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!
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…
Can you still make money as a freelance web designer in 2019-2020?
No clever title today, young devs… We received an email that had so many good, topical questions that we decided we didn’t have time to get ‘cute’ and just wanted to dive right in…
Is freelancing web design still viable in 2019-2020? -More than ever. There is an unprecedented amount of freelancers in North America and the world. “I’m not talking about web programming; just general purpose autonomous people working on their own businesses, whether it be in the tech space or outside of the tech space: this is the trend. …It has jumped quite a bit in the last 10 years and continues to accelerate. All these independent contractors and small business owners if they don’t already have a website, they’re going to need websites.”
Re: Freelancing in AI/Machine Learning: This is big but still in the early stages, I don’t see there being too many freelance jobs in that space -probably lots of work working for people full time- but in terms of AI/machine learning, I don’t see it as a freelancer thing yet. It’s not to say that it won’t be a ‘thing’, it’s just to say that it might take longer for people to come around to it. Like in the way that most companies didn’t even know what a website was in ’95 and now [pretty much] every company has one…
Another thing we’d like to add on the viability of being a freelancer in 2019/20, is “there was a period 4 or 5 years ago (give of take) where people were looking at websites as being less important -better to build your social media presence (like on Facebook or something)- but things have changed, we’ve seen how FB can take people down -they ultimately control your presence on their platform- so smart business owners are starting to realize it’s much better to have your own website, your own space on the web and then have a ‘satellite’ FB presence (Instagram, YouTube, etc…).” Meaning there will be a continued rise in the need for web development professionals (web design, etc).
So there you have it. Now the VLOG goes into a much deeper dive and the answers are much more robust (I mean how much can you really read here in the five minutes you have to drink your coffee while you’re supposed to be working… :] ), you should really check it out. And if it turns out you have 10 minutes instead of 5 for slacking off, check out our courses (especially ‘WEB DEVELOPMENT‘ ) which are not only built from the ground up, but also take advantage of almost 3 decades in the industry! -Enjoy!
How will a web developers job change over the next five years?
First off, If you’re a dev, a programmer, employed or freelance, or someone who generally doesn’t get to see the ‘light of day’ (or is a shut-in), you’re welcome… We are out and about today!! Also, if you were in the mood for Dim Sum and talked yourself out of it…sorry.
Today we’re contemplating how the web-stack will change over the next 5 years. What devs and programmers should expect in terms of changes to their jobs, and delicious Dim Sum…sorry, I’m really hungry now…
Web Frameworks: Re: front-end frameworks, “…that’s more difficult to predict because web frameworks are more volatile. …My best guess -barring any new framework coming into the game/ some new disruptive technology- …I think you’re going to see React and Vue are going to be the dominant players, followed by Angular (but you can’t lose with any of them). This is a prime exmaple of why I always tell people to learn your fundamentals: frameworks change, libraries change, but the fundamentals don’t change.”
Complexities of Web Development: “Another thing you’re going to see …is the move more and more to the server. You’re seeing more and more sophisticated server tools that are pretty mind-blowing (from an old nerd’s prospective), [for example] virtualized database management: …instead of having to worry about charting your database and database optimizations, the advanced hosting companies -they provide that for you. They take care of that; scaling, auto-backups, all this kind of stuff that normally you would have to do yourself -you’d have to work it into the development cycle- not anymore! And you’re going to see more and more of this offloading of complexity in terms of application design and architecture…onto sophisticated hosting solutions. …So that’s another you’re going to see, that obfuscation of the complexity -and that’s a good thing.”
Closing Thoughts: “I think it’s going to shift from day to day ‘nuts and bolts’ type of coding, and going to go more towards architectural. Now what people use is a content management system; the most popular being WordPress. Which has given rise to the ‘WordPress Professional’, …[they] know how to install, configure WordPress, know the environment -the ecosystem around WordPress: know what the good themes are, the bad themes, the good plugins, the bad plugins, how to install and debug, how to lockdown and secure WordPress -there’s a whole skill set. Now you don’t necessarily need to be a coder, but having coding skills does help…and you can’t discount these type of skills… It’s very little about code but you gotta really know your stuff. …And this is a trend that been going on for awhile; this move away from nuts and bolts’ coding, to being someone who leverages different libraries and frameworks and understands how to use them/when to use them, and what circumstances to use them.”
