Friday, March 8, 2013

10 ways you can earn money as a computer science student


You may be a BCA or BTech student studying computer science. During your 3 or 4 year degree course, you can earn some pocket money and also gain experience at the same time. I have listed here 10 ways you can earn money, not much, but like I said, enough for pocket money. The concept of earning while in college is relatively more common in the west than here in India. In India, we tend to view college life as  either studies only or enjoyment only, depending on the student.

1.  Develop websites for others
Since you are a computer science student, you can develop websites for people.  Initially, it might be hard to find a client as you have no experience, so, develop your own websites and showcase them as your portfolio.  You can develop static html pages or dynamic php or asp pages depending on your choice of languages.   If a traditional website is what your client wants, you can use popular Content Management Systems(CMS) like wordpress or joomla. Wordpress and joomla are readymade website' templates' and are very easy to set up. You may even offer a whole website package which includes  the domain name, website , email , hosting and support. This can earn you some money as well as give you experience to enhance your resume.

2.  Become a freelance software developer
Becoming a software developer is not difficult, but it requires a lot of effort and perseverance. It is similar  like becoming a website developer except that you will be developing software applications for small businesses and enterprises.  You can start by developing a student management software for your school or college. They may or may not use it, but it will give you some experience to start with.  If you will be developing GUI  desktop applications, you have an array of choices like VisualStudio, QT C++, Netbeans, Delphi etc.  I have written an article on becoming a software developer here.

3. Repair computers of friends/family
If you want to plan your career in the hardware and networking path, you can start by offering services - like repairing  computers and  windows installations - to  friends and family members.  This will greatly enhance your troubleshooting skills also.  The objective here is to establish a name for yourself. You can then expand to shops and cyber-cafes where computer services are in great demand.  After you have achieved some repute, you can start charging people for  your services.

4. Work part time in call centers as technical  support role
This will help you in two ways. One, you will gain some technical know-how about troubleshooting, two, you will learn some people skills and communication skills. You can work part time in a nearby call center or company. Although part-time jobs are hard to come by these days, you can still find them if you look hard enough.

5. Participate in programming  contests.
There are many programming and software development contests going on all over the world. Most of them are online. The benefit here is twofold; enhancing your programming skills as well as a cash prize, if you win. The best example is the IBM - The Great Mind Challenge , although t is only  for Indians. There are many other contests like this all over the world. Google is your best friend.

 6. Write tech related articles
You can write technology themed articles. For this, you can either start your own blog or join an online freelance website like Elance, Odesk or Freelancer. At any given time, there are plenty of potential clients in these sites hiring freelancers to write their tech blogs or websites.

7. Help others in online(paying) forums such as ealp.com
There are several forums online which pay you for answering questions people ask. The best I can think of is the Earn And  Learn Program (www.ealp.com). Payment from this site is made once a month. I tried this once, and I got a cheque of Rs. 1000 for a month's work (10 minutes a day). You can earn around 5000 in a month, but It will consume much of your time.

8. Internship at a software company
Many software/IT  companies take interns for technical work. Although internships are not easy to find in India, the situation seems to be better in the west. Once you get a job as an intern, you can work at the company for about 2-6 months. This can be counted as experience and will enhance your resume. Twenty19 is an excellent website for searching for internships. They list both paying and non paying internships all over India.

9. Develop android/mobile apps and sell it
Download the Android SDK and start developing android applications. Android is one of the hottest mobile Operating Systems available today. With Karbonn and Micromax launching cheaper and cheaper  Android phones, the market is huge. Develop games or applications and sell them in the Google Play store. You can develop Symbian and  Apple apps also.

10. Become a freelance ethical hacker
You can learn hacking and once you are good enough, you can start becoming a freelance cyber security consultant. This idea is not  mainstream and only few people will be  up for this. That is why it is in the last. It will be quite difficult to do this, but once you earn a certain repute as a freelance pen tester, your earnings will be good. You can start by offering to secure the computers of others and remember to  constantly practice  in your hacking lab. I am currently doing just this through Elance.com. 2 years ago, I signed up for a free elance account and now people hire me to test their websites  after looking at my elance profile


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