The software developer is an important job that is getting ever more popular. Salaries are on the rise, the market is competitive and there are too many trends for one person to follow. Here we’ll list some of the ways a software developer – both seasoned and novice – could make money. These are broad suggestions and opportunities to consider. They all fall into two categories: working for someone and working for yourself.
Software Developer Skill Set
Software developers have a diverse skill set that revolves around problem-solving. Along with communication, these are two main problems in any software-related project. These skills are vital for a good entrepreneur, and many people take advantage of them. You can do this as well if the risks are acceptable.
Let’s keep things real: you won’t be able to make a ton of money in a competitive industry after one YouTube tutorial. To make money it is necessary to have a few finished projects and a larger one for the portfolio. A solid grasp of at least one language is necessary, along with understanding basic principles in your area. These include the OSI model for web developers, memory structure for C/C++ users, et cetera. Taking a few months to hone your skills and study the basics will pay off in the long run.
Conventional Income Sources
It may sound boring, but it’s the most popular and straightforward way to make money as a software developer. The job market is very competitive, but once you manage to get your foot in the door everything falls into place. Work hard, learn what you can, save up some money. Try climbing a promotion ladder in your company or look for a job as a software developer every 2-3 years in other places. Thus, you will have a higher salary and keep up with the latest labor market demands. As long as you work hard and do your job you get paid. As we said, straightforward.
There are, of course, pitfalls to this strategy. The standard forty-hour workweek is exhausting. There is no time and energy for perpetual learning that is necessary to stay relevant in the job market. And working with other people often is unpleasant, especially in the office setting. To top it all off, developers rarely stop thinking about work outside the office.
Freelancers work for other people, but on their terms. They act as individuals, negotiating the price and doing the work at their own pace. No office, no boss to order you around. But there is no external motivation to keep you going. Social contacts are also lacking, as well as a structured schedule unless you come up with one. Intrinsic motivation is rarely powerful enough to keep the work going. This may be a good route for a motivated and self-disciplined developer.
Major advantages include working at your own pace and from home instead of an office. Forget about commutes and microwaved office lunches. Many job seekers use various freelancing platforms that help them find potential employers faster.
This road is for those who wish to branch out of conventional development. You’ll need other skills like marketing, deploying, and even accounting, along with development. An upfront investment of time and finances is necessary but pays off over time. It is usually smaller than in traditional business, as there are no storage or rent expenses.
Creating A Product Yourself
Given enough time, a developer can create a finished product and sell it to clients. This requires solid knowledge of several technologies. You’ll need to handle at least backend, front end, design, and deployment. Marketing is also important if you want the product to sell well, and support is no small deal as well.
Many choose to outsource parts of the process to freelancers. Marketing, accounting, and design are the most popular examples. This creates a financial burden but allows the developer to focus on the product itself.
Creating A Business
A business owner always benefits from knowing how the product works. As a developer, you know exactly what to expect from programmers and how to communicate with them. Yet a full-fledged business requires a lot of entrepreneurial skills and an upfront investment of time and money.
This path is better suited for experienced developers who want to scale the product. Delegating the development process allows focusing on business decisions. This is the final leap that turns a regular developer into a business owner.
Your potential as a developer is not limited to being a programmer or business owner. There are many things a good developer could do that can bring some income or even become a new job. Keep in mind that having an audience allows for further diversification and monetization.
There are tons of courses on programming and software development out there. Yet a unique perspective and valuable experience are always in demand.
Mentoring new programmers and helping them get a job is a great idea if you worked in large companies and know their ins and outs. There is also a new trend called cohort courses: online courses with online seminars and Q&As. Look into these options if you like teaching.
As we said earlier, there are too many trends in the industry for one person to follow. If you keep track of news in the sector, start posting guides and summaries to save people some time. This content is getting more valuable now as the volume of information is increasing.
People find developers’ lives interesting. This becomes obvious once you look up “day in the life of a software developer” and see dozens of videos on YouTube. If you are willing to show off your life on the internet, this may become your new side hustle.
Software development is very competitive, and it takes some time to get started. But as long as you work hard and do your absolute best, there is nothing to be afraid of.
There are two important rules to remember, especially if you are new to the industry. Firstly, perpetual learning is vital to stay relevant for the new job if you want to switch workplaces. Secondly, hard work pays off, but developers burn out far too often to ignore the trend. Keep these two in mind when looking for a new side hustle or pursuing a business opportunity.