How I Have Made Side Income As A Programmer

How I Have Made Side Income As A Programmer

During the day I am a programmer, but over the years I have found quite a few fun and unique side hustles that I love working on to a higher or lesser extend, stronger or weaker focus. Sometimes I don’t work on them at all, and other times I spend my waking hours. So here are some of my favorite ways to earn side cash as a programmer, I hope you find the reas useful!

I would rather not do more programming

While it is true that freelance programming exists, I would hate to do more of what I’m already doing. Also, I am a strong believer of freelancing being a pipe dream of freedom that instead makes you deal with all the overhead that is abstracted away from us 9-to-5 programmers, and that alone is worth more than all the money they pay me. I would hate to take care of all the work that goes into finding work, and it would be the quickest way to kill the joy of programming for me.

I have done freelance work in the past, and quickly stopped, and thankfully never had to rely on it for my main source of income. The same could be said about freelance writing, but I enjoy that as the relative time commitment is lower, the scope of projects are lower, and it’s an all-around less stressful experience.

So while some of these side income streams either rely on my programming skills or are made that much easier by automating things, I would personally stay the hell away from any kind of Fiverr, Upwork, whatever have you kind of gig that would have me do programming as the main work, after coming home from my main work.

3D renders and animations

This has to be one of the most fun ways for me to earn money, and while it has little to do with programming you can find a lot of ways to make it easier with scripting, and proper project structure, and other such soft skills that we pick up along the way.

Three main forms of monetization have emerged for me:

  • YouTube videos or a website where you share art and progress. Things like speed-level-building in 3D game engines for example work quite well, but also relaxing animations or those „satisfying“ ones that loop over. 3D and YouTube go quite well together and while I don’t do this myseslf I see plenty of good examples if that is your kind of thing.
  • RenPy games which are basically choose-your-own-adventure type stories with rendered backgrounds. If you want to make real money be prepared to dive into the world of NSFW games, there are people earning thousands off of their patreons in this field. I have worked as a render-artist on such games, and have a two-thirds finished one of my own that is just a few days of work away from being finished.
  • Plain old rule34 animations, I have made over 3k from this in the wake of major game launches by simply uploading some simple, ten-second animations to the dark YouTube.

This is the kind of work that profits from your general tech-saviness and programming skills, and if that is your kind of thing the actual work can be both relaxing and cathartic, much like a day of uninterrupted programming.

Writing in all shapes and forms

I am a writer of code as much as I am a writer of words and sentences, and over the years I have tried pretty much all kinds of writing. Of those, a couple favorites have emerged, and they are as follows:

  • Writing on a blog like this, and by extension also the various ghost writing gigs that I have done over the years.
  • Medium has proven to be both fun and profitable, I have made over 10k since I started writing there.
  • Kindle e-books, the only thing I have ever gotten off the ground to make real money is writing erotic fiction, you can find it in the sidebar.
  • Freelance writing work for clients / topics that I enjoy, which is a given for me to do any kind of work in my spare time.
Related  A Programmer's Guide To Writing Erotic Fiction For Money

Real world side jobs

I have worked jobs over the years, odd jobs and fun jobs, quirky and regular. I worked on a farm, in construction, delivered pizza and worked in event logistics building or tearing down large events like congresses or festivals.

All of these jobs are great fun when you don’t rely on them for your main income, at that point they are adventure, hobby, paid-to-attend fitness courses. They get you away from a desk, make you meet interesting people, and live a life that you could otherwise not afford to live, because those jobs all suck when you think of doing them forty hours per week.

(Stock) Photography

I honestly wish there were better forms to earn money from photography, because it is my main passion in life and something that I find rewarding and relaxing at the same time. If something like Medium existed for photography I would be all over that, and it’s literally just a step away for all the major image sharing websites. Instagram could add it, flickr, all they need is a format similar to Medium where you get paid for reads or views or something like that – I hope we will get there soon. It gamifies the concept of supporting creators, and brings people on board much easier than if they can only support one single person on say, Patreon.

But I digress, right now I make money mostly from stock photography, and it’s here or there depending on the month, the weather, the spirits of the ancients.

I recommend saving yourself a lot of hassle and trouble and signing up with wirestock, they take your images and supply them to a variety of stock photography sites. The fact that you don’t have to tag your images over and over again is worth all the money they could take from me – and they don’t, it’s a free service.

Automating blogs

I used to run a network of over 600 blogs on Tumblr, back when Tumblr was a thing and before they disallowed adult content in a stupid decision that reduced them from a billion-dollars company to something that was bought by WordPress for 3 million (wtf by the way!).

These days I run similar systems for automating either blogs or twitter, or social sharing. There are a lot of processet that can be automated using Python and Selenium, and it’s always a joy to see things work automatically that could also be painstaking manual work that I would never enjoy.

I just love running a daily or weekly script run that keeps my queues filled, my blogs posting, my posts shared – and if nothing else I learned a ton about programming and scripting thanks to that.

Takeaway: Programming enables us and doesn’t have to limit us to doing more of the same

I hope I could show you a couple interesting ways of earning side cash that somehow profit from my technical abilities, or the relative freedom of the programming lifestyle, but without having to be more of doing the same.

In fact, some of these are so enjoyable that I would still be doing them as a mere hobby, without necessarily having to earn money from them.



  • t t September 11, at 04:25

    why do you care about making side income as programmer. Would your normal coding job provide above and beyond amount of money you need?


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