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!
The proper psychology of investing and buying, plus lizard brain psych tip.
In so many things we are striving to get, whether it be a promotion or even an item on sale, we tell ourselves ‘be prepared to not get what you want’. This kind of thinking puts us in the realm of calm acceptance (for example not getting your annual raise or having the item that’s on sale be sold out), and opens up a whole new pathway to the next thought, ‘ am I prepared to sacrifice that thing I wanted?’ Or ‘what do I do then?’
We should also ask ourselves if we’re ready to accept rejection from others, are we able to reject the offers of others? To simply walkaway from things we don’t want? Can we even bring ourselves to do that anymore? “Whenever you go into any transaction -any business deal- you have to go in there with the mindset that you don’t really want it…that you’re prepared to walk away. As soon as you find yourself ‘jonesing’ for something…as soon as you’re in that psychology, then you’re putting yourself at a huge disadvantage -you have to go in there very, very, very lukewarm at best- so you keep your mind clear”.
It all goes back to the ‘lizard’ brain -that most primitive part of our brain- which we’ve talked about in past VLOGs. The same people trying to sell you things know that, “emotions dominate our decision-making processes. So you can use your cognitive mind to influence the lizard in a proper way, by setting a frame -setting an expectation.” It’s hard to do but you’re essentially teaching yourself not to be reactionary, not to flinch and ‘hit back’…to simply turn around and say, ‘no thanks’ and walk away in control. If you think it’s gonna be hard to do in business, wait til you fail to do it in your personal life!
The VLOG goes into a much deeper dive, you should check it out. Keep in control of your emotions and you can keep that lizard brain in check. -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!
Freelancing has MANY upsides, but there is one potential downside to freelancing: loneliness.
For some freelance developers, working alone all is day is hard. As humans we need a little social interaction or a little diversion or it can get real dark for us, real fast. But not to worry, we have some suggestions that will let you get a change of scenery, some human on human stimulation (eww!) and all without sacrificing productivity.
Generally speaking in the office world a seven hour workday can be a little flighty with your attention going here and there and putting out fires in other places, plus meetings and just generally not wanting to be there (which is probably one of the reasons you became a freelancer…). However, one of the things about that office life is you get to interact with people, and enjoy coffee breaks and be around hustle and bustle (atmospheric noise), and feel like you’re a part of the environment, which as a human being is very important (if you have a chance read up on the brain patterns and behaviors of people that have been in solitary confinement…just wow!). We are big believers in the highly productive workday being about 4 hours of solid (uninterrupted) work. When you start with that as your foundation, a lot of options then start to open up. “I make it a point to go out for coffees, go out for brunch, go out for breakfast: I get out! That is the short answer.”
Another idea, “I’ve had people work for me, in fact, they’ll have like their messenger app; their friends and their family – they are in constant communication with them.” That one’s a bit of a slippery slope because it could limit your productivity, but there’s this little tidbit, “You take breaks…once every hour or two you go out, you get a coffee or something; go for a walk -this is good for your exercise as well.” Building on that point, you could go to the gym which is another great opportunity to socialize as well as get that body moving so you feel invigorated when you get back to your work.
The VLOG goes into a great detail providing solid examples of how to break up your day and what activities can help make you feel like a part of the human world again. The main thing to remember is that loneliness can be a factor in this line of work but it doesn’t have to be. We’re sure one of the reasons you became a freelancer was to have that freedom and flexibility that is sorely lacking from the office life…here’s the chance to take advantage of it. -Enjoy!
We make fun of Ruby a lot here: 1. because it’s fun and 2. … …okay, it’s just fun really, but a question did come up recently from an individual who was offered a job working with Ruby on Rails. They come from a PHP – Laravel background and while they don’t know how to use Ruby, per se, their potential employer also offered to pay them while they learn it. So the question was do they take the job knowing that the use of Ruby on Rails has diminished or should they look for something else?