So there you have it. The VLOG really goes into a much deeper and detailed dive, you should check it out. Also, speaking of fundamentals -SHAMELESSS PROMO- check out our links (below) to various courses we offer, particularly web development. It’s super effective. As for your job; it doesn’t mean coding is going to go away, just that there will be a shift. Again, know your fundamentals and you can’t go wrong. “A little less code, a little more architecture…and Dim Sum…always leave room for Dim Sum…so hungry!!! -Enjoy!
Will AI replace software developers in a short time?
For those of you keeping score at home we actually dove into this a year ago, but since a newly published Forbes article has pointed out some advancements in AI learning, we’d like to comment on the, ‘next step towards Skynet’.
So in the interest of calming your fears, we’re going to heighten them -only for a little while, I promise! But essentially, “… AI has really accelerated quite a bit over the last ten years, and they’re saying it’s about to go into a hyper-accelerated wave…”. There are very understandable reasons for this: 1- I Got the Power!: From a purely material stance, specialized AI chip sets have greatly increased their computing power. 2- We’re Feeding the Beast: For AI to work, it needs data, “…so the nerds came up with these things called data lakes -where all the data is pooled- so you can throw your AI at it and the AI can learn. The more data, the better the data -the better the data is segmented- , the better your AI will operate.” 3- Smarter, Faster: The AI algorithms are just getting better.
The latest application of AI has been the ‘Tab9‘ project wherein, “…a couple of guys basically took their AI, pointed it at 2 million github files and now they have a plugin…and the AI can do code completion much more effectively than traditional code completion”. But don’t start stocking up on canned food and making plans to reinforce your basement just yet, because now that we’ve whipped you into a frothing mass of fear and foreboding, we’re going to calmly bring you back down to the serene, put together, and well mannered developer you are…
The Road is Long… We’re not going to lie to you; AI is a growing technology and everyday new applications are being found. But that doesn’t mean that AI will be taking your job anytime soon. “…they’re not replacing developers, they’re [AI] just assisting developers in [their] process.” However, we can’t say with great certainty that everyone else’s job is safe; “…long before AI replaces software development, it’s going to replace truckers, replace accountants, many legal jobs, many medical jobs -you get the idea… .” But just in case you’re not a programmer and you’re reading this blog and feeling a little ‘tight’ in the chest, let us offer you an olive branch; “…before it gets to developers, AI will have replaced huge parts of industry, and as a result of that, …the entire infrastructure of society will have to be modified accordingly -so I wouldn’t worry about it because there’ll be warning sign years in advance before developers will be taken out by AI.”
The VLOG goes into way more detail and some more sweet scenery of the MTL skyline. Plus, we’ve teamed up with InMotion hosting for a really amazing offer where they pay for you to take our courses and learn how to become a web developer. Link below. -Enjoy!
Before we get started, this is the article we are …framing?… our references around, and full transparency: we use Vue.js (henceforth called ‘Vue’) for our needs with StudioWeb. Here we go:
Angular: Developed by Google in 2010 (making it easily the most mature), this behemoth (500kb) is more in the realm of big projects with ‘advanced developers’. “Angular is basically positioned for larger projects. There’s a much steeper learning curve with Angular, …it’s a very powerful framework.” Another feature of Angular is that, “it separates out the logic from the application/the behavior of an element and the element itself is separate.” So while you would be gaining flexibility with Angular, you might be sacrificing a certain amount of simplicity that you would get with the other frameworks..
React: Developed by Facebook in 2013 this slimmer framework (100kb), offer way more simplicity than Angular (at the cost of some flexibility) and has an equal market share with Angular. This Framework tends to be adopted by more flexible small-medium sized companies.
Vue: Open source-developed, holding approximately 20% of the market share (and growing), weighing in at about 80kb (soaking wet), we have the staple of most start-up/small businesses: Vue. Boasting an easy, practically non-existent learning curve, Vue is the compromise between flexibility and simplicity.
