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Ways to make money as a developer

florinpop17 profile image Florin Pop Originally published at florin-pop.com Updated on ・2 min read

Update: I'm writing an eBook on Ten++ Ways to Make Money as a Developer. You can get it now at Pre-Sale for 50% off.

Below you can find a list of ways you can make money as a developer. I've wrote these items a while back and I thought that people might find it valuable so I decided to share it with you. 😄

  • The most common is to have a job at a company or work as a freelancer for multiple clients
  • Create and sell digital products (plugins, components (in React, Angular, Vue, Bootstrap, etc), themes, etc)
  • build a SAAS (Software as a Service)
  • create web, mobile and/or desktop apps where you can have ads or in-app purchases
  • Create a blog and monetize it via:
    • ads (Google Adsense, carbonads, etc)
    • sponsorships
    • become an affiliate and promote other people’s products
    • promote your own products
    • get paid to write articles for publications
  • write and sell ebooks and/or physical books*
  • create a YouTube channel (on topics like: tutorials, developer lifestyle, tips & tricks, news in the field, etc) and monetize it via:
    • YouTube ads
    • sponsorships
    • affiliate marketing
    • promote your own products
  • create online courses and/or online programs
  • live stream (on Twitch, YouTube, etc) and monetize it via:
    • donations
    • monthly subscriptions
  • create a podcast
    • sponsorship
    • promote your own products
  • work on Open Source projects and get donations and sponsorships
  • create a Patreon page where people can support you
  • create a job board and get paid by companies to connect them with developers, designers, etc...
  • sell swag
  • sell a newsletter
  • have 1-on-1 coaching sessions
  • create a trading bot
  • participate in paid coding challenges
  • participate in bug bounty programs

Feel free to suggest anything else that should be added to the list! 😃

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Discussion

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jennrmillerdev profile image
Jen Miller

what's interesting is that you'll probably find your favorite dev influencer on Twitter doing one or more of these things to make extra money on the side :)

The thing about being a developer, is that, there are many ways of 'monetizing' your experience. It's not quick cash and whatever you do will take a lot of work, but the opportunities are there.

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florinpop17 profile image
Florin Pop Author

Indeed, there are a lot of opportunities but you have to put in the effort 😃

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maheshkay profile image
Mahesh K

1) I just started with open source. I mostly report bugs and issues. I don't know if I can ever reach stage where I get paid by github for open source contribution like that.

2) YouTube requires 100K subscribers for anything serious in terms of earning.

3) Podcast & Streaming not for beginners. Need to have solid experience to share for longer duration.

Many options require you to be in shoes of seller than just a developer. I am learning. I hope I get there someday :)

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florinpop17 profile image
Florin Pop Author

1) you don’t get paid by GitHub. You get paid by other developers who are using your open source projects - but yes, you need to be pretty good at it and the project has to be popular

2) true, but you have yo start somewhere. No one started with 100k subs

3) I believe you don’t need to have solid experience to start streaming. You can have a “build/learn with me” type of stream.

Yes, selling is a valuable skill, but with all of the other skills, it can be learned ☺️

Good luck on your journey!

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garrett profile image
Garrett

1) I just started with open source. I mostly report bugs and issues. I don't know if I can ever reach stage where I get paid by github for open source contribution like that.

The bug bounty programs are different than reporting bugs on GitHub.

2) YouTube requires 100K subscribers for anything serious in terms of earning.

I've made money in the thousands of USD having under 100 subscribers but excellent SEO on my videos promoting a good affiliate product.

3) Podcast & Streaming not for beginners. Need to have solid experience to share for longer duration.

Gary Vaynerchuk talks a lot about sharing your journey and you can find a lot of people doing this successfully online in various industries.

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lana_miro profile image
Lana Miro

Hi Mahesh! For the Youtube, you can use not only their Creator tools for earnings, but other affiliate programs.
For example, templatemonster affiliate team has Youtube Manager, who can help you with links, ready-made videos and other stuff you need for earning.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, it was helpful to know newbies experience.
Wish you good luck!

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nicolaerario profile image
Nicola Erario

I’ve made a trading bot as you suggested but I can’t solve a bug. It shows this error: “give me the money!!!”

