Intro

Earning extra money is on everyone’s mind. As a developer, you have a bunch of opportunities that others may not. In this article, I share with you the 7 best ways I’ve found to make money as a developer. I’ve personally tried every single item on this list and although I found some more interesting than others, your experience may be different.

I’ve listed these earning methods by experience level. Methods that I think require less technical experience are listed first.

  1. Freelance (while you learn)
  2. WordPress Development & Themes
  3. Twitch Bots & Widgets
  4. Live coding
  5. Software Tutoring & Mentoring
  6. Change Job or Switch Role
  7. Create a SasS

1. Freelance

If you’re just getting started with software the idea of freelancing seems scary. I know, hear me out. There is no requirement to create an account with a site that allows you to offer your skills. Some of the places I’ve found that have the most projects available are:

The reason this is first on the list is that you can be hyper-specific about the projects that you take on. You have ultimate control over which technologies are used. Additionally, if there is a programming language that you are just starting with, you can simply decrease your asking price and turn down projects that sound like too much of a stretch.

learn while you work
Learn While You Work

By starting off with this type of work you will get an incredible amount of exposure to client expectations as well as self-validation of your skillset. We all suffer from imposter syndrome, this helps.

When I first started with Flutter, I didn’t know what kind of projects to build that would push me to learn and get better, so, I signed up on Freelancer.com and started bidding on small Proof-of-concept apps.

2. WordPress Development

WordPress Sites

Even though there are half a dozen web services offering drag-and-drop interfaces for building websites, Webflow is the only one I’ve found to be worth even using. But, it only becomes powerful if you have all the design concepts in mind when you get started. By far, WordPress remains the most customizable framework for getting websites up and running.

I take on a few WordPress website projects throughout the year when I feel like making a little bit extra money without a huge time burden. I’ve discovered a bullet-proof method for prospecting new clients and it hasn’t let me down yet. There are tons of small businesses all over the world that would be jumping for joy if they knew that you could help them set up a website for only a few hundred bucks.

Two of my favorite themes are:

(1) Megaphone – For PodCasts
(2) Jevelin – For Business

It’s not as easy as just slapping in a generic theme and shipping the product. However, if you follow my guide for Developing WordPress Sites the Right Way, you will find out exactly how I maximize the result without over-working.

wordpress logo

WordPress Plugins & Themes

After working with WordPress for a while you will get used to the WordPress libraries that allow you to access Posts, Pages, and other info from the database. With this in mind, you can start to craft themes if you are design-oriented. If you’re like me and couldn’t design your way out of a paper bag, consider creating plugins.

Plugins are a VERY profitable way to earn money as the type of person who will generally use them is willing to pay for something they want their site to do instead of creating it themselves.

There is A PLUGIN FOR EVERYTHING! One of the most popular plugins is called BackupBuddy. This plugin is $80 and its main purpose is to take backups of the user content and store it remotely. Doesn’t get any easier than that.

Twitch Bots & Widgets

Twitch Baner

Did you know that chatbots and widgets for Twitch streamers are just web projects added to the stream via the OBS browser source? I can show you exactly how to build a simple chatbot in less than minutes.

When I was trying to figure out how to make a Twitch bot, I created a BeanBoozled spinner for a pair of streamers. If the streamers or any of their mods type “!spin” in the chat, a color spinner shows up on top of their stream and picks which bean they have to eat. This helps drive engagement on their stream and has undoubtedly helped them collect some sweet tendies in the form of bits.

As every Twitch streamer battles to be unique and find their groove, each and every one of them could use a custom piece of code that helps them interact with their users or drive engagement. There are already several bots that are paid, but, many streamers are willing to pay for you to help them take it to the next level.

Live Coding

Whether it’s on YouTube or Twitch, live coding can be a great way for you to monetize your side-projects. Instead of sitting in your dungeon working on your project all by yourself, let your friends and randoms join! Some developers such as TheCodingGarden hold very popular Q&A sessions and even develop custom overlays for their streams.

Software Tutoring & Mentoring

As a kid, I didn’t even know that a career in software was a real thing. Now that coding is widely adopted in schools and a hobby for post-grads, there are some great opportunities to take on students in-person or via web calls.

In some cases, the people you work with might already be developers, but, they are looking for validation or to learn a new skill that you have and they don’t yet*.

If you are a real badass, consider filming some full-length classes broken into a video series and selling the class via Skillshare or Teachable. If you’ve been around YouTube a while, you’ll notice that a huge number of successful YouTuber’s are selling classes so you can chase their success. The same is true for developers.

Change Job or Switch Role

change career

According to Forbes, switching your job can lead to an increase (on average) of 9% of earned income. Only consider this if you are confident you can handle the new job. It’s important to keep in mind that some employers might not want to hire you if you have a history of hopping jobs too often. It’s generally recommended to stay for at least one year.

As a company trying to hire new talent, it’s difficult to attract someone if they are paying the same or less than their current job.

What if you like your current company? Try switching roles. If you’re a Software Engineer, talk to your manager to get on a path to Senior Software Engineer or TechLead. Already one of the big dogs? If a management role sounds appealing, consider looking for a senior architect or director role.

Even if you end up switching roles back in the future, you’re very unlikely to take a pay hit. Give it a shot!

Create a SaaS

notion logo

By this time you should be a seasoned Engineer, creating a SaaS from scratch is not for the faint of heart. Not only do you need to create something that people want, but, it needs to be highly marketable and then marketed well.

Now that you’re able to architect a multi-tenant solution that people and businesses are willing to pay for. once it’s set up, you need to hire a team to maintain it. Depending on how hands-on you want to be, now is a chance for you to sit back and watch the passive income stack up. Notion.so is one that I use regularly.

Generally, a SaaS application needs to check the following criteria:

  • Managable via pleasant admin UI
  • Multi-tenant
  • Fault-tolerant
  • Integrates with 3rd party billing (subscription is ideal)
  • Scalable or Elastic depending on the type of service
  • Continuous Backups
  • Solves a known problem
  • Is highly marketable