The 10 Best Side Hustles You Can Start With Your Programming Skills

The modern boom in the gig economy has left many developers scrambling to find side hustles where they can use their programming skills to pick up a little extra cash. For front-end developers specializing in CMSs, cybersecurity experts, and those looking to peer-review code, there are plenty of options available.

A variety of digital marketplaces will allow programmers to sell digital goods, like templates, code snippets, and UI packs. From finding bugs in code to writing your own e-book, there are a myriad of opportunities available for any developer looking for the perfect side hustle.

1. Solving Bounties on Replit for Rewards

Replit is a web-based integrated development environment (IDE) that allows users to write, run, and share code online. It also has a feature that allows users to create bounties for projects. The requirements for the projects can vary from simple visual modifications to a website, to the complete creation of a complex app.

Programmers can apply to various projects, and the poster can choose their preferred candidate. On project completion, the developer will receive the bounty for the project. Having the ability to choose which projects you take on gives you a high level of schedule flexibility.

2. Creating Custom Themes to Sell on Shopify

Shopify is quite possibly one of the most well-known e-commerce CMS platforms on the web today, with an extremely wide user base. Shopify offers users an easy way to build out relatively complex online stores, with an array of features to help them customize their individual sites.

Each shop starts from a template, which can be purchased either from Shopify, or from 3rd party vendors. Creating themes requires a little bit of technical know-how, since you’ll need to learn Shopify’s Liquid scripting engine. Alternatively, developers familiar with modern JS frameworks may prefer using Shopify’s Hydrogen framework to develop headless themes.

There are a number of different marketplaces where programmers can sell complete themes. Etsy, Digital Ocean, and Shopify itself all have fairly large communities that can turn theme-making into passive income.

3. Writing Technical E-Books on Amazon KDP

Kindle Direct Publishing is Amazon’s digital publishing platform that allows users to publish e-books or print books. It integrates directly with Amazon to allow writers to quickly publish their works, and sell on a large, verified platform with numerous buyers.

Developers can create technical manuals and learning tools, then publish them for digital resale through Amazon. Depending on the topic and level of detail, e-books can continue selling for years. KDP covers both publishing, and distribution. Completed works can be sold through Amazon, which provides a solid sales platform with a large, pre-existing audience.

For skilled developers, creating digital goods is a simple task. Selling them, however, is far more complex. Creating your own shop and bringing in traffic can be difficult.

Thankfully, Creative Market, one of the largest suppliers of digital goods on the web, offers opportunities to sell to a pre-existing audience, on a reliable platform. Creative Market has an entire section dedicated to themes and UI kits.

A talented front-end engineer can produce themes for WordPress, Shopify, or Custom sites. UI kits for apps and complete app widgets are also major sellers, allowing for plenty of opportunities for developers.

5. Freelancing Opportunities With Upwork

Upwork is one of the largest sites dedicated to listing contract and gig style work in a wide array of fields.

Upwork has opportunities for developers of all levels and disciplines. Companies and individuals are hiring developers for front-end visual tweaks, database optimization, and Application Programming Interface (API) development. Upwork is one of the best sites for hiring or finding work as a freelance programmer.

Upwork offers the opportunity to screen projects so that you can choose work you enjoy. Taking on projects as needed can help you supplement your income without putting too much strain on your schedule

6. Finding Bugs With Bugcrowd

Bugcrowd is a large-scale cybersecurity platform with a focus on vulnerability analysis. The platform uses a crowd-based approach to finding potential security risks in codebases.

For those with an interest in cyber-security, Bugcrowd gives the opportunity to review code for potential issues, and pays you for bugs that you find. Bugcrowd pays bounties for issues, errors, and vulnerabilities located in the codebases of their clients.

Getting to see different tech stacks, codebases, and platforms can also be an excellent way for new programmers to build up literacy. It is also the ideal way for programmers that are just learning why software security skills are so vital to get a little real-world experience.

7. Selling Digital Products With Gumroad

Another useful market for developers selling digital products is Gumroad. As marketplaces go, few offer the same level of versatility as Gumroad. The market is open to any type or style of goods, digital ones included.

Developers can sell code snippets, simple themes, or complex solutions, all from the same platform. Having this many options opens up opportunities for programmers with all different backgrounds and skill sets. As an added bonus, Gumroad allows users to charge a fixed rate, or a monthly fee, widening the options for developers.

8. Coding for Projects on Fiverr

Much like coding projects on Upwork, Fiverr gives developers the opportunity to take on contracts for a variety of projects. Fiverr tends to have a greater focus on short-term, limited-scope projects. Taking on a few projects outside your standard scope of work can be an easy way to make a little extra income on the side.

Fiverr’s projects aren’t strictly limited to development work. They can include things like setting up servers, troubleshooting errors, and quality assurance style testing. It is an excellent way for developers to make extra cash on the side or grow different skill sets.

For those seeking longer-term work, Fiverr contracts can lead to a wide variety of opportunities for unusual and exciting programming careers, as well as professional development projects.

9. Mentoring as a Side Hustle on CodeMentor

CodeMentor is an online service that pairs junior developers with more advanced programmers. The site gives senior developers the opportunity to act as tutors. They can teach others through pair programming, code reviews, or straightforward teaching.

Programmers are paired one-on-one, allowing for more personalized learning. Developers can set their own schedules and teach on their time, allowing you to fit your mentoring around another job.

10. Selling APIs on RapidAPI

For those with backend expertise, RapidAPI offers a way to make a little cash on the side. Developers can create APIs to attach to all varieties of services and devices. These APIs are hosted on Rapid’s hub. Other developers can purchase access to these APIs and integrate them into projects of their own.

Rapid’s API hub is a massive online platform offering a variety of tools to help developers design, build, and test APIs. The service offers a wide array of pre-built APIs designed by different developers to integrate with a variety of products and services.

Once created, your API remains available on RapidAPI until you take it down. Developers with multiple APIs on the service can receive passive income for as long as other programmers want to use their APIs.

If you have APIs that you’ve made in the past to connect to various services, you can easily add them to the hub. Adding them in allows you to recycle old code that you may not otherwise have a use for.

Where to Find Side Hustles as a Programmer
There are a plethora of platforms online willing to provide skilled developers with the ability to make a little extra cash. From claiming bounties on bugs to building templates in your spare time, sites like Replit and Bugcrowd have plenty of opportunities for those interested in reviewing code.

Sites like Fiverr and Upwork allow developers the opportunity to create projects for others, while services like Gumroad and RapidAPI allow programmers the opportunity to sell completed code snippets.

Programmers looking for a side hustle where they can use their development expertise have plenty of options for services where they can sell their skills. The diversity of these positions ensures that developers of any experience level or background can find opportunities to explore new, exciting domains of programming.

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