The term ‘side-hustle’ has gained prominent traction over the last 5 years. Everyone, including students, employees, and even monkeys, is searching for side-hustle ideas online. According to trak.in, more than 50% of working Indian youth have a profitable side hustle. This brings us to the large techie population’s query: ‘side hustle for software engineers.’
If you’re a software engineer or an aspired techie and have solid technical skills, you have a chance to start a side hustle and increase your income.
Top Side Hustle for Software Engineers
I started my career as a software engineer and moved to technical writing, community management, marketing, and whatnot. I’ve tried a bunch of side hustles, and this article comes as a by-product of that.
This guide isn’t like other non-practical guides out there. I’ve prepared this list of top 10 side hustles based on my own experience. Also, if you are here to get rich quick scheme, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Most of the side hustles mentioned in this article take a considerable amount of time and effort.
Now, if you are ready to hustle on the side, read along:
1. Build an Educational Course:
This is probably the hardest but most profitable side hustle for software engineers. You can share your expertise (in any tech or domain) by creating online courses. Plus, the monetary benefits have no limit.
The straightforward process is to – first, pick a topic/tech you love, plan a curriculum, and create video lessons. You can use platforms like Udemy or Teachable to host your course. But wait, hold your horses.
This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Planning a curriculum, designing lectures, creating videos, and teaching is not easy. Let me help you a bit: Use AI tools. Go to ChatGPT and tell it about your idea. Ask it to give you a course flow and lecture points.
Boom, you got days of work done in a few minutes. Now use the saved time in learning and creating videos for the course. Once done, the next step is Marketing.
Marketing is crucial; you may create a world-class course, but it’ll be of no use if you can’t sell it. Use social media and online communities to attract students. Try to create a personal brand and build in public.
Expect this side hustle to be of high difficulty, as content creation and effective marketing take time. Not to scare you, but developing a comprehensive course may span several weeks to months. Higher the efforts, the higher the rewards.
2. Take Bug Bounties:
Bug bounty is one of the most common side hustle for software engineers. It is the process in which developers identify bugs and loopholes in a company’s product or tool. Bug bounties help techies in many ways. These help developers improve others’ work, learn, polish their skills, and earn money.
All in all, engaging in ethical hacking through bug bounties is a great side hustle. You can sign up on platforms like HackerOne or Bugcrowd, hunt for bugs, and report them to earn rewards.
Bug bounty hunters need to dive deep into code and dig out bugs. Hence, the difficulty level of this side hustle is hard. The time efforts vary, as simple bugs may be found quickly, while complex ones could take longer.
3. Create a Technical Blog:
A perfect side hustle for both professional developers and beginner techies. I built my nomad-freelance career through technical writing only. Practical insights ahead:
Start documenting your learnings and work progress in the form of articles. Use Hashnode, DEV Community, and/or Showcase to publish these articles. Do it regularly; aim to publish at least one blog every one-or-two weeks.
Over time, you’ll have a portfolio of articles, and followers who love reading your blogs and tutorials. You won’t make money out of it initially. But this portfolio of articles will open up a plethora of opportunities:
- Inbound clients for technical writing (technical content writing is one of the most lucrative side hustle for software engineers)
- Brand collaborations. A good blog with a regular audience becomes a platform for companies to promote their products
- A personal brand. Consider you publish 20-25 articles on web development. This portrays you as an expert in this field. Result? Inbound opportunities for consultancy, freelance development, writing, etc.
Launching a blog to share tech insights is highly rewarding. Select a niche, set up a blog, write articles, and optimize them for SEO. Promote your blog on social media and within developer communities. It’s not hard, but it takes a lot of time and consistency to earn the first $.
4. Create a Technical Community:
The hype of building and managing communities took shape around 2020-21. This was the time when the Web3 ecosystem was experiencing its first boost. Now today, every developer tool, infrastructure, SaaS, and Web3 startup desire a community. Trust me on this.
Hence, this is the perfect time to showcase your community-building skills. You can use platforms like Reddit, Slack, or Discord. Strike discussions, organize events, and provide a space for like-minded techies to connect.
How can you earn from a community?
- Brand collaborations: An engaging techie community acts like a great advertisement board.
- Job opportunities: There is a high demand for part-time and full-time community managers across the world.
Building a community is moderately difficult and requires consistent effort. Also, keep in mind that building a community is one thing. Establishing an engaged community is another.
5. Freelancing Based on Your Skills:
This is the most straightforward side hustle for software engineers. You can use freelance platforms like Upwork or Fiverr to offer your technical skills. Or even book clients through cold outreach.
The simple-straight path to start freelancing:
- Create a portfolio that showcases your skills and projects.
- Bid on projects if you are using freelancing platforms. Or use social media to find potential clients and do cold outreach.
