17 Lucrative Programming Side Hustles:Make Money Coding (2024)

Now more than ever, software developers are making money from home using their talents, and programmers are no different. Programming is a high-leverage skill set that many business owners, designers, and customers seek! Whether you are a beginner or have been working in the field for 20+ years, there are programming side hustles here that you can participate in.

Most software developers make money coding by working full-time software engineering jobs. For others, some software developers can earn extra cash on their own websites using coding. I will explain my top 17 programming side hustles for 2024 in this article below.


Website Templates

Website Templates are the perfect way to get introduced to web development, programming languages, and technologies while still making money.

Let’s start with the basics… WordPress, a popular content management system or CMS, dominates the website market with over 43% of all websites online.

(Source: W3Tech)

That means an estimated 800 million websites must be styled, coded, and used in the WordPress management system. There is a lot of demand, and there is a lot of supply as well. I would recommend a new WordPress template developer to find a certain niche/type of WordPress site and run from there! My current favorite niche is the WooCommerse online storefront.

The technologies you need to use for a WordPress theme are HTML, CSS, Javascript, and maybe even some PHP depending on what kind of theme you are building. Web development is very key for making these templates

Choosing which platform to sell on is also a big choice for this programming side hustle, but I have included a list of possible options of platforms to sell on:

  • Etsy
  • Mojo Marketplace
  • ThemeForest
  • Codester

Shopify is another great platform to start making templates for. Shopify is a platform where business owners will pay a little more to make their online store look how they want it. You can sell directly on the Shopify theme store!  You must use Shopify’s templating language Liquid, but the same coding concepts apply to other parts of web development.

You can even try selling code templates from your very own tech stack! I have experience selling code snippets of static sites with HUGO and dynamic sites with React.js. So the possibilities for this side hustle are pretty much endless.

Time: Moderate time developing and minimal time supporting customer
Cost: Completely FREE
Knowledge Level: Beginner – Expert
Profit: $10-$10,000+ a month


Example of a Dashboard I built for my Senior Design product.

Software-as-a-Service or Saas is what it says it is. Software that serves the user with usually a higher technology task or a type of automation displays data to the user.  You might have heard a few of these big ones:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Shopify
  • Dropbox
  • Canva
  • Netflix

And the list is continuing to grow! I like this side hustle because of the huge scalability factor; the sky is the limit. Combine that with the extremely high-profit margins from being a strictly digital product. Micro saas apps always provide an excellent return on investment

To build a Saas, I would recommend learning a tech stack. This is a real business, and there are no shortcuts. Ensure you have a great web development environment to provide the best user experience.

Source: bigleapdigital

There are plenty of free tutorials out there to build your product. You need an idea for this side hustle!

Time Developing: High
Time after Launch: Medium – High
Initial Cost: $100-200 dollars
Knowledge Level: Medium – Expert
Profit: Limitless $$


This education section takes on multiple different side hustles. For example, self-taught learning and traditional teacher-to-student learning. We will talk about both types of learning and provide examples for each.


Tutoring on its own can be a full-scale business. Tips I find tutors are saying is to try to advertise your services to local colleges and help students on difficult courses, exams, and even some coding assignments. Save coursework and build a database for other students if the college allows it. One can host the meetings through zoom or at the university’s library if needed in person.

There is also providing online tutoring through:

  • Chegg.com
  • Tutorme.com
  • Wyzant.com
  • Your Local University

Online tutoring websites all vary on the pricing model, but it could be an hourly pay or commission rate.

Online Courses

You can teach your course and provide a class to teach a programming language, new technology, or anything.

Options for course hosting include Udemy, Skillshare, Teachable, or Self-hosting.

Udemy and Skillshare provide memberships to customers and platforms to advertise, host, and search for courses for a share of your profits. While other hosting services can use your domain and have a platform to host, you are responsible for driving outside traffic to your course page.

Huge programming niches to target, in my opinion, are web development and cloud computing.

Time Developing: Low – Medium
Time after Launch: Zero – Low
Initial Cost: $100-200 dollars
Knowledge Level: Medium – Expert
Profit: $100 – $50,000+ a month

Developer Blog

Before you ask, Yes, this is what I’m doing right now! I am hoping to provide useful information to all current or aspiring developers. I am using these tips right now with my own website. There are two main income sources that you can get from this blogging side hustle.


