4 Ways to be a More Effective Web Developer
Freelancing can be as daunting as it is rewarding. It’s a constant juggling act to expand your reach, complete projects in a timely manner, and stay afloat. Entrepreneurs must continually work to innovate and stay on top, which is easier said than done. How can you be a better web developer for your clients? Use these ideas to get started:
Never Stop Improving
Bill Gates famously said “success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” Though you may be comfortably awash in projects now, you should realize that today’s marketplace is more competitive than ever. Continually improve to stay ahead of the curve. Keep updated on the US Web Standards for developers to ensure you’re always delivering a quality product. Take cues from others in the industry – see what they’re doing and how you can apply it to your practice. Finally, look into continuing education and available certifications in your area, which will make you more competitive and keep you abreast of any changes in the industry. Web development happens to be one of the quickest-evolving industries out there, so becoming complacent would be a huge mistake.
Use Tools to Stay Organized
Freelancers often wear all of the company hats themselves, so don’t be reluctant to take advantage of all the available tools to stay organized. Calendars and to-do lists are must-haves in your arsenal. Sync your calendar to your email, set alerts, and remind yourself of deadlines and conference calls. You’re continually collaborating with companies, bringing their visions to life. Organization is key, so set the stage by keeping your desk free of clutter. Use folders to keep all your computer content organized. It also helps to set aside some “administrative time” each day to update your schedule and perform virtual clean-up.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Most developers have a comfort zone, and rarely stray far from it. But taking on new projects that push you will only make you better and more competitive. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope and take on a project that may seem a bit of a risk. New projects are always a judgment call and a balance between the ones you know you can finish efficiently and on time and the ones where you aren’t absolutely sure. Only the risky ones will help you grow so use your best judgment and take a chance.
Networking is a necessary part of the job if you want to keep getting customers. Keep your profiles on your social networks up-to-date and publish consistently. Use developer-specific social sites for networking, including:
- HTML-5 Rocks, which is an open-source network from Google. Find resources, tutorials, and demonstrations, all free if you join.
- Forrst provides an open forum for web developers to share their projects and get feedback from others in the field.
- Geekli.st is a social portfolio builder made especially for developers. Communicate with prospective clients, employers, and other developers to build your credibility and ultimately land more jobs.
Networking might be your least favorite part of the job, but it’s one of the most important. If you continually network, self-improve, study, and be willing to take on the tough projects, you’ll build your business and be a more effective freelance developer.