Can You Make Money in Open Source Development?
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Open source means free. So how can you make money from open source development? Read on as we take a look at exactly how you can do just that.

Open source software is software that is open to anyone to modify the code. This is done in hopes of creating a high-quality product that is free for public use.

As of 2017, 57% of companies use more open source code than their own in their codebases.

Many people choose to contribute to open source development for the love of coding, but development work can be very time consuming and difficult. This excludes those who are unable to offer their time for free.

Continue reading for popular ways developers can get paid for open source work.

Paid Training

With so many contributors, open source software can get very complex. Individuals and companies will offer payment for training them on the software. Companies will also hire staff members to help in case anything goes wrong with the software.

Learning popular software and teaching it to others is a great way to create an open source job.

Freemium Software

Offering a "freemium" is a popular way to make money with open source. A freemium is offering limited use of software for free with paid advanced features.

Some open source projects will offer the program for free but keep the code as a private offering. Technically this isn't open source software, but it's commonly lumped in with it.


Many open source projects will pay a developer per task. This is called a bounty. They may offer a few hundred dollars to fix a bug or do other work. A few places a developer can find bounty offerings are: Gitcoin, Status Open Bounty, and GitHub Bug Bounty Program.

Get Paid to Learn the Software

Linux is a popular open source program used by major companies like Google and Android. Some companies like these will hire individuals to learn the software. These companies will then develop the software as a basis for their own projects.

Contribute High-Quality Code

Open source development is beneficial to your career. Employers want to see that you have done some work on your own.

If the code you contribute is of high quality, you can be recognized as an expert in the field. This substantially broadens your marketability. This method works best if you contribute to a popular project.

Employer Contributions

If you want to work on an open source project but can't afford the time, try talking to your employer. They may be able to identify areas of internal programs that are better-served as open source. It would then be of their benefit to pay you to develop the software.

Companies like, Netflix, Paypal, and Rackspace have programs that support open source projects.


You can run a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to work on open source projects. This usually works best if you or the software is very popular. Also, many organizations offer grants for the development of certain projects.

Try Open Source Development

If you don't have the free time to donate to open source development, there is still hope. Employers are eager to hire those that continue to develop their skills.

Look for people needing help with a software you are familiar with. Also, stay in-tune with open source communities for leads on new projects and employment opportunities.

Check out our blog for more information on how to get ahead in the workplace.


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