Bloggers can sign up for Ad Networks and advertise on their sites for a price! Here is a list of some ad networks

  • Ezoic
  • Google AdSense
  • MediaVine
  • Amazon Associates
  • More!

Each company’s average pay varies, but some have certain requirements to get into the network. Be sure to focus on page visits and growth to reach the more lucrative networks.

More articles = more money

Affiliate Commissions

Affiliate commission is when you link a product to one of your views, and they end up buying the product; you end up with a cut of what they purchased.

You can join Amazon Associates to link to products on Amazon.com or join Affiliate Networks to find products to “Sell.”

Quality articles = more money

Time Developing: Low
Time after Launch: Low – Medium
Initial Cost: $30-200 dollars
Knowledge Level: Low – Medium
Profit: $10 – $100,000+ a month


Plugins are a useful software architecture to add more features to a great product. The great thing about plugins is they can affect many aspects of your life, from commercial-level software products to your favorite video game. There are many opportunities to fix or add a feature to an existing product you know well.

I got my first start in programming by coding a Minecraft plugin for my middle school Minecraft server. It is a fond memory because it familiarized me with Java, the Minecraft API, and its documentation. This first project was nothing special; if I remember correctly, it was just another Shop plugin. If I wanted to earn some extra money for my work, I would have posted my plugin on a forum behind an Ad or hosted it on my website filled with ads.

I know there are multiple programmers that YouTubers pay to make them custom mods and also have a Patreon where the community supports the dev.

Here is my list of programs you can make plugins for and make money:

  • Shopify
  • WordPress/Woo commerce
  • Unity Game Engine
  • Unreal Game Engine
  • Ableton
  • Fl Studio
  • Adobe Products
  • Google Chrome

There are so many software products that you can build plugins for! I would recommend some products you already use and wish that product had a certain feature. ๐Ÿ™‚

Time Developing: Medium
Time after Launch: Low – Medium
Initial Cost: $0-100 dollars
Knowledge Level: Low – Medium
Profit: $10 – $2,000+ a month

Video Game Development

Video Game Development is HARD! In college, all I wanted to program was video games, video games, and video games. Then I learned how hard Game Developers work compared to their pay.

That is where Indie Game Development begins! Game dev is perfect for you if you have 3D modeling, Music/Sound Design, and coding skills. But in all seriousness, game development is a huge time commitment, but it is often driven by passion. Here are how video game developers make a living developing their game:

  • Patreon
  • Youtube
  • Blog
  • Kickstarter
  • Selling plugins (usually for something they needed for their game)
  • Selling Asset Packs
  • Selling Music
  • Releasing the Game (Steam, Epic Games, …)

You can get started with any game engine you like if you would like to start, but my recommendation for newer programmers is Gamemaker Studio 2, and for more experienced programmers, I recommend Godot Open-Source Game Engine. If you have a strong background in Web development and JavaScript, you can use many game engine web frameworks for this side hustle!

Time Developing: High
Time after Launch: Medium
Initial Cost: $0-1,000+ dollars
Knowledge Level: Low – Expert
Profit: $10 – $20,000+ a month

Bug Bounties

Bug Bounties are offers of money, rewards, or both that companies post for “white-hat” hackers to try to break the website or app and report the findings to the company so that no security breaches are going forward.

This side hustle is only for some! Usually, these companies offering lots of money for white-hat hackers to come and break their apps have full teams of developers and cyber-security engineers looking at the code. So you need to have experience in certain products or have niche cyber-security experience.

If you are a smart cookie, you can bug bounties on major software company websites. Try searching “XXXX bug bounty,” an example with a company I know has a program called “Snapchat Bug Bounties,” or you can visit a public website where companies can post bounties.

Time Developing: High
Time after Launch: Zero
Initial Cost: $0
Knowledge Level:  Expert
Profit: $100 – $20,000+ per bug

Freelance work

If you are a ui ux designer follow me on Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/fazurrehman/
Photo by Faizur Rehman / Unsplash

Freelance work can take on many shapes and forms. I started on this journey not too long ago as a freelance web developer. It is a scary start but worth looking into if you want to make extra income or even a job replacement; freelancing work is for you!

