Many a young developer believe that it is crucial that you use the most advance languages and frameworks for your development work, else your apps will be total garbage! If you won’t take our word for it, at least listen to some of regrets of what could be your next employer…
Full transparency: This is mainly for the young ‘nerdling-devs’ who feel like they have something to prove, but it could apply to anyone really…
So, we thought we’d throw out another PSA about how using the most cutting edge tech is not always the best idea. That “language that will make all the difference”, doesn’t necessarily exist. Essentially, that “there is no stack that is universally better than the other [and] that everything is very circumstantial: for certain tasks, certain languages are better.”
But today we thought instead of wearing out the same letters on our writer’s keyboard, we’d try a little negative reinforcement… Today we’re gonna hit you where it hurts: your wallet. Then were show you your potential employers and how they got hurt in the wallet, and why their hurt will always dictate how and what you do (which I would argue then turns into an existential hurt which will forever linger ever so slightly in the back of your mind and weigh down your soul just a little …so bonus negative reinforcement -I win forever- Boom!…Sorry.).
It comes down to this, whatever new tech you think is soooo cool, and you want immerse yourself in, do that on your own time. The companies that you work for or will freelance your time out to will not use it. They will use either OLD (read: tried and true) tech or something that they have invested thousands or millions into and are not going to give up. You wanna make money: learn to use their tech. Period.
Still on the fence? “One of the advantages nobody points out is that old technology can mean job security, or job opportunity. If all the young hipster nerdlings are jumping into some brand new cutting edge tech, a lot of the times, there’s not too many jobs in that.” Whereas if a company invested a lot of money running their business on an older language, there’s probably not a lot of programmers out there anymore for it, and that would be an abundance for you!
Still not convinced? Alright, hail-mary throw: “I am very reluctant to adopt any new technology, just like any other business is…and the reason they’re very reluctant to adopt a new technology is not because they’re ‘old school’, or they’re dumb, or because they don’t see the advantage… It’s because they look at the broader picture [what you should do as a developer]. The broader picture is that you don’t want to find yourself using a stack that never really catches on fire; that never really takes off. Imagine if you spend 50 grand, 100 grand, a million building an application, and your business depends on that application, using some cutting edge tech and you find out 4 years later that nobody wants to use it anymore. Happens all the time… And then you’re stuck: cuz good luck trying to find new people [programmers], and if you find people they’re going to charge you an arm and a leg… and you’ve got this investment in this technology and you’re stuck: you have to rewrite from scratch, or you have to pay through the nose to find people. …Even worse is if the technology doesn’t take off, you may find yourself with an abandoned technology; and then you’re in big trouble!”
So there it is, we’re sorry we had to do that you…it was outta love. Check out the VLOG for a way more in depth dive into this. And good news: the newsletter is up! subscribe to get access to stuff you can’t get on YouTube (links down below). -Enjoy!
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!
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…
Contrary to what the title would suggest, we’re not trying to pit software developers against programmers in an all out brawl to the death in a post-apocalyptic forum for our amusement… *mental note for the end of the world*
No, what we’re presenting here is the subtle and (sometimes) not so subtle differences between the jobs, tasks, and expectations of these careers so that you can know what’s right (or interesting) for you when thinking about which path you may want to take.
We will also mention the role of architect and scriptor but the VLOG itself will go into way more detail about these jobs. Also, be ready for some shameless promotion because this is pretty much our milieu (area of expertise) here, and our courses reflect that.
Before we get started, I just want to point out that we are speaking in generalities, and yes, it’s quite possible that the position in your company or your freelancing gig has you filling different roles. These jobs can be quite fluid and we are only going to speak to what’s generally expected of you in these roles…
“A software developer is someone who is able to create entire systems, while a programmer (can also be a software developer), [but more likely], is someone who just writes code and can write programs. A software developer would develop an entire web app from scratch, would be able to design all the different layers, etc. … A software developer [in a nutshell] is a very experienced programmer… A lot of very experienced programmers never become software developers because they don’t go to that level, they work on very specific things here and there and they don’t develop entire architectures.”
A scriptor is someone who writes very simple lines of programming code. Little bits of Python code to automate software, a lot software out there (video rendering engines, etc) they’ll use Python to control how the software operates (batch operations, etc.), and that’s traditionally someone you would call a scriptor, because they’re writing little scripts (short pieces of code). And there’s a lot of demand for that as well!”
Software architects are quite literally architects of the software. They may not have time to do the task of the software developers, programmers, or scriptors, but they take care of the overall, top-down structure. For example, they could pick the languages, the frameworks, they get into the nitty-gritty with the lead developer, going over the best way to tackle situations/problems. Look, if you’re a software developer, and once a week (or more) you have a meeting with someone who you bring problems to, or someone who points you in certain directions or chooses the very foundational cores from which you work in…chances are they’re the architect.
So there you have it. Again, the VLOG goes into way more detail, we recommend you check it out. And no matter what you choose to be, check out our courses because they are made to give you the tools to see the bigger picture, which is always good. Believe me, you want to be overqualified for your job, people notice that and usually want to put you in a better position…or just pay you more money. -Enjoy!
There is no better teacher of software development than the long term experience of building and refining a commercial app used by countless users.
As we get older we have friends who get married and have children. Sometimes while hanging out, maybe while having drinks or dinner, you might ask them how parenthood is going or (heavens forbid), you let it slip that you can’t wait to have children yourself, that it would be ‘fun’… Then you get to watch their brows furrow and the mood get very somber (did the lights suddenly dim in here? Did it get colder?!), and with a gaze that seems to penetrate your very soul they say in a foreboding voice, ‘YOU.HAVE.NO.IDEA.’. That somehow the scope and challenge of raising children is completely out your experience and in the abstract and ethereal, and one can never hope to grasp it until they are waist deep in it… Wow, that got ranty real fast…
Well, we’re going to make a statement that might put us in the same category as those pretentious parents but unlike those parents, we do it with love and encouragement…but we will dim the lights for dramatic effect… “You don’t really know app development until you’ve developed an app, taken it to market, gotten feedback, refactored/refined, and then made money with that app, or at least been part of a team that’s gone through that process where you’ve seen the app go from inception to actual functional use with the end user.” I know, for some of you ‘thems fightin’ words‘, but what we mean is that version 1 of your app, is not going to be the end – far from it in fact. A lot of (young) developers [devs] coming up are under the assumption that if they write the ‘perfect’ code, that the app will be perfect and there will be no need for a version 2, 3 or even 4. “…You have to expect that when you become a professional developer, that you’re going to go through many iterations…”. There is a purely academic idea that has been making the rounds lately in articles and even some YouTube videos about the “purity of code” or “purity of implementation”, and when you’re making commercial software, it’s just not the case.
The VLOG goes into waaaaayyyyy more robust detail, stemming from over 3 decades of experience in the business (which is like 269 years in young dev time), but what we really want you to know is, with regards to your app: (A) – Don’t worry about making mistakes (B) – Don’t expect that your first iteration of your code and your software is going to be perfect –it will never be perfect. so “…get your app out quickly (within reason, of course), don’t waste your time with perfect implementation.” Also, bonus material: We make fun of RUBY a lot. But at the end of the Vlog is a sort of postmortem theorizing -from a reliable source- why RUBY lost out on a huge share of the market. Plus, some sweet aerial scenery of MTL. -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!
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!