If you’re wondering how to make money through coding or web development, this guide will help you out.
Being a web developer or software engineer comes with great pay and flexibility, making it the perfect job if your heart’s set on working from home or travelling.
Let’s get into it. Here’s how to make money coding.
Table of Contents
What is Coding?
Coding, in its most basic form, is writing instructions for computers to perform certain tasks.
Any device, not just traditional desktop computers, needs code to operate. Everything from apps on wearable tech devices to traffic lights uses code to function.
Computers can only process what’s known as “binary information”, which is represented as 1s and 0s. Combinations of these 1s and 0s, (true or false), are what all code and programming boils down to.
In other words, code is the intermediary communication method between humans and computers.
Coding vs. Web Development vs. Programming
Coding, web development, and programming are largely synonymous.
However, web development describes the process of coding things that are specifically used on the internet, such as websites, web applications, browser extensions, and more.
How to Make Money Coding (10 Best Ways)
Outside of traditional jobs, there are numerous ways to make money from coding. Whether you focus on one outlet, or mix and match a few, you can stand to earn good money, all whilst maintaining a great work-life balance.
Both Upwork and Fiverr are freelance marketplaces where you can create a profile for free, and get noticed by countless businesses looking for freelance work. You can also reach out to businesses that post project proposals.
You can set your own rate, of which the platforms will take a certain percentage.
The downside of platforms like these is that freelancers, particularly new ones, will undercut their rates to gain clientele. This results in a “race to the bottom” where people severely undervalue their work to get any jobs at all.
Keep in mind that this is a global platform – it’s near impossible to compete with someone in countries with low costs of living. They are able to charge a fraction of what you need to charge in order to make a comfortable living.
Don’t let that deter you from joining though. Once you build up some reviews, you’ll be featured more often in the dashboard, and the leads will generate themselves. See also: How to Make Money On Upwork
2. Create a Course on Udemy
Whether you’re doing an intro to a programming language, or a step-by-step project tutorial, people will pay for your knowledge on these platforms.
As a marketplace, Udemy takes a commission percentage for each course sold, but it’s a fair trade-off because you can get your courses in front of far more people than trying it alone.
The upside of selling courses is that you create a passive income stream. You can earn without directly working on something. It also helps position you as an industry leader, depending on the success of your course.
Students can message the course creators with questions or comments, which may require you to update content in your course. This is especially necessary or programming tutorials – coding languages are updated frequently, and your course could quickly become obsolete if not updated.
3. Start a YouTube Channel
If you’re not interested in publishing and selling courses, you can always start a YouTube channel to earn ad revenue.
You have more flexibility with the type of content you can produce on YouTube in comparison to Udemy. Popular programming videos include lectures about high-level computer science topics, and what to expect from coding interviews.
4. Create Your Own Website/Blog
Have enough to say about coding? Why not start a blog? Blogs present the opportunity to create numerous revenue sources such as advertising and affiliate marketing.
Both of these skills are valuable to web developers, who will likely work closely with marketing teams. If your blog becomes popular, you could even sell it for a lump sum.
5. Make an App
Creating an app and publishing it on major app marketplaces like the Apple Store and Android marketplaces can generate income in two ways.
One would be through direct sales of your app, (should you decide to charge for it), and the second would be ad revenue. Advertisements from Google Ads and Bing Ads show up on mobile apps by default, so you’ll have a steady stream of passive revenue.
6. Sell Themes/Templates
Millions of websites are being created every day. The people making these sites want unique designs and themes to help them build their brand and stand out.
If you create website themes or even just templates for single pages, you can list them on marketplaces that cater to these site owners.
If people like your designs and layouts, you’re in business. Like many other ways to make money as a developer, this is a passive income stream. You may get the occasional troubleshoot support request, but other than that it’s a one-and-done transaction.
7. Create a Plugin on WordPress or Shopify
Two of the most popular platforms on the web are WordPress and Shopify. Millions of people use them to create blogs, company websites, and e-commerce platforms. These come with a huge market for plugins – custom additional functionality for websites.
If you think there’s a tool or functionality that’s missing from one of these platforms, you can write it yourself and then sell it.
Assuming your plugin solves a popular issue for people building websites, this can be a fantastic way to earn money from coding.
