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Freelance developers need to stay sharp to be competitive in the job market. In addition to seeking out professional development opportunities, software developers need to know how to use the latest IDE, coding, and communication tools to be able to easily integrate into teams. Here are the best tools for software developers so far in 2020.

Visual Studio Code

Free, open-source, and flexible, there’s a reason why Visual Studio Code is many developer’s favorite tool. This code editor lets software developers build and debug web and cloud applications easily. The tool’s IntelliSense function suggests completions based on variable types, function definitions, and imported modules to speed up the process of coding with fewer errors. Git commands are also integrated right into the editor to make it easy to review diffs, stage files, and make commits. Add in your own extensions to conform the platform to whatever the project you’re working on requires.


Postman is a collaboration platform for API development that’s used by 10 million developers. Postman’s popularity arises from how easy it is to work on building an API in a team – the platform streamlines the entire process with automated testing, documentation, performance monitoring, and more. Postman is used by more than 500,000 companies for developer onboarding, exploratory testing, application development, and more.

Sublime Text

Sublime Text is a text editor available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. Its “goto” commands make it easy to move around your code and quickly make edits; their overall “command palette” stands out for its ability to edit large pieces of code efficiently: “With just a few keystrokes, you can search for what you want, without ever having to navigate through the menus or remember obscure key bindings.” As one coding reviewer testifies, “If you explore it, you will eventually see how beautifully its powerful features are hidden behind a simple and elegant interface.”


ZSH, or Z Shell, is an upgrade from the Bourne Shell (SH) with new features and support for plugins and themes. ZSH is very customizable, which might explain why more developers are abandoning Bash for ZSH. If you’re interested in getting started with ZSH, then Oh My ZSH might be just the tool you’re looking for. It’s an open-source, community-driven tool for managing ZSH configurations. Fans of ZSH say it makes developers drastically more productive and can reduce time spent on manual tasks.


Codewars is a fun way to flex your skills and make sure you’re keeping your skills sharp. Simply choose the language (there are 20 to choose from and many more in beta) and then join a kata, or a community-created challenge that helps you strengthen a specific skill. The kata get more challenging the further you go, and as you progress you’ll be faced with harder challenges to really test your skillset.


This is a great one for freelancers to learn before being placed at a company. Axosoft is a Scrum software for engineering and dev teams that helps with project management and issue tracking. Teams coordinate better using the platform’s built-in bug tracking, reporting, data visualization, and more. Axosoft includes ticketing from emails to make it easy to take a customer concern and run it through your team without missing any details.


No list would be complete without mentioning GitHub. A community that’s 40 million developers strong, this platform is the proverbial watering hole for anyone seeking to host and review code, manage projects, and build software. The flexible platform is used by 2.1 million businesses – and recruiters will check your GitHub profile to see if you’re active and to see if your skills match a role they’re trying to fill. Freelancers can ask for advice and find a mentor in the GitHub community, as well as participate in boot camps and online courses.

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