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How do I find web development projects to work on?
January 23, 2013 12:51 PM   Subscribe

I was told I can't code anymore, but I love to code. I want to keep up with cutting edge technologies, and while I'm learning -- why not develop projects that people need while getting a part-time income. One problem: Where can I find projects?

Right now, I'm currently a project/design lead in the I.T. department of my company. It's a job that is a step below a full-fledged project management professional (PMP). My day-to-day tasks involve analyzing functional requirements, fleshing out the technical how-to, producing design documentation, and handing it off to our development team.

Before I moved up to this level within the company, I was a senior developer with about five years of experience. I was on the cutting edge of technology, heavily involved in molding the architecture of the company.

After the move, it became apparent because it was literally spoken to me that I should not be coding anymore... ever. This came as a shock because I had coded at such a high-level that I was noticed and abruptly promoted to a new position. Fortunately, I've made a smooth transition, and I believe I'm excelling at my current position as well. But I'm worried...

Our company is full of older generation thinking with a sprinkling of a few people who understand that we need to adapt. This is heavily apparent in the high-level, big picture ideas that are produced by our management. Most of it delves far too deeply into the "how-to", and to say that its outdated is an understatement. We aren't cutting edge, and my voice is only one in a crowd of voices simply wanting to get things done versus get things done correctly.

I could go on for hours about that, but that isn't my question. My question relates to the future of my career and acquiring knowledge. I love my job as it is today. I don't want to leave this company, and I truly think that we are heading in the right direction as we have had an influx of younger talent and the older generation is retiring. But I also don't want to sacrifice these years of being told that I shouldn't waste my time on coding. I want to remain a knowledge expert, and I want to ensure that I can find a new job if things go downhill due to poor decisions by management.

So, after my long-winded explanation of the situation... my question is this: What can I do, preferably for some sort of compensation, in the realm of web development that would not only give clients some of my work at a cheap rate, but also allow me to develop with new technologies? Where can I find leads to people who need such work?

I work primarily in .NET, but I've worked in all sorts of modern javascript libraries. I'm definitely wanting to get into developing using MVC frameworks, and I honestly don't want to create something for free for my company if they aren't going to use it. I'd like to create something that somebody actually needs.

What's the best way to find projects to do?
posted by MMALR to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
You can post yourself as a contractor on oDesk.com, and then incorporate new technologies into projects as you run across them.
posted by jeffkramer at 1:02 PM on January 23, 2013


There are quite a few services like Elance that exist to connect coders with freelance jobs.
posted by 1367 at 7:36 PM on January 23, 2013


Here's my problem with some of these sites:

I can't get any real work done when outsourced workers are offering as low as $5 an hour. I'm willing to do some projects for a couple hundred bucks at a fixed price, but I can't compete with a guy doing 20 hours of work at $4 an hour. I'm sure the quality is lacking, but most of the jobs I've seen are taking these outsourced workers.
posted by MMALR at 6:07 AM on January 24, 2013


What about writing a plugin or utility of some sort and offering it as donationware? Or free for personal use with a cost for enterprise / commercial use? A quality jQuery plugin could earn you a few bucks, plus get you some good PR for your resume.
posted by nedpwolf at 3:50 PM on January 24, 2013


>I can't get any real work done when outsourced workers are offering as low as $5 an hour.

If you want to pick up projects on sites like Elance, Freelancer, etc, it is going to be extremely hard (aka impossible) to get any worthwhile work without a track record. Until you have that, you are competing with the $5 per hour guys. And unfortunately, your skills are not in short supply.

Either invest time in getting that track record, and that means working for crap rates for at least 10 projects or so. Or, start your own project.

It may not earn you any $, but you can use it to showcase your talents and develop them further. Helps if you happen to be passionate about something.
posted by w.fugawe at 4:24 PM on January 24, 2013


If you're willing to focus less on the making money aspect and more on the something somebody actually needs part: find some open source projects using the technologies you want to learn and start contributing to them. This could be good for you down the line, as you'll then be able to point potential clients to real work you've done that other people have accepted, especially if it's on a networked coding site like GitHub.

Alternatively, you can try and figure out a useful web project and make a side business out of developing and running it. Nobody will be paying you, but you learn things from trying to make money from it.
posted by foxfirefey at 2:28 PM on January 28, 2013


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