As I wrote here, I decided to do some work via RentACoder (RAC), mainly in order to do some interesting programming work and get back into "the zone" after a period of burnout and procrastination.

As of this moment, I have 10 projects completed with average rating 10 which puts me into the top 4% percentile of RAC coders. This clearly shows, by the way, that of the 170,000 coders registered at RAC, only a few thousand are serious coders that do work - all the others are people who've just registered and did nothing, or tried to do some job and failed.

The projects I did were very diverse:

  • Perl
  • Common Lisp
  • General algorithms (someone's Uni homework)
  • Verilog
  • VHDL
  • Ruby

The vast majority of the projects were someone's homework - RAC is quite popular for that. Another thing RAC is very popular for is web programming, especially in PHP. If I would really want to start making money on RAC, I'd beef up my PHP and CSS knowledge, do a few test installs and customizations of Wordpress and Drupal (both of which are very popular in requests for work) - with such experience it's possible to earn nicely, I think.

The most interesting project I did was not homework - it was a Ruby module for diffing HTML files in a hierarchical manner. It was also the project with the least $$/hour for me, because I considerably underbid it and then spent almost 20 hours for the $90 I got from it. It was fun, though.

I also struck a "partnership" with a Pakistani guy, doing his "hardware design" homework for him - I did 4 projects, writing code in Verilog and VHDL and solving analytical questions about hardware design. This partnership dissolved in the end because he was asking for extra work for no pay.

About money, all in all I think I earned less than $10/hour for my RAC work - which obviously isn't enough if you live in a developed country (especially taking into account that RAC work is intermittent and isn't continuous employment). However, for coders from developing and 3rd world countries, RAC can provide a real source of income. I saw many offers that ask for a programmer to work full-time, for sums up to $1,500 / month, with all the contracts and payments passing through RAC. I think that for a programmer in a developing country, this is extremely good pay - and you can actually make good money working from home. So, if there is one grand conclusion from this experiment it's that our profession (programming) is in high demand. If you're a good programmer, fast learner and motivated, you can make money from RAC. Even for people in developed countries, RAC can provide nice pocket money and even some additional income for students. For instance, I earned $300 for doing a few interesting projects - and had fun all the way because I like programming. And now I have the $300 with which I can buy quite a few books online :-)