- Deliver high-quality work, gather testimonials, and strengthen your portfolio.
It’s of moderate difficulty, requiring ruthless time management and client communication skills. Getting the first few projects might be difficult but it gets easier with time.
6. Build and Sell Shopify Themes:
I don’t need to remind you of the popularity of Shopify and Dropshipping. Every hustler tries dropshipping in their life at least once. This creates a large market for developers like you to build Shopify templates.
You can develop visually appealing and functional Shopify themes suitable for various businesses. First, learn about e-commerce and a bit of design principles. Use those learnings in creating themes, and market them on platforms like ThemeForest.
Again, you can also use social media platforms to promote and sell themes. But that’s not it. You can make this sale happen again and again by offering ongoing support. This is what we call recurring revenue.
Starting a Shopify template side hustle is moderately difficult. Creating themes takes creativity and strong technical know-how. Additionally, if you manage to create a portfolio of Shopify templates, you can sell them as a bundle as well. A very high-ticket product!
7. Mentor Beginner Techies:
Education is the biggest business, so they say. It can also be the biggest side hustle. Our first ideal side hustle for software engineers was creating a course. But what if you don’t want to go through the hassle of creating videos? You start teaching afresh.
You can use your technical knowledge to guide newcomers in tech. You can offer one-on-one mentoring or group sessions. But there is a catch, before you start teaching others, you need to have a demonstration of your skills. If they don’t know you, they won’t learn from you.
Hence, try to build up positioning and competency on social media. Use platforms like Topmate to create your teaching packages and start offering lessons. Advertise your services, tailor your approach to each mentee, and help them learn and grow.
Remember, strive to make the attendees learn before you earn. This side hustle is moderately difficult and requires effective communication and adaptability. Finding mentees and establishing rapport may take a few weeks.
8. Build API as a Service:
Picture designing is a tool that easily fits into developers’ projects and solves a specific problem. Building an API! This side hustle for software engineers is a challenging yet rewarding one.
Here’s the scoop: Identify a problem developers face, like simplifying payment processing or data analysis. Use your coding knowledge to build an API that works, first of all, and is reliable and efficient. Don’t forget about testing. Thorough testing is non-negotiable.
It’s not just about API; you also need to create a user manual or documentation. This documentation should easily guide fellow devs on integrating your API. For pricing, you can offer different tiers based on usage.
The time it takes to create an API can vary based on how complex the API is, but the satisfaction of making a useful tool is worth the effort.
9. Build a SaaS:
Building Software as a Service (SaaS) is the new cool. Think of it as creating a virtual Swiss Army knife. With the latest advancements in AI and various no-code tools, it is easier than ever to build a SaaS. You just need an idea.
And not just a side hustle, a SaaS can become the biggest achievement of your life, a source to fund a lifetime of money. Crazy, right?
Let’s build a SaaS, shall we? Start by understanding your audience’s pain points – research is key. Find the idea! This is the hardest part of a SaaS journey. Once past it –
Design a user-friendly interface that guides them through your SaaS. Then comes the second hardest part – developing the SaaS. You can use your technical and design skills. (Make it easier by using no-code tools)
I don’t need to remind you about thorough testing, do I? Once it’s polished, get ready for the grand reveal. Launch your SaaS with a well-crafted website. Spread the word through SEO and online ads.
But here’s the catch: This isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. Building a SaaS demands determination, creativity, and adapting to user feedback. The process, from idea to launch, may span months, but the satisfaction of seeing your solution in action is unparalleled.
10. Technical Consulting:
Imagine being the tech troubleshooter for businesses. Technical consulting is a great side hustle for technically sound developers.
Start by showcasing your expertise. Build a professional website and create insightful blogs and social media posts. Network in tech circles to connect with potential clients. When they seek advice, they offer tailored solutions aligned with their needs.
Communication is the superpower of a technical consultant. You need to explain complex tech jargon in simple terms and craft tailored solutions. As you solve problems and provide value, your reputation will grow. You may need to work cheap during the start, but positive testimonials will become your badges of honor.
But let’s be real; this isn’t a walk in the park. It’s a high-stakes journey that demands deep technical knowledge, experience, and effective communication.
Ready to Earn?
Did you find something similar in all the mentioned side hustle ideas? No? They all need good technical knowledge. See, this article is about the top 10 side hustle for software engineers. You have to be good at technology or stack if you want to build any of the above-mentioned side hustles.
Don’t know how to start? Want to get hold of a community that can help you build up skills, portfolio, and side hustles? Join our Free but Exclusive FuelEd community. We are a group of ambitious developers, designers, and marketers. We provide a platform to learn, network, and earn as well. Join Now: fueled.community