Advice, Thought Leadership

Ten Side Hustle Ideas For Software Developers To Make An Extra $1000 A Month

How any developer can make an extra $1000 a month online

Idea 1: Write on Medium

With Medium Partners Program and pay-wall, you can earn a healthy income from writing on Medium and getting your work published in major publications. According to my research, a large majority of top publications on Medium are about self-improvement, followed by programming and entrepreneurship. As developers, it's great news for you as you can write about programming topics. 

What you need: Writing skill and a Medium account


Idea 2: Teach technical skill via an online course

Online learning has been around for a while, but with the increase of remote working, work from home, and social distancing, it has become increasingly popular, and the preferred medium for sharing knowledge. 

You may teach your technical skill via well-known education platforms such as Coursera, udacity, skillshare and udeamy.

What you need: A technical skill that you are well-versed in that you can teach others about (eg: Javascript, React, Debugging with Chrome, etc) and an account with a learning platform mentioned above.


Idea 3: Become an affiliate for web hosting and digital products

There are affiliate programs for almost everything online. For developers, I recommend partnering with domain name registration, web hosting, web design, template design, and WordPress themes providers. Once you have signed up and became a partner of one of those providers, you can talk about them, promote them, and provide your honest opinion about them. Be sure you're honest with your recommendation though. 

What you need: An online presence or an email list where you can promote affiliates. Reviews sites are known to do well in conversion. 


Idea 4: Join a Pay-Per-Click advertising program

We have all seen online banners and text advertising all over the web. This idea works if you have a website with healthy traffic. Google Adsense is the most popular Pay-Per-Click Advertising Program but there are also other alternatives like Mediavin, eInfolinks, BuySellAds, and Bidvertiser.

What you need: A website with a good number of page views. Most advertising programs require your website to have at least 10,000 visitors per month before they accept you as a publisher. 


Idea 5: Create digital assets for sale

Digital assets like a widget, tool, WordPress Theme, or WordPress plugin, when useful are worth paying for. This used to be my favourite way to make extra side income when I was a developer. The reason being I got to tinkle different programming languages and frameworks, usually not the ones I am using in my day job, build and create something small and useful and get paid for it.

Once you've created something useful that others are willing to pay for, you can put it up on Marketplaces like Envato, Gumroad, e-Junkie. My recommendation is to choose a platform with a marketplace so that your products can get more exposure. You can check out my Career Hub for inspiration.

Examples of digital assets that developers can create relatively easily are WordPress themes, website templates, plugins, ebooks, PDFs, tutorials and readymade code. 

What you need: A digital asset and an account at marketplace. You may also sell them on your own website, if you've got one.


Idea 6: Take up contract work on Upwork and Fiverr

There are always companies and individuals looking for contractors to complete small projects, such as updating their websites, creating a blog, maintaining a Shopify website and so on. As developers, you have the skills and know-how to complete these projects almost effortlessly and get paid for your skill. 


Idea 7: Make YouTube videos

You will need a sizeable audience and solid watch hours before you can join YouTube Monetisation Program, but don't let that become a barrier for using YouTube as a platform for making an extra side income. As long as you post a few videos of 7–10mins length on commonly researched topics such as coding interviews, debugging common programming issues, bootstrapping a web app, etc, your watch hours and subscriber numbers will steadily increase. Besides, you can also use YouTube as a way to direct traffic to other digital assets that you have. Being a YouTuber is a good side job to make extra money for sure. 

What you need: A topic, for example, Programming in Python, Vlog about working as a software developer in the Silicon Valley, etc, that has a lot of interest, a video camera (Smartphone works just fine to begin with), a movie editing software (eg: iMovie, ScreenFlow) and a YouTube channel. 


Idea 8: Get paid to write technical blog posts and tutorials 

There are a few technical blogs and websites that will pay per word or per piece for you to write articles on topics that they have chosen. It's very similar to writing for Medium, but the difference is that you'll get paid immediately after you've written something and it's a guaranteed income. But the downside is that you may not be able to add value to your personal brand and recurring income as you do with Medium. 

What you need: A writing portfolio and writing skill


Idea 9: Build a smartphone app and sell it on iTunes or Google Play 

This is something that developers would enjoy doing. When I was a developer, I just liked to build stuff. There was no bigger satisfaction than to build something and then witness that being used by many people. And if you can make some extra dollars from that, then even better.

You can make money from apps in two main ways: either using a freemium model, i.e: free to download and use but with advertisements, or a premium model, where someone has to pay in order to use your app.

Popular types of smartphone apps that can make side income are:
- Games
- Productivity tools
- Education apps
- Health and Wellness apps

What you need: A compelling app idea and app development skill


Idea 10: Build a SaaS

Similar to building apps, the idea of building a SaaS and making money from it is another one that developers would be attracted to. SaaS stands for Software as a service; it is where users can use your software over the Internet, as a service, without having to install it on their machines. Popular SaaS's that developers are familiar with are Google Apps (G Suite), Dropbox, Slack and Zoom.
The investment cost for this idea is higher than the rest though, as you will need to put in the time to build a SaaS solution as well as pay for cost associated with hosting it on a provider AWS.

Building a SaaS or an app as a means to make a side income is not for the faint-hearted as once you build it, they will not come. You'll need to learn how to market it. But the rewards can also be substantial - and could easily be more than 1k a month if there is a demand for your solution.
What you need: A software that solves a particular problem and full-stack programming skill


Should a developer side hustle or not? 

Not only are side hustles a great way for developers to earn extra cash, it also serves as an important creative outlet. I know for a fact that great developers love tinkling and making stuff. I got into software development and the tech industry for that very reason as well. As long as you can manage your time well and not lose sight of your career goals for a few extra dollars, then I can't think of any reason not to explore some of the ideas I mentioned in this article. And when you do, I recommend you to check out the productivity system that I use that will help you stay organised and on track. You won't need to rely solely on your motivation or inspiration to get things done in your side hustle with this system.