What technologies to learn for freelancing?

Hi, i’ve been studying web development for almost 6 months now, and i’ve been mainly sticking with JavaScript and related technologies like React.

My question is, if I want to focus on doing freelance work and building myself up as a brand, which technologies do you think would be most valuable? I have heard that PHP and WordPress are the most popular for freelancers, but I wanted to get your guys’ opinion on this, not just in terms of what’s most useful right now but where you think the trend is headed?

Also, just for reference, it is my goal to be able to make enough money to support myself with freelancing (roughly $24-30k a year at least) so that I can possibly travel for a year or so, as well as build up a solid body of work that I can later show off to full time employers.

Thanks for your answers!!

Well, you’re right - PHP plus Wordpress is the most wanted combination for freelancing.

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I would also agree that you won’t loose by learning PHP and WP. You should know how to build a WP theme straight from a Photoshop PSD mockup. Learn how to do that and you will be pretty set. Also, I know some freelancers will use Squarespace and learn how to customize templates from there, so knowing about those would be helpful as well.

The best advice I could give you is for you to focus on a niche that is targeted, and learn how to serve that client base really well. So for example small law practices - find out what good web development and marketing looks like for that segment, and develop your skills around that.

Bottom line: There is no right or wrong answer here. Find out what is easy to sell, to what customers, and figure out how you are going to get from point A to B. A lot of times the customer / client will not care at all what tools or skills you utilized. At the end of the day, people just want a good looking website! Keep that in mind.


Also, don’t forget that as a freelancer, you are your own boss. Things like accounting, project management, and marketing need to be done too.

Having a solid base of languages is nice, but maintaining the business side of things is important too. :wink:

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Personally, I’ve gotten a lot of mileage and income from knowing MSSQL databases, ASP, C#. On the frontend side – jQuery, Bootstrap, JS and some Angular, and VueJS frameworks.

Learning WP, theming, making custom themes won’t hurt. It’s easy and you can land jobs that may be anywhere from few hundreds to a a few thousands that are no-brainers. Very easy, low-stress jobs. (of course, it goes without saying these are not jobs you’ll find at freelancer or upwork. Those guys are crazy, racing against each other to the bottom.)

Knowing other related skills to web development or graphics can bring additional income – photography, video editing, designing CD packaging, motion graphics, etc.

Having other sources of income – selling stuff (hardware, software, services), affiliates, commissions, adwords, etc. also helps.



What are the potential alternatives to freelancer or upwirk (other than cold calling companies direct)?

I’m looking at learning frontend to then look at the backend (the backend being my main area of interest).

Many thanks.


You have to find clients locally. You can’t make lots bidding on upwork, freelancer, fiverr or sites like that.
You’ll be competing against software developers who make the equivalent of $2.88/hr on average.
These sites may be great if you’re posting the jobs… but not if you’re looking for jobs on here.

I said MAY – because you also get what you pay for.

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It’s good to hear you’ve had success with C#/ASP/MSSQL, cause I actually really enjoy working with those, just didn’t think they’d be suited for freelance work.

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Why not? Freelance just means you’re not employed by a single company. You work with several different clients/projects.

I guess my approach is I don’t sell them the technology I’m going to use… I sell them the solution to the problem/need they have.