Hi, everyone! My last interview with Holy was such a success that I wanted to reproduce the experience. Then, I thought about Cleo and how she inspires me to always push harder in my learnings because she’s a successful freelancer. I am getting more and more into entrepreneurship and Cleo represents everything that I admire, so I wanted to share her passion with all of you!
Cleo had amazing answers to my questions; I can’t wait to share them with you! 😀
- Hi, Cleo! Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
Hello Marie and hello everyone! I am a freelance web developer and tech geek from Cebu, Philippines. I am a very curious person; in fact, many of my close friends call me CC, short for Curious Cleo. I devote most of my free time to learning, not just about tech, but also about everything. Things like how can a gas power up a car, why do people behave in some ways under certain circumstances, how can a rocket withstand air pressure when it launches, etc. Trivial things about everything make me wonder. For me, learning is uncovering a mystery, and the feeling is just great when you discover them.
I also love to create and experiment with many things; whether it may be software, tech stacks, paper craft, calligraphy, sketching, electronics and among others. This is also one of the reasons why I fell in love with programming. It feels awesome to see things take the form or come to life with the work of your hands. It’s like having superpowers. 😀
- What is your academic background?
I graduated with a BS in Computer Science degree from the University of the Philippines Cebu. Our curriculum had three career tracks; first is Machine Learning, the second one is Information Systems, and the third one is Multimedia and Graphics Design. I took the Machine Learning track.
- How did you get your first freelancing job?
I had my first freelance contract with my cousin’s company. My cousin had a Customs and Brokerage company. They had a website but it doesn’t look good, it’s slow, and it’s not responsive, so I offered them a new website. I created designs and consulted with them often for approvals, coded it from ground up using HTML, CSS, NodeJS for the back-end script, ReactJS with Bootstrap for the front-end, did some optimizations so it would load fast, deployed using AWS cloud, and finally did some SEO on the site. The happy ending is I got paid and said that they would recommend me to people they know. Yay!
- Any tips for someone who wants to get their first contract?
Yeah, sure! As far as I know, many developers got their first freelance gigs under varied circumstances; here are some of them:
- Attend tech meetups and conferences more often – not only geeks and techies wander around during these events, employers and company people too! Some recruiters participate in these events to find skilled developers to join their team. There are also others who look for people to work with them on a project basis. Some developers also look for other devs who can collaborate with them and work on a project. There’s just so many things that can happen in a tech event so go out, immerse yourself in the tech community in your area, don’t be shy to exchange business cards with the people you’ll meet, and you’ll be amazed by the opportunities it can give you. Furthermore, you can build your network by attending these tech events. A network is essential to freelancing since you can also be introduced to freelance works through your friends and acquaintances.
- Do a personal branding and promote yourself through social media – When you are trying to get your first freelance work, exposure is a key factor. You have to let people know what you are doing (the services that you are offering) and show them the works that you’ve done (portfolio). You can post about your daily hustle on Instagram and Twitter; or start a blog and write about what you’ve learned. And the most important thing is to have a portfolio where you can show your works. Your portfolio is the proof of your skills and an assurance to your clients that you can deliver the job.
- Search for freelance work through an online marketplace – This is the most common and the easiest way to get freelance projects. It is undeniable that there is a shortage of developers in the industry. There are much tech projects but few developers to work on them. Thus the need for freelancing arise. Companies and organization post their projects on freelancing platforms like Upwork and Freelancer.com. Most of the freelance jobs include web design, web development, WordPress, SEO and some on mobile dev.
So, there you have it, tips based on my personal experiences being in the industry. Hope this helps!
- Which programming languages do you know? Which one is your favorite?
- Do you have anything to add before the end of this interview? 🙂
The combination of these two quotes have become my life motto:
“Stay hungry, stay foolish –Steve Jobs” and “Move fast and break things –Mark Zuckerberg.”
Yes, stay hungry for knowledge, skills, and learning! Stay foolish to always put your learnings into practice; to try different things out even when they appear to be weird or peculiar at first. Most Eureka moments and the greatest inventions in human kind were made from doing things out of the ordinary.
Move fast! Don’t ever let a day pass without learning or producing something. No matter how hard your goal may seem, just do it and make it happen! Break things! Don’t be afraid to try things out. Always look forward to that bug and embrace them with arms wide open. You will only and truly learn if you’ve broken things and able to fix them.
And finally, a word of advice from me, Stay curious! After all, life is a never-ending school. You learn many different things everyday. The more you know, the more you’ll become aware of the world around you, and you will never look at the world the same way again.
P.S Thank you, Marie, for having me. I had fun with this interview, and I hope I was able to share some knowledge with your readers. More power to you! You rock! 😀