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For reasons of illness and disability, I have not worked for years, after my first job that lasted only a year. Right now, my situation is stable enough that I am able to start working again, slowly.

I feel like I can manage no more than 12 hours a week, 3 days a week, perhaps working up to 16 hours a week. Because of complications with disability payments and low-income medical help, I can't earn more than around $1100 a month without consequences.

Starting to look around on Craigslist and other job boards, I haven't seen any part-time programming jobs in my area (Sacramento). Do jobs like that exist? How do I find them? Or am I stuck doing online freelance gigs?

  • If you need special comfortable environment, traveling to/from the office may become a major concern. An office may not offer such conditions, so a freelance job may be the best choice. – bytebuster Sep 25 '12 at 12:14
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    In addition to the answers folks have given, let me add this comment: look to your local colleges and universities. There are often part-time (you may see "0.3 FTE" or "0.5 FTE" in the job ad, which means a percentage of a full-time employee) positions, with generic titles like "research assistant" in addition to ones that specifically say "programmer". Faculty members with grant-funded projects, or just departments needing extra help, advertise for such positions, but you might need to do a little digging to find the programming aspects. They're there, though. – jcmeloni Sep 25 '12 at 13:39
  • They do exist, but I've usually seen them at 4 days per week. When I've seen it, it was usually someone who started off full-time and then transitioned to part-time (with proportionate salary) because they made an arrangement with their managers (I don't know the details but I imagine it varied case by case). I don't think they were ever advertised as full-time. – FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Sep 25 '12 at 13:59
  • The 4 days a week jobs exist because the employee wants part time work, but still wants to get benefits. – mhoran_psprep Sep 26 '12 at 10:05
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They exist but due to the somewhat temporal and volatile nature of part time contract work they are not likely to be advertised on job boards.

As with most of my professional experience throughout my life so far, the only quality jobs I have ever had were obtained by knowing and keeping in touch with past colleagues and friends. Public job postings and recruiters tended to be disaster revolving door jobs or complete dead-ends anyway.

If you are not on LinkedIn, open an account now, and look for as many past colleagues and friends as possible. Get connected, say hi to people, maybe go out to coffee and catch up. People who are currently working at a consultant or contract company often times wind up with difficult clients or increasingly impossible deadlines to where they need some assistance.

I currently have a side contract with another company that has become a part time job for me by reconnecting with an old friend from a past job. I am contract for a year but I basically only get called up when they need some additional programming help, it is a good extra 10-20 hours a week which is helpful for me at this point in my life.

If nobody seems to have anything available right now then see if your friends can take a chance to introduce you to an owner or director of a contract or consultant company, maybe to have a coffee and just talk. He or she will likely remember you when they have such a need come up.

I hope you feel better and wish you the best.

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    +1 for the suggestions on letting others know about the OP's situation. There may be companies that could use part-time development, but don't think any qualified candidates would be interested. – user8365 Sep 25 '12 at 12:23
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Yes, they certainly exist - though this depends a lot on your environment (your location, your area of expertise, your company etc.). In Germany, for example, part-time work as a programmer is not common, but it does happen. However, usually these are developers who started full-time and then reduced their hours for personal reasons such as family.

Some companies may also be explicitly looking for a part-time person, particularly small companies who cannot afford someone full-time, or who need an expert in a specific area. These jobs may not be "pure" programming jobs, maybe a mix of sysadmin, programming and helpdesk, but this can be quite interesting.

Finally, you might consider freelancing. It has its own challenges (and rewards), but you can take on as many clients as you want, and tell them when you are available for work.

6

As someone who has taken these sort of jobs, yes they do. There are a few catches though.

Firstly, your experience level is going to determine a lot. As I was (and am) a student, part time jobs are expected. If you're looking at a senior position, it's going to be harder to be part time. A portfolio of some sort (apps you've made, even small things) can be mighty useful.

Secondly, look at start ups/small companies (not necessarily dev houses) who need something specific done. I had a two year gig with a company that needed an Android app written alongside their iOS and web versions that they did in house. It lasted two years because they were constantly changing their designs/content management systems/requirements, and I only worked around 12 hours per week (2 6 hour days.) This will limit your scope a little, but also opens up interesting avenues: speak to a local store about getting them an app they could use.

If you do mobile apps, most small places could use a decently priced one. If you are a APT .NET person, you could write a custom billing application. There are lots of small projects to be done, and finding one that will last a while (i.e. needs updates and modifications) is best, if possible.

Next, since you've been out of the market and are a little inexperienced, what do you have to offer? If you can work unsupervised, your options are far wider. Simply having two to three small companies you make basic things for can be interesting work, and be the kind of thing you can do without constantly being treated like you're less worthy because you're part time (although perhaps that one is just me.)

Lastly, online freelance gigs work, but in person connections are worth more IMO. That's mostly because of the connections you make: I have good working relationships with my internships and part time jobs, and that will make transitioning to full time much easier.

If I'm way too late (posting because of the edit, original was a while ago) chalk it down to "new guy syndrome". :)

  • Cannot stress the last line of the first paragraph: a portfolio is a must. I've gotten on without one only because the things I work on in and outside of work are covered by NDA, but I am asked at nearly every interview for something that can show what I can do. If you're looking for PT, the portfolio shows that you can work diligently without supervision, which is preferable for a PT employee. – SliderBlackrose Sep 25 '17 at 14:48
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If you had a postion already you would probably find an employer more willing to work with you than finding one willing to work with you as a new employee. From an employers perspective you represent a huge risk. If they spend time getting you up to speed (a position that takes 2-3 months to get a regular programmer productive is going to take (4-9) months with someone working half time or less. Also since you have a disability there is a statically good chance that you will not be able to actually resume working on a regular basis. These combine to make it difficult for a business to hire someone in your position.

Your best bet is probably to advertise yourself. Put on craigslist that you are a programmer with 12-16 hours of availability a week. Your income limits mean that you will probably be priced right for this availability. I would list your major skills but not mention your disability. But doing so you will need to make sure that you can meet your obligation of 12-16 hours a week before you commit to an offer.

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