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florinpop17 profile image
Florin Pop Author

This is a common bug among trading bots! 😂

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xxzozaxx profile image
Ahmed Khaled

Author: It's a feature.

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indavidjool profile image
indavidjool

Did the same thing. Mine came back with the message "...and it's gone!"

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javinpaul profile image
javinpaul

Out of all these, I think creating an online course and selling is the best option. You won't need a newsletter, a blog, a twitter handle with thousands of follower, and a Youtube channel with 100K subscribers.

It's also a one-time effort and you will keep earning. I have been suggesting this to many of my friends and readers and even blogged about it on my blog, here is the link, just in case if you are interested to know more:

Why every programmer should create an online course in 2019

It's an awesome thing to do.
All the best, keep learning, and keep EARNING :-)

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aibolik profile image
Aibol Kussain

Agree, I think this is one of the best things developers can do. And I think you don't have to be super proficient, you just need to know the subject you are teaching well and be able to explain it.

However, I wouldn't say that newsletter, blog and twitter with thousands of followers is not needed. Although, it is optional, I believe they can give a good boost to your course, in terms of marketing.

And yes, in your post you said it is easy to create a course. I partially agree, in terms of technology and equipment, you don't really need to much investment, however, in terms of effort, I would say it is a huge effort. I started recording one course a year ago, but did not finish :) Now I started outlining another course and strongly decided to finish whatever it takes me to finish it :)

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javinpaul profile image
javinpaul

I agree, its a huge effort for the first course but once you do it, you will create a lot more.

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z4knight profile image
Z4Knight

Yes!In China,many developers have already to create online course to make money.

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helena_wz profile image
Lena Timofeeva

Great list!
I think, many developers underestimate what they're capable of.
Maybe it will inspire someone, I know a guy, self-taught developer, who is literally a one-man company, developing and successfully selling software for musicians since he was 23 (voxengo.com/about-voxengo).

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nprimak profile image
Nadya Primak

I've begun blogging a couple months ago and I'm enjoying it but I feel like its going to take a long time to see any real monetary benefit from it. At least so far my numbers are pretty low and I've been blogging consistently each month and sharing across social media channels, using google analytics, search console, etc.

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urbanisierung profile image
Adam Urban

Nice post! But how many do you know who really make money with their own trading bot? ;)

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florinpop17 profile image
Florin Pop Author

I know a guy 😜

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desolosubhumus profile image
Desolo Sub Humus 🌎🌍

Well, to be fair, people who have analysed trading bots have something different to say. As it turns out, the vast majority of people using trading bots lose money, while a tiny handful who tweak their trading bots constantly actually make money.

There are also a growing number of places where trading bots are banned, esp. areas where someone has made money off trading. As it turns out, the people making money with trading bots often run multiple bots on multiple servers, with a few running entire facilities, which has led to excessive energy consumption. A trading bot facility in a small town can double or triple the power consumption of that town (apparently it's not just small towns anymore, according to the article I just found), and it's not the facility paying for it all; it's the residents. Higher power bills, higher taxes, and the extra pollution created by creating all that extra power has actually tanked more than one small town's economic stability.

On the surface, it sounds great, making money by doing basically nothing, but in truth it's more likely you'll lose money, and if by some miracle you do start making money, you'll probably be contributing to the decline of the economic and physical health of your community.

cnbc.com/2019/03/22/majority-of-bi...
vice.com/en_us/article/7xgzpy/cryp...
vice.com/en_us/article/zma4w3/quad...

Don't misunderstand; the idea of easy money is tempting (I'd considered it myself, once), but the reality is a sordid mess.

