You just landed your first job as a programmer or a dev… Congratulations! Now how do you keep that job? We gotcha. First, read this. That’s a lot to remember, are you freaking out? No problem. All you really need to do is remember step 1 or (for those of you that didn’t read it):
Communication. “Communicate; listen, that’s a big part of it. …Being somebody they can count on, somebody that gets along, somebody that they can speak to is a huge part of the job. …Just work with people, listen, and that is like 90% of it.” -also- Don’t ask Google-able questions. “…If you find that you’re having difficulty, don’t be afraid to ask questions …short, concise questions -don’t ask super long-winded questions- keep it pithy/to the point… …[And] don’t ask too many questions -especially questions that you could research on Google (ultimately they’re hiring you to get the job done).” But stuff happens, for example, “…there could be some design issues, there could be some specifics with regards to their particular software…hopefully they’ll be able to provide that [answers] for you…” -and- The ‘Ramp-up’. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fresh-faced noob or a grizzled old veteran programmer, no one with brain in their skull expects you to get things right outta the gate. There’s a ‘ramp-up’: “When they first bring you in there’s going to be some expectation of a ‘ramp-up’ time. You’re not going to know everything …if they have an advanced piece of software, …you’re going to have to get to know the code base, and that could take time depending on the complexity of the software. It’s not your code, you’re going to have to learn it. And in your first little while go out of your way to make sure you try as quickly as possible to learn the code -don’t kill yourself; don’t get all sweaty and nervous about it- …but ask your coworker, your lead. ‘what do I need to do first so I can get up to speed and help you guys?’ “.
After that, it’s like any other job, “…be sure to double-check your work: make sure you don’t make any silly mistakes, …if you’re assigned to a task, make sure you get things done on time, …and hopefully you didn’t lie on your resume and say you were a ‘master nerd’, cuz they’re going to figure you out pretty quickly…”.
Check out the VLOG for some really good advice and <Shameless Promo> generally speaking, if you’ve taken the web stack course, you might find yourself ahead of the game as many people found out once they got the job… -Enjoy!
The state of the ‘developer ecosystem’ in 2019 by software development company of note: JetBrains.
In the beginning of 2019, JetBrains -a software company whose tools are geared towards software developers and project managers- polled almost 7,000 developers to identify the State of the ‘developer ecosystem’. The resulting article can be found here, in all its glory, but we thought we’d break it down for ya and give you some of our thoughts…
-Java is the most popular language. “Most developers will use multiple languages, so …it’s kinda silly to get caught up in what’s the most [popular].
The VLOG goes into more detail, with more educated extrapolations and a sweet scenic boat or canoe ride. -Enjoy!
How do you get through really boring and/or tedious tasks?
If you’ve been a human on this planet for more than 8 minutes, chances are you’ve come across a tedious task – something that you just didn’t want to do (maybe it’s boring, not your interest, or even expertise) and for some reason, you are being forced to do it. After rolling your eyes, and groaning the groan of a tortured soul, you stare at the task and ask yourself, ‘How the #%$@ am I going to get through this?’
The first and easiest answer is ‘farm it out’, that is hiring/paying someone else to do it. …And after that’s done, you’ll have plenty of time to go yachting off the coast of France, daddy Warbucks! But for those of us that don’t have the money to do that, the answer is a little more pragmatic, but only slightly less painful…
“I just go in there and I say, ‘okay, I’m just gonna do 20 minutes’, …I’m just gonna move the ball 2 or 3 feet forward. And you just discipline yourself to do little chunks of work of the stuff you hate, because if you try to do something you hate doing or you don’t wanna do, and you wait to do it on the last day, and you got hours of this crappy work to do, it’s gonna be painful.” Breaking boring, tedious, or just plain crappy chunks of work up into smaller sections will save you time in the long run and your sanity.
Check out the VLOG, it’s short and sweet. Check out our courses, if you haven’t already and just like eating your aunt’s salted cod and boiled peas dish, take it one bite at a time… -Enjoy!
A response to a recent video I made about people who are constantly doing tutorials instead of getting jobs.
If you’d like to see the first installment, click here, but in the spirit of ‘doing‘ we’re moving on! Sometimes we over prepare, guys, it happens. You’re so focused on making a big splash right outta the gate. You don’t want to be blindsided by anything and look like you don’t know what you’re talking about or look like a noob, so you prepare -you take tutorials and then you start thinking to yourself, ‘what if this happens? what if that happens?’ and you start doing more tutorials to be prepared for those things and before you know it, the fear of failure has you stuck. Instead of coming out of the gate; swinging, the gate flings open and you stand there paralyzed, not daring to move.
