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Portable Careers: web developer

iStock_000002393284XSmallBeing a web developer (as I am) is great for one good reason – I can work from anywhere. As long as I have my PC and an internet connection then I can work for anyone, anywhere I like. Of course it isn’t as easy as it sounds, I have been a web developer for over 10 years now and it is a very crowded market. Before I moved to Portugal I had an established web business for over three years. So, I knew I could maintain my income before I made the move abroad.

Having said that there are now more opportunities to find work globally if you need to. After a brief hiatus, I got back into web development via Elance which let me use my skills to build up a new customer base where I attracted clients from New Zealand, the US and UK as well as others. I have worked for these clients whilst in Portugal, Romania and the UK so it is a job that really is portable.


Setting yourself up as a web developer will require a lot of work though, but if you have the determination it is achievable in a short space of time. You will need to start out with the basics of learning HTML and CSS. Then I would recommend moving onto Javascript/Jquery and while that may be enough to get you work if you then start to specialise in other areas, such as database development, WordPress,, PHP etc. then you are much more likely to get more work at higher rates.

There are plenty of beginner’s courses online that are free (e.g. w3schools) as well as some excellent paid for courses such as the ones from Tuts+.  You will also need to software, although it is possible to just use Notepad in a pinch.  There are lots of different software to choose from but there are plenty of free ones including the Express version of MS Visual Studio which is excellent.


As well as looking for clients in your home country, if you have the language skills you can also find work in your new one. As a said before there are also plenty of online opportunities at places such as Elance and PeoplePerHour.  As with any business, building up a customer base isn’t something that happens overnight but these websites really help and it is possible to earn good money as web developer.

Are you a expat web developer? Are you thinking of learning web development in order to work abroad? Please let us know your stories below:


  1. Gautham Chandran

    I like this post and I want to start career in webdesign from scratch…..
    Please help

  2. Sarah

    Hi, thanks for the comment.
    There are lots of places to start and quite a lot of them are free. You can try places such as (who also do premium courses). Codecademy also has some great beginner courses and there are plenty of other places out there too. Your best bet is to learn HTML and CSS thoroughly and then look at some other specialisations. Jquery is a good next step and then you could try php or


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