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How can a progammer make some $$$ on the side?

I'm a .NET programmer who has done some side work in the past to pick up extra cash as needed. 

I'm looking to do the same again, but I'm hoping to find something else to do besides the usual hourly contract coding gigs on evenings and nights.

Any ideas ???

Here's some things I've thought of , not sure if there is a market for any of the following:

Creating light/medium weight technical documentation that requires a programmer's knowledge?

Teaching a class at the local community college or distance learning college

Reviewing code/technical documentation or book manuscripts.

Any other ideas besides these? 

CaptainNeedSomeExtraDough
Sunday, August 01, 2004

Oh, here is another one: 

Writing articles for magazines that pay.

CaptainNeedSomeExtraDough
Sunday, August 01, 2004

i like how you casually throw in "teach a college course".

theres all sorts of certs you need to get just to teach preschool... its just not that easy.

If you want instant gratification, you can tutor undergrad (or grad) students for $25 an hour; get a small group at a lower rate and divide the costs between 2-5 kids and your looking at $50-100/hour for teaching people your hobby... VERY easy to do if you have a laptop and live near a WiFi enabled college town or a hotspot enabled starbucks

take out an ad in the college newspaper or put up fliers.

PopCulture
Sunday, August 01, 2004

Teaching - check with your local state run schools. Many states now require their part-time instructors to have an appropriate Masters degree.

Documentation - ask this question at the technical writing website (techwhirl.com?).

Reviewing books - ask this question where book authors post such as Apress' (a book publisher) forum.

I suppose you could try and compete with the low bidders at online freelance sites such as rentacoder or create a shareware program.

One Programmer's Opinion
Sunday, August 01, 2004

Sell your body. It's no different from what you are doing in your day job, good exercise, and means that you will have to shower and change clothes every now and again.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, August 01, 2004

I think teaching would be the easiest to pick up and make money on the side. Writing a book of sorts is very time consuming and risky, and very few authors, especially in IT circles, make any money from it.

Craig
Sunday, August 01, 2004

"Teaching - check with your local state run schools. Many states now require their part-time instructors to have an appropriate Masters degree."

[sigh]

Because, of course, you can't teach loops and variables until you've had two more years of school and written a dissertation on neural nets. (and it would be best if those two years were taken at a state run school, filling their coffers)

Philo

Philo
Sunday, August 01, 2004

On the teaching...

I knew an office admin who taught MS office products on the weekend.  I think she taught to groups.  I believe she said she would net around 400 a day for it.  Can't remember if she put the course together or if she bought a package to teach from.

Anonx
Sunday, August 01, 2004

The thing about technical writing is, any sort of serious vendor will want their writer to have an in-depth knowledge of the product, and that is inconsistent with a part-time gig. I did tech writing for nine months alongside college, and when I decided to quit, it was a serious problem for the company.

Flasher T
Sunday, August 01, 2004

In California, community college teachers, even part-timers, have to have a master's degree or else bachelor's and significant industry experience.

Tutoring is not bad.

If you can hook up with a commercial tutoring company, you can get decent money that way also. Not as good as running your own groups of course.

Tutoring would get you $25 to $50 at college level. $25/hour is not unheard of even tutoring for high school classes.

It helps if you can get your hands on the books that the tutorees will be using.

Math also is in demand. Maybe more demand than CS but it is an uphill battle sometimes.

dot who has tutored
Sunday, August 01, 2004

There are a few things. Here are some that I did:

1) Develop a component (.NET, COM, VCL, whatever) or library of code, and sell it online. I made some /great/ supplimental income over a number of years before I got tired of it.

2) Develop a small application that does one thing really well, and sell it online.

3) Do some light computer consulting for friends and their friends.

4) Forget teaching college - look to corporate training. A /lot/ of these companies have high trainer turnovers. Getting a day or two a week might be easy, though they don't pay a lot. I did this full time for /years/, and it helped immensely with user interface design, finding out what users like and hate, as well as using every horizontal software product out there from MS Office to Lotus Notes.

5) Find all your old crap, the stuff that you'll never really use no matter how much you think otherwise, and put it all on EBay.