Now Ruby aside, we’d like to answer this question in general terms if you ever find yourself in a situation like this and you’re on the fence… “If you don’t have other work and the job is high paying, why not? …A language or framework does not define you as a programmer… you [just] happen to be using those tools at that particular time”. Now, specifically regarding Ruby jobs: “…it’s not gonna disappear over night and in fact we’ll probably see Ruby development for the next five years, at least, so …you do that for one year, two years, 3 years; what have you…”
Another question we’ve been getting recently is if Java is dead? With Google making the switch to Kotlin for app development and Oracle charging for Java licensing, what will be happening to Java jobs? “Does that mean the whole Java-Android development is going to collapse overnight? Probably not: it won’t, it’ll probably take a couple of years.” That being said, “if you’re writing code for your android app using Java, you’ll be able to transition into Kotlin very, very quickly.”
Check out the VLOG for a more sensible and detailed answers to these questions, and remember, “you cannot lose learning any programming language.” -Enjoy!
Do you need certifications as a developer? Will a certification help you land that juicy software developer job?
Great question. In the past, certifications were a great way to show that you were knowledgeable in a certain skill/area of expertise and that you took the time/initiative to learn it. However this was also in a time before the internet and (relatively) free flow of information… We have indirectly addressed this in this article but let’s be a little more direct…
Full transparency: We offer certifications to schools that teach our courses and we are even working on certifications upon completion of our courses to the general public, but we’re going to address that tout-suite (right away).
So, “…certifications have a certain limited role, I mean [they] do play a certain limited role but they do play a role. In my own hiring practices…I admit that I do look at what, if any, certifications they may have: whether that is a university degree, college degree, or a boot camp…or just a certification in general. It plays a minimal role, how much does it impact my decision-making? …for me experience building real things is more important, but good certifications do indeed play a role”. Here’s a theoretical: if you’re working or looking to be employed by a ‘top shelf’/prestigious consulting firm and you’re wondering: ‘do I need a certification?’ The answer is, “…if the certification was going to cost you thousands of dollars, I probably wouldn’t… if it’s costing a couple of hundred dollars to get a few certifications to show that you’re up-to-date… it could impact your ability to get a job (not necessarily as a freelancer) …but as a consultant, it does add a bit”.
Another thing we’ve talked about before is that as any kind of person looking for work: freelancer or 9-5’er, you have your reputation, skill sets, and IP (intellectual property). “…certifications are part of your reputation; building structure, if you will.” So long story-short: in most cases (depending on who you’re working for or trying to get hired by) certifications will pale in comparison to real world experience, but much like having a secret bottle of rye whiskey hidden away in the back of your top drawer…on certain occasions it does help…
Check out the VLOG for a full dive into the grey area of certifications and experience. If ever there was a VLOG to check out, let it be this one -your job may depend on it… -Enjoy!
…Or you can spend 25 years writing code to figure these rules out for yourself. Your choice… 😉
We use the ‘royal we‘ a lot here, but the man in charge and captain at the helm is Stef. He’s the guy whose over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur, freelancer, and programmer, etc. is presented on a shiny platter of VLOG-ness every week, not to mention the courses offered (links below).
But when we <Stef> release a top 10 programming rules for you to take advantage of, well ya gotta give the devil <also Stef> his due and drop the pretense. And when we say 25 years of experience we don’t just mean showing up, doing your job, drinking coffee and then calling it a day… It’s also hard-knocks, disappointments, and life lessons. Stef doesn’t want a medal or anything, he just wants to save you a little heartache by listening to what he has to say. That way you have more time (and heart) left to do the things you enjoy.
I’m not gonna tell you what the programming rules are, you should watch the VLOG for that, but I’ll give you a hint: if you’ve been watching these VLOGs, even casually or out of sequence, you’ve come across all or most of them. This is just a condensed version of everything: the ‘from concentrate’ orange juice that has not yet been watered down at that small diner that you get breakfast sometimes, you know the one, their home fries are soooo good, but why do they ‘cheap out’ on the OJ?!
Check out the VLOG, it’s worth it. Or, like the subtitle says, spend 25 years figuring it out for yourself. Thanks, Stef (can I have a raise?). -Enjoy!