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How to Make Money Coding: The Ulitimate Money Making Skill?

By Shane Dayton |

Learning how to make money coding is actually quite a bit easier than what it will take to actually learn how to code. At least for most us.

There are some skills that are almost always in high demand. If you’re looking for a skill that is an absolute necessity for today’s economy, coding is a great one. This is an online world, and without the right code it doesn’t run.

Trade jobs have a great (and deserved) reputation for being essential and offering an inherent amount of job security because of that. After all, everyone knows that doing your own electrical work is a shockingly bad idea.

Bad puns aside, coder is one of the rare white collar jobs that is actually very stable in today’s world. Even if individual jobs or projects come and go, much of the world runs on coding. Websites, games, apps, software – all of this just scratches the surface.

We dive into both common and uncommon ways to make money with your programming skills in this post. You might be surprised just how quickly you can start taking even basic coding skills and making some steady revenue with them.

Conventional Job

This is the obvious way for how to make money with coding. The demand for web development people and employees with programming skills is incredibly high. There are many companies constantly looking for more coders. This is true from independent startups to long-established corporations.

In fact, there are many situations where a promising student can get assistance from a company in exchange for a promise of working for them for a set amount of time after graduation. Don’t mistake this with programs to pay for you to learn to code in exchange for part of your salary, like this article mentions. These can be a different alternative, but there are worries about exchange of value or if this model ends up being predatory.

Even if you don’t go with help getting through college, there’s still a lot to like about this route. The demand is high, the average salary is $70,000 for starters (this will vary depending on company, location, etc), and it’s an area where an extremely talented and capable worker can play several companies off of each other when bidding for starting salary.

Some people see the high-paying job with safe work as being great. For those of us looking for more independent paths, this still provides a steady check while working on your passion projects on the side.

Also worth noting is that many of these positions can be remote work. This might be a tall order to pull off in the beginning of a hire. Prove you’re an excellent coder and good worker, and this may very well be an arrangement you can work out.

Freelance Coding

remote programmer on laptop

There are plenty of companies who prefer to save money by going with freelance coders over having someone full time on status. There are also plenty of projects that entrepreneurs or startups want done, and they turn to quality freelance coders to get the work done.

This is something that individuals can start relatively early on. You want to be careful to never bid for a job that is completely over your experience level.  That said, you might be surprised how many jobs are out there for relatively easy coding jobs that a beginning coder with even 6 months or 12 months of learning and experience.

Those simple jobs often won’t pay as much. For grateful business owners or project managers who need code work that no one on the team can do, it’s still worth paying a decent amount for a simple piece of work.

You don’t have to wait. There are these types of jobs at every level. Even as you are getting more training for high-level coding you can start building your freelance career. Take the jobs you know you can do. Build a portfolio. You can make money as you’re learning to continue to improve and enhance your skills.

There are many sites online like Upwork where you can find freelance work. Freelancer.com is another popular option. In fact, they were the ones who merged with Rentacoder. Keep an eye out for local businesses asking around. You might be surprised at the level of demand that’s nearby.

Creating Software

There are many types of different software out there. That means the need for coding covers a wide array of projects, programming languages, and more. There are some coders who make a lot of money specializing in one very specific programming language.

Others are solid in multiple languages and play the versatility game. Whatever the languages you know, they open up different ways for how to make money as a programmer.

Coding Apps

Apps haven’t dropped in popularity since they burst onto the scene around 2010. These are crucial for both smartphones and tablets. Thousands of new apps are created every day.

Do you have a great idea for an app? Know a practical niche app that certain hobbyists would love but doesn’t exist? This can be a great way to make money coding. There are also many companies and startup social media platforms that need app coders, as well.

Coding Plug-ins

The WordPress marketplace contains literally millions of different plug-ins. Those that are paid for are premium plug-ins. A good premium plug-in can make a lot of money. Especially if it does something many webmasters want in a way that is easy, reliable, and makes the site look good.

The opportunities here are pretty impressive for creating the right plug-in. You may even find work with a company wanting to develop a few just for their own website’s use.

Creating Custom WP Themes

screen of code

A good WordPress theme can be hard to find. There’s a reason there are so many out there. Creating a WP theme could mean making changes to existing themes that a company or blogger is using and getting paid for those changes.

If you are really confident in your programming abilities, then you might even make a quality theme of your own. There are so many niches and specific needs out there. The premium themes aren’t going away any time soon. Not with so much importance put into web design.

Cold Pitching

Many small businesses or individuals know they need help, but don’t know where to go for it. They might also be open to ideas on how to improve their website or service. Don’t cold pitch a company by calling and just asking it they need coding work. Take a look at websites, online listings, and other information about local businesses and organizations. Figure out what you can offer and pitch it.

Business owners are looking for people who can help them with these types of challenges.

Work for Local Businesses

There are local businesses who want to hire a full-time coder. Knowing this and knowing where to go to hire a good one are two different things. There are also still plenty of business that know they need a “web guy,” but they don’t know whether they need an SEO specialist, graphic designer, or coder.

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Look around for local businesses. Do some one-off jobs, and really over deliver. Ask for referrals to anyone else they know who needs that type of work. When you can look at a website and know how you can help, that is a great way to pitch yourself for a project. Depending on the company you may even find full-time work.

