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What is the best way to balance learning or working for a career you are interested all while doing a side hobby/gig to help better yourself financially?

I am interested in Computer Science, Graphical Design/Art, Computer Engineering as well as Video Production. My experience varies in those categories but all the while, I want to maintain a side gig in college so I am able to self-sustain myself. computer-science computer computer-engineering design computer-software

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Ishita’s Answer

Hi Jayden!

Time management will be key! College keeps your busy, with all the extra curricular activities but having a side gig is a great way to not only get expirirence but also self sustain. Depending on the side gig, and how much money you are trying to make, will vary the pressure. If you do Door Dash, instacart, etc. you can maintain a flexible schedule and do deliveries in your free time until you hit your monetary goal.

If you decided to have your own businesses, or investments, you will have to decided what is the time investment you want to make. Once you understand the time necessary, you can start blocking out your calendar on what you need to do during those times. Being a full time student is a full time job, so working full time + a side gig takes a balance.

I personally like to block out time for my day job, and mark what I need to do for the day. Then, each week plan out what I want to do for my side businesses. I have a certain amount of hours I like to invest, and I break out those hours into tasks. Keeping organized with my schedule allows me to see how much I want to make, and how much "free time" do I actually have.

I would say, start out with 5-10 hours a week for your side job while you are in school. If you see you have more time, you can increase the time you want to invest. But start out small and build yourself up to make sure you aren't overwhelmed while you are doing both things.

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Andy’s Answer

Hi Jayden!

Great question! I and many others have done something similar: pursuing education (college) while working (part or full-time) for financial stability. You have a lot of options, which is good. Options both in terms of what type of education pathway you pursue and what type of financial supporting job you maintain at the same time. In terms of education options, I encourage you to explore several including full time or part time colleges, 2 year or 4 year degree programs, Universities or Community Colleges. There is a wide range of prices you would pay, time commitment (on a weekly basis and/or how long you will be in college). Community Colleges can be a great option for example, with typically more scheduling flexibility and definitely more affordable than 4-year University programs. also, you can start one pathway but switch a year or two later. Some people for example will spend 2 years at a Community College and then transfer credit hours to a 4-year University to finish a Bachelors Degree.

While you are in school pursuing your education, you definitely have also a lot of options to support yourself financially. If you already have ideas for some innovative "gig" work - that is awesome. If you have some ideas but nothing specific, for sure feel free to explore and expirement a little. Don't be afraid of failure. We learn more from failing at something than succeeding, believe it or not! There are also a wide range of "typical" side jobs college student have: from working through a college supported program like "work study", or waiting tables ...

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Aditya’s Answer

Hi Jayden,

Great question, and i think you used the right word here - it's all about balance.

Many people have to balance both their schooling/ career as well as a side gig or whatever else to make ends meet, or even help further your personal growth.

For me, school and my career is something that I have to do, and candidly, I'm excited about it. When i was in college, I focused on studying, and split time pretty evenly between studying and working on campus so I had some extra cash in my pocket. I also had a workload that was manageable so I could easily support doing both, this would of course vary depending on your side gig and what you are studying / working on.

As i've gotten older, my career has turned into one of my number 1 day to day priorities, as well as my health and my relationships with friends and family. Though my side gig / hobbies have taken more of a backseat, I don't need them to make ends meet or pay the bills, so instead I use free time to focus on them and grow personally - for example I DJ when I can, and have recently taken up boxing to learn a new skill and focus on my health.

I think that as you progress in your career, and it becomes your primary source of income, you will have the freedom to focus on your sidegig as much or as little as you want to! At that point its all about personal growth, and being well rounded.

At the end of the day, its all about balance.

I hope this helps!!
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Kevin’s Answer

Hi Jayden. Great question. I've had a side gig for the last five years or so in addition to my primary job (or school in your case). For me it's all about setting priorities for what you want to accomplish. My primary job is my top priority and I won't ever let my side gig derail it. That being said my side gig allows me to release a lot of the creative side of my personality. The crazy part is how much my side gig has enhanced my primary job. I'm in tech sales primarily in SaaS and API in the finserv world. Thanks to my side gig I'm now familiar with AWS, Heroku, GO, Wordpress. I've also created working partnerships with new friends in Australia, Israel, and other locations.

So for me I start work with my primary job at 5am (I know crazy) M-F. The only time I'll work my side gig is on the weekends (anytime) weekdays anytime before 5am. When it's time to work my day job that's it. No excuses. No matter how much fun the side gig is or in your case pays the bill don't lose sight of the primary goal - completing school.

Are any of your ideas something you are interested but lack expertise in THAT could benefit you down the road? In that case, you might pursue that as a side gig. You'll make money while learning something new at the same time.

Stay focused and don't be afraid to pivot in your side gig if what you start out with loses its appeal.

I admire you for thinking about this. Well done.

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Bader’s Answer

It's doable to have a side gig, especially if it's something you're passionate about and just enjoy in general. Time management is a critical piece here, and also being aware of any potential conflicts of interest, especially if doing a side gig while working also full-time, so check with your current company on potential issues. But the best advise I'd give you here is don't let money drive you (and hopefully you are able to sustain yourself without a side gig), life is too short to stress over "banking" money for the sake of collecting more of it and miss out on what life offers... from experiences you can gain, things you can get exposed to via trying new things, shadowing, talking and networking with people, and enjoying the things time can't buy, family and loved ones.
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LH’s Answer

Hi Jayden,

This is a great and vulnerable question.

To be completely honest, it's not always easy to do, and juggle all of the above. It's important to give yourself space to take a breather and also remember to be compassionate to yourself, as you navigate finding a balance. It's ok to hit obstacles along the way - what's more important is how you pick yourself back up and what you learn along the way.

I grew up in a very poor neighborhood in Hawaii, and though I was fortunate enough to have financial aid and scholarships while I was at college, I still had to work a few jobs. I also worked all types of odd jobs (bartending, catering, roofing, yardwork, babysitting, helping people move, driving, chopping wood, dishwashing, painting, etc). I also graduated in 5 years, instead of the typical 4. I also pivoted in what I wanted to do after college, and tried out a few jobs before finding my groove.

A few things to consider/remember:

1. There are many ways to learn and get an education:
Examples: Start at trade school
do community college and then transfer to a university
Work a few years first, then go to school
Do online courses, while you work and save money, then transfer or graduate from an online program
-if you're interested in computer science and coding - there are a lot of free courses online to learn from on your own pace, as you work.

When you're ready, there are also boot camps that can help jumpstart your career into computer science related job - they tend to be expensive, but some have scholarships, or you can work prior to save money to pay for the fee. Look for some bootcamps that don't make you pay until they've helped you land a job.

2. Take your time. Try to remember that this is your timeline, and not anyone else's. It can be difficult to remember this as people are moving in a certain way around you, but try to remember that you are on your timeline, and making your way on your journey.

3. If/when you go to college, see if your school has a work study program - this will be helpful in getting started and helping you find a balance with time

4. Hospitality jobs (restaurants/bartending/catering/cooking) and gig economy jobs (doordash/uber/lyft/instacart) tend to have more flexible hours

5. Every job is a learning opportunity - and the skills you learn can be transferrable to any other job or a future job. Great way to meet people along the way as well, and also learn that you may want to do something else in your career.

6. Don't be afraid to try things, and it's ok to pivot as you need to.

7. Join a job board or subscribe to an employment email - these are great sources to one time gigs that you can sign up for when you have time

8. Take breaks when you can - otherwise you will burnout. It's ok to take a pause, then start again.

9. Invest early as well - open up a Roth IRA and invest in an index fund. This will be you building towards your retirement long term. When you're working odd jobs/multiple jobs, and when you are a below a certain age, you can't contribute to your company's 401(k), but you can open a Roth Ira (link below). There is no such thing as a small amount. Any amount you put towards this, will be great for your future. And investing helps grow your money! You can't take this out until you retire, but you'll at least build for your future as you start to figure out your career.,k)%20starting%20at%20age%2072

Good Luck Jayden. Wishing you the best.