Finding a side hustle is a great way to supplement your income and acquire new skills. While software engineering can be a demanding career, there are still tons of opportunities for you to use your skills to make extra money or turn your hobbies into a side hustle. There are lots of side hustles for software engineers and it is possible to use them to make some extra cash.
Find a new income stream and use that supplemental income to extend your financial freedom. This article presents some of the best side hustles for software engineers, how to start them, and the related benefits.
What Is a Side Hustle?
A side hustle is an auxiliary job that you add to your primary employment to make more money. Unlike a typical nine-to-five job, side gigs tend to lean towards your hobbies or things that fascinate you. As a side hustler, you enjoy more financial security from engaging your passion without sacrificing the regular paycheck from your main job.
How to Start a Side Hustle as a Software Engineer
You might have decided to find a side hustle after discovering the need to earn more income or explore a passion that software engineering doesn’t afford you. However, finding a side gig may not be as easy as it sounds. The steps below will guide you on the best ways to start your side hustle and provide you with tips that will increase your chances of success.
Consider Your Time
Time is your most valuable asset. You must consider the best way to allocate and manage this asset to achieve maximum results. Evaluate the time you expend on your primary employment and how many hours you have left for leisure.
From this evaluation, you can determine how to effectively portion some of this spare time for your side hustle. Once you determine how much extra time you have, stick to a schedule and avoid procrastinating. Proper time management will increase the success rate of both your main career and your side hustle.
Test Out Your Ideas
No matter how excited you are about your plans, it is advisable to test the waters first before launching a full project. Consider pursuing trial projects with minimal resources. This will give you an idea about whether or not that particular side hustle or its approach is the most suitable for you.
You can pitch your idea to a few target audiences for projects that do not require resources. Their response and contributions will help you decide whether you should make more significant commitments.
81% of participants stated they felt more confident about their tech job prospects after attending a bootcamp. Get matched to a bootcamp today.
The average bootcamp grad spent less than six months in career transition, from starting a bootcamp to finding their first job.
Identify Your skills
Software engineers possess tons of skills that can earn them additional income on the side. Identifying these skills can be a primary pointer to which side hustle befits you. If you’re not sure of your skills, make a list of the skills you think you have, consult external opinions, and take a skill quiz. Prioritize the skills that complement your side hustle.
Define Your Goals Clearly
The need for a business plan cannot be emphasized enough. It serves as a pointer to your business destination and streamlines your ideas to a profitable path. Analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT), identify your target audience, and invest in market research to set realistic goals.
Allow Room for Growth
A side hustle isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s important to choose one that can grow over time. Gigs’ potential for growth follows due processes and requires nurturing just as regular businesses do. You should be willing to upskill, tolerate failures, and provide your side hustle with the patience and resources it needs to yield success.
Best Side Hustles for Software Engineers
Side gigs are not just avenues to pursue your passion or earn extra income but suitable platforms to hone your skills. They also afford you room to express your creativity and the autonomy that a traditional career in software engineering may restrict you from expressing. Below are the best side-income ideas for software engineers.
Freelancing is probably the most appropriate option for a software engineer. Freelancing means you offer the skills you already possess to external clients. According to Zip Recruiter, a freelance software engineer can earn $119,260 annually.
All you need to do is create an effective way to manage your time and build client relationships. Although finding clients may not be an easy feat, you can utilize networking platforms such as LinkedIn or freelancing platforms to connect with well-funded startups.
Start a Blog or a Content-Based Website
Starting a blog or a content-based website is an excellent opportunity to earn extra money. Blogging refers to self-publishing an online journal where you informally share thoughts and opinions about any interest of your choice with readers. You can use your knowledge of software engineering to create educational content on various tech topics.
- Career Karma matches you with top tech bootcamps
- Get exclusive scholarships and prep courses
You can constantly drive traffic by improving your site’s SEO ranking with good writing skills and excellent keyword utilization. SEO ranking will help with visibility and ultimately provide income from ad placements.
Become an Online Instructor
There’s an increasing demand for software engineers, prompting many people to transition into tech. Many of these people prefer seeking professional guidance online to getting a formal education in a physical classroom. This provides opportunities to make money teaching programming in your spare time. You can use platforms like Codementor that match mentors with students.
Create an Ebook
Writing an ebook is an alternative to becoming an online instructor. You can compile your wealth of information in software engineering to form an ebook. While researching and structuring your book might be challenging, writing a portion daily and consistently will produce tremendous results. It is best to write on topics that you’re passionate about so that you can have fun while you work.
Ecommerce is gradually taking over the traditional brick-and-mortar retail world. Selling gadgets or any other item you’re interested in is a good side hustle for software engineers. With an established digital presence and good marketing skills, you have autonomy over branding and pricing.
Running an online store requires creativity. You need to constantly develop strategies to stay abreast of your competition, drive organic traffic, and gain the trust of your customers.
