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Cutting-edge software is used almost everywhere you look. It’s in the smartphone that you carry around in your pocket, in the products that you buy on Amazon, and even in your car’s dashboard.
Of course, all software starts with code.
If you want to learn how to get paid to code and make money online, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn more about how you can start making money with your coding skills — whether you work for an established enterprise, become a freelance coder, or start your own small business.
Programming: An Overview
What is coding?
If you’re new to the topic, here’s a quick primer on coding. Feel free to skip to the next section if you’re already familiar with this stuff.
In a nutshell, coding is all about feeding computers instructions. After all, computers can’t understand words and numbers like humans. Getting a computer to take a specific course of action requires giving it commands that it can process.
At a high level, the process of feeding computers information is called coding.
Picking a computer language is a bit like learning a foreign language — and it helps to have a specific reason for learning your chosen language.
Most programmers don’t know all computer languages. Rather, they learn basic coding principles and then learn the languages they need to solve specific problems based on the tools they use and the tech stacks they’re operating with.
Why get paid to code?
If you love technology and learning new tasks, coding might not feel like work. Depending on the type of work that you’re doing, coding can be fun. It can enable you to build programs and watch them come together and develop into working solutions. Plus, you can gain a much deeper understanding of how the digital services you use on a daily basis operate.
Of course, not all programming jobs might be a good match for your coding skills. For example, some programmers don’t like working in Java because it requires writing a lot of code for even the simplest tasks.
It’s important to explore the various options that are available to you so that you gravitate toward an area or language that aligns with your interests and coding skills.
One of the best aspects of coding is that you can work remotely. Many millennials are using coding as a means of traveling around the world and living digital nomad lifestyles. If you’re the type who would like to live in France for three months and then jet over to the Philippines, coding can fund your adventures.
It’s also possible to make good money online, especially if you work independently or specialize in a niche area.
For many people, coding is their livelihood. It’s a means to a decent paycheck and a better quality of life. If you can master coding, you can open some exciting doors and enjoy a lucrative and rewarding career.
The future of coding
Young people who are picking careers today need to take automation into account. Automation is impacting just about every industry, and programming is no exception.
That doesn’t mean programming is going away — quite the contrary. Over the next few years, programmers will increasingly use artificial intelligence to automate low-level, time-consuming tasks. For example, services like Kite help programmers speed up production with artificial intelligence.
Still, the world will need programmers to work with code and bring software to market. Software doesn’t write itself (at least, not yet).
In all likelihood, the immediate future remains bright for programmers. While there’s no telling what the future will bring, software development is an in-demand, well-paying, and stable profession.
Types of programmers
Here are a few of the most common programming roles to explore as you look for ways to make money coding.
I want to note that the salaries you see below are just an average. Experienced coders who live in high-cost areas can earn significantly more money.
Average salary: $100,825
Front-end developers create the graphical interface of a website or application. In other words, this is what the user sees when using a digital service. It’s like web design, just for software.
Average salary: $118,033
Back-end developers are responsible for creating the underlying technology that powers an application or website.
Average salary: $103,655
A full-stack developer is an engineer who can work with both the front and back ends.
Average salary: $67,559
Web developers specialize in creating websites for businesses.
Average salary: $120,651
Mobile developers write code for applications that run on mobile devices like Android and iPhone.
Average salary: $71,295
Game developers write code specifically for digital games on mobile devices, computers, and consoles like PlayStation and Xbox.
How to Learn to Code
If you’re new to coding, learning it can seem like a daunting task. But the good news is there are a variety of ways that you can learn coding relatively quickly.
One of the nice things about coding is that you don’t need to have a background in computers or even technology to make money in this field. In some of the most famous examples, workers no longer need a college degree to work at Tesla, Apple, or Google.
With programming, it’s all about what you bring to the table: the quality of your coding, your willingness to learn, and your ability to hit deadlines. When you’re good at what you do, the work will follow.
With all this in mind, here are some ways you can learn how to code.
1. Chart a course
Deciding that you want to code is like saying that you want to learn how to make music. You must refine your focus if you want to make any progress.
Before you do anything, do some research and figure out what type of coding you want to do. Once you’ve figured that out, determine the languages that you need to make it work.
As a word to the wise, make sure that you want to move forward with coding before jumping in. It’s going to require long hours in front of the computer — day in and day out.
In other words, coding can be excruciating work, so you need to make sure that you’re up for the challenge.
2. Take an online course
Learning the basics of coding can feel overwhelming at first. If you try to teach yourself everything, you could wind up spinning your tires.
My advice is to start with an online course that can teach you coding from the ground up — along with some useful tricks that you can use to work faster and more efficiently.
Luckily, there are a ton of sites that can help you figure out how to write code.
Top online coding courses for 2022
Codecademy is a free coding school and a great option for beginners.
Pluralsight offers a comprehensive learning experience with videos, lessons, and assessments. This is another great option for beginners.
HarvardX CS50: Introduction to Computer Science
HarvardX CS50 is a free program that’s available on edX as a self-paced, 12-week course.
3. Attend a boot camp
After you take an online course and see if you like coding, the next step could be to enroll in a coding boot camp.
