How can we use our developer skills to supplement income - Part 2?

7 January 2020 | 12 min read

In my previous post, I covered few short-term process which you can use to generate additional income. In this post I will continue exploring few short-term process and then cover details on the long-term process.

Short-Term Process Contd...

Open Source Contribution

Gone are the days, where developer community used to contribute to open source software with no income!! You can use your developer skills and create open source software which can be supported by community donations. It is absolutely fine to set up subscription tiers using any of the Open Source Sponsors platform to get funding from community.

I personally feel, it is moral responsibility of every one using Open Source Software to give back to community in one way or another.

Participate in Hackathon and Design Contests

You are the one who is interested in solving community problems using your developer skills then there are many hackathons and contests which are generally conducted. Some hackathons usually offer good prize money which you can use to supplement your income. Some of the programs would be GiveBackHack, StartupWeek etc.

Uplabs is another place to check for design contests. Yep you can use your design skills and developer skills to participate in these challenges.

Whatever it is you will gain great experience while participating in these programs.

If you come across any other similar programs, feel free to share it with me, I will be happy to update the post.

Long-Term Process:

Long-Term Process

In this process you have to use the approach of Crawl→Walk→ Run.

Remember our child hood days, we did not start running immediately. There were days we used to take help of the walls, hold our parents hands until we stood on our own. We used to fall "n" number of times but still did not stop trying until we managed to stand. It was a natural process. When we use the same process, we don't feel getting burnout while trying this process. So without wasting more time let us go through them.

If you have decided to go through the process then the first thing you have to do is to stop having the fear of public speaking.

Crawling Phase:

Yes you heard it right. It is more important to fix the fear of public speaking.

Speak at your nearby Meetups and CodeCamps

Are you the one who generally helps your co-worker understand core concepts of new technologies?

Are you the one who generally likes to read and learn new concepts and easily explain them to your team during Lunch and Learn at your workplace?

Are you the one who generally speaks at your team meetings and convince your team with your ideas?

If you have answered "Yes" to either one of the above questions then you can easily explore the land of Public Speaking. It is not rocket science. We all do these at our work one or the other time. It is just the same. There are many meetups and codecamps who generally look for speakers, who are interested to share their learning with developer community. I personally recommend to speak at In-Person meetups to start with.

Once you manage to overcome the fear and nervousness to deliver your first talk, Bravo 👏👏 celebrate it.

You have taken a big step.

As you get comfortable, you can try speaking at online meetups. Speaking at online meetups helps you to reach more audience beyond your location. The benefit of speaking at online meetups is to avoid expenses associated with travel and commute.There are many resources which can help you to get started. There are programs like Global Diversity CFP Day which conducts workshops to encourage newbie speakers. I strongly recommend to attend their workshops if you are planning to get started.

Code Camps and Meetups generally do not provide travel support. But it is fine to check them out in your nearby location during your initial phase. These are the best places to start your speaking journey.

Check out the resources section at the bottom for references to get started. Cory House has done an excellent job by maintaining the Speaker Starter Kit. My friend Chris DeMars also did a great job by sharing his tips from his experiences. Jeremy Likness and Laurie in developer community have also shared their experiences.

Start writing in your own Blog or other platforms

Now that you have started to do public speaking, the next step is to record your progress. As humans we tend to forget stuff which we learned. Your blog is the perfect place to visit whenever you want to refresh yourself on topics which you have learnt or spoke. Writing your blog will also help you to refine your writing skills which would help you in later phase.

When we start to learn new topics to prepare our talk, it always helps better if we take notes using pen and paper. Then later create a post by organizing your thoughts in your blog for future reference, because there are chances that we might lose these notes. So in a way blogging helps to understand the topic and through the process you are helping the developer community by sharing your experience.

You can even cross post contents from your blog to other platforms like LinkedIn, Devto Community etc... As you continue your blog and look back after a year, you would have reached a point where you feel confident in your writing skills. It is absolutely fine to promote your blogs through social media platforms and your presentation slides. After all it is your hard work.

Don't worry about the audience to your blog at this point. Don't worry if your blog posts are ending up having most views. Don't worry if your blog posts are getting the most likes. Remember that you are writing your blog for your own reference.

Until now you have just laid the foundation to generate supplement income. If you feel energized during this phase, then you are ready for your next phase. Get ready to walk.

Walking Phase:

Now that you have gained required confidence by speaking at meetups and blogging your experience it is time to walk.

Speak at Conferences

If you have enjoyed what you have been doing till now, then this is the right time to explore speaking at conferences. The process can be intimidating at the start, but what one needs is patience.

Yes you have heard right, patience is the key.

Remember your college days, you were competing against many other students like you to win the scholarship which would help you to cover some costs associated with your education. Applying to speak at conferences is the same. You are going to compete against established speakers and newbie speakers like you to speak at the conference. Seek help from mentors who can help you with reviewing abstracts. Take help don't get lost in the process.

Always ask for financial assistance for travel with the conference organizing team, if you need financial assistance.

There is no harm in checking for speaker fees and financial assistance for travel. Most conferences out there will be able to accommodate the requests on first come first serve basis. Also always ensure to check the policies when responding to CFP (Call for Presentations). It is always good to clear things out before applying.

If a conference is charging more than 150$ from attendees for single day, do not hesitate to check for financial assistance with the organizers.

You can promote your blogs through your talks. Always stay connected with developer community through various social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. If you do not have an account then go ahead and create one now.

Check out the resources section where I have included some links which would help you to get started and would provide you with brief understanding on what is involved to get selected to speak at conferences.

