Why Sofware Developers should create online courses as a side hustle?

javinpaul profile image javinpaul Updated on ・7 min read

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How blogger and programmers can learn and earn by creating online courses

As a mentor and author of a programming blog, I often receive queries like should software engineers create an alternative source of income, or should developer create their own blog or website?

Both are very common questions and mostly asked by senior developers who are interested in startups and doing a side hustle. There was a time when I advise programmers to create their own blog, not just to learn and improve their understanding of the technology they know, but also to earn money while doing things you love, but time has changed.

Now I advise Programmers and Software Developers to create and sell online courses on Teachable, Udemy, Thinkific, Podia, Skillshare, Kajabi, and other platforms. The reasons are still the same, you learn and earn, but the method has been changed.

A blog is always an excellent way to establish yourself online, but it requires a lot more effort and time to earn something meaningful.

On the other hand, an online course will create an alternative course of income very quickly. I know many people who are making a decent income by creating and selling an online course like my dear friend Eugen Paraschiv, whose Spring Courses have helped many of you to learn Spring Framework better in the past.

He is not alone, a couple of fellow bloggers like Ranga Karnan is also one of the most popular instructors on Udemy and has hundreds of students on the platform. His Spring Boot Microserve courses are one of the best sellers on Udemy.

In short, creating and selling online courses are the best thing a programmer can do to earn money online, learn something valuable, and make an impact on peoples life.

Yeah, you need a bit of passion for teaching, but most of the Programmers are generally good at that because of constant mentoring and training they do on the job.

Now, some of you might be thinking about why I have not created an online course yet. Well, that's on the card sometimes, and I did research a lot about Process and Equipment like which USB Microphone should I buy ( I bought Blue-Yeti Aztec Copper) and which platform should I join like Teachable or Udemy but somehow I didn't get enough time to prepare the course I wanted to teach.

If you guys would love to see me create an online course on Java or any other topic, let me know in comments, and that would probably help me to launch a course soon. Anyway, today is not about me, but you, I want all of my readers who are interested in creating an alternative income stream and have a passion for teaching to develop online courses.

Maybe you're exceptionally knowledgeable about a topic like Java, Python, Programming, Algorithms then you should create a course on that topic and launch it on a platform like Udemy or Teachable. The best part of this strategy is that once you do the initial work of creating the course, you continue to get paid for each new student that enrolls.

What is the best platform to create Online Course in 2019?

Teachable/Thinkific and Udemy are two of my favorite platforms, they're both intuitive and user-friendly. With Teachable or Thinkific, you have more control over your pricing and the look and feel of your course, but you don't get a built-in audience, which is one of the most important things for the success of your course.

Instead, you have to do all the marketing yourself. While Teachable did provide a lot of guidance and tried and tested email templates, which can help you a lot. Eugen's Spring Framework courses are built on Teachable, and so is Heinz Kabutz's Java Concurrency Course and both are very successful.

On the other hand, Udemy has a built-in base of students, but you don't have as much control, and they take most of your revenue because they are selling your course. Ranga has chosen Udemy, and his Spring and Java course is a huge success over there, so Yes, Udemy is also another essential platform.

The good thing is that you are not limited to one of these if you like you can use both of them. Though, I recommend Udemy if you are starting afresh and don't have an online presence and Teachable/Thinkific if you have a blog and some sort of online presence, this will make you sale courses at higher price easier.

How to Create an Online Course?

Well, creating a course is super easy these days, You can create a course almost free of cost, all you need is an email address, time, knowledge, and passion for doing the teaching.

Both Udemy and Teachable allows you to create your course and provides a lot of tools upload your content like course videos, audio, presentations, images, and text.

Teachable also allows you to customize your school with your brand, colors, logos, etc. They also run Teachable Live Conference where you get to meet successful online course creators and learn from the strategies they have adopted to create awesome online courses.

They also guide you in every step like creating an outline of your course, filming, editing, launch, and delivery. So, you not only create an alternative income stream but also learn a new skill and improve your existing expertise and knowledge by teaching to new students.

Here is a screenshot form Teachable website, which roughly outlines what you need to do to create a successful online course for free:

Why Programmers Should Create and Sell Online Courses

This is such an awesome thing that I can't recommend it enough. It's a win-win situation for everyone involved, you get money for teaching, but you also improve your programming skill and learn a new skill for creating videos and doing online business. Students learn from your real-life experience and make their careers.

All the best, with your learning and course creation. If you create an online course and need any help from me, I am always ready to help, just drop me a note. I will also help you to promote your classes online, after all, you are my reader and community has given so much love to me. I just try to do my bit.

Update - Teachable is hosting a free online conference for aspiring creators to create their online courses called Teachable Live 2019. I have been waiting for this conference for a long time, it's FREE and great if you want to create an online course, If you want to join for FREE, here is the link to join Teachable Live 2019.

Normally, you'd need to invest upwards of a thousand bucks on a ticket to a three-day conference with a line-up like this one, but Teachable Live is complete free.

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P.S. - This is not just true for Programmers and Software developers, but for anyone who wants to earn some money online. It not only create an alternative source of income for programmers but also makes you happy and brings more energy because you will be doing things which you love and passionate about.

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javinpaul profile



Java Programmer and blogger


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Great article. It think launching online courses is really the best way to grow your personal brand as a programmer (or any other skill).
There's a really nice platform called GuideSeed.com which helps you create your online school with only your brand on your sales page and student's online campus). It also helps you with marketing and other sales stuff.


Thanks @gabrielmosermick . I didn't know about that platform, do you mind to share more, I mean what is the difference between this and Teachable/Thinkific? and why one choose that one over more established platforms?


Thanks for this post. I have in mind to start a side hustle in mid-2020 by teaching on 1-to-1, but I'm going to add creating courses when I have downtime.


I have done teaching 1-to-1 and I have also taken classroom, they are great if you have a passion for teaching but they don't scale well. If you put the same amount of time and energy, you can make bigger impact on online courses because of its one-to-many model. That's the reason I am suggesting everyone in my circle work on it.


Yeah, and I agree with that. But if someone starts doing Udemy courses, how much do you get per course? Because I assume no one is going to pay other than the 10$/€ price. And you have to produce a top-notch course.

I'm looking at the Udemy's Instructor Revenue Share and you get 97% of your sale if the student uses your code, but just 50% of the sale if it is purchased through their sale.

To the one with tens of thousands yes, it is worth. But what about the smaller ones?

hello @david you are right but Udemy's strength is their marketing, you will sell more there than any other platform. Though, I don't suggest anyone with a longer-term view to solely depend on that. It's always better to create your own online course website using Teachable or Thinkific, you will not only earn more in the long term but also retain your students, which will be your real asset. The best is to start with your own school and leverage Udemy's power to create your brand by putting one of your courses there.


This is so helpful. Already planning to start creating online courses and only the thought of it is so overwhelming but I'm excited to see how it turns out.


Hello @Gift, that's great, good decision. I agree with you, it's definitely tough, especially your first course, that's why being a part of community like Teachable help. You constantly get motivation and push like they did a Teachable Creator Challenge last summer. Now they are doing a Teachable Live, which is a 3-day free event, where you'll get a chance to learn from 20+ speakers who have already created a successful course. If you are serious, I suggest you join that event, you will make a lot of friends and an expert community, which will help you later on course creation and marketing.

All the best in your journey and do keep in touch.


I'm actually getting pretty close to finishing an online course. Fortran for Beginners. I'd love to get some feedback and help promoting it when I'm done.


That's great Brad, feel free to ask if we can be any help.


The free way for sell online course easily is formator.io (french website)