8. Sell eBooks
Similar to creating courses, eBooks are a way to make income from your knowledge as a coder, and can be as little as a few pages, to hundreds of pages long – it just depends on the content you’re covering, and how deeply you want to dive into it.
You can sell eBooks on platforms like Amazon and Gumroad. Both of which make it much easier to facilitate financial transactions over DIY methods.
9. Enter “Bug-Bounty” Programs
Bug bounties are payments for fixing a company’s code. Many household software companies have bug bounties, including Apple, Snapchat, Meta, and more.
A lot of companies have open-source code, meaning they’re accessible to the public. As a result, they can outsource the troubleshooting, (debugging)process to anyone interested.
In addition, you can be paid for simply identifying bugs, although it pays more to solve them of course.
Most programs have minimum payments that you’d earn for your work. Snapchat, for instance, will pay you a $2,000 minimum for your contributions.
Payments for bug bounties can quickly climb into the tens of thousands. Apple once paid $200,000 for a bug fix! Bug bounties can be a competitive, but very rewarding way to make money coding from home.
10. Contribute to Technical Blogs
Have some interesting or helpful insight on coding? You can write for blogs like SitePoint, which will pay you for your writing. They’re interested in all kinds of topics, including web development, design, start-ups, and more.
Having your work featured on sites like these are great credibility builders and can lead to future gigs.
As you can see, there are many ways to earn money as a web developer.
How Much Do Coders Make?
Jobs in programming tend to be higher than average. The titles vary; be it “front-end developer” or “back-end engineer”, developers in general can expect to earn around $110,000 per year, not including bonuses.
The hourly rate for developers on freelance platforms like Upwork and Fiverr also varies pretty significantly, but if you look at developers based in the U.S. with good ratings, you’ll see ranges from $70 – $120 per hour.
When I was a freelance web developer, I charged $80/hour, which was considered on the low side. It wasn’t my primary source of income, and I was charging the client directly, (no commission to Upwork/Fiverr), so I could afford to undercharge a little.
Of course, pay depends on location, industry, company, and level of seniority. You can look into sources like Glassdoor, Indeed, and Builtin.com for accurate rates for specific job titles.
Must-Have Tools For Web Developers
You don’t need a high-end laptop or computer to be able to code, but I’ve made the mistake of trying to run applications on a cheap, (<$400), laptop before.
My advice would be to skip over the budget options like Chromebooks and low-end computers, but don’t break the bank.
As for text editors, the apps used to write and publish code, there are a handful of options. A popular one, as well as my personal favourite, is Visual Studio Code by Microsoft. Other popular options are Sublime Text, Brackets, and Atom.
5 Tips for Making Money Coding From Home
Here are some tips on how to successfully make money coding from home.
1. Charge More Than You Think You Should
Freelancers have a habit of undercharging for their work.
Part of this is due to imposter syndrome; the idea that you couldn’t possibly be in the position that you’re in, and undervaluing yourself as a result.
Another part of it is a simple miscalculation. For example, a freelancer may think “a full-time web developer makes $100,000 per year, so if I divide that by the number of hours I plan on working, that’ll get me my rate.”
Working out your fee this way doesn’t account for the total package of a full-time employee, which includes things like PTO, health insurance, and additional perks. Remember that those perks can add 30% to the value of the role.
So overall, i if you’re wondering how to make money as a freelance web developer, charge a bit more than you think you should.
2. Ask for Referrals & Testimonials
The best marketing is word-of-mouth. If you can get your clients to advocate on your behalf, you’ll open doors to other clients who will trust you more. With that trust comes a willingness to pay more.
Getting referrals and testimonials gives you a better list of clients, validates a higher rate, and cuts down on time spent generating leads. It’s an easy thing to overlook, but has tremendous benefits and requires little effort.
3. Stay on Top of Taxes Year-Round
Freelancers get their payments in full. There are no deductions made for taxes, retirement, insurance, etc., when you get paid.
Thinking that the amount you get in a check is the amount you can spend, will potentially cause a lot of financial stress come tax time when the government comes to collect.
Whilst you may not want to pay for it, hiring an accountant, or buying a freelancing accounting software, could save you a lot of stress.
4. Create a Separate Email for Your Coding Work
This is a simple step that can save a lot of confusion. You don’t need to request emails from potential clients mixing with your personal email.
Having a second email is more professional, more organized, and helps with work-life balance.
