What is the quickest and easiest way to learn React JS? The key is to learn the web fundamentals.
Full transparency here, we’re going to be talking ourselves up a bit and shamelessly plugging our courses, because we got a question that directly references them. Our questioner (questionee?) was wondering if it was easy to jump into React after taking our WebDev (web development) course?
So yeah, we’re blowing our own horn a little, but hey, we put in the work and it’s nice to reap the rewards. The reward being in this case, knowing that this person is going to have an easier time learning something they really want to learn (possibly getting a better job), and that our course(s) helped them!
Check out the VLOG for some more insight and check out our links down below to the courses offered. We want them to work for you so we took the time to do it right. Believe us, we gain nothing as a business if you learn nothing, it’s worth a look! -Enjoy!
Does learning C++ teach you programming in a more effective way?
Now, as much as we say there are no inferior languages out there, we also say that you have to follow what the market dictates (especially as a freelancer), and let us tell you, it’s not looking good for C++ out there. “…The industry moves towards faster write time languages. The speed [run time] advantage that you saw in languages like C++ over the others is becoming a moot point, as computer hardware gets faster and faster, you don’t even see the speed difference in practical application.”
So there it is. Please checkout the VLOG for more info and check out our new newsletter (link below): NEED2NERD. Shameless, we know. Sign up and get exclusive video content that would otherwise not be published on the channel, plus more cool stuff to come! Enjoy!
Developers have to choose in-demand languages and leave the nerd-affections for tech behind. Also, learning about Amazon Web Services.
For those of you that thought we were going to talk about the possible alcohol problems you’ll face as a freelancer, and having to stop carrying around a flask of ‘liquid inspiration’ with you at all times… Sorry, that’s not this article (I keep mine loaded with bourbon -it’s a sweet treat with a kick!). No, we’re talking about Python Flask, which is <generally> a web framework that few people use, so ironically, if you decided to base your whole career around Python Flask, you might be hitting the bottle pretty hard… We’re responding to an email we received about a gentleman (cuz he’s in the UK, I guess…) who’s about to finish school, wants to become a freelancer, and is wondering what he should “pick up” as his back-end language. He’s currently using Python Flask and doesn’t think he’ll stick with it as job opportunities in his area are not great. So let’s get down to it:
AWS and the NTNB (Need to Nerd Basis): No doubt time is precious and, “…hosting is becoming more and more sophisticated, and there are now third-party hosting solutions that you can use that will be able to deliver not just disk space on their servers but all kinds of utilities and capabilities, and processes that you can leverage in your apps.” Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of them, so is Microsoft Azure, and even DigitalOcean (full transperancy: We use them), to name a few. And while we’re not going to go into a huge description of the services offered or how to strategically use them (Check out the VLOG, link below), we will say that there are some robust and sophisticated solutions on offer. Do you need to drop everything you’re doing and learn AWS or any of these? The answer is: NO…maybe. “Do you jump into AWS now? No, the first thing you have to do is your foundations, you [gotta] understand basic web app development, and so forth, and then you can look at the solutions.” Also, depending on the client, “AWS: I think those are for larger projects, larger community, or larger organizations because they require more money and are more sophisticated: they may require more setup…”. There are of course, more middle of the road solutions, but this would be a good time to introduce our founding core concept: NEED TO NERD (NTN). At its heart is the idea that you “…learn what you need to learn on a ‘need to nerd basis’ “, which is a play on the ‘need to know’ concept. “People think oh my god, I gotta learn this and I gotta learn that, before I even get a job, and I say no, no, no: you learn what you need to learn on a need to nerd basis: when a project comes up, when you have to implement a certain type of functionality that requires a certain type of technology, then you learn it.” NTN will also be a newsletter that will be going out to you guys with links to videos and we’re thinking that we may even do an accompanying podcast as well (more on that as it unfolds). In the meantime check out the VLOG, (it’s packed with all the explanations and clarifications that this BLOG will surely be lacking, lol). Remember that you are a developer first and not to bog yourself down learning archaic/draconian languages before you even need to. Just take a look out there and go with the flow. -Enjoy!
