Programmers are in demand since they are able to create products or services by hacking around on their laptops. This leads to new and interesting ideas being implemented into all facets of society, from IT to agriculture.

While the average university graduate may go off to work for a large corporation or the government, your anti-authoritarian spirit would rather start something from scratch. If you haven’t a clue what kind of niche to get into, hopefully, this article will give you a few ideas of what’s in demand.

Starting an App Development Agency

Albeit with a few limitations, creating mobile applications can be just as dynamic as desktop programs. Since there are now more mobile users in the world, businesses of all sizes what to get their brand into app stores to garner more business.

An app development agency can be the jack-of-all-trades, making just about any program a paying customer tells you to make. Of course, it could help to niche-down with what’s in demand, whether it be games, social media apps, or e-commerce.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

The SaaS is quite a trendy business model that most programmers are already familiar with. Its monetization method is to provide a service on a subscription basis, and with a little creativity, it can be applied to a diverse array of industries.

The access point for users is typically the web browser, but can also include mobile applications, desktop applications, API libraries, and even open-sourced client software.

Some SaaS success stories include:

  • MailChimp
  • Spotify
  • LastPass
  • Square
  • DocuSign
  • ServiceNow
  • GoToMeeting

Create a new Cryptocurrency or Blockchain-based App

I know, blockchain technology is being hyped beyond its actual real-world capabilities. Even with that said, cryptocurrencies alternative model that can do quite well if you’re missing traditional financial backing. Your company doesn’t necessarily have to be based around being a currency but rather having a token integrated within a service.

Some cool concepts for cryptocurrencies include:

  • Creating apps for existing cryptocurrencies, such as mobile wallets or side-chain projects.
  • An MMORPG using cryptocurrency as its main service. Worldopo is a perfect example.
  • Social media or blogging platforms with a blockchain backend – like Steemit or Uptrennd.
  • Forking and making improvements on an existing coin project. See Bitcoin Cash and other Bitcoin forks
  • Video sharing website/app with a blockchain backend. LBRY would be a good example of this, and it was created using Ethereum’s ERC20 token design.
  • Cryptocurrency trading bots or price analysis software.

Indie Game Development

Most have had probably pondered creating their own video game at some point. If you are adept at a programming language and you have a cool idea, it’s possible to turn that fantasy into a real business.

While the competition is stifling, it’s totally possible to make it as a game development company with little resources. For example, a game like Runescape had started as a small university project that grew into a multi-million dollar company, and continues to grow.

While a small team can still do amazing things, there are still lots of fronts to handle in game development. This can include handling art design, social media & PR, creating a website, reaching out to media, game testing, etc...

Software Consulting

While it’s more applicable for someone with a well-established resume, software consulting can be quite lucrative with enough clients. It’s typically when a business needs an outside opinion from an expert on how to make a business or design decision related to software development.

Being an independent consultant, or starting your own consulting company, usually doesn’t involve writing code, at least not often. It’s more about giving your expert opinion in exchange for money. I suggest reading this article by DaedTech to learn more.

Teach Others How to Program

Programming is a skill that’s in-demand worldwide, yet not everyone has the ability to enroll in University for a computer science degree. This is why people are turning to free or low-cost materials on the internet, and if you’re a formally educated programmer, you are in the perfect position to capitalize on it.

The most basic way to get started could be creating an informative blog and/or Youtube channel, although that’s quite a slow crawl to making a decent income stream. Some notable influencers in this space include Treehouse, Derek Banas, or Mike Locke.

A more direct business model would be launching courses on popular platforms like Udemy or Teachable. Even then, this could require a decent amount of promotion via social media or PPC campaigns to kick off your courses.

Embedded Devices

If you have a knack for low-leveling programming languages, your skills transfer over well to embedded devices and IoT. While this side of the industry is more or less consolidated towards large electronics manufacturers, there is still room for startups, especially since production costs are going down.

Some startups to look up to include:

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