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5 Real Examples of Freelance Projects Junior Developers Should Definitely Avoid

Photo by Michael Mroczek on Unsplash

In a previous article we talked about 5 real examples of freelance projects that you SHOULD apply to. And we talked about the importance of choosing the right type of projects if you are an entry-level developer trying to use freelancing as a stepping stone to get enough experience before applying to full-time remote jobs.

Making the wrong choice could mean working on projects that are too simple, so you won’t learn anything, or projects that are too complicated for your current level. You might also end up working on things totally unrelated to the languages and frameworks that you really want to master (e.g. Wordpress).

We visited Freelancer.com and Upwork.com and, using some simple filters, we found several projects that seem to be tagged with the right skills of a typical entry-level web developer. However, we chose 5 projects that you should definitely avoid, and for each one of them we wrote an explanation about why you should avoid it.

Project #1

Why you should avoid it

Because the requirements are totally unclear, and because it’s asking for PHP and WordPress skills, two things you are not interested in if your goal is to maximize your learning of JavaScript and Ruby (or whatever your preferred backend language is, unless you are interested in mastering PHP).

Project #2

Why you should avoid it

Again, it seems to be very focused on PHP development and tools built with PHP. However, the main issue here is the massive amount of skills and technologies involved in this project. Even though it pays per hour, this project will hardly help you stay focused on making yourself stronger in your niche. And we have talked about the importance of picking a niche before.

Project #3

Why you should avoid it

The client has taken the effort to write a more detailed description of the project including some general requirements of the project. However, the scope of the project is huge. It includes not just building a website, but also building an iOS and an Android app. On top of that, you are also supposed to build the authentication system, shopping cart, etc. However, this is the typical case where reinventing the wheel is not the best option. This client probably needs a web developer who is an expert in e-commerce and can just utilize an existing e-commerce solution (e.g. Shopify). Is the client open to it? Maybe, but installing and customizing existing applications is not how you are going to become a great developer.

Project #4

Why you should avoid it

The scope seems simple enough, and even though the budget is really low, if you are looking for experience, this could be interesting. However, have you noticed it says “Give me example of modern HTML design” and that it lists “Graphic Design” in the list of skills? That seems to suggest the client is actually looking for someone that can design the page, not just build it. Are you also a talented designer? Most likely not, so avoid this project.

Project #5

Why you should avoid it

The project is interesting. Anything that requires you to communicate with and integrate data from APIs will be good experience for your resume and portfolio. However, did you notice the client is saying “The project should be submitted no later than 4 days from the start”? Are you sure you can build this in just 4 days? It seems unclear given the client is not providing a clear list of requirements nor designs. Are you even familiar with the Instagram API? Make sure you don’t overcommit.

Do you need help finding, choosing and managing freelance projects? We run a training program for remote software developers where you can work on freelance and open source projects while doing pair programming with other students from all around the world.

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