Are you too old to be a developer when you hit 50? Some have suggested that at that point, your brain just can’t take it anymore.
Society can be cruel. It has the ability to look at a demographic and assume (sometimes without any data) that they are unable do certain things… I’m not exactly sure at what point we decided that people of a certain age are incapable of retaining information or accomplishing even the most menial of tasks, but at some point we all quietly decided that people 50 and over cannot/shouldn’t be developers. And we tell ourselves things like, ‘Oh, their minds can’t keep up or, it’s just too much of a burden on them, etc.’ Well I can confidently tell you (and there is evidence) that I, in my very late 30’s have problems keeping up, remembering things, and sometimes feel very burdened by life and its expectations…
Now before we jump into this, we have covered this subject in a roundabout way here, and here, oh, and here:
Crossroads: “Do coders have to retire at 50? Short answer is No, I know developers that are still coding in their 50s, they’re doing well.” However, “you’re going to have to make a choice at some point in your software development career whether you want to keep coding or go into management, or architecture, or start your own business: there’s a crossroads you’re going to have to hit”. So don’t think about retirement unless you really want to because…it just depends on your personal choices and where you wanna find yourself”.
Savings: One thing you’re going to notice as a developer no matter how old you are is that what you can make (financially) and put aside for retirement is significantly better than most other jobs (comparatively, of course). So whether you’re getting into development in your 30s, or even your 40s or 50s, your chances to save for an early or later retirement (if you get in the game a little later in life) will not be affected. So that being said, if you started out in your 20s or 30s, you may want to retire when you’re 50, and if you’re 50, you have a chance to really put something significant aside in the next 5 years (depending on your choices and the amount you want to ‘hustle’). ” You should be able to start saving 30% or 40% of your money…The average person (if they’re doing really well) is maybe saving 10% of their money per year. If your could save 50% of your money, for every year the average person saves, you’re saving 5 years worth of money. So 3 years later, they’re only 3 years in and you’re already 15 years in!”
Age, Illness, and The Brain: Without getting too philosophical, we are just tiny boats adrift on the mammoth sea of life. The oars while small and sturdy can do little more then comfort us as we are tossed mercilessly to and fro on one wave, then another… All that to say is some of us may become ill in our old age, some of us may have to battle with dementia or worse, and there is no shame in that at all. All we can do is try our best to stay healthy. “There’s illness and some people’s mental capacities diminish. Most people are fine into their late 60s or 70s and if you stay healthy…you eat well, drink lots of water, exercise: try different things, keep your brain active -you’ll be fine- having to retire at 50…no.”
Check out the VLOG for more information and if you’re interested, click here to check out a sponsorship deal we have going on to get you some our our courses for FREE. Keep on fighting the good fight, and maybe when you’re confronted with someone older than you who’s having a ‘moment’, consider that it might not be an ‘old person’ thing, but a ‘putting up with life’s BS longer than you have’ thing… And on that note… -Enjoy!
Show up on time, deliver your code on time, and learn to properly estimate how much time a project will take.
A revolutionary rock band from 1994 once said, “Time is wasting, time is walking…”, and while time did eventually get its revenge on them, their warning should not go unheeded. “…in any business, and in life: whether you’re freelancing, whether you’re working for somebody: show up on time.”
We can extrapolate even further with this little nugget, because the ‘show up on time’ mentality also leads us to other positive behaviors. “It also means doing what you say. So don’t promise you’re going to deliver in 3 weeks, and then deliver in 6 weeks.” Now this can be tricky because we want to deliver good work, but we don’t want to keep the client waiting (it’s not good for them or for you, trust us), so how do we compromise? “You gotta work hard to make sure that in your estimates you hit those milestones as you promised. So one of the tricks is to overestimate the amount of time it’s gonna take to do something: So let’s say you figure it’s gonna take you a month to complete a project, tell your client it’s gonna take you 2 months -so if you get it done in a month: fantastic!” And if things go wrong, and you get it done in a month and a half, you’re still okay…
The VLOG will give you even more tips, and expand on them for dealing with clients (whether freelancing or ‘9 to 5-ing’). Also, in a quick flash of shameless self-promotion; please check out our complete freelancer course. It’s the best way to take advantage of decades of experience (speaking of time) and turn it into little digestible bits, and you just know there’s going to be a part in it about time management. -Enjoy!