Where do you start as a freelance developer?

Software engineers must undertake many intricate steps to embark on a successful freelancing career. The first and most intimidating of these steps involves honing in on one’s niche and target market. Niches can encompass various domains, ranging from the endlessly evolving world of web design to mobile development. Once this is established, the arduous task of establishing a robust online presence can begin with freelance development.

Crafting a professional website and LinkedIn profile is crucial as one builds one’s digital presence. These platforms provide prospective clients with a comprehensive showcase of one’s previous work, replete with many tantalizing client testimonials. Standing out in a sea of competitors is paramount, and software engineers seeking to break into the world of freelancing must pay meticulous attention to the finer details of their online presence.

The next step is to navigate the vast and often overwhelming array of freelancing platforms that dominate the digital landscape. Platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, Toptal, and Freelancer offer many opportunities to secure new projects and clients, but they can also prove to be a labyrinthine nightmare for those lacking the necessary skills and intuition. Pricing one’s services competitively are equally important, as it can undoubtedly lead to many fruitful endeavors and satisfied clients.

Networking with other freelancers and industry professionals can prove to be a game-changer. By doing so, one can acquire valuable referrals and establish a steady stream of clientele, ultimately facilitating the growth of one’s freelancing business. Ultimately, success in the world of freelancing hinges on being the embodiment of professionalism, reliability, and responsiveness to the diverse needs of one’s clients. Adhering to these principles will undoubtedly result in a flourishing career in the challenging yet rewarding landscape of freelancing.

Time Developing: Low – High
Time after Launch: Low – Medium (depending on contract)
Initial Cost: $0
Knowledge Level:  Low – Expert (depending on niche)
Profit: $100 – $20,000+ per month

Open-Source Developers

Photo by Fotis Fotopoulos / Unsplash

You are probably wondering how Open-source Developers can even make money, aren’t Open-source projects made so that the code/product can be used free to any user as long as they follow the license? I would say exactly, but I would also say that giving away your hard-earned time to develop a gift for others has its merits.

I would recommend all open-source developers include a donation link in their GitHub bios and on the project’s websites. People want to make sure some developers feel appreciated for all the hard work they have done. For example, the creator of OBS includes a donation link on every page of OBS.

OBS Studio is a good example because they diversify their income streams by providing a Patreon and Open Collective.

For bigger projects like OBS, they even have a sponsors page.

Well, my Open-source project isn’t as big as OBS. What do I do? I would recommend trying to make a business around your project. I have another example of this, Ghost CMS.

Ghost provides cloud hosting for their Open-Source project Ghost CMS, a technology stack similar to WordPress.

Time Developing: Low – High
Time after Launch: Low – Medium (depending on contract)
Initial Cost: $0
Knowledge Level:  Low – Expert (depending on the project)
Profit: $0 – $1,000 per month

Content Creation

Jenny Ueberberg, female entrepreneur working in an office and making videos.
Photo by Jenny Ueberberg / Unsplash

Now think about the last time you learned a new technology or programming language. Did you research tutorials on YouTube? How about searching for an article on how to set up MySQL on your Linux server for the 40th time in your career? Content creation in the Software Engineering / Computer Programming niche is growing in 2023; whether it’s youtube tutorials, dev blogs (like stated previously), podcasts, or other social media, there is more than enough room for you.


Youtube has been one of my passions ever since I was young, but I always feared starting a channel. That was until recently when I discovered the Youtubers I was watching were in the same boat as me: Not an expert on any given subject, struggling with self-image, and unfamiliar with the filming process. Then I realize that any video I put out is not only a learning experience for the developers watching my video or tutorial but also a learning experience for me, from researching how to build the next start-up to how to make a simple web app. The research you put in to make these apps will grow your skill set and portfolio.

Here are some of my recommendations for types of youtube channels you can build in the Software Engineering / Computer Programming / Computer Science niche:

  • Programming News
  • Coding Tutorials
  • Career Advice
  • Online Personality


I have plans for podcasting, but I haven’t allocated the time to do it properly yet. But just like the youtube videos, there are types of podcasts in Software Engineering. You can start more of a talk show about Software Engineering and computer science, bringing on guests from different companies from different industries.  Compare defense contracting vs. the tech industry.  Talk about the difference between a QA Software Engineer vs. a regular Sofware Engineer. There are so many different topics you can cover and people you can interview.

