Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced developer, you can turn your tech skills into income without a full-time developer job. Even while you’re still learning to code, there are multiple ways to make money programming.
And although there are no shortcuts to riches, you can save heaps of time by choosing the right money-making methods. It all boils down to what you love doing and how you like to work.
After all, you need to put a lot of work into it, so you might as well pick something you enjoy, right?
To help you find the best way to make money programming, we’ll cover eight ways to earn cash while learning to code in this post. Each of them requires dedication and a different set of skills, like technical writing or speaking skills.
By the end of this post, you’ll know which ones suit your goals the best. Just keep in mind that anyone can make money programming–even if you’re just starting out!
Let’s jump right in!
Related articles you may want to read, too:
- How to Create a Professional Portfolio Website on WordPress: Step-by-Step Guide
- The Best Way to Learn Coding: Beginner’s Guide
- 10 Practical Tips for Learning to Code Faster
Please note: This post contains affiliate links to products I use and recommend. I may receive a small commission if you purchase through one of my links, at no additional cost to you. But please, only buy products you believe will help you achieve your goals faster. Thank you for your support!
How to start making money as a programmer?
Before we discuss the different money-making methods, let’s look at a few fundamentals first.
First, whichever method you decide to focus on, always pick something you genuinely love doing. It’s that much easier to stay motivated when you’re enjoying the work you do.
And unlike with most jobs out there, these opportunities give you the absolute freedom to decide what to do and when to do it.
Recommended: 10 Common Programming Myths You Should Ignore
Second, everything you do online is scalable. Whether you offer tutorials, write blog posts, create online courses, or sell plugins or software, your income compounds with time. As more people find your content online, your chances of making a sale increase.
And third, bear in mind that none of these methods is a get-rich-quick scheme. They all require a lot of hard work until you can pay your bills with programming.
With that said, always think long-term.
Plan out your work well in advance. Set yourself clear milestones for along the way. This will help you maintain your focus, knowing exactly what steps to take to achieve your goals.
Let’s get started!
8 Ways to Make Money With Programming Skills
To help you navigate this massive article, here’s an overview of all the money-making methods we’ll cover in this post:
- Build mobile apps
- Freelance online
- Sell programming tutorials
- Work for local businesses
- Create a piece of software
- Start a programming blog
- Create your own programming course
- Launch a YouTube channel
Have fun, pin this post for later, and please share your thoughts in the comments section!
1: Build mobile apps
It’s no secret that mobile apps are still in high demand and they’re that difficult to create.
In fact, you can even find software these days that take care of all the programming for you.
However, most of us prefer to code our apps from scratch. Nevertheless, you’ll also need a good bunch of design and marketing skills to turn your app into a business.
That being said, where should you start?
What skills do you need exactly?
First off, you should decide which platform you want to target: Android devices or iOS devices?
Both of them require you to learn and use a different set of programming languages and tools.
Here’s a quick overview of both:
Mobile apps for Android devices:
If you’re building and selling apps to Android users, Java is your #1 programming language to work with.
The best thing about Java is that it’s such a versatile language. It doesn’t restrict you to just mobile app development.
To get started right away, try these two learning resources:
- Beginning Android Development Track – This was my first Android dev course with Team Treehouse and I can’t recommend it enough – perfect for absolute beginners!
- Android Development Tutorial – I’m a huge fan of Derek Banas’ YouTube channel, and this is just another one of his beginner-level videos you should definitely check out.
Mobile apps for iOS devices (iPhones and iPads):
Alternatively, if you want to target iOS users, you should learn Swift and Objective-C.
If you are serious about getting your first app on its feet quickly, you can create a very basic iOS app within a couple days.
Just remember that you need an Apple computer to create iOS apps. The development tools required only run on a Mac.
If you can’t get your hands on a Mac right now, use a PC instead and create apps for Android users.
Here are two courses to get started:
- iOS Tutorial: How To Make Your First App – In this free YouTube tutorial, Chris shows you how to program an iOS app from scratch. Super easy to follow!
- iOS 13 & Swift 5 – The Complete iOS App Development Bootcamp – This is one of the best-rated courses on Udemy, with over 50 hours of step-by-step video tutorials from the amazing Dr. Angela Yu.