5. Manage Your Workload; Don’t Say “Yes” to Everything
Freelancer developers run into this issue often. When leads are coming in, it’s hard to turn away clients. Particularly when you can gauge how much you stand to make.
However, saying “yes” to every project will quickly burn you out. Every client is essentially a boss, and having onboardings, deadlines, and complications from one direction, means less time and energy to focus on others.
It won’t take long before the quality of your work suffers, which means potentially losing valuable clients, and therefore money.
Pros and Cons of Earning Money Coding
Every job has its pros and cons. Let’s examine the upsides and downsides of coding and web development to see if it’s right for you.
Pros of Making Money Coding
Here are a few of the pros:
1. Higher than Average Pay
Jobs that involve programming tend to have higher than average salaries and hourly rates.
2. High Flexibility and Remote Work Options
Most of coding is heads-down problem-solving and researching, which doesn’t require a physical presence in the office. As a result, development and coding jobs offer a great deal of remote work flexibility.
This significantly helps with work-life balance as it gives you the ability to manage your schedule, location, and more. It’s nice to be able to make money coding from home.
3. Enhanced Problem-Solving Skills
Learning to code boosts your ability to think abstractly and solve problems – both in your programs and in day-to-day life. New programmers frequently say that their overall thought processes improved after learning their first programming language.
Writing code is a lot like doing logic puzzles, and troubleshooting your code requires that you isolate all variables and consider their role in a greater initiative. This leads to a rewarding boost to your overall problem-solving skills.
4. Additional Career Aspects
Knowing how to code will open up other career options, even if you’re not explicitly a developer. For example, a marketer or graphic designer with coding experience can be more valuable than one without tech skills.
Cons of Working As a Coder / Web Developer
Here are a few of the cons:
1. Keeping Up with a Constantly Changing Landscape
Technology changes rapidly. There are countless coding languages, and most of them are updated annually. Even the devices we use change day by day.
It’s a lot to keep up with, and if you’re not comfortable with constantly learning something new, it can be overwhelming. What makes you in demand now, may be old news in a few years.
2. Short/Unrealistic Deadlines
While coding skills make programmers very valuable, ultimately, they have to respond to the demands of the business side of things.
If a program needs to be launched by a certain date, then you simply have to make that deadline.
Oftentimes, non-developers set these dates, and they inherently can’t conceptualize the workload involved for what they’re asking for.
3. Repetitive Tasks
Your day-to-day tasks might be repetitive unless you’re working on a new product or feature.
Although this can be the case, repetitive tasks lend themselves to automation, so perhaps you can make a project out of one of your more menial tasks.
FAQs About Earning Money Coding
Below are answers and advice to some commonly asked questions about being a web developer.
1. Is learning to code hard?
Learning to code has a steep learning curve, but plenty of resources are available to help you gradually build your skills.
Once you’re a more experienced programmer, you’ll know exactly what it is you’re trying to accomplish in a given project. You can find solutions to just about any problem on StackOverflow, or popular development blogs.
2. How much do beginner coders make?
The range for entry-level web developer jobs varies greatly, but according to Glassdoor, web developers can expect to make between $52,000 – $120,000 per year.
3. How can I make money with my coding skills?
Coders can mostly make money by working full-time roles, freelancing, or by publishing apps, eBooks and online courses.
In general, you can make money by either writing code, or teaching others how to do it.
4. How can a developer make money fast?
The fastest way to make money as a developer is to freelance, but keep in mind that it could still take some time before landing your first client.
Freelancing allows you to set your personal rate, gain experience with various technologies, and work in a variety of industries. Other methods of making money as a developer such as creating an app, or selling themes, may take longer than freelancing.
5. Can I make money coding without a degree?
Yes, you don’t need a college degree or professional certificate to earn money by coding.
Large tech companies like IBM and Amazon have made headlines in recent years by dropping their college degree requirements for jobs, particularly technical jobs like programming.
Instead, many programmers have learnt these valuable skills online through platforms like YouTube, FreeCodeCamp, and Udemy.
Earning money online as a developer may start slowly, but it can build up over time.
Between the various freelancing job sites, plugin/theme marketplaces, and selling your expertise with courses or eBooks, there’s plenty of flexibility and opportunity for programmers to make money.
What are some other ways to earn money by coding? How about some pros and cons of being a coder? Let us know in the comments below.
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