If you’re interested in learning coding to start a new career, congratulations! Learning how to code is probably one of the most profitable skills you can teach yourself. The job market is booming, there’s a high demand for skilled developers globally, and the salaries are often very lucrative. So, how can you make money coding exactly?
In this post I’ll share everything I’ve learned about the best ways to make money with coding, both as a beginner and as an intermediate developer.
By the time you’re done reading this post, you should have a better idea about how you can monetize your coding skills in the future or starting right away. If you’re completely new to programming, check out my previous article on the Best Websites to Learn Coding for Beginners.
Here’s an overview of the four different ways to make money coding I’ll go through in this article:
- Is it easy to start making money as a developer?
- Option #1: Get a full-time developer job
- Option #2: Start freelancing online
- Option #3: Become an entrepreneur
- Option #4: Teach others
- Make money coding: Where should you start?
Let’s get started!
Please note: This post contains affiliate links to products I use and recommend. If you choose to purchase using these links, I may receive a small commission for referring you. But please, only buy products you believe will help you achieve your goals faster. Thank you for your support!
Is it easy to start earning money as a developer?
Since there are so many different tools you can learn in the world of tech, there is no straightforward answer to this question.
It all depends on what you wish to learn and achieve with coding. You can learn some tools in a matter of days and start making money right away.
But with most programming languages, you will need more time to become proficient enough to start making money as a programmer.
For instance, if you’re interested in learning front-end web development, you could start with your first mini jobs in just a couple of weeks. Or even sooner.
On the other hand, if you choose to specialize in data analysis and machine learning, you will need a lot longer to gain enough confidence to start working and earning your first bucks.
What I love about coding and web development is that it’s a skill you can learn by yourself and really set your own pace with it.
You don’t need a college degree or years of experience. All you need to start helping others with your skills is to learn the basics of at least one programming language.
After that, it’s time to start practising on small real-world projects of your own.
Here are a few related articles you might want to read, too:
- Why Learn Coding? 12 Benefits from Learning Programming
- 10 Myths About Coding You Should Ignore
- How to Start Learning Coding? 6 Tips for Beginners
Option #1: Get a full-time developer job
Feeling like climbing the corporate tech ladder?
In that case, you could consider learning coding to get a full-time developer job in the future.
Learn the necessary skills, build a stellar portfolio, and start applying for jobs. Join a company you find interesting and see where you can go. You can choose from a variety of different roles.
The job market for developers seems to be booming – like it has for years already. In the US alone, the employment for computer and IT occupations is estimated to grow 13% from 2016-2026 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is faster than the average for all occupations.
Although it’s impossible to predict the future, the demand for technical roles is high already and continues to grow.
Let’s take a look at four of the most popular entry-level roles you could choose between.
Front-end Web Development
Web developers create websites and web applications. As a front-end developer, you are responsible for the visible parts of a website project. Everything that the user can see and interact with is created by front-end developers.
For an entry-level job, you will need to learn three languages:
- HTML (HyperText Markup Language) to create the actual content like text, images, links, etc.
- CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to style and design the content created with HTML
Learning three languages for an entry-level job may feel a bit daunting at first. However, you can easily learn the basics of HTML and CSS in just days or a couple of weeks.
Also, front-end developers work closely with graphic and product designers. Designers create the look and corporate identity for each web project. It is your job as a front-end developer to code the website to look the way the designers intended.
How much does a Junior Front-End Developer make?
The average salary for a junior or entry-level Front-End Web Developer in the United States is approximately $65,700, according to Glassdoor.
Back-end Web Development
Back-end web developers create everything that is not visible to the end users on a website.
Basically, backend developers build any function that has something to do with saving data from the users and retrieving it for them. So, features like logging in, creating user profiles, messaging, or uploading files are all created by back end web developers.
As for the tools and programming languages required for back end web developer jobs, there’s a lot more to choose from than for front-end jobs.
The most popular back-end programming languages include:
- Python – a very powerful and versatile programming language, also very beginner-friendly
- PHP – a server-side programming language used by nearly 80% of all websites
- Ruby – popular language for creating web applications, especially in startups; easy to pick up and yet very powerful
- SQL – needed for creating and managing databases
All in all, back-end developers write the code for a web application and create the necessary databases for it. They also work closely with front-end developers, too, to make sure the website has all the needed functions and works the way it’s supposed to.
How much does a Junior Back-End Developer make?
The average salary for a junior or entry-level Back-End Web Developer is approximately $62,900, according to Glassdoor.
Data Analysis (Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence)
Data analysts work with massive amounts of data, processing it to find insights that can bring value to their employer. In general, data analysis is heavily focused on statistics and searching for patterns in the data.