Become identified as Expert

No matter, which ever tech stack you are deciding to pursue your speaking journey it is always good to be recognized as an expert. There are many community recognition programs which would help you stay ahead and provide you with resources to improve your speaking skills. Some even provide support assisting you with travel to speak at conferences.

Some of these programs are the Microsoft MVP, Google Developer Expert, Oracle Groundbreakers, Auth0 Ambassadors, Twilio Champions, Mozilla Tech Speakers, Gitkraken Ambassadors and Cloudinary Media Developer Expert. Check out the resources section to know more about these programs.

I recommend checking any of these programs once you complete your crawling phase. These programs will help you as a speaker to walk.

Become Guest Author

In order to avoid travel taking a toll on you, it is always good to have a mix of conference talks and participate in Guest Author Programs. Now you should remember, why I asked you to blog as part of crawling phase.

The experience which we gain through writing our blogs will help us author content for various products. There are many Guest Author programs, which pays you with considerable author fees for every content that is published through their platform.

The pre-requisites for these programs are - "No plagiarism", Content should be your own, Content should first be published through the platform you choose to author.

Some programs include Auth0 Guest Author Program, Nexmo Developer Spotlight and Digital Ocean Content Authoring Program. Check out the resource section for more info on these programs.

Monetize your Blog

Keep continuing your blogs. Do not stop.

You can consider monetizing your blog, by capturing your blog visit statistics using any analytics tools which are out there and consider getting support from community as sponsors to help manage your blog. You can also promote ads in your blog. If you are targeting this route, be sure that you are not giving the entire real estate of your blog to ads, as this will be annoying to readers.

Do not force your visitors to subscribe to your mailing list through pop ups. Give them an option to subscribe at the end of your post.

Conduct Workshops

Conferences generally look for speakers to deliver 45 to 50 min sessions or conduct half day or full day workshops. If you are successful in delivering your sessions as conference speaker you should try applying to conduct workshops. Workshops involve more work as facilitator compared to regular sessions.

Some conferences pay for workshop instructors for their time and also cover travel. You can also conduct these workshops in your local communities if you were successful in delivering the workshop at a conference for a nominal fee. It is more important to gather feedback from your attendees on the content, which would help you to refine the content. Also gather testimonials from your workshop attendees if they found the content useful. These would help you with your future workshops.

Become a Live Streamer, Podcast Creator - Release Free Content

Though this is an optional step in walking phase, I would suggest to consider exploring to try streaming to gain experience using platforms like Twitch, YouTube, Periscope, Mixer etc... The skills which you would gain as a streamer would be more important to help you in your running phase.

You can promote your videos through your talks, embed them in your blogs etc. At this point your blog is a reference for you and developer community to promote your content to blog audience. The more audience you build to your streaming platforms and the more quality content you provide to your audience, you will be able to unlock ways to add supplement income from these platforms.

Check out the LiveCoders team on Twitch, if you are interested to start streaming. They are very helpful and support each other.

Honestly it is very easy to start a podcast these days. Do not invest more in the hardware behind streaming and podcast while starting. Once you are successful in maintaining a constant schedule for your streaming and podcast, you can consider upgrading the hardware.

Running Phase:

Are you tired now? If you are tired then take a break from proceeding further. Go enjoy your Vacation time or Holiday Time. It is more important to take considerable amount of break to avoid feeling tired or getting burn out in the process.

Get ready to run. Do not sprint. Consider a marathon and run at your own pace.

Create Content - Videos, Courses

The skills which you acquired from live streaming, will help you in creating videos for the content which you would like to share with developer community. There is a constant demand for video tutorials. This would be a great way to share your learning with community as well author courses. Remember your experience from facilitating workshops, the same experience will help you in creating video courses.

You can either choose to publish courses on your own or consider publishing through existing platforms like PluralSight, EggHeadIO, NativeScripting, FrontEndMasters, VueMastery or Udemy. You can promote your courses through the platforms and communicate the same to your blog audience and through your social media channels.

Become Adjunct Faculty

This is purely optional to you. There is an increase in demand for Adjunct Faculty to teach Computer Courses at your nearby Community Colleges or Online Universities. If you have enjoyed public speaking sharing your learning with community to teach others, then this is another option you should not leave. Some might be having part-time options as well. The only restriction to this route is that some institutions would require us to complete a Bachelor's Degree on minimum.

Become Author of Books

Writing books involve more time and increased commitment from authors. Technology changes at a random pace and there is always dearth of books covering these new changes. By now you would have improved your writing skills through your blogs. These would help you in sharing your thoughts with publishing platforms. If you are not interested to go through traditional publication houses, you can always consider releasing your book through your own platform or consider platforms like LeanHub.

Check out the resources section for various book publishing author programs.



Hope you got an overview on the entire process of getting started with public speaking and different ways to supplement your income. You can either follow short-term process or the long-term process based on your convenience.

I know the process is more time consuming, but trust me it would do wonders and avoids burnout.

Continue the momentum on what you have been doing and repeat the entire process. Do not stop.

All the thoughts which I have shared are based on my experience from observing various friends and experts in developer community. This path is more suitable for consultants working as developers and self-employed consultants.

If you have reached till here, I know you had a lot to digest. Feel free to share additional programs or thoughts which you are aware and I will be happy to update the post.

Personally I am in walking phase. I have no plans to go through the running phase as of now and no plans to consider monetary benefits.

Helpful Resources

Speaker Resources and Tips from Other Speakers-

Guest Author Programs -

Book Authors -

Hackathons and Contests -

Starting your blog-

Open Source Contribution Sponsors-

Community Recognition Programs

Twitch Resources

Image Credit