I am working as a freelancer since I was 15. Now I am 28, but I have always been scared of freelancer platforms like Upwork and Freelancer.com, where the competition is huge and even a slight mistake could cause a lot of heartbreak. There is a huge competition right from the low price developers to highly priced developers.
Here comes a unique platform like Codeable, where there is competition but not necessarily serious competition. There might be platforms like them already that I am not aware of, but I really like the way the rules are made to make it simple and organized.
Vetting and hiring process
Codeable uses an interview process so that they can select the top 2% of WordPress developers, unlike other project platforms where almost everyone can apply for projects. This helps reduce the noise and keep developer access private.
I remember applying to them some years ago. I’m not sure if I got a reply back or if I saw a reply saying, “We are not hiring at this moment.” Maybe they just wanted to say, “Dude! No way we are going to hire you without a portfolio.”
Errr. Ok! I searched through the logs and found the email:
I used to charge $15/hour for three years, but when I discovered that I could charge a minimum of $80/hour through Codeable, I had to take a break from work to develop more skills and my portfolio. I took a break for a year. During that time period, I completed many tutorials regarding WordPress development, especially Gutenberg (ReactJS), and built my personal site with all the projects and other sections in that time period. I have to admit that WordPress is huge, and learning it all is almost impossible when there are 1000s of plugins, themes, and features coming every month. I still sometimes miss the basics if I do not code for a week or two.
I applied through this form in September 2022, confident that my portfolio was ready for acceptance by their team. But after applying, I didn’t have any expectation that I would receive a reply from them. I thought this would be just another ignored or rejected job request for me. But no, I think they noticed my personal website and a professional custom email. I felt good after receiving the message.
What I remember from the above questionnaire was something about questions related to Codeable. There was a video to be watched, and a quiz followed that you needed to answer. If you watch the video, it’s quite simple.
You then go through a pre-screen test based on the role that you choose. I was interested in Frontend, and then I received an email from them:
I was a bit nervous before starting this test because the time limit was 1 hour and I didn’t know what to expect, including the test platform named CodeScreen, which I had never heard of before. I googled something about this pre-screen test, and some replies suggested that if you know the field well, i.e., the front end, you won’t be having any issues.
I was asked to submit the solution to their private repository in Github. If you are like me, who does not know Git, you can use GitHub Desktop application which provides an UI to easily manage everything without needing to know any Git syntax. After submitting the solution and receiving their confirmation, I got the following emails after 2 days which automatically confirms that I passed the pre-assessment exam already:
It’s like the mega-version of the previous test. This time I was less nervous because I was already aware of the process. Since the total time was around 7 days, I immediately began the test with excitement about what was coming.
Just like the previous test, I was invited to a private GitHub repository where there were details about a conversion of Figma design to a WordPress project.
I have done more than 5 such conversions, so it was not that tough, but I was certainly confused because of the resolution. I’ll just summarise some of the points without going into detail about the project: 1. A transparent menu with a negative margin logo 2. Buttons in the shape of a skewed rectangle 3. Three-slide slider plugin 4. Pricing boxes with a special shadow 5. Custom Google Maps with markers that can be edited via ACF fields 6. Two WooCommerce banner sections with changing “Add to Cart” text on click 7. Subscription newsletter section 8. Footer section with links and a logo Mobile and tablet design was not provided, and thus we had to think up the responsive options on our own. There were certain other conditions, like password-protecting the site, which can be done through a plugin.
I completed the project after 3–4 days of looking into ACF, Google Maps API docs and struggling with many slider plugins. It was fun to work on that. When I was just about to submit the page, I noticed I had made a huge mistake. The Figma design had a different resolution than my desktop, which is bigger than it. All that work had to be changed since I was using fluid width instead of fixed. I went back and changed the required width for the entire page and the container blocks within. If I had submitted, I could have been rejected or even asked for improvements in the feedback.
I tested the page through BrowserStack on the latest desktop, mobile, and tablet devices. I had to record the video that would explain the solution within 3-5 minutes. But I explained it for 10+ minutes through Loom. The GitHub repository was merged, and the project was submitted on the very last day, i.e., on the sixth day. I received the following email after submitting my application and was told that it would take a week or 14 days to complete the review.
