Different Ways to Make Money as a Programmer

Ways to Make Money as a Programmer

Different Ways to Make Money as a Programmer

If you are investing a lot of your valuable time to become a programmer, you deserve to know if you really make money from it. We will be discussing various ways to earn money as a programmer in this post.

Making money as a programmer can be hard in the beginning. However, apart from working in a big company, there are lots of other ways to make money as a programmer.

Let’s take a look:

Ways to make money as a programmer

1. Get a job

According to a report, a cloud/network architect earns $153k-$180k per year on average, which is a lot higher than most of the other jobs in the world. Yes, some of the highest-earning job holders around the world are programmers.

Getting a decent job can be a great way to earn money as a programmer. However, it’s not that easy to get a good-paying programming job unless you are really good at what you do. And to be really good, you need to practice your programming skills by building real-life projects.

Apart from the programming skills, you need to prepare for the followings things to get a good job:

Related: Career Opportunities in JavaScript

2. Freelancing

Freelancing is another great way to advance your career as a programmer and earn a lot of money. According to the recent data released by Upwork, across different programming languages, the average freelance programmer makes $60-70/hr, with earnings of around $120,000 per year.

Here’s a quick roadmap for you to get started as a freelance programmer:

Be an expert in the programming language

No matter in what programming language you are offering your services, first, it’s important to be an expert in it. Nobody likes to hire an inexperienced programmer.

Also, it’s very important to have very good communication skills. It will help you a lot in closing the freelancing deals.

Build an amazing online portfolio

Without a portfolio, you’ll not get clients; but if you don’t get clients, how will you build the portfolio?

Well, that’s the entry barrier that you will need to break. First, work on your personal projects, then work on a few small projects for your friends, then reach out to small clients, and then build your portfolio.

Even if you have to work for free in the beginning, do not hesitate to work because you’re getting paid in terms of an addition to your online portfolio.

Programmers Online Portfolio
Sample of a great looking programmer’s portfolio (source)

Alternatively, you can also contribute to various open-source projects, it can also be a great addition to the portfolio.

Learn to market yourself

Be active on social media, start blogging, and join various freelancing platforms to spread the word that you’re offering programming-related services.

You will have to be good at promoting yourself, because if people don’t know you, how will you get any work? right?

And to market yourself, you need to understand your audience and try to reach out to them via multiple means.

3. Teach programming

Teaching programming to other aspiring programmers can be another great way to earn money. And you know what, there’s no limit to the money that you can make from this way.

But please note that it will take time to establish yourself as an authority so that the students trust you.

There can be various ways you can earn money by teaching how to program:

Online courses

You just need a laptop, an internet connection, and good communication skills to start creating programming-related online courses and earn money from them.

Start Teaching Programming Online

Either you can join the course marketplaces like Udemy or start your own personal brand by creating your own website. Joining an already established marketplace gives you the advantage of immediately being in front of a huge audience, however, your website takes some time to take off.


Blogs take time, but if everything is done properly for a longer period of time, it can also be a good source of income. Yes, you can completely rely on blogging, full-time.

Some of the ways that you can earn money from a programming blog are:

  • by running advertisements on the blog
  • by blogging about someone else’s products and services (affiliate promotion)
  • by writing sponsored articles and product reviews
  • by selling programming services through your blog
  • by accepting donations for your work, etc.


Daniel Vassallo earned $100,000 of revenue in the first 4 months of launching his two eBooks. Amazing, right?

Once you become an “expert” on the subject, your demand rises exponentially. People want to listen to you, buy your eBooks.

Yes, having decent social followings and blog visitors makes it easier to establish yourself as an authority and sell your eBooks and other digital products.

4. Build apps, games, and APIs

It can be difficult to develop and manage a full app or a game all by yourself, but after reaching a decent expertise level, you can do it. Nowadays, indie hacking is a very hot topic. Indie hacking is being able to make money independently, it means, if you’re generating revenue directly from your customers, not indirectly through an employer then you’re an indie hacker.

A lot of individual programmers are adapting to this style of earning money. You can create an in-demand web app or a mobile app that people would love to use, market it a bit and that’s it; you have a SaaS business that will keep making money in the long run.

Not to mention, it requires a lot of effort to develop and market your app/game/API but it’s totally worth it in the end.

5. Create plugins and themes

A Google Chrome extension named CSS Scan (lets developers view and modify CSS rules on webpages) generated $100,000 of revenue in around one year. To surprise you even more, it was created by an indie developer.

Yes, you can make tons of money by making web plugins and themes, they just have to be good enough. That’s it. You can sell custom-made themes and plugins on the marketplaces like CodeCanyon & ThemeForest and make money from your years of programming skills.

6. Participate in challenges

It’s surprising, but some individuals are making a full-time living by just participating in the company’s buy bounty programs. According to a report by HackerOne, more than 50 individuals earned over $100k on the platform in 2019 from bug bounties.

Yes, you can participate in various coding and bug bounty challenges to earn money from your programming skills.

Final words

Now that you know that you can actually make enough money as a programmer, it’s time for you to start working on your programming and communication skills.

All the above-mentioned ways do take time to establish yourself as an authority but it’s proven that you can make money as a programmer.

Related: How to Think Like a Programmer

If you have a related query, feel free to let us know in the comments below.

Also, kindly share the article with your programmer friends who you want to see make a lot of money.

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