Once you’ve chosen your platform, proceed to doing market research.
The best apps are simple. They solve a very specific problem for their users.
Here are a few questions to think about:
- Who is your target audience? (Be very specific here!)
- What’s their biggest problem?
- How can your app solve that problem?
The best way to find ideas is to focus on a field you have experience in. The more you know about the topic, the easier it is to find pain points to solve with your app.
Keep your first app ideas simple and easy. Have fun with it and don’t bite off more than you can chew!
2: Freelance online
I’m a huge fan of freelance work, both online and offline. You can decide which projects to take on, how much you work, and where to work.
The best part?
You can do freelance work while learning to code or even working a full-time job.
As your skills improve and your confidence grows, you can take on more demanding jobs.
Ultimately, when you feel like your freelance income can pay your bills, you can consider going full-time as a freelancer.
In fact, this is what I did a few years back and I never studied web development or worked in a relevant industry.
But with a lot of hard work, I built a successful freelance business that now allows me to work whenever, wherever. Not too shabby!
How to make money freelancing online:
Where should you start, then?
First, know what you want to build for your clients.
For example, if you love working with HTML and CSS, you’re obviously going to apply for front-end developer gigs.
Alternatively, if you’re good at Python, you may find tons of interesting jobs in back-end development or even machine learning.
Then, sign up with an online freelancing platform. There are dozens to choose from, but I usually recommend Upwork. That’s the platform I used when I was entirely new to freelancing and wanted to validate my skills and build up my confidence.
To land your first freelancing gig faster, follow my guide on how to create an Upwork profile that stands out.
Once your profile is set up, start browsing through beginner-level job openings:
- What skills do they list as requirements?
- Can you find any matches with yours?
If you feel like you’re not ready to apply for small jobs yet, simply improve your skills in relevant areas based on your research.
Once you feel confident enough, it’s time to start applying for your first jobs!
For a more detailed guide, check out How to Become a Freelance Web Developer? The Ultimate Guide
3: Sell programming tutorials
If you’re good at something that others want to learn, why not help them?
These days, when someone wants to learn something new, they head online first. Thus, there are millions of curious people looking for beginner-level tutorials on the WWW.
So how do you get those eyes on your own tutorials?
Start by setting up your own website. Sign up for web hosting and register a domain first. I’ve negotiated a deal for my readers with Bluehost starting at just $2.95 per month. They’ll even throw in a free domain name.
Then, set up a well-structured website. Feel free to code it from scratch or use a Content Management System like WordPress.
Follow a structured plan with your tutorials. Start with the very basics for a small niche topic. Then, proceed to more advanced concepts and topics.
In the beginning, it’s perfectly OK to simply record your screen while you work on simple projects.
Add a few comments, helpful tips, and a voiceover for extra guidance.
Ta-dah! You just created your first video tutorial!
How to make money with online programming tutorials:
What about the money? How do you make an income with tutorials?
You have a couple of options here:
- Make money with display ads:
Sign up with a display ad network and populate your tutorial videos with a few ads. Every time someone sees or clicks an ad, you’ll earn passive income. If you upload your videos to YouTube, you can monetize them easily with the Google AdSense display ad program.
- Sell subscription plans or memberships:
Set up an online shop and restrict access to your tutorials to members only. Monetize your content by selling lifetime memberships or monthly subscriptions.
- Create an online course:
If you don’t want to spend time on creating your own website, use a platform like Teachable or Skillshare to publish your tutorials as a course. They take care of most of the “boring” stuff, such as billing, which is a massive time-saver.
Creating a tutorials website will take a lot of work. But once everything is set up, you can focus on marketing and growing your traffic.
Slowly but surely, you should start seeing your income increase as your audience grows.
4: Work for local businesses
One of the easiest ways to find your first clients is to look in your area.
Go through your contacts and local shops and businesses. See if they have websites that are outdated, difficult to use, or even broken.
In general, small local businesses can’t afford a $10,000 website makeover. Instead, they’re interested in simple and affordable solutions.
As long as you can show them how your skills and solutions match their needs, they’re likely to hire you.
And it doesn’t need to be anything too big if you’re just a beginner. Simply offer a little facelift for their website, for example.