But after 4 days, I received an email from them:
I am not sure if this is a general response or if they typed it in manually, but I was very happy when they said, “We were impressed with your attention to detail and overall quality and are excited to move you forward in our vetting process.”
Behavioural Interview & Live Coding
As you can see, they had invited me for a live meeting after 12 days. I did not even have a webcam or a microphone and had to buy one just a few days before the meeting. I was getting used to CoderPad, as I have never used it before; it’s similar to Visual Code, so not really a worry.
I joined the meeting just 5 minutes before the scheduled time. I was expecting 2 team members as stated in the email, but one of them who actually emailed me joined the video meeting, which was good for me as having 2 could have made me more nervous.
She asked me to give an introduction. So I gave an introduction of 4-5 lines. I thought anything more would be boastful, and even I did not like it. She then gave me a longer introduction of herself than I did. Then I thought maybe I was short enough.
It was a mix of technical, general, and project-related questions. I am not aware of the exact order, but I think I can recall some questions and my answers to them.
1. Describe your best project and the other projects you’ve worked on.
I explained about the Prima project that I was working on for nearly 2 years. I did not explain it completely; I thought it would be better if I showed her my project link through screen sharing, but she said it was fine to talk about it orally as they had already looked into it in the initial phase. Anyway, it’s not that easy to explain the project through your mouth when lots of planning and technical details lie underneath it. So I just gave a summary of it in 4-5 lines.
In 2-3 lines, I described another project and then stopped. She asked me, “And you are working for 10 years?” At that moment, I thought I should have been speaking for 10-15 minutes about the projects, but when I replied that “I work on tasks more,” then she said, “Yeah! “That’s perfect because some people like to work on full site builds and some on smaller tasks.”
2. What would you do if someone hired you and you had to pause the project in the middle because of personal issues?
I told her that I would not talk about my personal situation but rather say something professionally. I asked them if I was allowed to assign another developer to take over from me. She said, “That’s exactly what I expected you to say”—bonus points for you.
3. Have you attended any WordCamp events before?
I’ve seen videos of them but never attended.
4. What would you do if the client asked you to do work that was out of scope?
I was not aware of the Codeable system inside or how a scope works. So I just said I would not take that because it is outside my work zone. Then she immediately said that I interpreted the question differently and that she would rephrase it. Some work that you can do is outside the scope that was defined when the project was approved. Then I answered that I would ask them to create a new project or add additional tasks that would be billed.
5. Explain about hooks in WordPress.
It was a technical question. It isn’t easy to explain it in words since I am working on it through code. I managed to say it like this: “There are two types of hooks: actions and filters in WordPress.” I gave an example: if someone needs to change something in a WooCommerce product page, like the position of the product image, they should not be editing the files directly but use the WooCommerce hooks from the documentation to do the same.
6. What area of WordPress are you particularly interested in?
I was interested in working in the frontend, Gutenberg development, and general WordPress.
I think there were more questions, but I don’t think they are too important to highlight. You can get an idea of what’s coming with the above questions.
It was time for me to ask some questions. I had thought about it before the interview.
Q: As a new developer, how easy is it to create a new project in Codeable?
A: She says it depends. She gave the example of some experts who were unable to get a project for a month and then suddenly received projects worth $10,000 the following month. So I was hopeful about that.
The interview was about to be over. She stated that I will pass these points on to the next person. You will get a reply from us on Friday, and if not, please contact us by Monday. I think that gave a hint that I was already selected for the next phase.
After she left the meeting, I waited there for 5–10 minutes, thinking that another person was going to join the meeting for the live coding test, but there was none. I was mistaken in thinking that they were going to conduct the live test, which might be a little nervy because if someone watches me code, I am not really focused on that and might crumble under pressure. I suppose they already got an idea of my coding skills through the test project. Anyway, it felt good after the meeting was over.
Two days after the meeting, I received an email from them asking me to take an English written test.
I was given some random client’s project description and was told to submit my reply to them through their GitHub repository. I was not aware of the Codeable way of replying to projects, so I just wrote it based on my previous project replies. Six days after I submitted it, I received feedback from them saying that I passed but needed to improve.
