Part-Time Work for a Struggling College Student

Hello all! A little about me:
I’m a 23 y.o. College student living off of financial aid while studying and learning to program. I have had a ton of jobs for someone my age, some of which had potential to move up and I was offered a decent amount of promotions. Mind you, even the best of them were barely over minimum wage where I live. However, I wanted more in life, and so I began to consider going back to finish my degree and found programming to be something I wanted do as a life career. This was in part due to having a friend who is a full time back-end developer in Europe who’s been a great mentor though our time zones make it hard to meetup. I’ve also been a gamer my whole life, have always loved to build and design things, have built several computers, and love learning.

I started studying C# as that’s what my friend recommended, and I loved it instantly. Starting with incredibly simple console programs like a Number guessing game, a small choose your own adventure, a miniature rpg, and other small challenges I began to learn the basics of C# and programming in general. Note, these were all text based, however, I didn’t use tutorials and aside from some guidance from my friend, I worked on these all by myself using documentation and a lot of thinking. I did that for a better part of a year, off and on while working full time.

Fast forward to Dec 18/Jan 19 I started school again and I began working on the Udemy Complete Unity 2D Course by (great guys). I worked through the entire Unity 2D course and loved it, I made a good amount of games and made them my own. Istarted the Unity RPG Course through the same guys, was really loving it, and still learning tons about C#, but I wanted to get my foot into the door of my career sooner than later. Although being a game programmer is my end all dream career, finances are limited, College is hard as it is, and the sooner I can develop skills that pay the better.

So, I discussed some of my plans with my friend and came up with the result that a good path would be to continue working on my C# skills (love the language) get familiar with the framework, learn frontend skills such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and the Angular framework, and then eventually SQL. Hopefully I won’t need to be full stack before getting my foot in the door, but it’s a good goal to work towards skills wise. I started on Freecodecamp after hearing its name a million times, and I wouldn’t say I “know” HTML and CSS but I have the basics down at least, still need to do the projects for the first certificate, but I’m liking my progress and having worked with C# for over a year I get some of the concepts fairly easily. I’m most excited for JavaScript as I worked very minimally with it in the past, and now should understand it in a whole new light.

My question and the reason for this lengthy topic is this: I need, or would highly prefer, some part time, freelance, contract, whatever work just to help pay bills while I learn on the job. I understand it takes time to be job ready, so I’m talking about internship+ (where I get some small pay to get work done). What would be good sources for this, what should I be focusing on to get there, and is there any other advice you’d have for me? I’m in an associates for programming but it’s not necessarily going to make a big impact on my skills or job hunt, at least not the school I’m at. Regular part time jobs are great and all, but I barely managed to do that before and now I’m trying to learn career worthy skills at the same time, so I really need work and income that is somewhat related to my field.

TL;DR: I need part time or freelance work to hone my coding skills and bring in some income while I struggle through college with the intent to go into programming for the rest of my life, either before or after finishing my degree.

Depending on how far along you are in your degree, it might be a good time to begin aggessively pursuing an industry internship. It’s not uncommon for a summer full-time internship to transition into a part-time schedule during the school year.

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I’m also an undergrad.

The phone interview that we were just talking about on my thread, I was able to get that through my university. Go to your universities career center, I only applied to 5 places and 3 of them emailed me back!

I’m not sure what school you go to but most of them have a career center and for whatever reason a lot of students don’t take advantage of it. It’s such a big help.


@Heyrio is right on the money. Anyone who is in college should make lots of use of their career center. It’s an amazing resource that most people ignore. No matter how good you already are at job hunting, they can help.

Thank you both! I’ll definitely look into the career center, I believe I’m on track with something similar actually and already have plans to go in tomorrow to learn more. At a job fair that was hosted recently I got semi-offers for programming internships because I was aggressive, not for the jobs but for tech company leads, so I’ll be looking into those as well. Only major issue with the plan is my funds are going to run up by, or before summer comes along. I had considered doing summer classes to accelerate my degree and get my grants/loans, but we’ll just have to see how that works out. Hopefully the career center has some leads into any amount of work, even unpaid, so I can get the experience needed to move further along.

On that note, are sites like Fiver and whatnot good for some small gigs? Also, should I focus on beefing up my C# skills to being able to call them backend skills since I’ve been learning the language for so long, or should I keep on learning web dev and loop back? Part of the appeal of Web Dev to me is that it’s generally a faster route to get into an entry job. Now I’m not trying to make this marathon a sprint, I would be ecstatic if I can simply be semi-job ready by the end of 2019. But I don’t want to go down the route of a dropout again, as I know what I want now and I work hard everyday towards it. I suppose in a worse case scenario I could go back to full time work if school funds aren’t enough to pay the bills, but that leaves so little time and energy for learning.

Turns out my college doesn’t have a career center, it was taken out lol. I did, however, push every faculty I asked and got some leads. Lots of it is leaning towards getting a Security+ certificate as I live in a military town but am not military myself. Surprisingly had people more interested in my C#/Unity skills than potential web dev. Going to be learning the basics for the framework soon here to add that to the list.

Hi Addikins,

Have you tried remote job boards? Working from home would allow you to mix study and work.

Here a few sites from my bookmarks. I don’t know which ones are really good. And there are many other sites like these.