The IT industry values hands-on experience—the kind of experience you can usually only get on the job. To get that level of experience, it might be worth your time to find a side gig.
Whether you're just getting started in your career or you're a veteran looking to expand your skill set, part-time IT jobs can help you break into a new area or gain experience that you can't get in your current position. A part-time IT job could also keep your skills fresh while putting a little extra money in your pocket.
Choosing your side hustle.
There are plenty of side jobs available for IT professionals—you could pick up some consulting gigs or work some side projects in your free time, for instance. IT workers are in demand: There were 17 percent more IT job openings than qualified candidates to fill them in 2019, according to a Linux Academy survey, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the field to grow by 12 percent by 2028.
Further Reading: Leadership positions available in IT.
What you should look for in a side gig depends on your career goals. If you're interested in advancing in your current organization, you might want to seek side jobs that help you bolster your skills. This is a good plan for advancement: The Linux Academy survey reported that 70 percent of executives said that their current employees lack the technological skills needed to do their jobs effectively. If you can boost your skills, you'll make yourself more attractive for promotions and pay raises.
If you're interested in breaking into new fields, you'll want to look for part-time IT jobs that will allow you to develop new skills, which will let you work toward a new job without leaving the security of your current one.
Where can I find part-time IT jobs?
The easiest places to find part-time IT jobs are general job boards, such as the ones on Glassdoor or Ziprecruiter, or on a tech-focused job site like Dice. You might also look at freelancing job sites such as Upwork or Guru. But if your employer doesn't mind you starting up a side hustle, you might see better results advertising your IT skills, building your network, and drumming up business on LinkedIn.
You could also work with a staffing agency that specializes in IT; that way you can spend less time searching for jobs and more time building your skills.
What kinds of part-time IT jobs are available?
There are myriad part-time IT jobs you can work on the side that will help you gain experience and bring in some extra money. Here are some examples of available part-time IT roles.
Help desk: A look at internet job boards, such as the one on Indeed, shows that tech companies are always looking for part-timers to man the help desk nights and weekends. If you're just getting started in your IT career, you might be able to work on the help desk from home; if you're a college student, this could be a great stepping stone.
Tech support: The gig economy means more solo workers without direct access to a help desk or tech support—and sometimes these professionals don't know how to update their computers or set up some of the software they use. You can make extra money and gain experience by working in freelance tech support. Part-time IT support assistance is in steady demand, if the Glassdoor job board is any indication.
Teaching: If you've been in the IT field a while, you could make some extra money teaching. Job postings seeking experienced professionals to IT to teach kids and adults frequently pop up on LinkedIn.
Code refactoring: Do you know how to code? If so, you can land freelance work cleaning up code. This can be good work for coders who want to gain proficiency in a specific language, make inroads at new organizations, or just make a little cash on the side. There's plenty of refactoring work to be found on contracting sites such as the aforementioned Upwork.
Web developer: The world is full of people who need websites but don't know how to build or manage them. If you do, you can make good money freelancing and boost your web development skills. The U.S. News & World Report named web developer one of its 12 best part-time jobs.
Quality assurance tester: Do you like finding bugs in code? QA testers make sure apps, sites, and codes run as expected. If you have QA experience or are interested in learning how code works, a QA job—most of which are often offered on a contract basis—might be right for you. You can find testing jobs on IT-specific job sites like Dice.
Consultant: If you have a lot of IT experience—if you've been working as an IT manager, for example—you could serve as an IT consultant and help other organizations understand how to use technology to meet their business needs.
These are just a handful of examples. You could also work on an open-source project in a field you're passionate about, pick up some freelance cybersecurity work, or become a consultant in specific technologies or methodologies such as DevOps. A part-time IT job that aligns with your interests and goals can help you hone skills or break into a new field—all while putting a little extra money in your pocket.