Thanks to the growing popularity of machine learning and artificial intelligence, data analysis is one of the most financially lucrative skills you can learn.
There are tons of daily, practical applications for data analysis, from Alexa to suggestions for movies you’d like to watch next on Netflix.
The most widely-used programming languages used by data analysts are Python, R, and SQL. If you enjoy working wit statistics and sifting through data and reports, this could be your field!
How much does a Junior Data Analyst make?
The average salary for a junior or entry-level Data Analyst is approximately $60,700, according to Glassdoor.
Mobile Application Development
Mobile developers build applications that run on mobile devices, like cell phones and tablets.
The challenge in this field is to create a user-friendly and intuitive functionality with the smaller screen size and without a proper keyboard.
Most mobile developers build their apps for two of the biggest app stores:
- Apple App Store – home for the apps for all iOS devices (iPhones, iPads)
- Google Play Store – hosts all the apps for devices running the Android operating system
If you wish to build apps for iOS devices, you need to learn two programming languages: Objective-C and Swift.
For app development for Android devices, you would learn Java.
Even though the market for mobile apps is not booming like it was a few years back, there is still high demand for skilled and professional developers in this field.
How much does a Junior Mobile Application Developer make?
The average salary for a junior or entry-level Mobile App Developer in the U.S. is approximately $63,500, according to Glassdoor.
Option #2: Start freelancing as a programmer
One of the best things about learning programming is that you can start making money almost right away as a freelancer.
Out of the four options in this post, becoming a freelance developer is by far the easiest and quickest one.
Even with just relatively little coding experience, you can start looking for small jobs to practice your skills, create new contacts, and earn a little cash on the side.
And you don’t even have to quit your job! You can start looking for freelance work on the side while having a full-time job.
Of course, your hourly rate will be very low in the beginning. But keep in mind that you’re still learning. Every little job you get goes towards building a solid portfolio.
And that portfolio will be your key to getting bigger, better-paid jobs in the future.
As your skills improve, you will not only know more about the technical part of freelancing. You will also gain valuable experience for interacting with clients and managing projects efficiently.
So, don’t expect to make tons of money from your first freelance jobs. Just take them as a learning experience. If you put in the “cheap” hours now, you can charge much more for your work in the future.
How can I start freelancing as a programmer?
The very first thing you should do is to go online. Literally. You should start with updating (or creating!) your LinkedIn profile . Do that right now!
Secondly, look for work among your social circle. Friends, family, relatives, colleagues, people you see daily at the coffee shop, supermarket, or hair salon. Do any of them need help with creating or updating their website, for example?
Offer your help at an affordable price at first. Remember, you’re just starting out and any experience is incredibly valuable for your future.
If it’s difficult to find work locally, you should explore freelance job opportunities online.
How to start freelancing as a beginner programmer online?
There are a number of websites where you can sign up as a freelancer and offer your services to a much bigger audience than just your local social circle.
In fact, the very first small coding jobs I got were through an online platform, UpWork.com.
But to be honest, when I started learning coding, I didn’t even think about making money with it. At least not anytime soon. I thought I would need a college degree and years of experience to actually SELL my skills to clients.
Also, it seemed like a very distant thought to have someone pay me for doing something I really loved and enjoyed. I mean, I was learning coding simply because it was so much fun.
But one day, a work colleague told me to go online and see what I could find. I came across UpWork, read some positive reviews, and signed up.
First, I did some basic HTML and CSS jobs for $10 – $30. But after a while, I started charging ten times as much. It was pretty good, considering I was just doing it occasionally.
When I got my first $3,000 job just 3 months in, I couldn’t believe what was happening. Not too bad for a beginner!
Now, I won’t go into too much detail on this, but you could check out the following platforms to start with:
Each of them has a slightly different setup. Go through their payment terms and look around what people are saying about them.
I’d recommend not using too much time choosing one. If you’re not quite sure, just go with UpWork, for example. I had a very positive experience using it, and there are tons of jobs you can apply for.
Tips for getting freelance work online as a beginner:
Tip #1: Choose one platform and stick with it
Getting freelance work online is strongly based on reviews. You do a good job for a client and they write a short review that is visible on your freelancer profile page.
When new clients see great reviews on your page, they are more likely to hire you.
Therefore, focus on just one platform and gather as many positive reviews as possible.
Tip #2: Keep your bids low in the beginning
Your first freelance jobs are primarily for learning.
Explain why you are willing to work for a low price, e.g. tell your clients you’re just starting out and are more interested in doing a great job in exchange for a positive review.