Time Developing: Medium
Time after Launch: Medium
Initial Cost: $0 -$250
Knowledge Level:  Low
Profit: $0 – $10,000 per month


Piggy bank eating coins
Photo by Andre Taissin / Unsplash

This section is less about using programming to make money for you and more about how to make money work for you. Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor; this is not financial advice. The tips I will be covering are personal finance tips that are generally deemed worth investing in.

Software Engineering salaries are at an all-time high, but with such great power comes some great responsibility when planning for retirement. It is usually best practice to utilize all the tax-free accounts before investing in other assets. 401k and Roth IRAs are typically known for their tax benefits. 401k’s are usually offered through most companies that hire software engineers, but if you are a freelancer or your company doesn’t offer one, open one as soon as possible to start cashing in the tax benefits.

After the tax-free accounts, investing using a regular brokerage account is great for software engineers who want to invest past the 401k and Roth IRA’s limit of $22,500 yearly and $6,500 yearly, respectively. I use Robinhood for the extra money I want to save.

You can earn a free stock on Robinhood by using my link below ๐Ÿ™‚

Time Developing: Zero
Time after Launch: Zero
Initial Cost: Any amount
Knowledge Level:  Low
Profit: Depends on initial invest

Digital Assets

Photo by Kaitlyn Baker / Unsplash

First, I would like to define what a Digital Asset is. A Digitial Asset is a file you create on the computer that you can sell that doesn’t need updating. Some examples are the Website Templates we discussed before, taking or creating stock photos and selling them on Adobe Stock, or creating an ebook about a specific topic.

You can have AI image generators make images to sell on Adobe Stock, and as of Feb 2023, AI images are allowed on Adobe Stock in their guidelines. So far, I have made some pretty bad images using Stable Diffusion, but here is one example.

Time Developing: Low
Time after Launch: Zero
Initial Cost: $0
Knowledge Level:  Low
Profit: 0-$500 per asset/month

Part-Time Jobs

Working late hours
Photo by Pema Lama / Unsplash

A part-time job is a great way to make ends meet. Part-time jobs don’t even need to be about programming, and honestly, I love that aspect of part-time jobs. I don’t want to be stuck doing the same task over and over for 14 hours a day. Being more social, I would search for food service or retail jobs near me.

If you want to search for programming jobs, I recommend searching part-time on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is great for filtering to see what skills are needed. When looking for part-time side jobs in Software Engineering and programming, I have difficulty finding any part-time jobs of value.

Ask your network; maybe your friend has an app idea they want you to build. Maybe a local company wants QA testing done after the first shift. Be open to possibilities local to you!

Time Developing: Medium
Initial Cost: $0
Knowledge Level:  Low – Expert
Profit: $20-$60 per hour

Sell APIs

via seobility.net

What are APIs? API stands for Application Programming Interface and is what programmers use to speed up development time by using programming libraries that are already made instead of programming from scratch each time. An example of a well-used API is Stripe’s API. I can’t imagine all the work it takes to program your payment processor or even the permissions required to access the payment process.

How do I make an API?

An API is also short for a REST API, where programmers can use GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE calls and include their API key that tracks which user is calling the API. The key is great for creating personal data that the API can use and for payment tracking to see how many calls you made in a given month.

For specific coding examples, I have included in the video below:

You can also host your APIs on an API Hosting service like RapidAPI. The benefit is that you don’t have to pay for a server with constant uptime. RapidAPI takes a cut of your APIs price.

Time Developing: Low – High
Time after Launch: Low
Initial Cost: $20
Knowledge Level:  Low – High
Profit: 0-$1,000 per month

Selling a Physical Product

Photo by C D-X / Unsplash

This section will be a lot more generalized because the problem your product solves could be anything. This will result in different manufacturing processes, advertising, and business model.

When making my physical product for amazon, I worked with a supplier from China, leading to slow development time and quality. Looking back at this experience, I would have looked to try to make my products locally or by myself. This would return in high time and money costs.

I have heard very interested programmers in creating keyboards, and they custom-made PCBs for keyboards. This is a real business; there might be a market for niche keyboard types. There are problems that Software Engineers have that don’t involve software.