Once you get your foot in the door, that client will most likely contact you for future work.
With that said, keep in mind that your first gigs won’t pay too much.
But remember that you’re still learning. With each small project you finish, you’ll gain valuable experience in working with clients. And as a bonus, you’ll get a real-life project to showcase in your portfolio.
5: Create a piece of software
I know, building a piece of software might sound intimidating. But if you keep it small, this way to make money programming is one of the best ones.
How does it work, then?
The idea is quite straightforward. First, you find a specific market that you like working with. The people working in that field will be your target audience, so it helps to know as much as you can about them.
Coding software is all about helping others by solving problems for them.
Thus, you should find a specific issue you could solve for this target audience. Most often, you already know a few pain points that people are struggling with.
Remember to find out about your potential competition, too.
And don’t forget to work on your marketing skills. You need to know how to promote and sell your final product to the right audience.
One lucrative area for selling your own software are WordPress plugins and themes.
Platforms like Themeforest allow you to upload and sell your own WordPress themes to a global audience.
WordPress is the most popular Content Management System worldwide.
Needless to say, your potential target market would be huge, spanning across all industries around the world.
6: Start a programming blog
I might be just a tad biased, but one of the best ways to make money programming is to start a coding blog.
And it’s SO much fun!
If you’re familiar with web development basics and you know some HTML and CSS, you can build a basic blog website from scratch.
But an even faster way to get a coding blog on its feet is to use a Content Management System (or CMS).
WordPress is the most popular CMS worldwide with tons of powerful tools to help you create the best possible content you can. I would know – I use WordPress for all my blogs. And I love it!
How to start a programming blog:
For a full tutorial, check out my guide on how to start a successful programming blog from scratch.
To get your own programming blog on its feet fast, you need to find a reliable web hosting provider.
I’ve been using Bluehost for almost all my websites since 2016. Their setup is easy and their team has been so helpful with my questions.
But before you sign up, make sure you compare a few providers choose one that offers plans that match your plans.
If you think Bluehost is worth a shot, I’ve gone the extra mile to negotiate a deal to save you money:
My readers (that’s you!) have access to an exclusive discount with hosting plans starting at just $2.95 per month.
Again, you want to plan out your blog well in advance. The last thing you want is spend days and weeks creating content that doesn’t perform well.
As with all content online, your blog posts will perform best if they genuinely help your readers.
Bear in mind that there are hundreds of great blogs out there. You need to find the pain points of your target audience and provide them with solutions to their problems.
For example, I blog about topics that are relevant to absolute coding beginners. It’s my way of giving back to the community that once helped me start an entirely new career in tech. And I’ve never looked back.
Now, how can you make money with a coding blog?
How to make money with a coding blog:
Running your own blog allows you to monetize your content in various ways:
- Display ads:
Sell ad space on your blog. Join a display ad network and set up your ad units. Every click and view will earn you 100% passive income. Of course, the numbers will be small at first. But once you start attracting more traffic, you’ll see more revenue rolling in.
- Affiliate marketing:
Everyone who wants to learn to code needs to find the best possible online courses and tutorials for beginners. And with thousands of options to choose from, it’s difficult to know where to start. As you go through online courses, you may find a few favorites you can recommend to your readers. Chances are that those learning platforms have affiliate programs you can join. Then, every time someone purchases through your link, you’ll earn a small commission. It’s a win-win!
- Sell your own products:
Setting up an online shop with a CMS like WordPress is easier than ever. Therefore, selling your own products – digital or physical – is another great way to make money programming. Write an ebook that helps your readers, for example. Or if you like helping others, why not offer 1-on-1 tutoring on an hourly basis?
For more details on monetizing a blog, check out this post about how people make money blogging.
7: Create your own video course
Coding and web development skills are in high demand and the job market is growing much faster than the average for all industries.
With that said, we can expect to see a lot of demand for well-structured learning materials for years to come.
Online learning platforms, such as Udemy, are packed with courses where anyone can learn anything, literally.
As millions of people around the world embark on their coding journeys, you can turn your programming skills into income by selling them via your own online course.