Tip #3: Don’t take on big projects
Start very small, don’t be too ambitious. It’s better to go for the easiest jobs first to gain confidence in your skills.
Trust me, you don’t want to have to tell your client that you can’t finish the job.
Tip #4: Be honest and direct
Only list your real skills on your profile, even if it’s just basic HTML and CSS at this point.
If you get a job offer for a project that’s too demanding, learn how to say “no” right from the beginning.
Also, be confident in your skills. Don’t underestimate yourself and make sure you clarify the job requirements with your client up front. If there should be any problem or disagreement, you can turn to the platform to clarify any issues with the buyer.
When can I start freelancing as a beginner programmer?
The quickest way to start freelancing online is to learn HTML and CSS. It’s the best way to make money while you learn to code.
Therefore, if you’re interested in becoming a front-end developer in the future, you can start making money in a matter of days or weeks.
The most simple jobs for freelancers online are usually something like fixing broken links, adjusting CSS for some styling, or adding some new content to a website.
So, as soon as you feel confident enough with your skills, just go for it.
First, take some time to create a professional profile on a freelancing platform you’d like to use. List your skills and start bidding for a few projects. Then, just keep your rates low and respond to potential clients promptly and clearly.
If you’re aiming higher and want to conquer the world with you coding skills, there’s another option you might find interesting…
Option #3: Become an entrepreneur
Start your own tech startup or coding business!
How many times have you thought to yourself, “there should be an app for this..”? If you’re into mobile development, start coding your own apps!
Alternatively, if you have a great business idea and wish to team up with like-minded coding enthusiasts, you could establish your own technology start-up. It doesn’t have to be anything too big at first. Usually, the most successful startups have an incredibly simple business idea.
All you need to do is to offer people a way to do things more easily or quickly by using technology – that’s it.
One very viable idea for a successful startup is to create a web application of your own. Team up with backend and front-end developers and create a tool you believe in.
I chose this path as a developer and started my own web design business back in the day. And honestly, I’ve never looked back.
For more details about how I started learning coding, check out my postLearning to Code? This is What I Learned in 6 Months.
How to learn coding and become an entrepreneur?
If entrepreneurship is something you’d want to do in the future, here’s how you can get started:
- Start gathering and developing ideas. Every successful company has one thing in common: they bring value to their customers. So, if you can find a way to help people with an everyday task or solve a problem for them, why not make a business out of it? Make sure it’s something you know a lot about and enjoy spending time with.
- Create a product or service. Start refining your ideas. Figure out whether it’s a product or a service you can offer to your customers. Products usually require bigger investments up front, but once everything is set up properly, they scale quite well. Services can be offered with very little investments, as long as you have the right tools to manage your customer base.
- Figure out your unique selling point. You USP is something that sets you apart from your competition. It’s the primary reason why your customers will choose you over all other providers. For me, my USP was something as simple as a friendly and approachable image. I’m here to help my website clients to achieve their goals, not mine. Also, I offer a complete website concept as a one-man show, so that my clients don’t have to organize meetings with an entire team of designers and developers.
- Do market research. Find out everything about the current market. Is there demand there? How about your competition? How can you reach and target your potential clients? Will you offer your product or service locally, nationally, or globally?
Starting your own business is one of the most exciting things you can do with coding.
In the beginning, you might only offer one service locally. As you learn more and become more confident in your skills, your portfolio grows.
You can reach a bigger client base by offering a wider range of services or by extending your marketing beyond your local area.
Option #4: Teach others what you have learned
When you learn programming and web development, you acquire skills that thousands of others will learn after you.
There are heaps of beginner coding enthusiasts that are looking for answers to the same questions you had just a while ago.
So, why not help your fellow programmers with your knowledge? Any information you have about coding is valuable. Even if it’s just helpful tips for learning or getting started with coding.
The bottom line is: you can teach anyone – all it takes is for them to be one single step behind you.
There are many different ways to make money as a programmer this way, like:
- Creating online coding courses
- Publishing tutorials on the Web
- Building a small consulting business
- Offering workshops in your area
- Writing a book on a specific programming topic etc.
In short: whatever it is you enjoy the most with coding, let others get a slice of that passion, too.
It’s surprisingly easy to publish learning material these days. You could create an online coding course on Udemy, publish videos on YouTube, or write your own e-book to sell on your website, for example.
I want to make money as a beginner programmer. Where should I start?
So you’re ready to get started? That’s great!
You might be asking how to make money coding from home. That’s what I did at first, and I ended up starting my own web development and web design business.
I’ve never been short of work and my job has given me the absolute freedom in life. I can be my own boss and decide when I get out of bed, take a nap, or travel to explore the world and work remotely.