The possibilities are endless. Just think about what you buy as a Software Engineer and rake in that passive income.

Time Developing: Low
Time after Launch: Zero
Initial Cost: $100-$10,000
Knowledge Level:  Low
Profit: $100 – $10,000 per month

Mobile Apps

Working on iPhone X, planning my day
Photo by Yura Fresh / Unsplash

While the Saas section might require mobile apps for the overall business model, you can create mobile apps that don’t need a fancy backend architecture. I have seen many Workout apps, Video Games, and Productivity apps that don’t require the internet and still can make money by charging to buy the app.

The Apple and Google Play app stores take 30% of your profits, but you can access more people with this method than with a traditional website.

IOS apps use the programming language Swift while Android apps use Java and the Android Studio IDE. Another way to code for both IOS and Android is by using Flutter and programming in Dart. App Development is a different time of programming. App Developers have certain standards to make sure that the app works as intended.

Time Developing: Low – Medium
Time after Launch: Medium
Initial Cost: $0
Knowledge Level:  Low
Profit: $100 – $10,000 per month


Public speaking - Audience and speaker
Photo by Alexandre Pellaes / Unsplash

Hackathons, at first glance, do not make you a lot of money, but the other benefits of participating in hackathons make it special.

A Hackathon is a coding competition that companies, universities, and organizations host to solve problems/themes the sponsors give the hackathon. These problems/themes have prizes associated with each one. An example is the Best Hackathon Project that Uses the Stripe API.

The best hackathon prize I ever won was a Mircosoft branded backpack that ended up being worth over 300 dollars. As I said, this isn’t even the best part. Participating in Hackathons allows you to show your talents to higher-paying companies and tech recruiters. Expanding your network and maybe a job offer down the road. I would say the relationships made at these events are the most important.

This programming side hustle isn’t much of a passive income stream for web developers. This is a great opportunity for computer science students to learn while winning prizes and gaining money.

Time Developing: Low
Time after Launch: Zero
Initial Cost: $0
Knowledge Level:  Low
Profit: $0-$1,000 per hackathon

Programming Side Hustles FAQ

1. What are programming side hustles?

  • Programming side hustles are additional income-generating activities that leverage your coding skills and knowledge. They allow you to earn money outside of your regular job or commitments.

2. Why should I consider a programming side hustle?

  • Programming side hustles offer several benefits, including extra income, skill enhancement, career diversification, and the opportunity to work on exciting projects outside your primary job.

3. Are programming side hustles suitable for beginners?

  • Yes, many programming side hustles are beginner-friendly. You can start with simpler projects and gradually build your skills and portfolio.

4. What are some examples of programming side hustles?

  • Some popular programming side hustles include freelance web development, mobile app development, data analysis, online tutoring, and creating digital products like themes and plugins.

5. How can I find programming side hustle opportunities?

  • You can find side hustle opportunities on freelance platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, through personal networks, by building your online presence, or by exploring niche job boards and forums.

6. Is it possible to balance a programming side hustle with a full-time job or other commitments?

  • Yes, many people successfully balance side hustles with their primary responsibilities. Effective time management and setting realistic goals are key to achieving this balance.

7. How much can I earn from programming side hustles?

  • Earnings vary depending on factors like your skills, experience, and the complexity of the projects. Some individuals earn a modest supplementary income, while others turn their side hustles into full-time careers.

8. Do I need to register a business for my programming side hustle?

  • The need to register a business for your programming side hustles depends on your location and the scale of your activities. Consult with local authorities or a legal expert to determine the requirements.

9. What are the potential challenges of programming side hustles?

  • Challenges can include finding clients, managing time effectively, dealing with competition, and handling client expectations. However, with dedication and persistence, these challenges can be overcome.

10. Where can I learn more about specific programming side hustle opportunities?

  • You can explore in-depth guides, tutorials, and resources online, as well as consider taking online courses and joining communities related to your chosen side hustle.

Remember that while programming side hustles can be financially rewarding, it’s important to thoroughly research and plan before starting one. Success often requires a combination of technical expertise, entrepreneurship, and a proactive approach to finding opportunities.


There are so many ways that you can make money programming. Just remember that big-money ideas require big-money time and effort. Nothing comes easy!

Happy Programming,

– Camdyn