Computers for Cash: How Technology Can Make You Money

There are plenty of guides out there telling you how to save money by embracing technology. Whether it involves using an Excel spreadsheet to keep tabs on your finances, or automating parts of your sales pipeline to reduce overheads. But what about actually making money in the first place?

The digital economy is booming and offering such a wide variety of jobs that it can be difficult to know exactly which role would suit your skill set. If you’re a bit of a technology nerd, or are simply interested in a career change, here are a few ways that you can use computers to make a living.

Web design

The number of websites on the internet continues to grow, with figures now well in excess of a billion. However, these sites aren’t simply wished into existence, they are created by talented web designers.

Web design is one of the digital careers than combines creative expression with technical know-how, which makes it a great way of making money if you find other technological pursuits a little bit… boring.

In addition, because this job only requires that you have access to an online connection and the right software, it offers a lot of freedom. You could join a web design agency for full-time work, or opt to go freelance, seeking out clients yourself and working remotely.

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Software development

Software development is vital for many of the things we now take for granted. You expect to be able to take out your phone and post your photos to social media with the click of a button, or open a web browser and purchase gifts from the other side of the world in seconds. Without software developers, this wouldn’t be possible.

In order to get into software development, strong coding skills are a must, and many countries are now placing greater emphasis on this in schools in order to create the next generation of software engineers. Making money from this pursuit has changed in recent years, however, and it’s good to be aware of this. Advertising revenues and subscription fees are now the predominant methods of paying for software, rather than purchasing a physical copy.

White hat hacking

That’s right, you can actually receive payment for hacking into businesses and government agencies, but only if you are doing it for the right reasons. White hat hacking is the ethical version of breaking and entering in the computer world and can prove quite lucrative, if you have the right skills.

Ethical hackers are most often employed by government agencies or very large businesses, where they are tasked with finding weaknesses in their cyber-security. The reason that this position is so useful is that it helps organisations find out about security flaws before the bad guys do. So, instead of having to pay out thousands of dollars due to a ransomware program, suffering huge reputation damage, and watching the media talk about how poor your security is, you just employ a white hat hacker instead.

In order to secure a position like this, you’ll need a broad knowledge of different types of web and software attacks and a detailed understanding of the most commonly used operating systems, like Windows and Linux. However, you should be aware that to become a white hat hacker, you cannot simply start infiltrating corporate networks and then proclaim your good intentions.

Ethical hacker positions are formal roles at large companies, but they are few and far between. Instead, some businesses offer reward programs for anyone that finds a vulnerability in their computer systems. This can be a great way of seeing if ethical hacking is right for you and you get paid for it!

Become a YouTube sensation

This career is not the easiest to achieve, but it is one of the most rewarding, financially at least. YouTube pays its content creators based on the ad revenues that they generate, so getting a lot of viewers is the first step to becoming a YouTube sensation. Of course, in order to do that you need to offer something interesting, educational or entertaining to your audience. The bad news is: there’s a lot of competition.  The good news is: you can choose to video whatever you want.

You can become a successful YouTuber offering guitar lessons, language learning tips, interior design ideas, playing video games, or just by vlogging about your life. As long as you stamp your personality on it, have a video camera and some basic editing software, you’re ready to go. Remember to offer something unique to what’s already out there if you don’t want to get lost in the crowd.

YouTube success can also lead to further career opportunities. There are examples of YouTube sensations that have gone on to land book deals and other sponsorship opportunities – so what are you waiting for, get filming!

Trading

Technology has had a huge impact on so many industries, and the stock market is certainly one of them. The days when trading stocks and shares involved putting on a suit and shouting, “sell, sell, sell,” loudly in Wall Street or London are long gone.

Instead, complex computer systems now manage hundreds of trades in a fraction of a second. You can even take part in market trading simply by using your smartphone, with a number of dedicated apps in existence to help you get started.

The foreign exchange (or Forex) is the largest financial market in the world, simply because every transaction that takes place between more than one currency relies on an exchange process and rate. For traders in Forex, it is vital that they can keep a constant eye on currency exchange rates as they can be very volatile. Doing this manually would not be particularly efficient or practical, which is why technology is often used instead. Investing in a cheap Forex VPS (virtual private server) will provide you with 24/7 up-time, so you’ll never miss the opportunity to buy low or sell high. You can also utilize automatic trading to maximize your profits even if you’re preoccupied.

Sell your wares

Even if you’re not the most tech-savvy, the internet provides a valuable outlet for anyone wanting to make money, whether they’re seeking a full-time job or just some cash on the side. One of the ways that you can do this is by selling products online.

Auction sites like eBay provide a customer-base in the range of millions, meaning anyone can start selling unwanted items with much greater reach than they would have offline. However, the internet is not just useful for clearing out your junk – it can also be the start of a professional retail business.

Webpages like Etsy allow you to express your creativity by making products and selling them to others. You can then use this to gather an online following and start becoming recognized as a brand in your own right. Ultimately, you could begin an online retail platform of your own, using your own web design skills or paying for a digital agency to help you.

Sell your knowledge

Earning money using digital technologies can be rewarding in more than just a financial way, particularly if you get to pass on the gift of knowledge. There are currently a number of websites that enable you to earn money as an online tutor. Udemy and SkillShare, for example, provide you with an opportunity to teach your favorite subject, whatever that may be.

You can design your online course however you like and have the benefit of teaching it in your own time, and in your own unique style. What’s more, you don’t have to stick to traditional subjects like History and Mathematics, you can offer classes in cooking, crafts or anything that you think your students will find useful.

Data analysis

The amount of data being created each day is enormous. Our website clicks, smartphone use, debit card transactions and many other everyday activities all create data. However, making sense of this deluge of information is not easy, which is why data scientists are becoming highly sought after.

A career in data analysis would suit someone with a strong mathematical background, an eye for detail and an understanding of statistical modelling and its associated software. As well as a passion for numbers, data scientist must also have an awareness of how the data they are working with can be used to benefit their employer, because data without insight is just a collection of numbers.

If you’re looking for a career using digital technologies that is more future-proof than most, then data analysis is a good one to choose. The amount of data at our disposal is already huge, but will surely continue to grow in the years to come. With the Internet of Things on the horizon, data volumes will increase once more, creating an even greater need for data analysis.

Technology provides a great way for us to express our creativity, watch movies or simply catch up on the news, but it is also so much more than that. It offers a broad spectrum of career options and money-making opportunities, no matter what your interests are or where your skills lie.

 

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