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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Programming Your Way to a Fortune

You can make a fortune with programming.

This is a hot rising trend with no end in sight

Forget about the programming courses you see on late night TV. I'll show you how to become a software programmer and make all kinds of money in this business.

On top of that, I'll show you where to get clients and how to promote your skills.

What Do Programmers Do?

Programming is the process of creating an organized series of logical steps that a computer must take in order to perform a desired task. Without software programs, computers are useless.

The programmer writes these instructions in a language that the computer understands. It's sort of like a "recipe" for the computer - a list of ingredients (called "variables") and a list of directions (called "statements") that tell the computer what to do with the variables.

You may be thinking that computer programming is not for you.

I'll show you some incredible opportunities that are available to you. And make no mistake about it. With this business, freelance is the way to go.

At the very least, having an understanding of programming languages like C++, FORTRAN, Basic, Cold Fusion, SQL, and COBOL will help you no matter what business you're in.

If you understand the basics of programming, you'll know what the webmasters, programmers, and IT administrators in your company are doing.

Programming will no longer be shrouded in secrecy.

You'll know how long a given project should take - and what it should cost. That's valuable information for any company these days.

How Long Will It Take to Learn the Basics?

Best-selling author, entrepreneur, and mega-marketer Michael Masterson says you can become expert at just about any complex skill by applying yourself to learning and practicing it for a total of 1,000 hours - less than 20 hours a week for a year.

You can easily manage that by putting in an hour or two on weekday evenings and a little more than that on Saturdays and Sundays.

Master programmers generally make between $300,000 and $500,000 per year (or more). A friend of mine makes six figures and travels the world first-class. He decided to specialize in corporate security and offer programming in foreign languages. He's unable to accept new clients because he's so busy.

But you don't need to reach that expert level to make good money as a programmer. Entry-level or beginner programmers make $50,000 to $100,000 per year - and there are thousands of opportunities for them.

You should be able to reach that level in a few short months.

Will Outsourcing Affect Western Programmers?

Outsourcing is not an issue.

Granted, there has been a lot of press lately about IT jobs getting outsourced to India, China, Croatia, and Mexico. And it's true.

But skilled, network-savvy programmers (especially those who understand Western culture) are in demand all over the world.

On top of that, most of the jobs that are getting outsourced are entry- and mid-level IT management positions - not programming.

The purpose of this post is to show you how and where to get more freelance projects as a programmer than you can handle.

Teach Yourself Programming

My son is fascinated with the Linux operating system. He loves the idea of Linux being an underdog and wiping Windows OS off the face of the earth.

He spent 8-10 hours a day, three months straight, learning about Linux. Yesterday, he installed a program that allows him to switch from Linux to Windows with two keystrokes (and without having to reboot his system).

He learned how to do this - entirely online - by going to Linux forums, discussion lists, how-to sites, and by "playing" with demos.

My son is 18 years old today but he started when he was 14.

In most cases, it's difficult to teach yourself something without having a mentor, instructor, or coach. But there are thousands of sites on the Internet that can help you understand and learn programming. I've listed some of the best in the Additional Resources section at the end of this issue.

Peter Norig's site is one of the best to get you up to speed on programming.

Peter is the Director of Search Quality at Google. When it comes to programming, he's a master. He covers in-depth programming issues on his site - and I think you'll enjoy it.

How Do You Get Started?

A top-level South African programmer once told me, "If someone wants to get a programming job, he should go to a good IT technical college. If someone wants to work for himself, he should just jump in and start learning it on his own. Tech schools can't and won't teach you logic, which is the foundation of all programming. If people start learning this skill on their own, they'll begin to see all of the flaws traditionally trained programmers make on a regular basis."

Okay, then. How do you get started as a freelance programmer?

If you're a beginner, you can jump right in - like my South African friend suggested. But taking an immersion course in programming might be a better idea.

Here are a few links to schools that offer immersion-programming courses:

Kaplan College

Programming Tutorials (excellent and free)

Tutorials.com

Kids Can Program

How Stuff Works

You're not going to get a degree from any of these sites - although I have nothing against degrees. But you don't need a degree. When you get into the programming world, NO ONE will ask to see your degree. I guarantee it!

(And, by the way, if you're already a programmer, these sites will help you brush up on the basics.)

How to Make Money as a Freelance Programmer

When you're just starting out, you can provide low-level programming for companies. And that's okay. I worked for a company free of charge for 30 days to prove to them that they couldn't live without me. (They eventually signed a two-year contract for my services.)