As the name suggests, a coding boot camp is an intensive, multi-week course that packs as much training and knowledge into a short time period as possible. You’ll sit through comprehensive training sessions, work with peers, and take tests. In the end, you’ll typically receive certification and access to employment resources.
As a disclaimer, coding boot camps are not easy — especially for working professionals. But if you can make it through, you can potentially fast-track your career and walk into an entry-level coding gig or connect with recruiters.
Best coding boot camps for 2022
Nucamp provides a 17-week boot camp for front-end developers and a 22-week boot camp for full-stack web and mobile developers.
Flatiron School is another leading boot camp provider that offers courses in software engineering, data science, cybersecurity engineering, and product design.
Coding is an increasingly popular career choice for veterans returning home from service. So, if you have experience working for Uncle Sam and want to explore a career in coding, you should look into Code Platoon, which is a special coding boot camp specifically for those in the armed forces.
How to Make Money Coding
Learning how to code is a long journey. In fact, it’s one that never ends, because there’s always something else to learn. The best developers never stop learning new languages, applying different strategies, and expanding their skill sets.
With that in mind, you’ll never get to the point where you completely master coding. That said, you can make money whether you’re a beginner or you have years of experience under your belt.
Here are some ways to make money coding.
Get a full-time job
The easiest way to make money coding is to get a job as a software developer for a company.
To get a job as a developer, you’ll need to put together a portfolio of your work and be ready to pass a rigorous interview process. But if you have what it takes, you can potentially walk into a high-paying gig with great benefits.
It’s easy to discover full-time coding jobs using job search sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster.
Keep in mind that if you work for a company, it could take years before you’re handed interesting projects.
Freelance as a developer
Once you become proficient in coding, you should consider freelancing and taking on independent jobs.
Working for companies full-time can be limiting. But if you freelance, you can take on projects and command top dollar. And the best part? You can potentially make more money this way while having the freedom to work on your own schedule.
To find potential clients, check out freelance hubs like Upwork and Fiverr. These sites will take a cut of what you make as a commission, but they can also be great sources for finding gigs.
Freelancing as a developer allows you to travel around, network more, and discover exciting new projects. If this sounds exciting, give it a whirl.
Create WordPress plugins
A WordPress plugin is a piece of software that you can use to augment a WordPress website. People use plugins to add new features and functions to their pages.
It’s possible to make money just by creating custom WordPress plugins. If you’re able to create a particularly helpful WordPress plugin, you could potentially open up a business on that alone.
Also remember that you can make money teaching others how to create plugins, which brings us to our next career path.
Teach an online course
Once you become proficient enough in a certain subject, you can start making money by teaching beginner coding courses.
This is something you can do on a site like Udemy or a social media channel such as YouTube.
There are a few ways you can make money teaching online courses. One option is to create a library of content and make the videos or tutorials available to paying subscribers. The other option is to work with live groups of students in real-time.
Sign up for contests
Another way to sharpen your skills and possibly make money is to participate in monthly programming challenges.
Some websites offer tournaments where coders can compete against each other and even land gigs and opportunities in addition to prizes.
For example, CodeChef is a platform that brings coders together for tournaments. The company offers cash prizes while teaching different concepts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is programming a good career?
For the most part, yes. But, it’s not for everyone. Whether or not coding is the right career path for you depends on whether you enjoy technology and problem-solving. Coding takes a lot of time and effort, and it isn’t something you can learn overnight. The best coders put years of practice into their craft and are continuously learning.
That said, if you become proficient in coding, you could make a lot of money and work remotely. At the same time, people often put a lot of time and effort into learning coding only to wind up working tedious entry-level jobs that don’t pay much.
To avoid this, spend some time planning your journey and enter into the field with a clear purpose. With a bit of planning, you could increase your earning potential and avoid falling into a career that you don’t enjoy.
Is it hard to learn how to code?
Yes, but coding isn’t rocket science. The truth is that anyone can learn how to code with enough practice and the right instructions.
That said, some languages and concepts are a lot harder than others. As with any skill, coding becomes increasingly difficult as you advance. There’s a big difference between learning a language like HTML and an advanced language like Go or Ruby on Rails.
At the same time, more advanced skills command more money. The more work you put in learning new languages and expanding your portfolio, the more you can differentiate yourself and earn.
Can you make a lot of money programming?
You can make a lot of money with coding, especially if you branch off and work for yourself.
Advanced coders can make hundreds of thousands of dollars per year writing code and helping their clients bring digital solutions to market. So, suffice it to say that there’s a lot of money and job security in this field.
Another way to make money is to hook on with a startup and help design software that makes the company skyrocket in value. Just make sure to be smart about how you structure your contract so that you get a fair slice of the pie if the company grows in value.
The Bottom Line
The secret is out: A lot of people are learning to code because it’s one of the best new skills you can have. And if you become good at it, your programming skills will directly boost your cash flow and lead to an exciting career.
Furthermore, there are many different ways to help build software that solves real-world problems. Just know that it will most likely take a decent amount of time and effort to get up to speed.
Ultimately, being a software developer is a journey — not a destination. There will always be new concepts to learn and master.
If you’re a detail-oriented person who loves learning and spending time at your computer, coding is the perfect skill to pick up. And who knows? Coding could very well supercharge your journey to financial freedom.
Whatever you decide, here’s to finding a trade that pays well and gives you the flexibility to do what you love.