Teaching others what you know doesn’t require you to be the best programmer in the world. You simply need to be one step ahead of someone to teach them what you know, right?
Of course, you should possess a solid skillset in the field you want to teach. Also, you want to make sure you’re on par with your potential competitors.
Thus, if you love teaching others and you know how to explain complex topics to beginners, why not try it out?
How to make money creating online courses:
The best way to break through on massive online learning platforms is to focus on a specific niche. Find an area of expertise, combine it with your tech skills, and see if there’s demand for a course like that.
When you’ve built your course curriculum, it’s time to produce your content.
Once you’re all set up, the learning platform of your choice will take care of marketing and everything else. This means you can start working on your next course while the first one is earning you passive income.
8: Launch a YouTube channel
We already discussed offering tutorials above, but YouTube is another great medium to make money programming with video tutorials.
If you haven’t already, check out these top YouTube Channels to learn programming and web development this year.
Find something you’re really good at. Make sure it’s also something you genuinely enjoy teaching others. Find out what beginners are struggling with in that area.
Then, record short videos of yourself solving those problems.
At first, it doesn’t have to be anything too fancy. You can simply record what you do on your screen and see how your viewers respond.
To make things easier for yourself, make a long-term plan for your YouTube channel.
Figure out a logical learning path that you’ll guide your viewers along. Start with the basics, assuming your viewers no absolutely nothing about the topic.
Then, proceed to more advanced topics like building practical projects with code. In fact, that’s one of the highest-demand areas to focus on. Millions of people are learning programming online but most online courses lack a guided learning experience using real-life projects.
So how can you make money on YouTube, then?
How to make money with programming skills on YouTube:
Unlike creating your own online courses, YouTube allows you to offer help for free.
However, YouTube itself pays money to content creators for views. The more views your videos attract, the higher your income will be.
Of course, if you have an online course to sell, use YouTube as a marketing channel. Simply keep the free content very basic, like a teaser. Then, refer your viewers to your online course for more in-depth learning.
What’s the best way to make money programming for you?
Ok, you should have a nice overview of a few different ways to make money as a programmer. The next step is to find one or more methods you feel most drawn to.
Remember that there is no best path for making money with programming. You need to be aware of which methods align the best with how you work and what you know.
Here’s a short summary to help you combine your current skills and passion with programming:
- Writing skills:
If you love technical writing, start a programming blog or write e-books to sell online.
- Speaking skills:
Good speakers often make great teachers. Start a YouTube channel with video tutorials or create an online course.
- Teaching skills:
If you’re a good teacher, you’ll know how to help others learn. Build an online course or offer tutorials on your website.
- Design skills:
Are colors, typography, and layouts your thing? If so, why not combine them with your coding skills and become a full-stack web dev freelancer? Alternatively, you could consider creating beautiful website themes or templates to sell.
- Project management skills:
If you can hold all the strings firmly in your hands, consider building your own software. Alternatively, you can start your own small web development service business.
The bottom line is to find things you love and excel in. Pair them with your tech skills and you’re all set.
Oh and one more thing: focus your efforts on only one money-making method at first.
Make sure you establish a steady foothold with that before proceeding to the next one. Taking on too much too soon will just make you feel scattered and overwhelmed.
Stay focused, find your passion, and turn that into determination to keep going!
Final thoughts: How to make money programming?
Even if you’re new to tech and still learning, you can use a handful of methods to make money programming. They all have their pros and cons, so it’s all about choosing the ones you enjoy the most.
The best part about turning your coding skills into income online is that your results are scalable. As you gain a larger following, your chances of selling increase. Your success depends on how much effort you put into it and the combination of methods you use.
Moreover, learning the skills you need to make money programming doesn’t have to be expensive. I invested between $20 to $30 in two courses on Udemy before I got my first online freelance jobs. Thus, you may be making money sooner than you expect.
For the best learning resources and online courses, check out my post with the best websites to learn programming and web development.
I hope you found a few helpful tips in this article. If you found this post helpful, please drop me a line in the comments below! I’d love to hear how your journey is going and whether there’s any way I can support you along the way.
Related articles you may want to read:
- 8 Critical Things You MUST Know Before Learning to Code
- How to Find the Easiest Programming Language for Beginners
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