Side Quests: A Guide to Side Hustles and Part-Time Jobs for Computer Science Graduates
The notion of a side hustle or looking for flexibility in your working life has become quite the norm. People want to have more control over how they spend their time, making the traditional 9-5 working environment less popular.
This shift in the workforce is clearly evident in the tech industry, and with those who work in computer programming.
Whether you’re looking to bring in some more income to supplement your salary, or you want to enter the world of freelancing and the gig economy, this guide can help you find your way.
Side Hustle And Freelance Job Ideas
Let’s first look at options for putting your skills as a computer science graduate to good use. All of these jobs or gigs can be found in a number of ways. You could sign up with one of the many freelance websites like Upwork, Fiverr, or Tasker. Another option is to talk to the institution that you graduated from to see if they have any connections that could utilize your skillset part-time.
While web development is often the go-to for CS graduates looking for a side hustle, there are several other options that are just as suitable and often less saturated.
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Build A Mobile App
You have the programming skills, so why not put them to use building something that can generate income in the background? A mobile app that people need to purchase to use, offers in-app purchases, or provides revenue from ads can give you some great extra income. It’s also fairly passive income once you’ve done the initial build because you won’t have to constantly monitor and maintain the app.
Alternatively, you could offer your services building apps for other businesses and sell them once-off, or offer an update service for an app that you’ve built that brings in regular income.
Become Tech Support
With a degree in computer science, you’ll definitely know your way around a computer and be able to assist people with their problems. This is a great gig or task-type side hustle because you can take on jobs as and when you have availability.
As an added plus, you can choose whether you want to offer home-user or business support and may even find retainer clients who pay you for a set number of support hours every month.
Quality Assurance (QA) is a major part of software and app development, and something that you’re qualified to do. It’s also something that plenty of development companies and solo developers like to outsource because it allows them to get fresh eyes on the project. Again, you can take on jobs as and when you have the time so there’s plenty of flexibility. QA work may lead to other software and app dev jobs too, so it’s an excellent side hustle stepping stone.
The world of tech is growing and coding skills are highly sought after. In fact, we’ve reached a point where it’s pretty much a given that someone under the age of 30 will know how to do at least basic coding. You can put your degree and skills to good use by offering tutoring to school kids and undergrads working on their degrees.
Tips For Staying Organized While Working Part-Time Or On A Side Hustle
Now that we’ve looked at some ideas for jobs, let’s take a look at how to stay organized. When working more than one job—whether it’s a side hustle to your main job or you’re going the full freelance route—you need to stay on top of your hours and your income.
Track Your Time Carefully
The first step is to make sure that you know what hours you have available for work and what hours are spent on projects. A solid schedule is an absolute must for anyone working freelance. This is especially important if you’re working a 9-5 job and have a side hustle going too. Your side hustle should never impact your main job in terms of working hours.
It’s important to be realistic about how long it will take you to do different projects and how much impact it will have on your life. This way, you can set deadlines for projects that won’t end up making you work long, hard hours. You’ll also be able to ensure that your employer and your clients are happy at the end of the day.
Keep Good Records Of Your Finances
Next, you need to stay on top of your finances. Any income you earn from a side hustle or freelancing will need to be declared for tax purposes. This means you need to track all income and job-related expenses so that your taxes can be filed correctly.
If this is outside of your skillset, you should look at hiring a bookkeeper or accountant or taking a free bookkeeping course to equip you with the skills you need. This is one area of your work life that you want to get right. Otherwise, there could be serious penalties and consequences down the line.
Don’t Forget About A Work-Life Balance
Finally, you need to make sure that you take care of yourself too. The biggest issue with a side hustle is that you start eating into your downtime. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up working every night after coming home from your day job, and working on weekends too. It’s vital that you set boundaries for yourself and only take on the projects that you have the capacity for.
The same goes for freelancing. If you don’t set proper work-life boundaries, you could end up working all hours and forgetting about taking time to relax and see friends and family. It’s very important to ensure you have a good balance of working time and relaxing time.
Bring In Extra Cash With Your Skills
A computer science degree equips you with highly valuable skills that are sought after in today’s economy. If you need or want to supplement your income with a side hustle that allows you to use your knowledge, there are plenty of opportunities that you can tap into.
Disclaimer: The author is completely responsible for the content of this article. The opinions expressed are their own and do not represent IEEE’s position nor that of the Computer Society nor its Leadership.