3

I am a programmer, but not professionally. I do have apps on the Google Play Store, but it's mainly a hobby (and I don't earn much at all; about a few cents a month).

I'm sure there must be a word for this type of job (i.e. a non-professional job done mainly as a hobby), but I don't know what it is.

  • 1
    How about Dabbler? One who takes part in an activity casually. – Nagarajan Shanmuganathan Mar 23 '16 at 6:15
  • @NagarajanShanmuganathan Possibly, but it doesn't suggest that they partly do it as a non-professional pursuit. – Dog Lover Mar 23 '16 at 6:17
  • Are you looking for avocation? – deadrat Mar 23 '16 at 6:19
  • 1
    Hobby Programmer is a long-established word – R.S. Mar 23 '16 at 6:21
  • I think you mean Hobbyist. A hobby programmer would program hobbies. Which, if you're creating games, I suppose you are. – candied_orange Mar 23 '16 at 6:24
10

I think hobby itself would do just fine. Hobbyists work at their craft when it’s fun and convenient, but don’t make the necessary commitment needed to get to the professional level.

"Selling apps on Play Store is my hobby".

So you may be a "hobbyist programmer ". Some people actually hate that name.

a hobbyist programmer is somebody who spends 10 or more hours a month programming, but is not paid primarily to be a programmer.


What you're describing may also be a sideline career.

An activity done in addition to one’s main job, especially to earn extra income

[As modifier]: a sideline career as a stand-up comic

"He founded the fast-food company as a sideline to his petrol station"

  • 1
    This is the closest answer so far, and I like the link to the article - very interesting. Though I think it is a bit stuck-up to be offended by such a neutral term as "hobbyist programmer"! It's what I call myself. – Dog Lover Mar 23 '16 at 8:16
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    @DogLover I'm actually a hobbyist photographer/musician, myself. My professional skills are in civil engineering and project management. – NVZ Mar 23 '16 at 9:16
  • Oh, really? I'm a hobbyist photographer too, albeit to a much lesser extent. – Dog Lover Mar 23 '16 at 10:59
  • I like your answer but with one remark: "don't make the necessary commitment needed to get to the professional level". That is often, but not always true. There are people who can do professional grade things as a hobby. Just one example: Friend of mine, as a hobby, restores leaded-glass windows. He is considered an expert in that field, but because there isn't enough work to make a living in that business his day-job is being a safety-inspector/advisor working in the oil industry. – Tonny Mar 23 '16 at 13:01
5

You might consider avocation, which means a hobby, from the Latin a(b) (away) + vocare (to call), i.e, something that calls one away from the profession or occupation at which one makes a living. There is no implication that you necessarily are a beginner or are unaccomplished at your avocation, just that it's a sideline.

  • The nice thing about avocation is that it evokes contrast to vocation, so "it's not my day job" is obvious. – Monty Harder Mar 23 '16 at 19:40
  • This seems to work nicely. – Dog Lover Mar 25 '16 at 23:37
4

I think you are looking for amateur:

  • One who engages in an art, science, study, or athletic activity as a pastime rather than as a profession.

(AHD)

or:

  • you should probably define yourself a "programmer", the fact that you do it professionally or not is not related to the competence you have developed.
  • +1 I see what you're getting at, but if you use it in the phrase amateur programmer it sounds like you're saying that you are a beginner/mediocre programmer. – Dog Lover Mar 23 '16 at 6:09
  • @DogLover - Probably "dilettante" is closer to the definition of "beginner/mediocre non-professional." The alternative is "non-professional programmer". – user66974 Mar 23 '16 at 6:13
  • +1 I like to tinker with code at times, and I know the ABCs. I wouldn't call myself a programmer, but, amateur definitely works in my case. – NVZ Mar 23 '16 at 14:11
  • This is one of those things where the original meaning of a word would be perfect, but that meaning is so overshadowed by later understandings (initially misunderstandings!) that it’s difficult to use in its original sense without explaining. The only place you tend to still see amateur used in its original sense is in the names of sports leagues where professionals are not allowed (e.g. an Amateur Cup would not allow a pro to compete, to keep things fair for the amateurs who also have to maintain a day job). – KRyan Mar 23 '16 at 15:04
3

You might consider, pastime

An activity that occupies one's spare time pleasantly: Sailing is her favorite pastime.

[Middle English passe tyme, translation of French passe temps : passer, to pass + temps, time.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary

  • 1
    This is just a synonym for hobby. – stannius Mar 23 '16 at 15:18
3

A slightly dated expression, but one I still use is a labour of love.

  • +1 I like this. Will people understand me if I used that expression? – NVZ Mar 23 '16 at 14:06
  • @NVZ Yes I think you will be understood. – WS2 Mar 23 '16 at 23:48
-1

Dilettante fits the bill nicely:

a ​person who is or ​seems to be ​interested in a ​subject, but whose ​understanding of it is not very ​deep or ​serious (Cambridge)

...especially if you are emphasising the non-professional aspect.

  • 2
    I don't think it does fit nicely as I do have considerable knowledge of programming. I meant non-professional as in I am not employed, etc. – Dog Lover Mar 23 '16 at 8:13
  • 1
    @DogLover "If you're really good at something, never do it for free." - The Joker – NVZ Mar 23 '16 at 9:14
-1

Enthusiast - a person who is very interested in a particular activity or subject.

  • I presume you mean 'enthusiasm' as the question asks about the activity not the person. – Chenmunka Mar 23 '16 at 13:03
  • Hi jim, your answer has been flagged as low-quality, possibly because it's too short or not detailed enough. As @Chenmunka pointed out, the question was asking for a word describing the activity, not the person. Also, I would recommend that you include a dictionary definition of enthusiasm to support your assertion that it fits OP's needs. - From Review – John Clifford Mar 23 '16 at 15:06
  • @Chenmunka OP asks for what the 'job' is called, not an activity. "Programming enthusiast" is a good suggestion for this request. – Kit Z. Fox Mar 31 '16 at 15:43
-2

If you're not amateur level (which would be correct world, implying that you do something just for the love of it, but also has a negative tone), you may use

craftsman - someone who is skilled at a craft, but doesn't necessarily has to have it as a (current) job.

-> Software Craftsmanship

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