I think we’ve all seen a film where the heroes are trapped in some room and the walls are closing in, threatening to crush them, or the room’s defenses are activated and lasers are shooting at them while they’re pinned down in cover, or desperately trying to dodge the blasts. What do the heroes do? Well, they call out to the “techie” person of the group, who’s usually in another room, watching from a monitor, and scream at him or her (usually him) for help. And this person goes to work on a keyboard and we see a window open up on screen with code on it, and they do some quick (non-nonsensical) typing, and the room’s traps/defenses either shut down or turn on the bad guys and take them out. No, I’m not trying to sell you my screenplay, I want to bring this up because when we see this, we think to ourselves, ‘That’s badass! To just hit a few keys on a computer and Boom! I just saved the day. I wanna do that…’ But then our brain automatically switches to thoughts of mountainous, thick textbooks with titles like, ‘Super nerd calculus-programming’, or ‘Say goodbye to your social life, nerd! Volume II’. And we think that we could never be this studious person, this soul of near-cosmic understanding of numbers, formulae, and ‘the maths’. We can’t see ourselves as this hero…
Well, we’re here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. “Coding is not that difficult to learn. Why then is there this major misconception about how difficult coding is?” The reason may not surprise you, if you’re a parent putting their kid through high school, or a kid in high school who’s hating physics or chemistry right now: teachers. “Most of the code courses out there are put out…[by] people who have no business trying to put out courses on code, because they simply do not know how to teach. …I would say if you tried to learn to code and you weren’t able to do it; you found it too difficult, too hard, I’d say there’s a 95% chance that it’s not you, it’s the bloody course.”
Now, we’re not saying this applies to all courses, and FULL TRANSPARENCY: We do offer coding courses, but this isn’t about that. You don’t have to buy our stuff, we’re not pushing that on you (there will be links down below, but there always were -nothing has changed there). The real reason is, “it leaves people with a bad taste in their mouth…because they’re not getting trained properly [and], they’re throwing you off of something that you could actually do.”
Check out the VLOG for a way more in depth dive into the subject, including the difference between courses and tutorials (which is what a majority of the all the so-called courses you get sold are), and on a lighter note, find out how good Stef was at grade 10 math (hint: not very). If January is already getting you down, check out the awesome beach and boats scenery towards the end of the VLOG, and if you have or know someone who you think is a great teacher, take 5 minutes and let them know you appreciate their efforts, it’s nice to hear.
What lessons do 25 years of coding impart? Harken younglings! The wisdom drawn from the ancient past.
First things first; Thank you Blizzard for not suing us. This title is really a testament to the enduring warmth of the characters you have created. And wouldn’t it be lovely if a young programmer eventually found their way to work for you because of a this blog…?
Alright, onto the imparting… is everyone still harkening? Great.
1. You will learn much more when you start getting paid to code: So among the new programmers or people just learning to program/code, there’s this idea that you need to show up with a full and infallible knowledge right out of the gate. “That’s why you see people get caught up in all these tutorials, because they’re insecure about their level of skill, so they keep doing more tutorials, more tutorials, more tutorials… Real world coding is about learning as you go -especially in the first 3-5 years as a software developer.” Now just so you don’t think that it’s all hand-holding and singing bible hymns around a campfire, “One of the number one skills of a good developer, by the way, is that they’re able to learn quickly.” So, while you are completely allowed to make mistakes and correct them, depending on where you work, you will be expected to pick up certain skills in an ‘amount’ of time…
2. The best code is simple code: If you’ve been following the VLOG or BLOG, you know that we bring this up every 2 or 3 posts, but it is important. No one cares about your flashy hijinx because, “The best developers write simple code. Why? Because code has to be updated a lot of times, especially in a valuable concept, and if you have complex code then that’s going to be a nightmare to maintain, very expensive to maintain and more prone to to bugs. So strive to write simple code.” Think of it this way, if you came onto project and were asked to update someone else’s work, wouldn’t you want to see simple and easy to read code? Not only is it professional, but think of it as a courtesy…
3. Coding real world apps is an iterative process: No one writes perfect, untouchable code in one sitting. Be prepared to do a few passes. Things change and things need updating. “Every time you do a pass, you refine the quality of the code. So that’s why when you develop your app (alpha), you want to get the whole working app out the door as quickly as possible: fully functional …because that way even if you’ve got parts of it really written badly, having that fully functional app (even if it’s crippled), it gives you insight into what the app ultimately should be.” In the beginning (the alpha stages), you really have only a limited idea of what the project should be, or how it will come together. “When you are writing code, you wanna get from A to Z -get the whole thing functional- then you start refining it, refining it. As you learn about the use case (how the app should be used/structured), then you can start writing more solid code. [The idea being] that with each pass the quality of the software will improve.”
4. Nobody wants to write good docs[documentation], but they should: This should be a ‘no-brainer’, let’s say you’re taking a class, you’ve shown up all semester and done all the in-class assignments. Then the test rolls around and you open your note book to look at your notes and there’s either nothing there or just drawings of sweet-ass guitars on fire, descending from the heavens for you to grab while you’re riding your red dragon into battle…(you know, non-specific stuff, that I totally didn’t draw in high school physics). It’s arguable that you are going to be screwed for the test ahead, and that’s how we feel about documentation. “Good documentation is huge because it will help you remember why you made certain architectural decisions in the code, and will help you transfer the knowledge to the next set of people who might get on the project. So if you have software that’s going to be successful in anyway, you wanna have good documentation -it’s just so important in terms of the quality of the project.”
So there it is young warriors, check out the VLOG where you can get this knowledge straight from the wizard’s mouth, plus more in depth ramblings…ah…epiphanies…yeah… . If you’re interested in learning more, please check out the links down below to our courses in web development, learning Python, or even freelancing, and entrepreneurship. They also make a great gift for that someone on the fence that just needs a little nudge. Fight the good fight and keep that code clean and simple. -Enjoy!
What makes a web app successful? The development process and the realities of real-world coding.
You’ve probably seen or heard a lot of stories about a businesses’ web project (or projects in general) failing. Heck, if you’re a freelancer chances are you’ve witnessed it firsthand! It’s a more common occurrence than you think, especially with small businesses. “…You do all kinds of work, you put out a beautiful website or you put out a beautiful web app, and then you link to it in your portfolio from your own website, and the next thing you know -bing, bing, boom- the client instead of calling you up to try and make updates, they try to tweak it themselves of they hire their kid; they get the kid to come in there and they try to fix it and they mess it up, and in a short period of time the site looks terrible.”
So why does this happen? Well, believe it or not, it doesn’t come from a purely bad place in terms of the intention. That is to say, your client isn’t trying to ‘F#%$’ you or your work, or your livelihood for that matter. It actually (for the most part) comes from a place of ignorance: they just don’t know…anything, really…including how much it actually costs. “A lot of people who jump into the game of building a website or building a web app -any app- they don’t really realize how much work it really is to refine the product, to get it to the point where it’s really ready for market.”
Sound familiar? Here are some pitfalls that have unfortunately cut down many a project in the prime of their lives (and some even before that).
Versions and Iterations: Microsoft has Windows10, so what happened to windows 1-9? Yup, they were previous versions that were replaced by (theoretically, arguably, etc.) newer, better, faster versions. Products and projects must evolve or improve (bugs, glitches, etc.), or the user will simply not want to use it and go somewhere else. Which brings us to our next point
UI and UX: Now depending on the company or client you work for, they might like to lump these two things together but trust us, they are two very different things. UI (user interface) is pretty much the look of things what the user sees: colors, designs, fonts, formatting -the eye candy, so to speak. But UX (user experience) is how easy it is to use, and that is the real draw to a product or project. You could have the most appealing, eye-catching, awe-inspiring design, but if you can use it: if it’s clunky, takes forever to load, or your users just have no idea how to start or where to go to get what they need, it’s useless.
Poor Budget Planning: This last one is almost always the case (especially with getting the ‘kid’ in to do your work). “When a lot of small business owners realize they’re gonna have to invest much more into the project, a lot of them will drop the project in that point in time. I’ve had clients who spend fifty grand, 100 grand on a project, they get it out there and it’s starting to get some traction but they’re not willing to put more into it, so the system kind of sleeps and slowly fades and dies away.”
And on that positive note, check out the VLOG!! It goes into way more detail on these points and uses clear cut examples like MySpace, and Google, and StudioWeb! There’s also a mention of how to bill small companies for your time in case a project does go down in flames, you won’t go into bankruptcy. Speaking of UI and UX, check out our online courses [links below…shameless promo, I know…], as a great example and who knows, ya might even learn something…
Someone discovers the hidden treasures of PHP, and makes money with it!
We received a comment from someone (check out the VLOG), who states that since they started learning php, a whole new world has started opening up for them. They’ve…”discovered all these scripts for all kinds of things you can’t buy anywhere, [and]…if you refactor it, you can make it compatible with the most recent version of php.” So if you put in the time and work you can have a whole new app, or software solution, etc… And they go onto say that they are bringing solutions into the work place that their co-workers haven’t even thought of, and all we can say is, ‘We salute you Sir or Madam’.
Long have we sung the praises of that workhorse: php. A programming language that’s been around for an arguably long time, but shows no signs of going anywhere, due in large part to it’s flexibility and (relative) ease of use. “That’s one of the strengths of php, by the way… It’s been around for so long; so many people used it in the real world contexts: to get stuff out, to hack stuff out, but there’s tons of stuff out there. A lot of it’s not well written…but you may have 75% of the guts of what you need there, and you can just grab it, improve it; refactor (you know, it just means rework it), fix it up, make it work and then BOOM! Drop it on where you need to have it drop in and Bob’s your uncle. And that’s perfectly reasonable thing”.
Check out the VLOG for a sharper explanation and some more beautiful MTL skyline. Keep on digging through scripts and libraries and you never know what you might find… -Enjoy!
PS- WPForms is our sponsor for this VLOG and they provide plugins for WordPress that give you drag-n-drop capabilities, plus other really powerful forms, etc., and if you click the link (below), they’re offering a sizable discount.
Are you too old to learn software development at 30?
I know what you’re thinking… You’re on the young side of 30 and you’ve either started learning software development and are looking for a job, or maybe you’re back on the job market again; ready to see what new cards you get dealt, but is it too late? Will the landscape have shifted so much that you’ll feel out of place compared to theses 20 somethings who are younger, faster, and seem to run on a poor diet of espresso curtado and some 12$ packets of nuggets with kale in them? Can you compete with that? Is 30 to old for being a software developer?
The Answer, which most of you probably already know is ‘NO’, you’re going to be alright! To put this into perspective, we have talked about being much older and doing this and still making it work, so 30 will (comparatively) be a piece of cake. “30-32: you should not be worried about that, for sure. If you were in your late 40s or 50s working for startups could be an issue -although there’s lots of opportunity if you’re that age to get into freelancing, small business web development, small business development [consulting], but [30 years old], it’s not even close to being an issue.” In the previous articles we also spoke about domain knowledge ( the industry you might have previously worked in) and how that is worth way more, especially if you’re intending to use your software/web development in the very domain/industry you were a part of. “…if you have domain knowledge, that’s more important than knowing another framework or another programming language …you’re probably going to be a more valuable programmer in that regard…”
So there you have it, “generally speaking if you want to go work for a young startup, if you’re in your 40s or 50s you’re probably going to have an issue, unless you happen to be highly experienced in a particular area where that startup needs people. On the other hand there’s so much opportunity in terms of software development, that all the statistics that I’ve seen, there’s going to be this huge shortage (especially in North America) of software developers.”
The VLOG goes into more of an explanation plus some very interesting anecdotes about the state of software development, you should check it out. Speaking of ‘checking out’, our courses are linked at the bottom and they take advantage of almost 3 decades in the industry and are created to get you up and running and ready to create and tackle most problems you’ll encounter out there; also worth checking out. -Enjoy!