How to be a Freelance Big Data Developer

Freelance Big Data Developer

Haseeb Budhani coined ‘Big data’ in 2008, and it became a big deal, pun not intended. The term describes a collection of big sets of data too large and too complex to analyze by traditional database applications. It is thus, the demand for a fact, it is huge; an emerging career avenue with room for improvement and the promise of money.

Big Data development is a relatively new field and usually developers in this scope of work are full-time employees. However, as with most fields, there is a growing market for freelancers as well, and if you do feature as one of the latter, don’t worry too much.

Some groups of Big Data developers freelance fulltime and still manage to make enough money as their corporate counterparts. The trend of fulltime freelance continues to rise as the amount of work available and the pay scales on offer, present a more viable and lucrative option to office work.

Freelance Big Data Developer Job Duties

Freelance Big Data developers have a host of duties, which they must fulfil at the job. Similarly, there are certain duties and roles you must undertake as a freelance Big Data developer.

You must sometimes learn a combination of certain development languages and be familiar with other platforms to be able to complete these duties. Some of the important duties that you will encounter include:

  • Assessing business rules
  • Conducting source to target data mapping
  • Designing, reviewing, implementing and optimizing ETL processes
  • Performing Data Analytics
  • Building/extending toolsets
  • Creating and maintaining batch jobs
  • Gathering and processing raw data at scale (including writing scripts, web scraping, calling APIs write SQL queries, etc.).
  • Liaising with the engineering team to integrate your innovations and algorithms into the production systems
  • Processing unstructured data into a form suitable for analysis – and then do the analysis


Big Data development is a crucial skill, one that can fetch you good money and comfort. Data analysis plays an important role in decision-making, and developers who build analytical tools and software must have:

  • Strong knowledge of and experience with statistics; potentially other advanced math as well.
  • Programming experience, ideally in Python or Java and be willing to learn other languages
  • Deep knowledge in data mining, machine learning, natural language processing, or information retrieval
  • Experience processing large amounts of structured and unstructured data
  • Enough programming knowledge to clean and scrub noisy datasets

These are, but some of the major skill sets that recruiters look for while signing on potential Big Data developers. You can learn many of the skills needed online. W3 schools, Big Data University, Learnnovators and Beth’s Blog offer many videos, demos and infographics to develop the skills needed.

Being Successful As A Freelance Big Data Developer

Success as a Big Data developer can depend on how well you liaise with your Big Data team, how well were you able to integrate and collate Big Data and how well recognised are you. In the freelance world, employers usually measure a developer’s success in much the same way that they measure other freelancers: ratings and reviews.

There are many other aspects to being successful than simply a review and a rating. Some of the ways you can get on the path to success as a Big Data developer include:

  • Building a technical portfolio, contributing and collaborating to shared projects
  • Being an algorithmic, analytical thinker
  • Develop expertise on renowned Big Data technologies like Apache Hadoop, Cloudera, MapR, HortonWorks and Amazon Elastic MapReduce, NoSQL
  • Create a Facebook page and advertising your services

Big Data Developer Salary 

Big Data Development is a niche field, fast emerging as a well-paid option for developers. There is a steady increase for jobs as Big Data developers. Usually freelance portals offer two generic kinds of payment models to freelancers.

Fixed-price, where the price is usually pre-determined and a budget is sanctioned which you can bid for, and the hourly payment model where the employer decides on an hourly pay.

A fixed price model may range from $50-500 upwards, while you have to pitch for hourly projects, which usually range from $5-35 an hour. The average pay scale of Big Data developers stands at around $22 per hour.

Finding Work

Finding work as a freelance Big Data developer is not difficult and there are many portals where you can advertise your services. It is a reasonably well paid job and there are thousands of opportunities for prospective work-at-home developers like you.

Big Data development is a niche skill, but it is necessary to businesses that collate huge amounts of data and analyse it. Thus, a Big data developer like you is an asset to the digital market, and there is no shortage of websites offering work.

Many portals and websites like Elance, Odesk and Freelancer offer jobs for prospective Big Data developers.


As Big Data developers, many resources can help you develop and hone the required skills. Many websites, channels, and even forums offer training videos, interactive training sessions, and exercise and demo pages where you can learn from the best.

W3 schools, Big Data University, Learnnovators and Beth’s Blog offer many videos, demos and info-graphics to develop the skills needed as a Big Data developer.