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I took a look in Stack Overflow most popular profiles, and then I did the same in several other sites, and then I took a look in job postings in several boards, mostly out of curiosity, because I noticed this:

If you work with Java, .NET or other managed languages, or you work with stuff that is popular for web development (Ruby, JavaScript, etc...) you can get lots of points on Stack Overflow, find lots of jobs and clients, find forums, friends, colleagues, etc...

But how a programmer of uncommon languages (Lua, pure C, Lisp, D, ADA, Haskell, etc...) find information, sell his services, and so on?

EDIT: This also applies to fields:

You work with web, corporate software, database, etc... it is great...

You dislike those previous 3, no one ever will hire your services...

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web devs are in demand right now. You surely understood about following demand in the first place by learning multiple languages. Why are you stopping your learning cycle now? –  deltree Sep 4 '12 at 15:25

3 Answers 3

You have to look for the jobs, and you have to be prepared to live somewhere that there are those jobs. If you do ADA expect to live in a state with a biog aerospace/defense industry - not on a beach in the Caribbean.

There are fewer jobs for specialized roles - but there are also fewer candidates competing for them.

Finally you need to publicize yourself, write blogs, write articles, speak at conferences.

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Just because services are not popular doesn't mean there aren't individuals using them. Usually there are communities around any given technology. Seek them out if you can and find out what is available and where. –  joshin4colours Sep 4 '12 at 21:03

It seems that your understanding is that the way of selling our services is based on StackOverflow's reputation. From my point of view, SO's reputation doesn't say how good you are at specific technologies, it says how good are your contributions to the community (and, further on, how keen you are to contribute and help others to find solutions).

There are thousands (maybe millions) of really good and experienced developers out there with low reputation in StackOverflow and that doesn't mean they aren't good developers (or that they aren't able to sell their services). I agree that sometimes you find some recruiters that when see a high reputation in SO think you are pretty good at some technologies... but well, it's quite difficult to find good recruiters anyway.

Even non-common technologies have their demand, there are several things that you should do to make recruiters of those specific technologies interested in you:

  • Research the kind of business that may be interested in your technologies, their actual needs and try to come up with some sort of solutions.
  • Have some actual work (libraries, researches, etc) published somewhere either as code or as blog posts (or even both).
  • Make your own network: Look for people that work in the same areas, collaborate with them, grow your network with them.
  • Publicize: Your work must be know, it's not enough tu publish it, you must reach your potential clients.
  • Don't sell smoke: Be honest, do work that actually solves problems, try to be innovative and never, never stop learning.
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I hate to be the one to break it to you, but the things individuals value rarely align with the things society values. People succeed in business not by selling what they want to sell, but by selling what other people want to buy. Otherwise, we'd all be making six figures selling professional couch potato services. If work wasn't work they would call it something else.

Part of your issue is you're putting the cart before the horse by worrying about the technology instead of the problem. Customer's don't care what language you use as long as their problem gets solved. Self-employed people have a lot of flexibility along those lines, but it comes with instability. If you want more stability, you have to deal with more restrictions. That's just how it is. Find the least objectionable thing someone will agree to pay you to do, and do it.

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