How to Launch a Side Hustle as a Computer Programmer—NEW for 2021.

by Doc Kane

by Doc Kane

Updated: May 12, 2021

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1. Why Start a Side Hustle as Computer Programmer?

You CAN learn to code in your spare time. People around the world, of all ages, and backgrounds do it every single day. And this isn’t just about apps. You can code websites, databases, learn how to connect to APIs, build in excel… all sorts of things. Coding is a wonderful job opportunity not only for military spouses, but for active duty servicemen and servicewomen as well. Let’s code!


There is no doubt, one of the most “packable ” skill sets in the world these days is computer coding. And, trust me, it ain’t as scary as you think. Each and every day, young children take up coding, as do retired grandmas and grandpas. Computer programming is not that difficult, and if you have any penchant for languages (even English!), you’ll find yourself ahead of most. Also, if you’re a good writer, or editor, you also have transferrable skills that work well in the software world.  Software development is not that difficult to learn, and in fact, most of it is downright fun.

Sure, it’s not for everyone, and if there’re anything that’s a drain, it’s the screen time involved. But (!) if you’re curious, if you can write (as in take a pen to paper with some sort of skill), if you can think logically, and if like to build things, you can most certainly learn how to code. And, like pretty much everything else I’m detailing out for you here… you can do so in a relatively short period of time. Which, in turn will help you earn extra money more quickly.

The way to kick off a career in software development (even a part time one), is to use repeatable patterns of learning, copy the methods of others who have gone from no programming experience to full time programmers, and by and leveraging online with course platforms taught for free on places like Coursera, Udemy ( — top courses starting at $1,000), or edX. You could also sign up for any of the numerous coding bootcamps (like my “local” favorite software bootcamp here in Japan—Le Wagon, Tokyo) that will help get you up to speed fast.

In the past, one major drawback to bootcamps was that you needed to have a physical presence in the city offering the camp. This was costly, and time consuming for most people, but these days, particularly in the wake of COVID-19, many more companies have wised up to the idea that they should be offering remote classes. Funny, that something built for online work required presence. But, that’s the way it was for many of these programs.

That said, there are a number of places you can learn to code (quite possibly on your own base, even), DO pursue these opportunities. Or, check out any of the fine resources below. I’ve used Coursera for numerous classes including their University of Michigan, “Python for Everybody” class, and love it. I’ve been wanting to bite the bullet on Le Wagon here in Japan for some time now, and Codecademy is extremely well respected as well.

I also love companies in the “deferred payment” bootcamp space like Lambda School that teach you how to code for free in exchange for 17% of your 50,000+ salary for two years after graduating. Have fun.

Large Online MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) Providers

Coursera, (Build skills with courses from top universities like Yale, Michigan, Stanford, and leading companies like Google and IBM.), (Free online workplace skills training – 1500+ Certificate, Diploma Courses – 14M Learners – 2.5M Graduates)

edX, (Access 2000 free online courses from 140 leading institutions worldwide. Harvard, MIT, etc.)

FutureLearn, (From Short Courses to Postgraduate Degrees – Accessible on Mobile, Tablet, etc.)

For the last few years, I’ve used Coursera and eDX with much aplomb. Lately, I’ve been using eDX quite a bit, and am currently using it to learn things like Economics, Python, Japanese and Tableau. I love it. nearly everything is free unless you’re looking to earn a certificate, which while useful, isn’t always necessary. Check it out. If you’re a learner, you’ll love it as well.

Break Things. Make Things. Create a new career for yourself. Become a programmer. More inexperienced newbies have succeed than you can shake a stick at. Check out edX and discover coding at your own pace.

This is my absolute favorite book
on starting a Side Hustle.