“It’s just fear: you don’t want to get into it… Just jump into it! Trust me, you’ll learn so much more by just jumping into a gig. Once you have your foundations down, do one or two tutorials and then do a gig and figure out how to get it done as you go. That’s how I did it, that’s how all developers started out.”
The VLOG goes into better detail, including the first full-stack gig that Stef took with no prior knowledge of it. Check out our courses (links below), if you’re interested – they are amazing – and remember, <I’m plagiarizing> A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. Or think of the immortal words of Shia LaBoeuf and, “just DO it!!!!!” -Enjoy!
Should you get a college degree or learn online to quickly get into freelance web design and development?
If you feel like you’ve already read about this in a previous article or saw it in a previous VLOG, yes and no. That previous work was about education in North America, “where student loan debt is an issue, where college is not free…”, and this one is about education in places like Europe, which are a little different because, “in Europe college is free…well it’s paid [for] by the taxes, so in essence you’re paying for it whether or not you go, because it’s built into the taxes.” In all honesty, we brought this up because we were contacted by someone in Europe who’s thinking of going to school to get their degree but was wondering about completing online courses and going into freelancing instead.
Now, we made a lot of assumptions on this person’s part: we assumed they were pretty young because they mentioned that their parents wanted them to go to college, which made us further assume they were probably living at home too, so while the advice we’re about to give may seem oddly specific, we still feel most of it can apply if you’re living in Europe or a place that has a similar educational setup. “If you live in a part of the world where the education is free, you’re living at home so you don’t need to make money immediately, and you’re going to pay for it in taxes anyway, right? The government pays, so it means you pay in some form …it’s only a year and a half/ two years, then you know, might as well do it.”
Now there are way more angles to this and the VLOG, of course, goes into more detail and is worth checking out but we want to let you know about a really cool offer by clicking here. We’ve teamed up with InMotion hosting for a really amazing offer where they essentially pay for you to take my course and learn how to become a web developer. Links to the offer below as well. -Enjoy!
Should you continue to learn Python, even if Python jobs in the area are more or less in data sciences or other areas you’re not interested in?
So, what if you’re learning a language; Python in this case and you start looking around at possible jobs and realize that all or most of the jobs for Python are ones that you have no particular interest in? Do you stop learning and move onto something else?
“I think it’s a good idea to learn multiple languages, …every time I learned a new language my skills as a developer went <sound of a rocket taking off>, rocket[ed] right up. All these modern languages…they all share so many of the same qualities, but they look at things from a different point of view.” Think of it in terms of hanging out with different friends, even though hanging out with different friends has a lot of similarities: having a drink, talking, laughing, etc, the experience will always be different, ya know?
We’ve said it here before but there is no such thing as a wasted language, because each language learned is like a tool in your tool box, there will be an occasion to use it. Now that being said there are some obscure tools out there and if you’re getting into this business to make money, you’re probably better off learning to use the most popular tools. But, hey, you’re an adult and as you become more experienced in this field, you’ll figure out what’s worth your time…
New freelance web designers and developers have a choice between freelance sites where you have to compete globally, versus securing web development contracts from local business. But what are the Pros and Cons?
The Job market can be kind of tough, especially when you’re new and don’t have much experience or reputation to bank on. But thanks to technology and the internet, freelancers can work on jobs all over the world and in many different markets. We’re talking about freelance sites like Upwork, Guru, and Freelancer, etc, etc. where you can bid on contracts against people all over the world and how some freelancers have chosen to work in the global market over local businesses.
Pros & Cons: One big con would be that, “if you’re not in India or Bangladesh or if you’re in a richer country where your cost of living is much higher, so you have to charge more…if you’re in the West and you got to compete against people in India and Africa or wherever else on the contracts, it could be daunting. But even on those sites, if you position yourself properly -you develop a reputation, etc, you learn the pricing models <shameless promo>, I talk about this in my freelance course- you can compete, even in New York city with people in Bangladesh.” Btw, another advantage to the freelancer sites is when you bid on jobs, you can offer to do them for free, just to get your experience and start building that reputation.
Local jobs, on the other hand offer much less competition. “Because it’s a local business: likely a small business, <they> are less likely to deal with people overseas because they don’t trust it, they don’t know, they don’t know how to deal with them, they don’t know how to assess anything…they’d rather deal with local talent because they can actually communicate with them, in their language and there is a cultural alignment as well, but you have to go out there and put yourself out there.
I don’t know if you’ve been keeping score or not but unless you’re leaning really hard to one side, they both seem to have their faults and potential upsides, so we’ve come up with a strategy, “first do your foundations, one or two projects, then do a couple of freebie contracts whether it be local or use one of those online sites <Upwork, Freelancer, etc.>,then I would start cultivating both: online and if you can cultivate local business, do that as well.”
The VLOG goes into heavy detail about this subject and is definitely worth you time to check out. No matter which side you pick or even if you decide to do both, just get out there and get what’s yours. -Enjoy!
Is using developer tutorials cheating? Or are they the steps you need to take to move from beginner to advanced developer?
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…and in some cases, it’s also the quickest way to a lawsuit. Beginner devs are often cautious (and quite rightly so) when looking at someone else’s work/tutorial and wonder if making something similar is ‘cheating’?
Generally speaking, “it’s not cheating. Everything that you see in this world, whether it be software development, music, martial arts -whatever, it’s all based on other people’s work.” Some would even argue that’s how things evolve and get better; by different people messing around and riffing on the same idea. BUT, let’s clarify that, “if you’re stealing it; line for line, that’s bad -it’s illegal and it’s immoral. But if you’re learning how to do something…it’s not cheating to do a tutorial and then based off of that tutorial, you build your own app.” Of course, please do your due diligence, for example, “unless they give you specific permission to copy the code, don’t copy the code. But you can basically learn from it, and then write your own thing accordingly.”
At the end of the day your code/project will be different because everybody’s needs are different, so your app, project, etc, will be not be a carbon copy unless you want it to be…in which case lawyer up! But everyone had to start out somewhere and they became experienced by using what they saw and adding their own thing to reflect the needs of their client, employer, or the very project they were creating.
The VLOG goes into greater detail and you should check it out. Go out there and create, learn and be better than you were. -Enjoy!
Becoming a successful developer has much more to do than just code. You need to learn the top 5 foundational life skills:
If you follow the VLOGs or the articles you know that the only thing we love more than foundational skills is ‘top’ lists: top 5, top 10, top 8 – we love ’em!! So when we got to release a ‘top‘ list about foundational skills, you better believe we went to the moon and back, baby! These are life skills – sure, they can make you better at your job, but they also make you a better all around human, and that’s what makes them great.
1. Communication Skills: ” We talk about this in terms of software development, talk about this in terms of business, talk about this in terms of dating! If you know how to talk and you can communicate well and listen well, etc, etc, …great communication skills in something very important.”
2. Tech/Coding Skills: “I believe even if you don’t want to become a coder, you should learn the basics of coding: understanding technology. Because all businesses depend on coding and technology.” For example: “A butcher needs a good website, they need to understand the social media landscape, they need to know what tech is available to help automate and streamline their business -and this is a totally non-tech business.” “…Learning technology and how to code, it may not be as important as reading and writing, but it’s up there…”
3. Financial Skills: I know you may not physically be nodding your head right now but somewhere in the back of your brain, your unconscious mind definitely is. “This is something that will assure your sanity and a less stressful life. If you just learn some basic financial skills -basic saving: #1<save!>, and #2: basic investing- very important. Your life will be so much easier if you just learn to save and invest properly -trust me, it makes a HUGE difference.”
4. Lizard Wizard Skills: “Arguably the most important…psychology/behavioral psychology: understanding how our brains work, how everybody’s brains work -it plays a huge role in terms of all the other skills in your life.” If you have a chance google: ‘lizard brain’ and prepare to be blown away…
5. Business Skills: “How to make money; whether you’re going to work for people, freelancing, or starting your own business…”. Wondering how business skills help if you’re working for someone? “If you can understand how the decision-makers think (if you understand how business works), even as an employee it will help you better navigate within that context. It will help you rise up in the ranks higher (if that’s your goal), it will help you to understand how to negotiate better salaries, etc, etc.”
So there you have it. Check out the VLOG for more of this smiling mug (face), and keep on being a good human! -Enjoy!
Complex development can linger in production, as you work on the last 5% of the job.
So you’ve got your project, your app – mobile or web, etc. ready to go and you’re almost done, “You’ve got the end and use case defined, meaning people can run through your system, you’ve got the UX defined, you got your UI in place…now at this point you’ve got just 5% left -so you figure, ‘we’re going to crack this thing out in a month…or a week depending on the scope of the thing over all- but what you’re going to find is that last 5% lingers…” Oh yes, ladies and gentleman, like a fart left in the back of an airplane bathroom…it lingers.
Light at the End of the Tunnel To get that crucial 5% working from end to end takes longer than you think and that is just par for the course. “[You’ll] find all these little things: this has to be fixed here, that has to be fixed here…this is normal. Keep that in mind when you’re first getting into the game, especially when you’re dealing with clients, and you’re building their system; you’ve got to account for that last bit of back and forth.”
So there it is my weary devs… Check out the VLOG for the some more insight into ‘the forced march of the last 5%’ and just know that it’s normal and to always account for the back and forth between you and the client when you hit that last 5%… -Enjoy!