Expert Tips for Drupal contractors
Working as an independent Drupal contractor can be rewarding and fulfilling, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. In this article, we'll explore 6 tips for boosting productivity and success as an independent contractor.
1. Network with other Drupal developers
Networking with other Drupal developers and professionals in the industry is a valuable way to build relationships, stay up-to-date on new opportunities, and advance your career.
For example, you might collaborate with other developer during client work, co-maintain modules on drupal.org, or participate in real-life code sprints at events like Drupal Developer Days. You can also stay connected with the Drupal community on daily basis by joining channels on drupal.slack.com.
These activities can help you make connections with other professionals, learn about new technologies and best practices, and gain visibility within the Drupal community. Additionally, networking can help you stay informed about job openings, projects, and other opportunities that may not be publicly advertised. By building a strong network of industry contacts, you can open doors to new opportunities and stay ahead in your career as a Drupal developer.
Create business value
2. Create business value for your clients
As a senior Drupal developer, generating business value for your clients is key to building successful, long-term relationships. To do this, focus on identifying opportunities to improve your clients' websites and the way their teams work.
For example, you might suggest adding a new e-commerce feature to increase online sales, or streamlining internal processes to reduce inefficiencies and save time. You could also focus on code quality, which can help reduce costs by minimizing the need for maintenance and debugging.
By understanding your clients' business goals and challenges, you can deliver value through your work and stand out in a competitive market. Strong communication and collaboration skills are also crucial for identifying opportunities and working effectively with clients.
3. Keep your skills up-to-date
Some important skills for keeping your skills up-to-date by staying current with new technologies and best practices in the industry include:
Embrace a lifelong learner mindset
As a senior software developer, it's important to have a passion for learning and a willingness to continually improve your skills. This can involve taking online courses, attending industry conferences and events, or simply staying up-to-date with new developments in the field.
Development skills are important
Hard development skills in PHP and the Drupal API: As a senior Drupal developer, it's important to have strong hard skills in the PHP programming language and extensive expertise in using the Drupal API. This involves being able to write clean, efficient code, troubleshoot issues, and effectively apply and extend Drupal's core and contrib modules's and APIs to build custom solutions.
Follow industry best practises
Utilize version control systems like Git and containerization tools like Docker to improve collaboration and streamline the development process. Leverage front-end frameworks like React to build interactive web applications. Adopt agile methodologies and prioritize security and testing. Keep code clean and well-documented for easier maintenance and collaboration.
4. Negotiate fair and reasonable rates
As an independent IT contractor it's important to negotiate fair and reasonable rates for your services. This can be a challenging process, especially for when you are new to freelancing or if you are not so confident in your negotiation skills. However, there are a few key steps that you can take to ensure that you are negotiating rates that reflect the value of your work and your experience in the industry.
First, research the market rates for Drupal developers in your area or industry to get a sense of what is considered fair and reasonable. This can help you set realistic expectations for your rates and avoid undervaluing your work. It's also a good idea to consider factors such as your level of experience, the complexity of the project, and the needs of the client when determining your rates.
Contemplate non-billable time
It's important to also consider the amount of sales required for getting a project, as the billable versus non-billable hours can greatly impact your overall earnings.
Next, be prepared to negotiate and be willing to advocate for yourself and your rates. Be confident in your skills and value as a Drupal developer, and be prepared to justify your rates based on your experience and the value that you can bring to the project.Finally, be open to compromise and be willing to negotiate terms such as payment schedule or scope of work in order to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.
By negotiating fair and reasonable rates, you can ensure that you are being fairly compensated for your work and build a successful career as a freelancer. It also greatly helps to get longterm clients.
5. Set clear goals and priorities
Setting clear goals and priorities is crucial for freelancers as it helps you to stay focused, motivated, and deliver high-quality work that meets the needs of your clients.
It's particularly important because you have more control over your work and how you approach it. It can also help you negotiate better rates and terms with clients by demonstrating the value that you bring to a project and the specific outcomes that you are able to deliver.
So avoid wasting time on unnecessary tasks and prioritise client value.
6. Consider both intellectual and personal factors when choosing projects and clients
When choosing projects and clients as a senior Drupal developer, it's important to consider both intellectual and personal factors.
On the intellectual side, look for work that gives you a spark and challenges you to think creatively and solve complex problems. This can help keep you engaged and motivated, and lead to more fulfilling work experiences.
On the personal side, look for clients and projects that involve working with people you can connect with and enjoy spending time with. This can make your work more enjoyable and lead to better outcomes for everyone involved.
By choosing projects and clients that attract you both intellectually and personally, you can find greater satisfaction and success in your work as a Drupal developer.
In conclusion, working as an independent Drupal contractor can be a rewarding and fulfilling career path, but it requires dedication, organization, and continuous learning. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can boost your productivity, succeed in your work, and build a successful and fulfilling career as an independent Drupal contractor. Whether you're just starting out or have been working as a freelancer for a while, these tips can help you stay focused, efficient, and effective in your work, and position yourself for long-term success.