From altering existing themes to improve websites to building new ones from scratch, coders have plenty of work to be found with local businesses.

Blogging & Vlogging

Even if you have only had 6 months of education in coding, that’s six months more knowledge than someone who hasn’t started yet. There are actually huge openings in the blogging and vlogging sphere for coders.

While there are plenty of resources many are focused on “How to learn X programming language” or they are deep dive into a particular style of coding.

If you combined your knowledge of coding with answering questions can be huge. How do you use coding for designing a specific part of a video game? What common mistakes to new coders make that you can walk them through? What cool bits of work can help shortcut the app creation process?

By applying real-life issues to the actual practice of writing code, you could build a major online following. From there affiliate marketing, YouTube advertising (with affiliate links in the video descriptions), or selling your own services & courses are all way to expand to making more money.

Tutoring Coding

There are always going to be coders who struggle with types of coding that you excel at. This is a major opportunity to get paid good rates to tutor others. Potential work can be found among college students, corporate workers getting trained, or even younger children or teenagers showing early aptitude.

Capable tutors can make very good money while the tutoring helps you refresh your knowledge on the topic as you teach others. That makes this particular option of making money coding a great idea that benefits you beyond the money.

Coding Contests

These are actually quite common in certain circles and some offer big top prizes. Usually focusing on development, design, and data science, these contests can result in big cash prizes. Not to mention bring you into communities of coders working on many different projects for different companies and organizations.

This is an interesting way to not only measure your skills in real life scenarios but you might make some good money, too.

This isn’t as guaranteed a source of income as the other options on this list. If you’re looking for a way to make steady money from coding work, skip over this option. However, the potential that coding contests gives, makes it an interesting option.

Create Your Own Video Game

minecraft video game screenshot

This is a long-term project, but it can be incredibly lucrative. Open marketplaces like Steam allow coders to create their own games and sell them. This can take a hobby or passion that sharpens your skills, and possibly makes a lot of money.

Many widely popular video games were designed by single coders such as: Papers Please!, Undertale, and Braid. There were even mega-hits like Stardew Valley and Minecraft. Each of those latter ones have sold tens of millions of copies.

There are even dozens if not hundreds of very successful games made by small groups of coders working together that have also done very well. If you absolutely love video games, this is something you can start even as you’re still learning your skills. This takes a lot of work but it can be an exceptional way for making money.

Learning to Code Resources

Coding is all about proving you can do the work. While companies will often want a degree or certificate, there are plenty of coders who are self-taught. There are many great free coding resources out there. Along with these free resources are many inexpensive paid resources that take you to the next skill level.

Even if you are going to go a more structured educational approach for coding you should look at this combination of free and paid resources. Get started with some good free online resources. Many people doe this. The sooner you start making progress with coding, the sooner you can start making money online with these skills.

A really important thing to note: there isn’t just one coding language. There are different programming languages for creating apps, creating video games, working with servers, or designing websites.

FreeCodeCamp

FreeCodeCamp is one of the best free resources out there when it comes to learning the basics of coding. In fact, the resources here are remarkable for a purely free accessible site. This not only gives all the basic introductory bits of code but gives enough to teach coders how to begin to think independently and problem solve with coding problems.

As long as you have a solid internet connection, you can start learning to code with what FreeCodeCamp has to offer. The site’s home page might look simple but the quality of the lessons are hard to beat!

free code camp website homepage

Udemy Courses

There are a number of outstanding Udemy Courses that do a great job of offering video tutorials. Some of these are going to be hyper specific. The courses will usually focus on only a single programming language or type of coding. How to Learn Python, or Advanced HTML would be two examples of Udemy classes you might find.

Some take a more complete approach to teaching coding that can include multiple languages and styles working together. The Web Developer Bootcamp falls into this category and is hands down one of the best paid resources out there.

Start with FreeCodeCamp but then when you’re ready to take the next step and really get serious then go to Udemy and buy Web Developer Bootcamp. How many online courses, or products of any kind, do you know of that have an overwhelmingly positive after 160,000 plus reviews?

College/School

Going to school for coding is definitely a viable way to learn great programming skills. There are both online and in-person courses available. Not to mention many large universities have plenty of computer science majors focusing on programming. While the more conventional route of education isn’t going to work for everyone, this option is still a great way for many individuals to get started in this field.

Take a look at what options you have locally. Also look at remote learning options online. Make sure those classes lead to certification.

Conclusion

Coding is an incredible skill. This is also a skill that is going to remain in high demand. Few abilities are so highly valued in today’s online world.

That’s something that’s not likely to change. Earning money online with these skills isn’t hard, but it can take some time. When you look at all the options for how to make money programming, it becomes apparent just how good a decision learning to code really is.




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By Shane Dayton

Shane has been a full-time writer since 2005. Shane has a degree in English & Creative Writing from Coe College (2002) and an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction Emphasis) from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (2007).

Shane spent years using his online writing skills to earn a living online and live the life of a digital nomad. After learning about affiliate marketing and SEO he has since created several niche sites to further increase his business income.

Want to learn step-by-step how I built my Niche Site Empire up to a full-time income?

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