Being squeezed out of your job doesn't automatically mean you are on the breadline. Freelance programming is one way for people with the right skills to get legitimate work at home jobs.
If you've already been working in a computer environment, you probably have a sound knowledge of a variety of programming and scripting languages (such as SQL, ColdFusion, Java, Ruby, PHP and Ajax).
Even if you don't and this is an area you want to consider there are many online courses which will help you to retrain. Even if you are starting from scratch you could probably learn the skills you need within a short time.
All you need to do is to visit sites such as Programming Tutorials, which is free, or any educational or tutorial site offering the courses you need. With some knowledge under your belt then you can get started with freelance programming.
As with other online freelance work all you need is a computer and an Internet connection plus any software that helps you to work in your chosen programming languages.
Check out the freelance job boards for opportunities for programmers. As well as Craigslist, Elance and Guru, take a look at Scriptlance, Freelancer and Getacoder, which are more focused on programming.
With the number of websites and blogs being launched every day there is always work for good programmers and you can end up earning even more than when you were employed full-time. Many programmers make six-figure incomes because their skills are in such high demand.
It is also important to market your freelance programming skills with a good website. When companies are looking to hire you, that will be their first chance to assess your skills. Your site doesn't have to be fancy but it does have to do the job and do you credit.
Promoting yourself through your site is the best way to ensure a regular supply of clients.
It is also useful to visit programming and web design forums which may list opportunities that never make it to the freelance job boards. This is also a great way to get in touch with individuals and companies that outsource programming work to freelancers.