But quality programmers are in demand - so you won't have any difficulty finding work. And there are thousands of sites on the Internet that'll help you do it.

In my experience, programmers tend to be very weak when it comes to selling or marketing themselves. So you might want to brush up on your direct-marketing skills. My only recommendation when it comes to learning direct marketing is the Direct Marketing Quick Start Kit by Early to Rise.

Anyway, here are some links to help you find freelance programming projects and resources:

ScriptLance

GetACoder

CraigsList.org

ODesk

Source Forge

DICE

Marketing Your Programming Talents

Granted, most companies prefer to have full-time programmers on staff working from 8-5 (or later) every day. But despite that fact, there are literally tens of thousands of freelance projects available.

Where's the proof? Just look at some of the links I provided above ... or search Google using the keyword phrase "programmers wanted." I found more than 75 projects on the first few search results pages this morning alone!

But these sites are only the tip of the iceberg. I'm sure you've heard this 1,000 times, but the best jobs are rarely found in the classified ads or on job boards. It's true.

After you've developed your programming skills (and savvy), you'll need to set time aside every month to market your skills. Do it even when you've got boatloads of projects, clients, and deals pending. It's just a good habit and, eventually, it'll come naturally.

Direct marketing and referrals are by far the most powerful tools for marketing your talents. You could, for example, send a simple introduction and overview of your talents (less than one page) to your "A" prospects.

"A" prospects would be businesses that have purchased freelance programming services in the past - preferably many times.

"Where would I get a list like that?" you ask.

Easy. Make a list of every company that has posted programming projects on the sites listed above. Find out as much as you can about the company and its senior IT contact - and get his or her snail-mail address.

Then send your introduction and overview to that person via Priority Mail or FedEx.

If you send 20-30 of these a month, you'll be amazed by the results.

Forget about sending e-mails to these guys! They'll get filtered, thrown out, or deleted faster than you can shake a stick. A snail-mail letter (Priority Mail or FedEx) is the way to go. They will ALWAYS open and read letters that arrive that way!

Okay. So you insist on marketing your talents on the Internet - and with e-mail, too. Fine. But you need to do it the right way - and only to "A" prospects or you'll be wasting your time. That means finding websites and e-mail newsletters that reach IT types in companies that regularly hire freelance programmers.

Here are a couple of sites to try:

SecurityFocus.com

ProgrammersHeaven.com

ProgrammersParadise.com

PRGJobs.com

Lockergnome.com

I highly recommend that you build a website devoted to your programming skills - one that you can refer prospects to. But don't do it (like everyone else does).

* Put your testimonials on the first page.

* Make it very clear that you're available for small "test" projects to prove your worth.

* Relentlessly submit your page to the top search engines - and consider buying some keywords on Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's new engine.

If you want to get high-level search engine optimization (SEO) or search engine marketing (SEM) services for your website, I recommend eBrandz.com. They have offices in New York and India.

But don't hire out the marketing. That should be a regular part of your own routine. You know your prospects and skills better than any ad agency does.

Get Started Quickly with These Tips

If you're new to programming, you'll need to immerse yourself in it as quickly as possible. In this issue, I've provided you with links to some great online tutorials and programming courses.

Once you're up to speed, you can start replying to jobs posted on freelance programming sites - and you'll be amazed at how quickly you'll be hired. That's because programmers, and especially network-savvy programmers, are in demand.

Forget about the "problems" with outsourcing. The only people who should be concerned about that are overpaid middle- and entry-level IT managers and programmers.

In India, high-level programmers are thrilled to make $20,000 a year. In the U.S., the same jobs are filled by people making $80k-$100k per year. But you'll be positioning your skills as a high-end freelance programmer. This is very different than going after a full-time job.

Valuable Resources:

Alice (an outstanding educational software program developed by Carnegie Mellon)

SecretGeek (one of the best forums online for beginner programmers)

American College of Programming (to learn programming with an online degree program and tutorials)

KIDware

ProgrammingTutorials.com

CodeTeacher.com

CProgramming.com (advanced programming tutorials)

Java Coffee Break (Java programming tutorials)

WebMonkey (an all around great site)

Freelance Programming Opportunities:

Project4Hire

ScriptLance

DICE

eLance

OZZU Webmaster Forum

Guru.com

That's it.

Later...............

MC

2 comments:

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