3 Ways to Find a Part Time Programming Job

5 min read

20 Mar, 2021

It's not as easy to find a part time software developer position as it is a full-time one, especially in the USA, but it is certainly getting easier. Whether you are looking to build a start up on the side, have childcare duties, or simply want to work less, working part time has a number of advantages.

In the following we'll discuss how you can find a part time programming job.

Option 1. Freelancing

The best option to find a part-time online programming is to join the gig economy and find a freelancing job i.e. a short term contract which you can work in your own time.

Freelancing is great because you can work whenever you want e.g. at the evenings and weekends. You may even look to find a freelancing position when you have a full-time job.

Freelancing is on the rise, where it is estimated that almost half of American’s will be freelances in 2021. In fact, even 33% of Fortunate 500 companies employe freelancers.

Freelancing Advantages

  • You'll get to control your schedule i.e. less obligations = work when you want
  • It’s likely you can work remotely from anywhere (i.e. Digital nomad!)
  • You can take on as many freelance gigs as you want / can handle at a time
  • No need to commute
  • You can experiment with your rates - it's almost like giving yourself a wage rise
  • Freelances may be more productive as they often work on their own
  • More freedom means they will likely have a better work-life balance
  • Potential for faster growth. As a freelancer: “what you put in, is what you get out”
  • Ability to say “no” to projects - something that’s more difficult in a full time role.
  • Fewer meetings and bureaucracy
  • The ultimate advantage however is that you can be your own boss

Where to freelancers work from

There are some downsides to freelancing however:

Freelancing Disadvantages

  • It can be difficult to find clients, especially in the beginning
  • Freelancing is half coding, half sales so the income can be irregular. You'll want to make sure you have some “run way” before quitting your job and jumping in to freelancing.
  • You'll have to do your own taxes
  • You won't get a pension / 401K like in a normal full time jobs
  • Same with healthcare or dental care...
  • Finding work can be difficult, especially in the beginning

There is an increasing number of platforms that offer freelance jobs in various fields. These platforms offer not only work opportunities but also tools and resources for freelancers to succeed:

  1. Freelancer (31 million users)
  2. Upwork (17 million users)
  3. Fiverr (7 million users)
  4. Toptal
  5. Guru
  6. Solidgigs
  7. People Per Hour
  8. Aquent
  9. 99designs

Find a freelancing job on UpWork

Option 2: Ask to go part-time in your full time job

One of the most successful approaches (which takes some effort unfortunately) is to firstly get a full-time software developer job before asking to reduce your hours after some time period (e.g. 1 year).

The best strategy is to work for the company for at least a year, doing the best work you can. It's an easier sell if you ask for this after you have proven your worth in the company. Or even better, if you own a project inside the company (i.e. you are the number 1 key stakeholder), you almost become "un-sackable" which is huge leverage when negotiating any benefits.

Once you have this leverage, you could ask your boss to reduce your hours - most of the time, they will grant your request. It's incredibly difficult to recruit software developers, so it's in their interest to keep you - even if you are working less i.e. it's much more time & cost for them to replace you.

You may find it easier to ask for this during a personal development review e.g. if they offer you a higher salary, why not say - "what about if I worked less instead?".

This worked for me: after 1 year I asked to drop down to 3 days per week (instead of 5), for which my manager accepted.

Option 3: Look for a 4 day week job

The other option is to final a job which is near full time i.e. one with a 4 day work week. The number of 4 day (32hr per week) jobs is on the rise. As you can see below, the number of jobs listed as a 4 day week has increased by 300% in the last few years.

The percentage of 4 day work week job listings on ZipRecruiter 👇

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  • 2018: 0.06%
  • 2019: 0.4%
  • 2020: 0.7%
  • 2021: ?

Job postings on ZipRecruiter with a 4 day week

In some places in Europe (e.g. Switzerland) it is very common for jobs to be advertised as "80% - 100%" giving the employee an option on how long they work. For example, onJobs.ch there are currently 2,139 IT jobs offering a "80-100%" schedule.

80% tech jobs in Switzerland

The Netherlands also recently introduced the Flexible Working Hours Act meaning that employers are obligated to agree to requests for adjustments to an employees working hours / times, unless there is a business reason limiting this possibility.

The growth extends beyond companies however. For example, the following countries have recently announced 4 day work week pilots during the last year:

  • Scotland
  • Iceland
  • Spain
  • Japan

Attitudes to how we work have been changing over the last decade, COVID only accelerated this trend. The number of 4 day work week jobs has been increasing sharply in the US, UK and Europe - Covid has only accelerated this growth.

We recently compiled a list many software companies who are offering remote engineering and data jobs on a 4 day contract. The roles offer most of the usual benefits as well (e.g. medical insurance), except with no loss of pay.

Some large tech companies, for example, have recently made the switched to a four day week:

If you are recruiting, why not consider offering the job as a 4 day week? You'll only increase the quality of talent you are able to attract given that this is still a fairly uncommon (yet hugely desirable) benefit. Many people just want to be able to live their life, and an extra day a week is worth quite a lot.

Hourly wage for Part time Programming Jobs

Now we know how to find a part time programming job you may be asking yourself: “how much you can expect to get paid?”. This of course depends on many factors, such as the size of project as well as what skillsets are required.

According to Upwork, however, these are the median hourly rates for different software developer roles on their platform:

  • Web developer: $15-30
  • PHP developer: $15-30
  • Javascript developer: $15-35
  • AWS developer: $20-45 (highest)
  • Golang developer: $22-44
  • Ruby developer: $18-40
  • Node.js developer: $18-38
  • Java developer: $17-35
  • Python developer: $20-40

So what’s a “good” hourly rate for programming? Around $30 per hour would be considered “good” and anything above $40 would be considered “better than average”.

The highest average hourly rates for IT skills on Upwork are:

  1. Bitcoin: $215
  2. Image object recognition: $180
  3. Virtual machine: $175
  4. SQR: $170
  5. Lucene search: $165

Freelance programming jobs pay well. In fact they are significantly above the average for all freelancing jobs online:

What do freelancers get paid

TL;DR

If you want to find a part time programming job, the website options are:

  1. Find a freelancing coding job (e.g. on Upwork)
  2. Get a full time job, then ask to drop your hours down (e.g. after 1 year)
  3. Get a 4 day work week job as a middle-ground.

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