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As a freelance web developer, how do you cope up with learning so many technologies?

prahladyeri profile image Prahlad Yeri ・1 min read

Its no secret that the webdev world is currently riddled with byzantine amount of complexities in all areas like frameworks, libraries, standards, coding languages, markup languages, build systems, documentation systems, container and virtualization systems, database management, machine learning and statistics, etc.

Now, a large company or think tank has the luxury to hire hundreds of smart technical experts in all of these areas but a solo freelancer dude doesn't have that luxury, right?

As a freelancer, how do you cope up with all this? In order to be competitive in today's cut-throat competition in freelancing, you must have the knowledge of at least little bit of all these areas.

As these complexities become even more nuanced in the coming decades, do you think that freelance coding will finally be a dead field? There are limitations to how much a single dude can learn or grasp after all, you can't keep up with everything that's going on everywhere. Where do you see the future of freelance programming going in this regard?

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prahladyeri profile

Prahlad Yeri

@prahladyeri

Most programmers like coffee but I'm fond of tea.

Discussion

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Not a freelancer but a consultant. We go into companies, learn and understand a tech stack, complete a job over a few months then leave. We have to learn how to learn quickly, and tbh its something that really comes with experience. Its not something I would recommend to someone without a few years experience.

Things that can make life easier:

  • Try different languages and techniques in your spare time
  • Learn about lots of different methodologies etc
  • Find out what the client is using ahead of time and spend a week+ getting used to the technology
  • Test, test, test and test again
  • Surround yourself with a diverse set of people who can assist you
  • Be selective with clients to play to your skills (within reason)
 

I am a consultant as well.

My recommendation is to be very, very good at the one core technology you love using.

This way you can go out and seek your clients that will pay you more for those results you are bringing to the table. This will then also free you from projects you don't like as much and thus free up time to learn stuff you like to learn.

 

I think a thing that's been saving me from madness is a combination of intellectual lazyness towards new tech (do I need it? do I really need it?), lack of time, strong fundamentals and the ability to understand quickly if something is worth pursuing.

My sixth sense is often wrong though: for example I was raving about Flutter, now I'm mostly "meh" about it, I'll probably change idea again.

Learning how to learn is the key here, we've been talking about it often on DEV. If you know how to pick up stuff quickly or how to dive into other people's code you'll be mostly fine. You still need to know something well.

This should also help: