Industry Insights 5 Software Developers’ Software Developers

Industry Insights


Software Developers’ Software Developers

by | Feb 13, 2023 | All, Featured, Leadership, Nearshoring

About The Author Steve Taplin

Steve Taplin, CEO of Sonatafy Technology, is a serial entrepreneur with extensive expertise in software development, MVP product development and the management of staff augmentation services.

With a booming technology industry comes the potential for software developers to engage in moonlighting—working on multiple projects and earning additional income in the process. While this can be a lucrative opportunity for software developers, it can pose significant risks to employers. So, how can employers effectively manage their software developers who moonlight?

As with any business challenge, the first step is to understand why software developers engage in moonlighting in the first place. Taking on additional work can provide a significant boost to their income. Additionally, the tech industry’s remote working environment makes moonlighting even more attractive, as developers can work from anywhere and still receive a paycheck.

Types Of Moonlighting

Blue Moonlighting

This refers to failed moonlighting attempts. Generally, juggling between two jobs can be challenging, especially when you lack crucial skills.

Quarter Moonlighting

Most second jobs are part-time. Quarter moonlighting refers to working part-time, usually after regular employment.

Half Moonlighting

Some employees tend to spend more money than they make. They live large but still need enough money to save and secure their future. In that case, they have to spend more time (more than 50% of their free time) earning additional income. Spending more time on a secondary job is known as half moonlighting.

Full Moonlighting

Full moonlighting refers to having and committing to two full-time jobs or careers. In some cases, a secondary job determines the employees’ social standing.

Is Moonlighting Ethical?

Some people have long believed that moonlighting is proper and ethical. After all, it is one way to earn extra income, expand your exposure and make connections in the IT industry. Others believe that it is unethical as it takes away the time meant for the primary job, family and leisure.

So, How Can Employers Handle Moonlighting In The Software Development Industry?

• Establish clear policies: Employers must have clear policies addressing the moonlighting issue. These policies should include guidelines on the types of moonlighting activities that are allowed, what kinds of activities are prohibited and how the employer will enforce these rules.

• Monitor activity: Employers should also monitor the activity of their software developers moonlighting. This can include tracking the hours spent on moonlighting projects and the types of projects being worked on. This can help employers identify any potential risks and take action to address them.

• Set limits: Employers should also limit the number of hours their software developers can spend moonlighting. This can help ensure that the software developers are still focused on their primary job and that the company’s interests are still being served.

• Communicate: It is also crucial for employers to communicate their expectations to their software developers regarding moonlighting. This can help the software developers understand the potential risks of moonlighting and the consequences of not following the company’s policies.

The key to responsibly managing software developers who moonlight is to understand why they choose to do so in the first place. With the tech industry’s remote working environment, developers can work from anywhere and still receive a paycheck. Taking on additional work can provide a significant boost to their income. Knowing why developers moonlight can help employers create strategies for minimizing the associated risks.

Risk Mitigation For Moonlighters

Once employers understand why their software developers are moonlighting, they can take steps to minimize their risk. The most efficient approach is to set clear guidelines for moonlighting. These guidelines should include the types of projects allowed, the time frames in which they can be completed and the requirements for reporting the finished work. Additionally, employers should communicate the potential risks associated with moonlighting, such as intellectual property theft, reduced productivity and corporate espionage.

Employers should also ensure that moonlighting activities do not interfere with their primary duties. This can be done by setting specific limits on how much time an employee can spend on moonlighting activities and by requiring them to report the amount of time they spend on the project. Additionally, employers should consider implementing a policy that requires employees to disclose any outside work they are doing and obtain prior approval before taking on any new projects. If one of your employees is found to be moonlighting without permission, employers should take disciplinary action to deter future violations.

Communication About Moonlighting

Employers should create an environment where their software developers feel comfortable discussing their moonlighting activities and ensure they know the risks associated with additional projects. Employers may want to record all moonlighting activities, including the project type, the hours worked and the payment received.

Consider offering incentives to software developers for not moonlighting. This could include bonuses, additional vacation time or flexible work hours. Offering incentives for not moonlighting can reduce its attractiveness and encourage developers to prioritize their full-time job. Consider setting clear expectations and policies, such as prohibiting work for a direct competitor or projects that would interfere with their full-time job.


Employers could provide a list of approved activities and ensure that any moonlighting is discussed and agreed upon beforehand. Offering software developers additional income to prevent moonlighting may be the best solution, but only if money is their motivation. Reduce the reason for their moonlighting while still allowing software developers to supplement their income in a professionally secure manner.

Employers must regularly remind their developers of the risks associated with moonlighting and provide them with the resources and guidance they need to make informed decisions about their activities.

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