Tech Side Hustles: 7 Different Ways to Make Extra Cash
Whether you’re looking for an opportunity to work on something exciting or you need some extra cash, starting a tech side hustle can be a good idea. Companies large and small are in constant need of tech professionals who can work a few hours a week to help with small tasks or to push a big project to the finish line.
Read on for some ideas on what to pursue, but if you’re ready to start side hustling, we can help. Nerdly is a free platform for cloud professionals to find hourly or project-based work with organizations of all sizes. Register as a Nerd today to get started.
Cloud developer has become somewhat of an umbrella term to mean a person who works on developing software applications for the cloud. That’s not wrong, but companies are usually looking for something more specific than that when they post an opening for a cloud developer.
Whether you’re more comfortable writing code in Java or React, there are plenty of side hustles to be had working as a cloud developer. With more and more organizations migrating their on-premises systems to the cloud, companies need developers with experience using cloud computing services from vendors like AWS and Microsoft Azure.
Cloud developers stand to make a lot of money, too. Glassdoor estimates the average annual salary for a cloud developer in the US at just shy of $100,000, but it’s common for junior developers to make as much as $120,000 per year. In terms of hourly rates, most US-based cloud developers charge between $75 and $100 an hour, with some experienced developers charging as high as $150 an hour.
Cloud migration consultant
Speaking of more organizations moving to the cloud, now is a great time to find freelance work as a cloud migration consultant. Whether companies are moving from a physical data center to the cloud or from one cloud environment to another, they need cloud architects to make sure the transition takes place with as little disruption as possible.
Depending on the size of the migration, it might make for a suitable side project. Working an extra 10 or 15 hours a week will suffice for smaller migrations, and companies regularly pay upwards of $100 an hour for help with their migrations.
However, be prepared to work some late nights. For the times when outages can’t be avoided, companies will usually like to schedule those in the evenings during the week when site traffic tends to be lower anyway.
Cloud security analyst
One of the main advantages of the cloud is security. In fact, the cloud is one of the safest places you can store data. But while cloud vendors like AWS guarantee security of the cloud, businesses using their services are still responsible for security in the cloud.
That creates a high demand for cloud security analysts to review company systems and check for security concerns and compliance issues. Compliance is especially important for companies dealing with sensitive information or that operate in highly regulated industries.
If you’re well-versed in security standards like SOC 2, PCI, and HIPAA and security cloud services like AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) and Azure Active Directory (AD), you’re guaranteed to find opportunities making a side hustle out of cloud security and compliance consulting.
Migrating to the cloud is good, but it won’t do you much good if your infrastructure is poorly architected. Companies know this, and they’re willing to pay top dollar for skilled cloud architects who can design resilient and high-performing infrastructures.
Many organizations use AWS, so if you want to start a side hustle working as a cloud architect, now would be a good time to brush up on the AWS Well-Architected framework. Infrastructures built according to this framework should adhere to certain design principles and best practices identified by AWS as providing the best outcomes for their customers across a number of categories.
> Read more: Which AWS Certification Should You Get?
Working as a cloud architect on the side might come in the form of project-based work for companies new to the cloud, but companies with established cloud infrastructures also engage cloud architects on an hourly basis to perform ongoing maintenance work.
Quality assurance (QA) tester
It may not pay as much as being a software developer or cloud architect, but many organizations hire freelance quality assurance testers to identify bugs in their code. QA testers conduct software testing to make sure software developers are following best practices and to identify issues with code.
According to ZipRecruiter, the average QA tester in the US makes about $36 an hour. You won’t necessarily be raking in thousands of dollars doing this as a side hustle, but it’s not bad for some extra spending money.
Working as a freelance QA tester is also a good way to dip your toes in the side hustle waters since the job requires relatively low commitment compared to some of the other titles in this roundup. Just make sure you have a firm grasp on Selenium before landing your first gig as a QA tester.
If you’re a gifted communicator or teacher with a strong technical background, technical writers are in high demand. Companies need thorough and clear documentation, and the ability to write about complex topics in a way multiple different audiences can easily understand is a rare talent.
If you’re considering a side hustle as a technical writer, take the time to get certified. There are a number of certifications to choose from, but two popular options for technical writing come from the Society for Technical Communication (STC) and Technical Writer HQ.
Technical writers aren’t as common as software developers, so it can feel a little lonely pursuing this path. If you’re craving a community of peers to learn from, check out Write the Docs. They have a Slack community with thousands of members as well as meetups in over 40 different cities across the US.
eLearning course creator
While many software developers and engineers begin their careers with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, more and more people are turning to alternative learning paths. You can find a software bootcamp in almost every major city in the US, and MOOCs (massive open online courses) on software development are becoming increasingly popular.
If you enjoy helping others learn and have the technical chops and experience to back you up, consider creating an elearning course teaching people software engineering. Take a look at what courses are already available on popular sites like Skillshare and Udemy and see if there’s an opportunity for you to carve out a niche for yourself.
Put in the time and effort necessary to make a solid course, and you could create a nice stream of passive income.
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