What makes a top freelance developer?

As a freelance IT consultant, you are probably looking for your next gig. But have you ever considered what makes a top freelance developer? Is it the coding skills? Or maybe something else entirely? In this blog post, we will explore what makes the best talent stand out from the rest, and have their pick at projects.

Communication and collaboration skills

The first thing that stands out immediately in a top freelance developer is having excellent communication and collaboration skills. These are both an important part of any project, but when you are working in a freelance capacity, it becomes even more crucial to get along with the people around you. Your reputation as a freelance developer depends on how well you can work with others, and integrate seamlessly into any team and project dynamic. Hence, it is essential that you know how to communicate and collaborate effectively with your clients and colleagues alike.

The ability to communicate with non-technical people, for example business owners or other stakeholders, is especially important for top talents. You must be able to listen to them carefully, quickly understand their problems, and find suitable solutions for them. Most importantly, you need to know how to explain the value you bring in language that is understandable for everyone, not only for technical people. Being able to communicate clearly and in an understandable manner helps to build trust and long-lasting relationships with clients of all kinds.

One of the places to demonstrate excellent communication skills is during interviews. Being confident (without being cocky) is important: express clearly why you would be the right fit for the project and what value you would bring into the company. Clients appreciate seeing your enthusiasm and motivation for the project. Clients might also evaluate culture fit based on your communication skills. One of the litmus tests that top talents usually pass is the “Would I be okay sitting next to them on a plane for 10 hours?” Think about that before your next interview!

Past experience

There are several aspects to experience (and not just the number of years!) that make one a top freelance developer. Generally, top consultants usually have around 10 years of experience working in their field – but that is not a hard or fast rule. Great experience can come in different forms. If you have successfully freelanced for a few years with well known companies for moderately long stints (more than a year), this is often appreciated when clients are looking at your CV.

The kind of company you worked for previously also matters. Spending a few years in a consulting house, especially a top tier one, is always a positive signal to a client. This indicates you have made it through their stringent recruiting processes, and also understand challenges of working as an IT consultant. Working in a product house known for quality technology is also valuable experience in demonstrating that you have worked with cutting edge technology together with skilled colleagues.

Knowledge and passion for technology

Freelance developers and their technical tools come in different shapes and sizes. Many people think that you can only be a good software developer if you are an expert in all the technologies in your field. In reality, you can be successful if you only know one language very well and have enough understanding and experience with the rest. You don’t have to be a jack of all trades in order to be a top talent.

Top freelance developers stand out of the crowd as they are able to effectively pick the right tools to solve a problem – not just the tools they are the most familiar with. It is not just about knowing technical aspects of what is possible or how something works: it is about knowing how to pick the right tech for the job and understanding the business context. In addition, top freelance developers make sure they are using technologies in ways that make sense for the clients’ needs.

A cherry on the top – it is always a plus if clients can sense your passion and interest for technology. Passion projects on the side, continual educating and updating in different technologies, mentoring juniors in your work… These are all signs that you are genuinely interested in the field and will be a significant contributor to any team you are working with.

Customised CV

There is no point to having all of the above if you don’t have a good CV and introduction. As a freelance developer, a good-quality resume is your most important marketing tool as it is the only piece of information a client will have about you before they make a decision on whether to invite you for an interview. Top freelance developers can usually be identified based on their carefully customised CVs.

Top freelance developers tailor their CVs to fit the job they are applying for, highlighting their most relevant experiences, skills and personality traits. Making the effort to customise your CV specially for each project you apply for will set you apart from other freelancers and demonstrate your genuine interest in the role you are applying for.

Dreaming of becoming a top freelance talent? Get in touch with us and let's see how you could stand out from other freelance consultants on the market!

Check out our best tips for Creating a CV that sells.

Michelle Goh - Head of Talent

Michelle Goh

Head of Talent