By February 19, 2020

How To Teach Programming and Earn a Living

For many software developers, starting freelancing or a personal business seems intimidating. The competition in the market is so high, and many skilled developers are offering their freelance services very cheaply.

For a newbie software developer who wants to start freelancing, it is a big hurdle to get the first few clients. Newbies don’t have a rich portfolio of projects that they’ve done.

Then how to get into the freelance software development market? Is it really impossible? Let me introduce you to an easy hack to become a freelance software developer. It is nothing but teaching software development to clients.

If you’ve gone past all those initial hurdles and become a pretty good software developer, you have some hidden power in you to serve others. Thousands of people are getting started in programming every day, and they all go through many challenges in learning to code.

What do they do when they have trouble finding answers to their questions? Some of them might look for articles or video tutorials for help. Some of them might go and ask their questions in a forum like Stack Overflow. Still, many people are not able to solve their problems through their own research. They need someone to guide them and help them along the journey.

If you have enough experience in software development, you can offer your helping hand. Many people think that they are not qualified enough to teach programming. You don’t need to be an expert programmer. You just need to be one step above the person who is looking for help.

The Value of Teaching

Teaching is a great service, and any programmer can do that. By teaching, I don’t mean standing up in front of a classroom. Students don’t need a boring professor who wants to show off his knowledge. They need a helping hand to sit with them, understand their problem, and guide them in the right direction.You can do it with a laptop and an internet connection.

A large number of successful people had great mentors or guides in their lives. We know the value of a friend who helps us when we’re stuck on a problem. You too can become such a helping friend and offer services to aspiring programmers.

I realized the value of teaching when I read Soft Skills and The Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide, two great books written by John Sonmez, where he mentioned the significance of teaching for software developers.

Many people can’t even write a “hello world” program. They don’t even know what programming language to learn and how to learn. Some people are stuck in their coding assignments in school. If you’re a programmer, you already know this stuff. You just need to share your knowledge and guide those people in their journey.

By teaching, you’re solving the problems of other people and providing value to the world, and you can earn some money as well.

How Teaching Helps You as a Software Developer

Teaching not only helps students, but it also helps you in solidifying your knowledge. Teaching will give you some responsibility, and you’ll do some additional research to fill your knowledge gaps.

When you teach, your brain recollects all the information that you’ve gained about the topic and arranges them in the correct order. Teaching will gradually make you an expert on the topic.

The other significant benefit is that teaching will improve your communication skills. Technical skills alone aren’t enough to advance your career. Soft skills such as good communication are pivotal in your growth as a software developer.

When I was starting my career as a part-time freelancer, it was really tough to get a good coding project. So, I looked for some tutoring opportunities online and created my profiles on various online platforms. That’s when I realized how easy it was to get clients. There is not a lot of competition in this field compared to freelancing.

Also, it’s not a boring job at all. When you help someone, you’ll feel happy and satisfied with your work.

How To Earn Money by Teaching Programming

There are many online platforms where you can find clients to teach programming to. Some of the most popular online teaching platforms are Wyzant, Codementor, Takelessons, and TeacherOn.

These online platforms are available all around the world. But if you can find the most popular platform in your country, you’ll get more opportunities to teach in person.

For me, TeacherOn was the most popular platform in my country. So, I prefer it more than the other options.

When someone near my area applies for a tutor, I can reach out to them and meet them in person to teach. In the United States, Wyzant is a popular platform. You can do some research to find the most popular platforms in your area.

You can go to one of those platforms and create a tutor profile. You can mention all your experiences and skills there. If you’ve worked on some personal projects or client works, you can mention all that there. Even if you don’t have much experience, you can write about your programming journey.

You can point out the mistakes that you’ve made and how you can help people avoid those mistakes. The important thing when creating a profile is that you should focus on the clients. Try to think from their point of view. You should make them feel that you can help them. Don’t forget to include a nice photo of yourself.

Then you need to set an hourly rate for teaching. Look around the platform to see what other people are charging, and then you can decide what your initial rate should be. Thirty dollars per hour is a pretty good rate to start with. Gradually, as you get more and more clients, you can increase the hourly rate as you wish.

You can use a video-sharing platform such as Skype to connect with your students. Then you can share your screen and explain everything. It’s pretty easy.

If you can find local clients who need help with programming, it is even better. You can meet the student in person and teach them very effectively.

Of course, if you want to go for the traditional classroom route, you can do it as well if you've enough local clients. By doing that, you can help many people at the same time. But most online clients prefer one-on-one tutoring so that their specific problems can be solved in a better way.

How To Take it to the Next Level

Once you get a few clients, you can list them in your portfolio, and you can also add their feedback and testimonials. Now your portfolio is not empty, and it will be easy for you to get into freelancing

You already know how to handle clients, how to do the negotiations, etc. Hence, getting into actual freelancing should be a piece of cake. If you do want to start freelancing, you can make use of popular platforms like Upwork.com and Freelancer.com.

If you build a personal brand around your skills, you can then expand your services to a wide audience. Start a blog or a YouTube channel or even a Podcast to share your knowledge. You can sign up for the free blogging course at Simple Programmer to boost your career. If you can build an audience, then you can launch a course or a digital product. That will help your income grow exponentially.

Go for meetups and conferences to network with other software developers. Look for opportunities to speak at conferences. There are a lot of ways to take your skills to the next level.

It’s Time To Take Action

We’re very fortunate to live in an era where there are plenty of opportunities ripe for the taking. You need to realize those opportunities and take maximum advantage of the chances.

Most people in the world are consumers, not producers. If you’ve read this far, you should take some action to become a value creator in this world. Go and look at all the platforms that I’ve mentioned right now. If you go without taking any action, you won’t get any benefit from reading this article. Help others, give them value. I can assure you that you’ll be rewarded.

Whatever you do, your motto should be to help other people. As many successful people say, you’ll make more money when you help more people.

I urge you to try and help as many people as you can. If you do so, I’m confident that you’ll definitely become successful in your career by helping others to succeed in their careers.

About the author

    Ashwin Joy

    Ashwin Joy is a software developer and tech enthusiast living in Kerala, India. He is the founder of Pythonista Planet, where he teaches technical skills and soft skills to programmers. On his blog, he shares all the things he learns about Python, Django, machine learning, and essential soft skills.