Become an Affiliate Marketer
Affiliate marketing is digital-based marketing in which a business rewards an affiliate for each customer purchase they facilitate. All you need to do is search for a product you enjoy, promote it for others to get the same value, and earn a profit from each sale. The commission varies based on the product you sell and your performance.
Affiliate marketing is also a great way to monetize your programming blog. You can sign up with Amazon Associates and recommend valuable products to programmers through your affiliate links. Remember to only recommend products that you have tested and verified. Your verified recommendation will help to secure your readers’ trust.
Create a Community
People generally love to communicate and engage others with similar interests, passions, and desires. By building a paid online forum, you’re providing an opportunity for this connection to happen while receiving financial rewards.
Once you get your first 100 members, it becomes easier to get more users. Maintaining quality content within the community is another way to speed up growth. You can utilize free open source tools such as Discord and Discourse to set up your community and integrate payment models.
Build and Sell Apps
Building an app is relatively navigable because it is within the domain of your regular job. Instead of writing software for someone else to sell, develop something that you can sell and make passive income from. Supplement your programming skills with the ability to identify business needs and opportunities.
Your chances of success are higher if your app meets a need or adds value for your target audience. It is also advisable to learn about online marketing to promote your software. Consider attending a short, immersive digital marketing bootcamp to learn about selling your product.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
Start a YouTube Channel
If you’re not up for writing but you enjoy expressing your ideas by talking and demonstrating, you can create a YouTube channel. There is no barrier to entry for this potential side hustle. YouTubers with high-quality content earn decent remuneration with just a smartphone and some video editing software.
Build an Educational Course
As a software engineer, you have both the theoretical and industry experience of what you’re teaching. Online courses provide an avenue for people to upskill or learn about a specific subject for a low price and on their own schedule. This is one of the reasons online learning has become so popular in the last 10 years.
You can host your courses on Udemy for free. Alternatively, you can build a platform to sell your courses. This platform will give you more control over the pricing and the opportunity to engage your students.
Side Hustle Apps You Can Use to Earn Extra Cash
The great news about side hustle apps is that you never have to start from scratch. Their automated features remove the need for start-up costs associated with traditional businesses. Here are the top platforms we recommend to start a profitable side gig.
- Shopify Apps: Shopify is an ecommerce platform that helps beginners build their online store and provides features for experts to grow their businesses. The Shopify App Store has an app for everything ranging from countdown timers to product sourcing apps. You can also enjoy the services of Shopify Compass and take ecommerce courses for free.
- Fiverr: Fiverr is a platform for freelancers to offer services to customers worldwide. The Fiverr app also offers reliable listings and applications for small one-off jobs offline and online. The freelance jobs on this platform range from business card designs to programming job opportunities.
- YouTube. YouTube is an online platform that allows users to share videos and create content. Setting up a YouTube creator account is free and easy. When you share content with good titles, descriptions, and tags, it helps to increase your search engine ranking. You can start earning with as few as 1,000 subscribers and a minimum of 4,000 watch hours.
- Amazon: Amazon is a gold mine of opportunity for side hustlers to earn supplemental income. The app provides a plethora of services and allows you to reach millions of customers as an Amazon sales partner. Amazon Associates also presents an opportunity for affiliate marketers to advertise products on their websites and earn referral percentages.
- WordPress: WordPress is an online content management system that allows you to build and host websites free of charge. It features a template system and you can customize these themes to fit your business, portfolio, or blog. With the WordPress mobile app, you can easily publish content and manage your website at your convenience.
What Is the Best Side Hustle for Software Engineers?
The best side hustle for software engineers should incorporate their technical skills while allowing room for entrepreneurship and creativity. Use your software engineering knowledge to create online courses for aspiring tech workers or start a YouTube channel. Starting a blog is a great side hustle for software engineers because it is relatively cheap and flexible to manage.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can earn an average of $67,120 annually as a writer. WordPress and similar platforms charge a fee less than the price of a cup of coffee to grant access. Besides having fun writing about a topic you’re passionate about, you can earn passive income on your blog through advertisements and affiliate marketing.
The only requirement is bringing your creativity on board and giving up some of your free time. Although committing some of your time to a side hustle might be difficult at first, it will be worth the sacrifice when you start seeing financial rewards for doing what you love.
Side Hustles for Software Engineers FAQ
Yes, you can start a side hustle whether you are working full-time, unemployed, or self-employed. Side hustles are flexible. Hence, you can combine them with even the most demanding full-time jobs.
Yes, freelance coding work is a great way to make extra cash. With your experience with programming as a software engineer, you can easily take on freelance coding jobs on the side. It saves you the time of learning another skill to earn passively.
Definitely. A search engine optimization (SEO) writing side-hustle can earn you some decent cash. You can begin by utilizing WriterZen Easy Content Creator tools for SEO. But if you need some quick money, SEO gigs might not be the best option.
Software engineers can make extra income by monetizing their non-tech hobbies as a content creator or writer. They can also extend the skills they use for their day job to freelance or build and sell software that satisfies a need.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.