If that sounds good, here’s what you should do next:
First, you need to have a portfolio website. It is going to be your primary medium for promoting your skills.
Remember, all coding jobs are about solving problems. Any job opening out there is simply a document listing the problems a company needs solutions for.
As long as you can solve those problems, you’re a potential candidate for the job!
Therefore, you need to get yourself online with a portfolio website. At first, it can be just a simple one-pager about you. Then, with each project you build, you will add new material to showcase your skills.
Let’s see what steps you need to take to build a stellar portfolio:
Step #1: Define your goals: What do you want to do?
Start by figuring out your “why”.
Why are you learning coding? What do you want to build in the future?
Here’s a helpful article to help you get started: How to Start Learning Coding? 6 Tips for Beginners. It will help you take your first steps towards becoming a professional developer.
Step #2: Sign up for web hosting and buy a domain name
Your portfolio website needs a web hosting plan and a domain name to go online.
You can choose a domain name that is based on your name, for example. But you can choose freely – just make sure it’s professional and reflects who you are and what you do.
As for web hosting, there are hundreds of providers out there to choose from. I usually go with Bluehost.com when launching a new website or blog. They have a quick and easy signup process, and you get a free domain when you sign up for hosting.
As a little bonus, I’ve negotiated an exclusive hosting package for you starting at just $2.95 per month (yep, that’s a shameless affiliate link). However, you need to pay for a minimum of 12 months up front.
Step #3: Create a homepage
When you’ve finished your signup and you’re logged in to your hosting admin area, you can create a homepage right away.
You can either use WordPress to create your portfolio website (quick, easy, and powerful), or create a few simple HTML and CSS files to create a web page from scratch.
If you’re using Bluehost, there is a folder called “public_html”. That’s where you can upload your HTML and CSS files via FTP.
For a very basic website, start by writing a few paragraphs of content using HTML. Write a short bio about yourself and why you’re learning coding and web development. Also, you could add a link to your LinkedIn or Twitter profiles, so people can find out more about you.
Finally, just name your file “index.html” and upload it to the public_html folder using an FTP client or your File Manager.
Congratulations! You now have a portfolio page online!
Step #4: Start learning coding
Now that you have your portfolio all set up, it’s time to find the best resources to start learning coding with.
Whenever you finish a small project of your own, you can upload it to your portfolio page for the world to see.
To get started, I’d recommend you check out my post on 8 Great Websites for Learning Coding for Free.
I’ve also put together a beginner-friendly selection of hand-picked web developer courses and books sorted by category:
These should get you well on your way! If you have any questions about the courses and other material, just drop me a line in the comments below!
Step #5: Build projects for your portfolio
When you learn coding, you should build as many practical (and meaningful!) projects of your own as possible.
You will finish a bunch of coding tutorials and exercises with coding courses and books. They’re a great way to learn the basics, but make sure you work on side projects as much as possible.
Building your own projects from scratch is how you learn to apply your skills – and that’s what coding is all about.
Most coding courses and books have great exercises and ideas you can use for inspiration. However, the best side projects are the ones that help you solve a problem for yourself.
So, think about how you could create a simple app or program that helps you in your daily life. Here are a few things your own programs could do for you:
- Filter and sort emails automatically
- Rename and organize your files
- Generate reports at work
Remember: anything is possible with coding! Just start small and find solutions to problems by dividing them into smaller pieces. Then, go one step at a time until you achieve your goal.
Once you have build a portfolio that showcases your skills well enough, you are ready to start applying for jobs – or more!
Summing it up: How to make money coding?
I hope you’re still with me – this was a long post!
All in all, learning how to code is an incredibly exciting way of acquiring new skills that you can use for a huge variety of jobs in the future.
I hope you found some helpful information in this post and you’re feeling more prepared to start learning coding.
If you’re new to coding, consider becoming a freelance web developer. That’s what I did to find small jobs while I was still learning. Before long, the jobs I was getting got bigger and I became a full-time freelancer.
If you’re prepared to put some hard work into it, I believe you can start making money as a freelancer much faster than I ever did, trust me. You can build a professional portfolio while you work for your first clients, too. If your goal is to become a full-time developer, you can use that portfolio to apply for jobs when you feel ready.
Here are a couple of related articles you might want to read, too:
- 8 Things to Know Before Learning Programming
- How to Become a Web Developer? 4 Tools You Need to Learn
- Learning Programming: Online Courses vs Books
If you enjoyed this post on how to make money coding, just drop me a line in the comments below! I’d love to hear your thoughts on learning coding and starting a new career in tech.
P.S. If you liked this post, please share it with others so they can find it, too! Thanks so much!
Happy coding, everyone!