Help me find a freelance coder
May 16, 2012 12:22 PM   Subscribe

Where can I hire reliable coders to do piecemeal coding for me?

I'm a scientist who also does a good bit of scientific programming and development. I've got the skills to do most of what I need to get done but don't have the time (my projects plate is constantly overflowing). Often times I need to do something soonish and I'll put a note on my todo list that I need to set aside a few hours, and weeks later it would still remain unfinished.

The smart thing for me to do would be to pay someone who has the skills and the time (I'm thinking a young freelancer) a fair hourly rate to get it done soon (so I can stop stressing and work on things that require my concentration). I'm an academic and fund many new side projects out of pocket so I cannot afford to shell out for a real professional (so to speak) but can easily pay 35-50 an hour for someone to get the job done (in the grand scheme of things, my time is more valuable than that). Where do I look for such people?

I can't post jobs on Stackoverflow, can I? It is kosher to write to someone and say "hey can you do this for me? Give me a hourly rate and an estimate." Googling coders for hire brings up sketchy websites where people bid on projects and bidders seem to be responding with boiler plate answers.

My goal is not to get some significant chunk of work done on the cheap, but more that my time is valuable and the rate I can afford might be easy money for a smart CS college student. Thoughts on where to look?
posted by special-k to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Jobs on MetaFilter

Craigslist "Gigs/Computer"

StackOverflow has "careers" but I don't know if you can post short term gigs on there.
posted by modernserf at 12:31 PM on May 16, 2012

posted by miyabo at 12:34 PM on May 16, 2012

Response by poster: For the project I need done right now, I will likely post to mefi jobs. But with CL and such, I really don't want someone to enthusiastically oversell their skills but actually plan on learning on the job (it pretty much defeats the purpose). Tasks I need done aren't vague (build me a purdy website!) but rather concrete and for someone who has the right skills, they should be able to do it as a routine task.
posted by special-k at 12:36 PM on May 16, 2012

I am not a freelancer, but I majored in CS in college, and I didn't trust general internet listings as much as I trusted my Career Center on campus. If you aren't currently working at a university, can you contact your alma mater or the nearest local university with a decent CS program and ask them to list your gigs?
posted by tantivy at 12:37 PM on May 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Not sure whether you will find someone in your price range and such, but this is a site I work through
I am not a programmer, so other than knowing the site, I can't really say whether it will work for you.

Elance.Com - IT & Programming
posted by lampshade at 12:58 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]
posted by 3mendo at 1:07 PM on May 16, 2012

I'm guessing you probably want someone with a little more knowledge and background (and interest!) than a straight-up programmer might have.

I recommend you see if any local universities have a CSUMS (Computational Science Training for Undergraduates in the Mathematical Sciences) program. These programs typically involve students from all sorts of different scientific backgrounds in computational science projects, and you might be able to either offer your project to current students as a learning experience (the CSUMS program I worked as the teaching assistant for funded undergraduates to work on worthwhile projects of their choosing) or get a list of recent graduates who might be willing to work freelance.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 1:19 PM on May 16, 2012

I don't know about programming, but I've successfully recruited some pretty high-calibre freelance writers through

The site allows you to upload an application form, and I'd recommend doing this, because, as well as allowing you to spell out exactly what you're looking for, it also weeds out chancers who just copy and paste boilerplate answers (and you'd be amazed at the number of people who bid *without* looking at the form!)
posted by Ricardus at 1:37 PM on May 16, 2012

I would go to the local university and ask professors if they have any students that might be interested in a paid internship.

Or, post flyers in places that students hang out (some schools have discipline-specific break rooms, I think).

An intern might actually cost you more than a professional (at, say, $100/hour), since it may take your intern longer to do the work and they may require more guidance from you. That said, the right intern could work really well — once they know the ropes, your costs could go down significantly and you could come out ahead.
posted by danielparks at 2:13 PM on May 16, 2012

For many years, before I had a large enough stable of repeat clients, I found a lot of web design and programming gigs through
posted by lgandme0717 at 3:56 PM on May 16, 2012

You could try a post to
posted by jbalwen52 at 8:52 PM on May 16, 2012

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