So what’s the best option for you? Well, all these frameworks have their strengths and weaknesses, and they’re all used by many companies, businesses, and corporations, so they’re not going to vanish anytime soon… I guess it all comes down to what you want to do… Want to work for a big corporation? Angular. Spunky start-up with a can do attitude? Probably Vue. We really want to stress that one framework is not better than the other, they just offer different options, benefits, and drawbacks.
Check out the VLOG for a deeper dive into the pros/cons and features of all three frameworks, and remember, “…your choice of framework -of any technology- largely depends on the type of work you wanna do, the job market, a personal choice… there’s no language that is ultimately best, …no framework that is ultimately worse; it really depends on what you want to do.” -Enjoy!
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!
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!
Heads up! This is going to be geared to our courses (specifically our web development course), but you can definitely take advantage of the information we’ll be providing…but it works best with our courses 🙂
So, when should you start freelancing after taking our developer course? “This is what I’d do: you finished my full stack course, you do all the foundations training, you do the first few projects that I suggest on the project section, and then the thing which you should do at this point is if you got my freelance course, you should read the first few chapters of the freelance course which gives you the framework to setup your freelance business. Then you have to complete your web design training as a padawan web designer or web developer-junior: what you do is you go out there and you do one or two small…SMALL projects as a freelancer for some independent company/third party.” Consider this your final exam cuz you’re going to be out there doing work AND communicating with clients! “…And if you have our freelance course, you’re going to get all the templates, the contracts, the initial proposal templates, etc…”
So there you have it. The VLOG goes into even more detail and you can even hear about how Stef got started out as a freelancer, having no idea how to build a CRUD based application and what he did. Thanks for listening to our shameless promos and if you’ve had your interest peaked by what it is we offer, check out our courses, it’s definitely worth your time. -Enjoy!
Wix is another tool that web designers can use to build out simple client websites and for some client websites, using Wix just makes sense.
When it comes to building websites for clients most devs will turn to CMS giant WordPress but there are other less complicated web-builders out there like Wix, SquareSpace, Weebly, etc. that generally let you create websites easily at the cost of versatility. And that’s not altogether a bad thing, depending on what the client’s needs are.
And from these sites that offer simplicity and ease have risen freelancers in their own right. “If you look at Wix today or shopify…even though they’re much easier to use than, let’s say building from scratch: using a template or something, it’s still something that many small business owners don’t want to tackle. …In terms of freelance work, I call it becoming a web professional. A web professional is not necessarily somebody who is a developer (although they could be), …[It’s] somebody who knows how to put up websites, knows the different options; knows how to build from scratch, …you understand when those types of builders make sense, …hosting options, …domain names …this is what a web professional brings to the table.”
Don’t call Wix and the other builders a niche – I’ve been here for years, rockin’ my peers, puttin’ others in fear…okay seriously though, “…because it’s such a huge demand, this type of freelancer is gonna make a lot of money because there’s so many small businesses out there who are positioned on the web in some form or another and they don’t have all this knowledge, they don’t understand the differences between these different platforms and they’re probably not aware of most of these platforms…”
So should you consider using Wix, shopify, etc when choosing how to service client(s) demands over WordPress? “So your job as a consultant/web professional is to direct them in the right direction. Shopify, Wix, SquareSpace, etc. they’re not competition, they’re not taking away from web design and development, they are just tools in your toolbox. …Go in there first [and] talk to your client: see what their needs are and then you as a web professional can determine whether or not the Wix platform can support that.” As previously mentioned, “the thing about these web builders… they’re typically limited: the simplification comes at the cost of flexibility. …When you simplify you usually remove options that you have on the table. So you have to determine whether you need those options or not; maybe you don’t/maybe you do…”. Hey, we never said it was gonna be easy…
The VLOG goes into a way better explanation, you should check it out. And maybe while you’re at it <shameless promo> check out the really cool and thoughtfully put together courses that we offer. Whether is freelancing, or learning web development, you’ll be taking advantage of almost 3 decades of experience in all these subjects AND if you click here, you can take advantage of a super deal! 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 all these offers are below as well. -Enjoy!