If I ever get bored in retirement, and get a workbench set up again, maybe I will try to "turn a few tricks on weekends for extra cash." Gotta be careful though... I never did get a Professional Engineer license after graduating college in 1978 because none of my (mostly) Department of Defense contractor employers required it. But if I want to hang out a shingle here in Florida to practice electrical engineering I need a PE license. Everything you do in Florida requires some sort of permit and/or license. OTOH... there is no State income tax.
I would suggest that @ratstar
stay in school as long as possible, acquire as many credentials and experience as possible, and not be too anxious to leave the safety and comfort of his parents nest. That's what a nest is for: a safe place to nourish and educate fledglings.
My father divorced my mother after he retired from the Air Force and moved to Dayton, Ohio, to partner in a new business with his brother-in-law. I was then a nineteen year-old recent high school graduate, now technically homeless and without any marketable skills as an electronics hobbyist. So, I joined the Air Force and spent four years as an enlisted airman, learning as much electronics as I could on the Government's dime. In 1967 I talked my way into a good job as an electronics technician working for a local university. Eleven years later I had earned my Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from that same university, on their dime as a full-time employee and part-time student. I did have to pay for my books as an out-of-pocket expense, but tuition was free.
A year after graduating college (1978), I left the "ivory tower" of academia to accept a job as an electrical engineer in a "real" company, staying there another twelve years. Initially I was working with Intel 8080 and 8085 embedded processor designs, but later advanced to embedding complete IBM PCs into my designs. Along the way I perforce had to learn some software, starting with BASIC and FORTRAN in college and moving on to Assembly for the Intel microprocessors. Later I dabbled in C, but by 1990 I was using "professional" programmers to code programs for my embedded PC solutions.
The end of my professional career found me operating and maintaining a small tandem particle accelerator at a private R&D laboratory, which I did from 1996 until forced to retire in 2014 because of lack of work for the ancient particle accelerator. It was fun while it lasted, and almost like being back in academia, except more compartmentalized.
If I had it to do all over, I think one change I would make would be to obtain an Ohio PE license immediately after graduation from college. That would have meant delaying the move into the "real world" from the secure "ivory tower" of academia for at least another year, but I was too anxious to move on to even consider that. Like when I turned down the opportunity to become an electronics instructor for the Air Force, after graduating from advanced electronics school training at Lowry AFB in Denver. With 20-20 hindsight I see I should have taken them up on that offer, but I was anxious to get out in the field, on the flight line, and work on real electronics installed in B-52H heavy bombers armed to the hilt with nuclear weapons. What a thrill! If I couldn't go to Vietnam and shoot people, maybe I could aid and abet World War Three! Ahem... while defending the Free World of course. The 1960s were "interesting times," but somehow we all managed to survive it.