I received another email along with that one indicating that I had been selected for their platform and that they would onboard me in a month.
At this point, I was feeling content that I made it. So I continued concentrating on writing tech articles during this one month. After a month, I did not receive any email. I have often heard that in some situations, it is possible for a company to not take in even when promised a onboarding. I know I was going too far in this thinking but these things have happened in large MNCs. But I have not even signed a contract here, so I did not want to be insecure about it.
I just messaged them in order to not rush, saying something like, “Can you confirm if I did not miss any emails, maybe due to technical issues”? I know they deal with so many other members as well, so it is hard to concentrate on an individual’s priorities. She immediately said that she is working on it and will follow up on it in the next few days. It was nice to hear that I was still in contention to sign a contract. I think at this time many people applied, and that is why it was not easy for them to let us in early. After 6 days, I got an email from them that indicated that the onboarding process had started for my profile.
After 4 days after receiving the email above, I got invited to their Slack community and the learning platform. The Slack channel is not overly active, but it is also not dormant. It’s perfect for avoiding distractions and using the channel for its intended purpose.
The Codeable Academy Exam
Inside their academy, there are some courses that you need to read and complete the follow-up quiz. No need to worry if they are going to be wrong the first time; you can retake the quiz after reading the courses again. So, I completed it within a day or two. Some answers were wrong from my side, maybe around 5 out of 100. That was because some selections were missing and the options were almost identical to each other. Otherwise, you can try after only one reading.
The most challenging one was the GDPR quiz, because I have heard of it before but never got to know much about it in detail. You need to read it twice to understand it. You have to experience it in the project at least once to get used to it. But it’s important since it involves data about potential users within a WordPress database.
Another important point is that they give three warnings based on the rules mentioned in the courses. The warnings have a cooling-off period of one month. Exceeding that in a month would result in a ban from their platform. So we need to be careful about the rules.
After this, I was asked to contact one of their staff members in Slack, who would send me a Codeable contract to sign.
After signing the agreement, I was notified that my account on the Codeable dashboard is now active.
I was thrilled to enter the project dashboard, but nervous as well, as I am not used to it.
90-day trial period and ongoing excellence monitoring
I am currently in this phase. It is not easy to land your first project. Having 0 projects in your profile is not something you can show off! I filled in my profile based on the same text that I am using on my personal website. I didn’t want to create new text just to impress. Filling up the portfolio tab in the profile might be helpful.
On the day of onboarding, I could see around 20 to 30 projects posted per day. You might be an expert in at least five of them, where you can reply to the client. It’s not that every client to whom you respond will hire you.
I still remember that I was posting comments that were focused on myself. For example, if a project is about a JSON API, I would say in the comment that I have worked with it. Although it might be helpful for the client, it’s close to boasting about yourself in the comments section. I was reminded about the usage of “I” by a fellow expert.
I also made the mistake of submitting an estimate for a consultation project without first replying to the client and building a rapport. I was about to get my first warning, but I escaped; the first warning was issued to me later, when I posted my personal portfolio link when the client asked for it, but we are not allowed to do so.
After posting comments on around 10+ projects, I got a late comment from a client that he would require assistance through consultation. I saw the opportunity because no other expert was there at that time and he was replying to me directly. I clicked on “Apply for Consultation” in a jiffy, and a few minutes later, the client funded it as well.
It’s also possible that the potential client is scared by the estimates because not everyone lives in a country where the cost of living is equal to the project costs of Codeable.
After about 15 days on Codeable, I had commented on over 30 projects. If I’m not mistaken, I have estimated more than 10. I got only 2 of them to accept me as their expert; 1 was a preferred expert hire, for which the client jokingly (or is it seriously?) said, “You own me money, lol,” and we are working on 2 projects at the moment. I consider myself fortunate because some of them are unable to obtain their first. You must be present on the platform at all times during your first month because you must create your own luck. For example, the client might reply to you when others are not available, and you need to grab the opportunity.
Right now, I feel like a marketing executive, sending emails to everyone who is subscribed to your mail list but I think after a month, I may get a client who would work with me long-term when I can pause myself with sales pitch and focus only on development. My certificate and profile is below:
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