Tim Sullivan
Sunday, August 01, 2004

Check your employment agreement.  Certain employers write them such that any 'side' work you get must not compete with your day job.

AllanL5
Sunday, August 01, 2004

You had better make sure that your employment contract does not have a "no moonlighting clause" in it. If it does, you need to get a signature from your manager stating you have no conflict of interest in your side work.

I do like the idea of writing a book.

hoser
Monday, August 02, 2004

Writing technical books rarely pays well enough to make it worthwhile unless you're getting other collateral benefits (i.e. if you're a consultant, being published can help boost your credibility). I've been approached about writing books at various points and, after consulting with friends and colleagues who had done it, quickly came to the conclusion that it's a terrible way to spend time if making money is your only (or primary) goal.

Being a technical reviewer for books is less time-consuming than writing them, but the pay is atrocious. If you're scrupulous you'll probably feel compelled to put in way more hours than you can justify based on how much you're getting per page.

Tutoring can be fairly lucrative if you can find the right audience. It also can offer opportunities for flexibility, which can make it easy to squeeze into after-hours time. If you have high SAT/GRE/whatever scores, it's worth talking to the folks at the test-prep places. Either way, I'd try to see if you can identify a target market that's in a position to compensate you appropriately for your services. What I mean by that is, think carefully about whether you want to tutor college students (who are often on their own and semi-broke, and who furthermore can often enlist the services of financially deprived graduate students at below-market rates) instead of high school students (who are often being subsidized by concerned parents who are desperate to make sure they get into the right college).

John C.
Monday, August 02, 2004

>Because, of course, you can't teach loops and variables until you've had two more years of school and written a dissertation on neural nets. (and it would be best if those two years were taken at a state run school, filling their coffers)

Tell me about it. I am up to my ears in Pedagogy. Some of it is very interesting. However having to learn about Freuds theories on Adolescent growth  (http://www.ship.edu/~cgboeree/psychoanalysis.html worth the read if only to get into a disgusted debate with me over it!!) The guy thinks Women have penis envy, and that outcome of a man's life depends on his ability to get over his incestuous desire with his mother at age 5.  (this is all based on the repurcussions of him having seen his mother naked at age 5).

I understand how it may have pertained to that day and age. However his theories were so short sighted. They were based not on some inground unchanging fact, but on the culture of the era, something which has long changed and all that is left is his absurd comments, which I am supposed to study. (If I were the swearing type I think I would say WTF right now.)

Sorry I have gone off-topic. what was the question? (*grin*)

Aussie Chick
Monday, August 02, 2004

> The guy thinks Women have penis envy, and that outcome of a man's life depends on his ability to get over his incestuous desire with his mother at age 5.  (this is all based on the repurcussions of him having seen his mother naked at age 5).

How can you not love the 20th century's greatest absurdist humorist?

Harvey Pengwyn
Monday, August 02, 2004

The sad thing is the amount of people who defend the guy.

Aussie Chick
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The teaching gig works very well for boosting your perceived value to your current employer and to customers.  It's also great for getting you in front of people and developing a new skill set.  It makes a nice change from a day spent in the cubicle.

Some private colleges don't require a masters or Ph.D., but the market is so tight right now that without the advanced degree you're at the bottom of the heap for selection.  That said I still managed to make the cut and taught at a local private college for a year.  It was great, and I only wish I hadn't been forced to quit because of other commitments.

Clay Dowling
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Dear Aussie Chick,
                            You really want to read the first hundred and fifty pages or so of 'The Interpretation of Dreams' as you will be amazed to find out how radical a change Freud brought about. I also recommend "The Psychology of Everyday Life", which is short (about 150 pages) and still current.

                            Also Freud, unlike Jung, was a superb stylist.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

He also had an enourmous influence on modern advertising - read of his nephew Edward Bernays.

You can think he is ridiculous (and he probably was), but he was probably scratching at some truths.

Off to look at the stars tonight
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Thx for the replies, upon careful consideration, I've determined I would rather cut some expenses and relax on the evenings and weekends ;)

CaptainNeedSomeExtraDough
Sunday, August 08, 2004

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