The demand for programmers, both front-end & back-end, has never been bigger. In the current code-economy, code is the greater good, and a lot of companies see and act on this.
This places you – the developer – with a choice: you could find a regular coding-job with an okay salary, or you could be your own boss. This post focuses on the latter, whether you want to start a full-fledged company, a freelancing business or just Want to earn some extra side-income.
Here are 5 ways you could make money by doing what you like: coding.
Perhaps the clearest choice of all is to start a freelancing business. Here, you let people hire you for your coding skills and expertise, and work on projects either from home or at the client.
Setting up a freelancing-business is as easy as registering yourself as a company (with a cool name, of course), and setting up a bank account. Also, depending on your location, you might need to apply for specific tax-accounts. After you’ve finished this, you can now enter the life of adventure and flexible work schedules. Here, you get to work on areas you are passionate about or want to become better at.
All you need now is work. Luckily, there are a couple of awesome freelancing platforms where you can start looking:
Here, you can view lists of projects that are looking for a specific type of developer, and bid on the ones you like. Successfully finishing such a project can earn you a reputation and increase your network. Linked-in also is a good way to grow your professional network, and broadcast your availability and skills.
To get you on your freelancing-way, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Always use contracts and be clear about what you are going to do for the client;
- Get a down-payment before every new job, especially on bigger projects;
- Say no sometimes, especially if it comes from a gut-feeling;
- Do what you know, and what you want to do; perhaps the biggest danger is overselling yourself on stuff you know nothing about;
2. Create your own website/app
Perhaps the most awesome way to make money from coding is to build your own website or app. With this you are in charge of everything: from the codebase and development-stack to the marketing and branding; it is up to you to make your idea a success.
There are several ways to monetize your website or app, but there are two that are easiest to implement:
- Advertisements: register to Google’s Adsense, implement the code and start monetizing your pageviews by showing ads. All the money you can make is welcome, and although you’ll only make big money from it with a huge amount of visitors, it can still cover basic hosting costs in no-time;
- Affiliate-links; As long as your website has some way to promote products or services, you can easily add affiliate-links. These links direct the users to the relevant shops, and when a sale is made you’ll earn a commission;
There are many benefits to create your own app or website, perhaps the biggest being that you are in full control. Another one is that it creates the best piece of portfolio you can get. Launching a successful website or app can go a long way, both in increasing your brand-awareness and in displaying your coding skills.
Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to be best in class to only be able to create apps, since there are many services and websites that offer great resources and helpdesks.
Creating an app or website can take a long time. A relative save way to start a website or app is therefor to create an MVP, or a Minimum Viable Product. This is basically the most stripped-down version possible, and should contain mostly the core concept or your idea. With this, you can check whether your idea has any viablity and if you can gain traction from others. If not, you can save yourself an immense amount of time.
3. Creating a plugin or theme
Nowadays, a huge part of the internet is created in big open-source tools such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. All of these tools can be extended with plugins and themes, the most popular being WordPress.
Creating plugins or themes for WordPress can be a great way to make money online, mostly since its process is fairly straightforward and well documented.
There are two main ways to make money from creating plugins and themes:
- By adding a donation button or advertisements to either the plugin-dashboard or your promotional website. Keep in mind that no-one wants to see an overly ad-bloated dashboard;
- By creating a premium plugin, where users pay either a one-time or annual fee. With this, you could also create a free version of the plugin, and up-sell your premium version from within the plugin;
Looking to start creating WordPress plugins? There are numerous sources online that guide you through the process, for example:
- Creating A WordPress Plugin Is Easier Than You Think
- How to Create Your First WordPress Plugin (With a Minimal Amount of Coding)
- Writing a Plugin
- WordPress Plugin Tutorial: How to Create a WordPress Plugin
- A Complete Guide of Creating WordPress Plugin from Scratch
Just Google up “Create WordPress plugin” and start building!
4. Create an online course about coding
In order to set up an online course, you‘ll need to ask yourself: what am I good at, and what can I teach to others? The former is something you’ll need to figure out yourself, but the latter you can find out by doing some proper research online. Search for any skill-related courses online, and check if you can do it differently and better.
When you are finally ready to start creating lessons for the course, follow these steps for a basic guideline:
- Define the main problem or biggest priority of the class/lesson;
- Create an outline for both the entire class and the specific individual lessons/chapters;
- Find the best resources online to be able to link your students with the best available information;
Also, make sure you are starting your online course with an open mind, since students will make mistakes and ask questions – and you are here to help. Everyone has to start somewhere, and for some this will be the course you’ve set up.
5. Take part in Coding Contests
The field of competitive programming is bigger than you might think and can make you some good money – If you win that is. Here, you’ll apply to specific websites, create a profile and complete contests.
Some of these contests are sponsored by big companies such as Google, Microsoft or IBM, and can be a good way to show your skills to them. Perhaps they’ll hire you in the end.
Making money from coding has never been easier than it is now. This is due to the many online resources, courses and tools available to help you on your way. The only thing you’ll need is some imagination, a lot of willpower and – of course – your coding-skills.