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ahmedmkamal profile image
Ahmed Kamal

You know what? I'm going to create a todo list with all the options that you mentioned and I'll work on them one at a time, also, I'll bookmark your post to get back to it after a couple of months and share my experience and results with you 🙂

Update
Here are the options that I've picked, I removed the job/freelancing options as I do freelancing already, and a couple of other options that I'm not interested in 🙃

  • Create and sell digital products (plugins, components (in React, Angular, Vue, Bootstrap, etc), themes, etc)
  • Build a SAAS (Software as a Service)
  • Create web, mobile and/or desktop apps where you can have ads, in-app purchases or sell it
  • Create a blog and monetize it
  • Write and sell ebooks and/or physical books*
  • Create a YouTube channel (on topics like tutorials, developer lifestyle, tips & tricks, news in the field, etc) and monetize it
  • Create online courses and/or online programs
  • Live stream (on Twitch, YouTube, etc) and monetize it
  • Create a podcast
  • Work on Open Source projects and get donations and sponsorships
  • Create a Patreon page where people can support you
  • Create a job board and get paid by companies to connect them with developers, designers, etc...
  • Have 1-on-1 coaching sessions
  • Create a trading bot
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antdke profile image
Anthony Diké

Nice and straightforward 👍 Thanks for respecting our attention spans haha

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andreevich profile image
Yuri Mednikov

Hi, great post - such post desires to be bookmarked!

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kirajw profile image
KiraJW

Thank you for a great article, I am very interested in this topic! I want to get a job online and I learned a lot of new information thanks to you. Well, I would really like to become a developer, because I realized that they get a good salary. But the problem is that I don't have time to study, so I think I should find another way to make money. To be honest, I have another option that I found on the Internet. And I think retail arbitrage is what I need. Here is more information about this yourmoneygeek.com/retail-arbitrage/. If you have some tips on this topic, please share them.

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pixeline profile image
Alexandre Plennevaux

You forgot to mention "hack websites to get user accounts and sell the data on the dark web".

Oh! you meant "legal" ways ?

;-)

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lnaie profile image
Lucian Naie

if you want to have a no life 😂🤷‍♂️

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jconley507 profile image
John

It's still life. Just life "on the run" lol

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helad11 profile image
Helad

Hey,
My name is Elad, I'm the CMO at xs:code,
Soon we are going to lunch billing and licensing platform for open source projects,
I would love to hear you think about our solution.
visit us at xscode.com

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urbanisierung profile image
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ut4utc profile image
ut4utc

You forgot to write about a bank robbery - this also works.

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jkdihenkar profile image
Jay Dihenkar

Something that really scales but would not provide instant reward will be creating a webapp or a mobile app that solves a problem. It can be done with a group of friends or independently. And... It can fetch you a fortune if the idea and solution works out.

In most of other things, developers will actually end up doing a lot of non tech stuff.

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moonsmile profile image
Nguyễn Minh Tuấn

so cool... i will keep this page for me :D

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ddlatson profile image
Doris Latson

Bug bounty programs aren't even mentioned, are they not profitable at all or you just skipped them?

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florinpop17 profile image
Florin Pop Author

I forgot about them! Thanks for reminding me ☺️

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swak profile image
swak

These are my goals as well.

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morgana profile image
morgana

I'm new at web development and just want to do something(for earning money). I'm not a native English speaker but want to start blogging in English. I'm a little scared about that. I don't know what to do.
any suggestions?

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axelespinosadev profile image
Axel Espinosa

Jajaja that was a cool one haha

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mrcartoonster profile image
Evan E. Baird

A job board... Never thought about that one. Gotta read up on that one.

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alin11 profile image
Ali Nazari

Where can I find "paid coding challenges"?

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florinpop17 profile image
Florin Pop Author

I believe HackerRank has some.

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mdhesari profile image
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john_horner1 profile image
john_horner

You could add Chrome extensions to "digital products"?

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florinpop17 profile image
Florin Pop Author

Sure, why not?

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launchpropeller profile image
LaunchPropeller

I would add productized services like on launchpropeller.com

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matthewadams profile image
Matthew Adams

This is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS

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florinpop17 profile image
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rickpage profile image
Rick Page

Absolute rediculous-ness is relative

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donvito profile image
Melvin Vivas

Thanks for sharing the list. Which of these worked for you? Of all these, which do you think can you earn a lot? :)

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jherzeybruhl profile image
Erl

Hello.
I would like to know if i need to learn ux design to become a freelance front-end web developer

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bugmagnet profile image
Bruce Axtens

The company is almost 100% SaaS. We're just not cutting-edge enough for anything else and both of us have demanding "First Life" commitments.