Being a Software Developer is one of the highest paying professions worldwide. Unfortunately, however, developers are not paid the same worldwide. For example, while the average annual salary for a US software developer is $127,000, that average falls to below $20,000 a year in Africa.
While this might be a bit depressing if you are an African software developer, know that your skills are no less valuable because of your location. To date, more and more companies are hiring remote workers with opportunities abound everywhere. Even more good news is that getting a good-paying job is not the only way to make money as a developer. In this guide, I go over 9+ proven and time-tested ways to make extra money as a developer.
This is the most common way of making extra income as a developer. You can take on clients on a freelance basis and make a good income. Some clients prefer working with freelance developers as they are sometimes cheaper and faster than working with software agencies.
Freelancing is also flexible as you get to pick what to work on. You can pick problems that challenge you or clients who fit your schedule. You can get clients through referrals and personal advertisements. A host of platforms are also available to give you access to the international market, these include:
2) Create a SaaS
Another way to make money as a developer is to solve a common problem and charge people to use the solution. This is known as Software as a Service or SaaS for short. You can create a software (website/ mobile app/ chrome extension) that people love to use and charge them a fee, either once-off or a recurring (monthly/yearly) subscription.
A SaaS is a good way of generating passive income. It also helps showcase your developer skills and can help you get hired for your next job. Remember recruiters normally look for proven experience, what better way than building a service that thousands of people use!
Even if you are not a full-stack developer, you can utilize Low Code/NoCode tools to augment your skills and build something people will love. Anyone can create a SaaS!
3) Sell Templates
Whether you're a backend or frontend developer, you probably know how hard it can be to start a project from scratch. Thankfully, some developers take time off to create templates. These can be frontend web templates, mobile app templates, admin dashboards, design files or even bootstrapped backend code with auth, crud and logging in-built. All these templates help developers build and ship faster, presenting an added convenience. If you offer such convenience, you can charge a fee and earn a good amount of money.
Similar to creating a SaaS, blogging is a good way to showcase your skills and experience as a developer. You can write technical articles about new technologies that you recently worked with, an interesting challenge that you solved or even help out beginner developers by breaking down complex concepts.
While you can blog and share your knowledge for free, there are a lot of sites which will pay you to write tech articles. Whopaystechnicalwriters.com is a great website you can use to easily find technical writing gigs tailor to your skillset. Most of the sites listed pay upwards of $250 per article.
On top of paid writing gigs, blogging can also generate money through ads, sponsorships and affiliate marketing. You can even use your blog to promote your own products.
Another good stream of income for developers is starting a youtube channel. You can create a channel where you share your learning, experiences and thoughts. Once you have a good following, you can monetize the channel to earn extra income. Youtube has a Partner Program that allows you to monetize your channel after you attain at least 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours.
Youtube has over 150 million Daily Active Users and posting your videos there opens them up to the world and gives you exposure. You can also use the channel to build a following and set yourself up for developer advocacy roles.
6) Create a Course
While creating Youtube videos and blogging are great ways of sharing your knowledge with the developer community, you cannot cover in-depth topics using them. To solve this you can create a course. You can use platforms such as Skillshare, Udemy and Teachable. Unlike with Youtube, your course can start making money from the first day it is uploaded. Also, once you finish making the course the work is done, and your course will continue making you money as long as someone finds it relevant.
Courses are a great way to make passive income as a developer. You can create courses for skills that might be hard to learn, or technologies with poor documentation.
7) Selling eBooks
An eBook, like creating a course, is a good way to share in-depth knowledge. You can write and publish an eBook for guides, advice, how-tos, best practices, etc. Depending on your ebook sales you can make well over $10,000 every single month. You can use tools like Canva to easily create your ebook and sell it on platforms such as Gumroad and Amazon.
Donations while less conventional, are a great way of earning money as a developer. Charging for a digital product might not always feel right, sometimes it excludes people who are less privileged and cannot afford to pay. Instead of charging for the service, you can simply offer it for free and add an optional donate button for well-wishers.
Platforms like Ko-Fi, Buy me a Coffee and Patreon, make it easier for creatives to collect donations for their work. All these platforms are easy to set up and come with drag-and-drop widgets and links you can add to your website, SaaS, blog or videos.
9) Affiliate Marketing
If you use the above-mentioned ways of generating income, you likely have a good following. You can use this following to make even more money through affiliate programs. Affiliate marketing is a form of advertising where you get to earn money by referring your followers to use a particular product. You refer/recommend users to use a particular product or service, normally using your unique link or code. This link is tracked and you are paid a commission whenever someone new signs up using your link.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize your following. It also helps you promote the brands you use and love, while also getting paid for it. Most affiliate programs pay a 2-20% commission on new customers.
While a lot of people hate them, ads are a time-tested and proven way of monetizing your digital products. If you run and operate websites or apps, you can setup 3rd party ads and get paid out when your users view and/or click the ads. If you have sites with high traffic, this can potentially be a very lucrative and passive way of making money.
11) Mentorship and Coaching
Lastly, if you are a senior developer and have good people skills you can also venture into mentorships and coaching. You can offer guidance, advice, mentorship, and opportunities for growth to beginners and junior developers. This can be set up as a program in which members graduate after attaining some pre-defined skills. Participants can either pay for either the whole program or on a monthly recurring basis.
Being a developer is possibly the best profession in the world. Outside of a 9-5 job, there are plenty of ways to monetize your developer skills. This article shares 11 such ways to generate extra income as a developer. All these methods require hard work but if done right, can lead to passive income and hopefully financial freedom.
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