Mid-30s IT project manager looking for opportunities to do software development as a side gig

I’m 35, live in Germany and have a corporate job as an IT project manager in the very broad area of data.

It’s actually not a bad job (nice colleagues, nice boss, recognition, good pay). However, at the same time I’m bored with it as 90% of my work time consists of running meetings, writing emails, gathering information, chasing after stakeholders, dealing with corporate processes and policies,…

Due to Corona, I used my free time to get more into programming / computer science. E.g. I did some programming projects in python. I also started a master’s degree in computer science at a distance learning university, which I could finish by autumn of next year (not sure if this is really useful to work as a developer though).

I would like to make more of this, but without giving up my main job.

Do you have any ideas how I can do that?

I was wondering if there are opportunities to do remote developer jobs on the side with a time commitment of about 15 hours a week. One challenge is probably that I’ve never worked professionally as a developer.

The main motivation is for now to further develop my skills. Additional income is less important. Of course, it would be great if, with the experience, I could later turn this into a main job with good pay. Or to have a job where I can combine managerial skills with developer skills.

I look forward to your suggestions! :slight_smile:

Open source contributions come to mind, however this goes from “side-gig” to essentially “charity work” as open source usually doesn’t pay anything.

On the flip side, you also don’t have to invest much time to get involved and there is a large ecosystem of “free” stuff to support open source development, so the upfront investment is minimal, besides your own personal time.

FreeCodeCamp itself is open sourced, and largy relies on open source contributors from the actual curriculum to other projects under freeCodeCamp’s fold. This is of course just one example. There’s plenty other projects looking for help from outside contributors all over github, so you can always search around for some that fit your bill.

Alternatively you could try to freelance, this would leverage a lot of the “managerial skills” you already have, but finding the work will be similar to how you describe your current job, except with the problem of being the only person who is responsible for all the work, including getting clients in the first place, along with the actual dev work.

Good luck, keep learning, keep growing :+1: