As an electrical engineer, you're known for having technical knowledge that most people don't have. Electrical engineering also requires innovative thinking and the ability to tackle complex challenges.
But, despite countless hours of working in the field, it's not always enough. Financial pressures get all of us, so you're not alone if you're looking for a side hustle to make ends meet or get ahead.
Of course, you could do any one of hundreds of side hustles or gigs, but a side hustle that compliments your skills and interests would be far better. It allows you to build upon your current career and expand into new areas related to your field.
In this article, we'll explore ways you can make more money as an electrical engineer. In fact, we'll cover 25 side hustles for electrical engineers, including some that lead to passive income and others like writing and tutoring that even students can do.
But first, let's talk about the benefits of having an electrical engineering side hustle…
Benefits of Side Hustles for Electrical Engineers
- Expanding your professional network and collaborating with people in your field.
- Diversifying your income. No one knows what the future holds, and it's better to take your financial future into your own hands if something ever happens to your job.
- Developing new, industry-related skills to increase your value and versatility as an electrical engineer.
- A diverse range of projects outside your regular job will increase your creativity and could lead to new ideas in both your side hustle and a full-time job.
I'm sure you can think of more benefits, but it's also important to mention that kickstarting a new side hustle involves more than just the right skills. You must know how to market your side hustle and find new clients.
An entirely different skill.
As we dive into the various side hustles for electrical engineers below, I'll go over some simple marketing ideas, but you can also check out our in-depth tutorial for marketing your side hustle.
With that said, let's get started with some teaching and tutoring side hustles below…
Please note that the starting budgets and income potential provided in this article are only rough estimates and can vary significantly depending on various factors. These factors may include but are not limited to your location, experience level, competition, target market, marketing strategy, and overall economic conditions. The figures mentioned are not guaranteed and should be used for informational purposes only.
We encourage you to conduct thorough research and consult with professionals in your field to gain a better understanding of the costs and potential earnings associated with your chosen side hustle. For additional information on income potential, you may refer to resources such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Glassdoor, and PayScale, which provide salary and income data for various professions and industries.
1. Private Tutoring in Electrical Engineering Subjects
Help students improve their electrical engineering grades by offering private tutoring services. Your real-world experience in the field and ability to explain things from first-hand knowledge can significantly impact someone's academic life.
This is also a great side hustle for electrical engineering students.
Start by promoting your services through local schools, community centers, and local online tutoring marketplaces (just search for “tutoring near me”)
You can also offer services on platforms like Wyzant and Tutor.com.
Starting Budget Estimate: $0 – $100 (for marketing materials)
Income Potential: Private tutors in electrical engineering can charge $30 – $100+ per hour, depending on experience and location.
2. Create and Sell Online Courses
Share your experience and knowledge with a bigger audience by creating online courses.
Platforms like Udemy and Teachable make online courses easy to create, which can be a great source of passive income. Once you create your course, it can generate revenue for years with minimal effort.
Starting Budget Estimate: $0 – $500 (for course creation software and marketing)
Income Potential: Course creators earn varying amounts depending on the price and number of students enrolled. Some creators make hundreds to thousands of dollars per month (although this is the exception, not the rule).
3. Host Workshops and Seminars
Another way to teach others about electrical engineering is to organize workshops and seminars to help students, new engineers entering the workforce, and professionals who want to brush up on their skills.
You can host in-person events at local venues or online through webinar platforms.
Starting Budget Estimate: $100 – $1,000 (for venue or webinar platform fees and marketing/advertising)
Resources: Zoom, WebinarJam, local schools, community centers, trade shows, etc.
Income Potential: Workshop and seminar fees can range from $30 – $500 per attendee, depending on the topic, duration, and audience.
4. Teach at a Local Community College or Vocational School
Part-time teaching positions at community colleges or vocational schools are also a great side hustle. I have a friend with her own bookkeeping company who taught evening classes for years.
This can be a stable secondary income source and a great way to meet people.
Starting Budget Estimate: $0 (assuming you have the necessary qualifications)
Resources: Check local college or vocational school websites
Income Potential: $30 – $40 per hour, depending on the institution and experience.
Let's move on to some freelance and consulting gigs…
5. Circuit Design and Simulation Consulting and Freelancing
Help clients with circuit design and simulation as a freelancer or consultant. Your ability to navigate the world of electrical circuits is like a superpower for those who have no knowledge or experience. And yet, for you, it can be a relatively easy side hustle.
You can start locally and then market your services on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr or through networking in industry groups.
Starting Budget Estimate: $0 – $500 (for marketing and software, if needed)
Income Potential: Circuit design freelancers can charge between $30 – $100 per hour. Clients also hire consultants for fixed rates that can range from $100 to $1000 or more, depending on experience and project complexity.
6. Control Systems Design and Consulting
Like circuit design, as mentioned above, control systems design and consulting is another great gig. And you're never limited to one side hustle. You can offer different services to multiple clients.
Your systems expertise can help businesses optimize their processes and improve overall efficiency.
Start by knocking on doors or calling local businesses, but don't forget about freelance platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, as mentioned above. Freelancer.com is another platform where you may find clients.
Also, organizations like IEEE Control Systems Society provide networking opportunities and special events that can help you land clients.
Starting Budget Estimate: $0 – $500 (for marketing and tools, if needed)
Resources: Freelancer, IEEE Control Systems Society
Income Potential: Control systems consultants can earn between $30 – $75 per hour an employee, based on experience and project scope.
However, if you're providing your own consulting service (with your own company), you can charge rates roughly 30% – 60% higher or more (which would be the employers take if you were working for a consulting company).
7. Power Systems Analysis and Consulting
Use your knowledge of the power systems for analysis and consulting services.
Businesses often need help understanding and optimizing generation, distribution, and consumption to optimize their operations. Of course, many companies have a full-time power engineer, but not all. And some may be temporarily without.
And although an electrical engineer's range of expertise differs from power engineering, there are some overlapping topics.
It doesn't hurt to reach out to potential clients through industry events or online platforms and just see what their problems are. Remember, clients don't always know what they need, but they can tell you what's not working. You may have the skills and experience they're looking for.
Starting Budget Estimate: $0 – $500 (for marketing and tools, if needed)
Resources: LinkedIn, IEEE Power & Energy Society, GE Technical Training
Income Potential: Power systems consultants can charge $40 – $150 per hour, depending on experience and project requirements.
8. Embedded Systems Design and Programming Services
You may also have knowledge of embedded systems. If that's the case, offering design and programming services is another good side hustle.
If you have experience creating efficient and effective systems for various applications, you can easily throw your name out there on freelance websites and offer services through industry connections.
Starting Budget Estimate: $0 – $500 (for marketing and software, if needed)
Income Potential: Embedded systems designers and programmers can earn $25 – $50 per hour or more based on experience, project complexity, and client acquisition.
9. Consult for Startups and Small Businesses
For a broader scope of work, you can provide electrical engineering services to startups and small businesses needing specialized assistance.
You can help them refine their product designs, improve manufacturing processes, navigate industry regulations, or whatever else they need related to your field.
Again, you can begin by marketing yourself through networking, industry events, and online platforms like LinkedIn.
Starting Budget Estimate: $0 – $500 (for marketing and networking expenses)
Resources: LinkedIn, research local networking events
Income Potential: Electrical engineering consultants can charge $150 – $360 per hour, depending on experience and project complexity.
If consulting is not your thing, electrical engineering content creation is another direction that might interest you. Here are some content creation and technical writing side hustles…
10. Start an Electrical Engineering Blog
So, how do you make money with a blog, right?
I've lost count of how many times I've been asked that question. There are several ways to make money, actually, and I'll go over the most popular ones below.
In a niche like electrical engineering and related topics, you can create content such as tutorials, industry news, and product reviews.
And then, you can monetize your blog with affiliate marketing by recommending products and services related to your content. Display ads are another great source of income, as are sponsored posts and partnerships from companies who want to piggyback on your content.
Starting Budget Estimate: $50 – $500 on the high side (for website setup, hosting, and training)
Resources: Wealthy Affiliate
Income Potential: Your income potential with an electrical engineering blog depends on your content quality, website traffic, conversion rates, product offers, etc. However, successful blogs can generate a few hundred to several thousand dollars (or more) per month.
11. Write Electrical Engineering Articles or Blog Posts
Similar to the above side hustle, you can also share your expertise by writing electrical engineering articles and blog posts for others.
Technical writers, editors, and fact-checkers are sought after because they are usually hard to find.
You can find a general freelance writer anywhere, but specialized knowledge is hard to come by. Industry websites, magazines, and technical publications are all places you can market your services.
Starting Budget Estimate: $0 – $100 (for marketing, if needed)
Resources: Problogger, Writeraccess
Income Potential: Electrical engineering writers can earn $0.10 – $1 per word, depending on experience and the client's budget.
12. Create Engineering-Related YouTube Videos
If writing is not your thing, you can also demonstrate. Use YouTube to create electrical engineering content. You can create educational content for studying, tutorials for practical applications, industry breakthroughs, and new product reviews.
Grow your channel's audience with YT search traffic by targeting high-search keywords. And optimize for high click-through rates with engaging titles and thumbnails.
Finally, monetize your videos through ads, sponsorships, affiliate marketing, and merchandise sales.
Starting Budget Estimate: $100 – $1,000 (for video equipment and editing software)
Resources: YouTube, Techsmith Camtasia
Income Potential: Earnings vary depending on the number of views and subscribers, ad revenue, sponsorships, and affiliate income. Successful channels can earn thousands of dollars per month.
13. Develop Engineering Podcasts
Maybe you don't like writing and would rather not be on camera. You're not alone. In that case, you can talk about electrical engineering.
Start a podcast and create engaging series discussing industry trends, innovations, interviews, stories from the field, and educational content. Build your audience and, like starting a YouTube side gig, monetize it with sponsorships, ads, affiliate marketing, and merchandise sales.
Starting Budget Estimate: $50 – $500 (for audio equipment and editing software)
Resources: Audacity (free audio editing software), Anchor.fm (podcast hosting platform)
Income Potential: Podcast earnings, like all content creation earnings, vary based on audience size, niche, marketing strategy, and monetization methods. Successful podcasts can earn hundreds to thousands of dollars per episode.
14. Sell Electrical Engineering Tools and Supplies Online
A slightly different approach with similar elements is to create an online store and sell electrical engineering tools, components, and supplies. Your customers would be other engineers, students, hobbyists, etc.
You can use e-commerce platforms like Shopify and eBay to set up your online store. Source your products from reliable suppliers, and offer a mix of well-known brands and unique (even weird) items to grab attention.
Starting Budget Estimate: $1,000 – $5,000 (depending on inventory, marketing, and website costs)
Income Potential: Your income potential with this side hustle varies depending on products, marketing efforts, and your customer base. Successful stores can generate thousands of dollars per month or more.
Let's move on to more novel side hustles for electrical engineers, like product design and invention…
15. Design and Sell Custom Electronics
Show off your electrical engineering skills by designing and selling custom electronics such as gadgets, devices, or wearables.
Of course, you probably won't compete with Apple, but you've probably thought up some unique ideas. And it could be fun to turn that creativity into a side hustle.
This is also a great gig to combine with something like a YouTube channel.
Market your custom products on e-commerce platforms like eBay, or create your own online store with Shopify.
You can also collaborate with other engineers or inventors.
Starting Budget Estimate: $500 – $5,000 (for materials, tools, and marketing)
Income Potential: Varies depending on the price, demand, and volume of products sold. Successful sellers can earn thousands of dollars per month, and you can also offer branded products in your online store.
16. Develop and License New Inventions
If you like the idea of creating custom electronics, maybe take it up a notch. Dig deep into your imagination and create new inventions that solve unique problems or enhance existing technologies.
Secure intellectual property rights through patents and license your inventions to companies for a royalty fee.
You can also collaborate with other inventors or engineers to develop diverse portfolios.
This isn't a make-money-tomorrow kind of gig, but whatever your side hustle or job is doesn't mean you have to shelve your creativity.
Starting Budget Estimate: $1,000 – $15,000 (for patent fees, prototyping, and marketing)
Resources: United States Patent and Trademark Office, InventRight
Income Potential: Licensing agreements can yield royalties ranging from 3% to 6% of the product's wholesale revenue.
For side hustles that generate immediate income, the following repair and maintenance gigs might be what you're after…
17. Offer Specialized Repair Services (Electronics, Appliances, Etc.)
To contradict what I said above, maybe you should put your creativity on the shelf for a moment. Well, not entirely. Fixing electronics, appliances, etc., require some creative problem-solving skills. So you'll still need some of it.
And the best part is that the pay for this gig is immediate, unlike many side hustles. Your ultimate income potential might not be as high as a successful blog or YouTube channel, but if you need money now, this is one of the best ways to get it.
Advertise repair services for computers, smartphones, audio equipment, or other electronic devices locally or online through platforms like Thumbtack, Craigslist, etc.
Starting Budget Estimate: $200 – $2,000 (for tools, equipment, and marketing)
Resources: Thumbtack, Craigslist
Income Potential: Depending on the complexity of the repairs, the item being repaired (does it require a service call), and your expertise, specialized repair charges can range between $30 (plus parts) on the low end for smaller dropped-off items to $100+.
For larger items that require hopping in your car or truck and doing a service call, $160 – $500 or more (per service call) is reasonable.
18. Provide Home or Office Maintenance Services (e.g., Electrical System Inspections)
Instead of appliances and small electronics, you can offer electrical maintenance services for homes and offices. Your services can include inspecting and servicing electrical systems, troubleshooting issues, ensuring code compliance, etc.
You'll need the necessary certifications and licenses for this gig.
Like other side hustles, start by marketing your services through local advertising or online platforms like HomeAdvisor. You can even do targeted advertising on Facebook or PPC (pay-per-click) on Google, Bing, or other search engines.
Starting Budget Estimate: $500 – $5,000 (for certifications, licenses, tools, equipment, and marketing)
Resources: HomeAdvisor.com, National Electrical Contractors Association
Income Potential: $100 – $400+ per hour, depending on experience, local rates, and project scope/requirements.
Now let's look at some exotic side hustles. How about automation and robotics?
19. Design and Build Custom Robots or Automation Systems
This one may be outside your wheelhouse (or not), but it's a great field that electrical engineers are well-positioned to explore.
So, if you have a passion for robotics and automation, you can design and build custom robots or automation systems for clients (or yourself).
This may include creating prototypes, programming, and implementing systems in various industries.
Start by building a portfolio of your work, then promote your services through online platforms like LinkedIn or industry-specific websites.
Starting Budget Estimate: $1,000 – $10,000 (for equipment, tools, and marketing)
Resources: LinkedIn.com, Coursera, University of Michigan Online Courses
Income Potential: I couldn't find much pay rate information for custom robots and automation systems as a side hustle. However, full-time employees in this field earn between $59,000 and $123,000 depending on location, industry, and employer size.
20. Consult on Industrial Automation Projects
In addition to robotics, industrial automation is another area in which you can provide consulting services. Having worked in the industrial electrical field for many years myself, there is definitely a demand for consultants who can help improve processes and implement new systems.
Offer them guidance on choosing the right equipment, optimizing their systems design, ensuring proper integration, etc.
Network within your industry and promote your services through online platforms like LinkedIn and industry conferences. Once you've landed a few gigs with bigger companies or smaller companies that contract for them, you'll be on their radar and in the mix (provided your services are good).
Starting Budget Estimate: $500 – $2,500 (for marketing, professional development, and networking events)
Resources: LinkedIn.com, International Society of Automation
Income Potential: This is another side hustle that I couldn't find any good pay rate information, but employee salaries in this field are in the ballpark of $90,000. Much of my experience in this field was oil and gas related, so pay was significantly higher.
Having said that, oil and gas is less lucrative than it once was. That's because much of the money, resources, and labor has moved into renewable energy and sustainability… where you'll find some more side hustles below…
21. Design Solar Panel or Wind Turbine Installations
Designing or consulting on solar panel and/or smaller wind turbine installations may be more aligned with your side hustle goals and outlook.
You can help clients optimize their renewable energy systems for efficiency and maximum power output or plan installations from scratch. Build your portfolio of projects to show clients and promote your services through online platforms, industry associations, and networking events.
Starting Budget Estimate: $1,000 – $5,000 (for software, training, and marketing)
Resources: Solar Energy Industries Association, American Clean Power
Income Potential: Renewable energy system consultants earn between $55,000 – $80,000 annually as an employee. As the business owner (if you're operating independently), you can charge an additional 30% and 60% or more.
22. Energy Efficiency Upgrade Consulting
Another area where you can help clients is reducing energy consumption and cost with energy efficiency upgrades. You can evaluate their current systems and identify areas for improvement, which may include lighting retrofits, HVAC upgrades, etc.
Again (sorry, sounding like a broken record here), but… you can market your services through online platforms, local energy agencies, and industry associations.
Starting Budget Estimate: $500 – $2,000 (for marketing and professional development)
Resources: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
Income Potential: Energy efficiency consultants earn an average of $38 per hour as employees. As an independent contractor/consultant, your hourly rate can range from $50 – $150 per hour, depending on location, expertise, and project complexity.
23. Offer Sustainability Assessments
Similar to the previous side hustle is providing sustainability assessments. This is going a little further outside the scope of electrical engineering, but one of your goals may be to do exactly that. To leverage your current knowledge and experience to expand into new areas of interest.
Sustainability assessments involve assessing energy consumption, waste management, water usage, and other environmental factors and then developing and potentially implementing strategies to minimize their impact.
Yes… like most side hustles on this list, you can market your expertise online through industry associations, networking events, etc.
Starting Budget Estimate: $500 – $2,000 (for marketing and professional development)
Resources: International Society of Sustainability Professionals
Income Potential: Sustainability consultant employee rates range from surprisingly low to pretty good… $17 – $52 per hour.
However, as an independent contractor and owner of your own company, you'll make what the client pays (not what the employee receives). While not a perfect comparison, clients can pay anywhere from $1,500 – $6,000 for environmental site assessments.
Another path you can explore is software and app development, which might seem like a stretch, especially if you have no experience. But times have changed, and I'll explain more in the following side hustles…
24. Develop Electrical Engineering-Related Software or Apps
Use your electrical engineering expertise in combination with GPT-4/ChatGPT to create specialized software or apps that help colleagues, students, enthusiasts, hobbyists, etc.
You could develop circuit simulators, design tools, or educational apps. Then, promote your creations on app stores, engineering forums, and social media platforms.
Again, this might sound complicated, but as of early 2023, access to AI tools like ChatGPT and GitHub CoPilot (that does the coding for you) have blown the software development doors wide open for everyone.
Starting Budget Estimate: $500 – $5,000 (depending on software development tools, marketing, and potential outsourcing costs)
Resources: ChatGPT, GitHub CoPilot
Income Potential: As you would expect, the income potential for software and app development varies greatly. It depends on the app's success and your monetization strategy. You could earn anywhere from a few hundred bucks to thousands of dollars per month.
25. Create Engineering Simulations or Video Games
Just as above, using Ai, if you have a passion for electrical engineering and gaming, you can create simulations or video games with an electrical engineering theme.
Develop educational games that teach complex concepts or design immersive experiences that showcase real-world engineering scenarios. Market your games on various platforms, including Steam, app stores, and gaming forums.
Starting Budget Estimate: $1,000 – $10,000 (depending on software development tools, marketing, and potential outsourcing costs)
Resources: ChatGPT, GitHub CoPilot, Unreal Engine
Income Potential: As with apps, your income potential for game and simulation development will vary widely. The upside is virtually unlimited, but at the other end of the scale, it can be pretty low too.
Finally, just a quick note (and this is nothing you don't already know but…), certain side hustles may require licensing, certifications, and adherence to specific rules and regulations, especially when working with electrical systems.
So as you know, it's crucial to research local requirements and ensure compliance before starting any side hustle in the electrical field.
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