full-time employees. They also get to choose whom to work for and what projects to undertake. Also, they can take as much time off as they want in between projects.
The money that a contract programmer typically earns, which ranges from $35 to $400 per hour, is enough for many fully employed computer programmers to switch gears and get into contract programming.
Becoming a contract programmer, however, needs a lot of work and preparation. Contract programmers specialize in one particular field, and they are considered to be experts in that field.
To be a contract programmer, a computer programmer must choose a specific field and programming language to focus and gain an expertise on.
To gain expertise on a field, a computer programmer has only one course of action to take and that is to study the said field of his or her choice.
In order to gain mastery, a contract programmer wannabe can either enroll in courses that deal with the specific field and programming language that he or she wants to tackle. He or she can also get the necessary training online through the various resources on computer programming available on the Internet. He or she can also go through a self-learning process by reading technical books on the field that he or she wishes to specialize on.
Learning the field and accumulating knowledge about the field only leads the contract programmer wannabe halfway through the road of mastery of the field. So he or she could test his or her knowledge of his chosen field, a contract programmer wannabe must always put what he or she has learned into practice and gain some real-world experience. As they say, practice makes perfect.
The contract programmer wannabe should take on projects that will further hone his or her skills. Through constant practice, the computer programmer wannabe will get to learn new methods of programming and figure out which ones work, which ones work best, and which ones do not work at all.
Once the contract programmer wannabe begins to feel confident about his or her knowledge of the chosen field of expertise and has gained enough experience in it, the next logical step would be to take certification tests.
Passing a certification test will not only give him or her bragging rights but will also legitimize his or her claim to being an expert. When all that studying is done and the necessary certification tests were already taken and passed, it is then time to cash in on the investment.
The newbie computer programmer should write his or her resume and send them to contract programming brokers. These brokers will have their own websites; they also often post openings in job recruitment websites, as well as in college or university networks.