Temp/freelance jobs for programmers/web developers who can't design
June 3, 2015 7:16 AM   Subscribe

I want to make money with my web development/programming skills, but my main thing is standup comedy so I do NOT want a 'real', full-time job. I also have zero design skills. What should I pursue?

I'm a standup comic who worked as a web developer/programmer for a small company for two years. I got laid off a year ago, and since then comedy has been my main focus. I've been doing a part-time 'unskilled' job for money (in addition to the little I've been making from performing).

I want to do comedy for a living, but I'm not at the level where I can support myself with just that yet (but I think that at the rate I'm progressing, there's a good chance I'll be there in a few more years). I want to use my coding skills to make money, but I do NOT want the responsibilities of another salaried job. I do not need to earn as much money as these jobs offer, and I absolutely cannot deal with the long hours and limited vacation time (or "no vacation policy") that would prevent me from traveling regularly. Currently I go on the road several times a year. I also have gigs every almost night that would prevent me from being responsible in any way off-hours.

I know C# (ASP.NET Web Forms, not the MVC platform, unfortunately), Java (Android specifically, but I do NOT have nearly enough experience or knowledge to spearhead an Android app), HTML/CSS/JavaScript/jQuery, and basic SQL. I do not have a computer science degree, but I do have a unrelated B.A. with CS classes through data structures & algorithms.

I know freelance web development would be the standard recommendation for someone in my position, but I am absolutely terrible at design. The ideal situation for me would be a series of temp jobs that involve coding. The second-best situation would be a series freelance jobs that involve coding but no design.

I understand that most companies probably do not want to hire temp programmers because there is a learning curve familiarizing yourself with any real codebase. Still, there have got to be some companies without on-staff programmers in need of some site tweaks or one-off scripts. Right?

If the answer is no, I'll just probably try to temp doing non-tech office work. Seriously, low commitment is ESSENTIAL. It just feels a waste to have these skills and not use them, you know?

I'm in Chicago, in case if you've got specific leads. Throwaway: icantbtieddown at gmail
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My best web dev clients are freelance graphic designers who sub-contract the technical stuff they can't handle to me.
posted by RobotHero at 7:20 AM on June 3, 2015 [5 favorites]

Oh, and to elaborate. I found them via recommendations from the graphic designers who I had previously worked with at a web dev studio. Basically they're all former co-workers of my former co-workers. And they're often my best clients because: 1) they're much easier to communicate with than a layperson, 2) they have a realistic idea of what price they're going to pay, 3) they tend to provide me with semi-frequent but small jobs, which is a lot easier to shuffle time-wise than the feast or famine pattern I get with my other freelance jobs.
posted by RobotHero at 8:46 AM on June 3, 2015

I've been a full time freelance web developer for over 8 years, doing exclusively dev, no design. Its totally possible
posted by missmagenta at 9:12 AM on June 3, 2015

Just chiming in to say, me too. I'm almost entirely nuts and bolts. Occasionally I'll tweak a purchased theme. The best projects are where I work with a "real" designer.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:30 AM on June 3, 2015

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