Come yung’uns, gather by the fire that I may tell you a story… well more of a walk-through really… The older kids have heard it before and have gone on their separate ways… Now, you’ll hear it and make your choices and go your separate way… I see you’re all fresh-faced and want to make a splash at being a developer but you feel inexperienced and unequal to some of the bigger boys and girls out there. You wonder, ‘what can I do to become a pro ASAP?’ Well huddle ’round the fire quickly and listen, before you start asking yourself why are a bunch of ‘young’ developers huddling around a fire to listen to an old man? Wait, what’s happening, where are we?!
Well, that’s it yung’uns… Any questions or something you need more explanation on, check out this Vlog where we go into detail on all the points and of course, feel free to check out the links below to our courses, you won’t regret it <SHAMELESS PLUG3>. I’m going to go talk to our location director… -Enjoy.
Is it even worth becoming a “web professional” now and what does that even mean?
It can be strange how we categorize our positions and professions. For example, what one person would call a web developer, another would call a web designer. Then there are web programmers and specialties like “front end”, “full stack”, “back end” and “mid-thigh carver” ( I made that last one up, and yes, the last place I came from was the butcher’s…). So then what is a web professional?
And there are other questions, like is web development going to be obsolete with products like WEBFLOW and the like (products that will take away the need to code)?
With these titles and questions swirling around it can be very easy to throw up your hands and say what am I doing?! Is this even worth my time?!
The answer is: yes, yes it is and as far as ‘what is a web professional?’, well, that is a little more complicated…
First off, shameless plug: We offer kick-ass, detailed, and laboriously designed courses that will help to answer this question. So a web professional is kind of all these things combined in different ratios: designer, developer, front end, full stack, braised tenderloin ( I think I’m getting hungry…), etc, etc. Some devs may specialize in specific things (ex: back end or client side whatever), but it’s all in there. Hodge-podge is not necessarily the right word, but it’s the first word that comes to mind…
And how do you, as a web professional, ensure you know all these things or have a passable knowledge/experience with them? You learn. Either from having “been around the block” or by taking our course <another shameless plug, I know!>… But seriously, web development or whatever you want to call yourself is not going anywhere, in fact if the rate at which things are becoming more and more technological keeps growing, we’re going to need more and more devs at all kinds of different strengths and experiences.
Check out the vlog for a way more detailed and in depth explanation of this subject and quick side dig at RUBY… -Enjoy!
How to get Clients to Produce Content for their Websites?
Clients, man… Can’t live with ’em, can’t make a living without them, amirite?
On your travels out there as a freelancer, you’re going to come across times when clients aren’t are late with, or aren’t delivering the content you need to work with. Maybe you find yourself doing what should be their responsibility or job, just to move things along so you can get to completing YOUR job on time. What can we do?
First off -SHAMELESS PLUG- we tackle this in our “Freelancer Course”; links at the bottom.
Second, essentially, you’re going to need to specify a lot this in your contract. Yeah, I know it’s more work for you to write this out, but it’ll save you so much grief in the long run. For example, something like ‘after the second draft has received approval, I will then need pictures, written content, etc. going forward’ if the content is to be delivered in whatever time you specified (ex: 30 days), work will be halted until ‘content’ has been received, etc.
Third, “gentle reminders” and emails. Clients sometimes forget things, they’ve got stuff going on too… so you email them with a “gentle reminder” (and seriously, be gentle. Use phrases like “at your leisure”, “when you have a second”, etc.), letting them know that you need ‘X’ material to continue. Also, we really do recommend you email them. That way there is a time-stamped copy of the request so they cannot come to you later saying that you were late on the project or anything else. You simply (and calmly) call up the email and show them that you attempted to get the material…
Lastly, unfortunately, this is “par for the course”, meaning that it happens and it’s totally normal if not expected. Have some other projects going on so that when one stalls, you simply refocus your effort the next. Now, fair warning: This does involve time management and juggling, so don’t bite off more than you can chew, especially if more than one of these projects has the capability to suddenly demand all of your attention at the same time…
Check out the video where we into more detail and check out our “freelancer course” link at the bottom so you can benefit from our mistakes experiences in the past, when dealing with client expectations. At the end of the day, it’s best that everyone knows where they stand and what expected of them. Enjoy!
Another shocking discovery from the Department of Urban Humanity or “DUH”… Communication skills are a big deal for developers. I know, I know; save yourself the twitter rant but believe it or not it does bare repeating.
Look, we understand, ten or 15 years ago developers were (for lack of a better term), alone in the business world. They were largely left alone to their own devices mostly because businesses didn’t necessarily know or understand what they did…only that they needed their skills if the wanted “an online presence.” And who could developers talk to about their projects, their frustrations and victories? Other developers… So you can see why, historically, some devs might not be in a very “social” mood…
However, unless you’ve been under a rock which was then covered in concrete, lowered into well and then sealed with more concrete, you’d know that “the world went and got itself in a big damn hurry…”(that’s a quote from ‘the shawshank redemption’, which you probably haven’t seen if you were under the aforementioned rock…you should check it out, great film.).
But yeah, devs aren’t the rare birds they once were and neither is their work the stuff of wizardry. Most people/companies know what they want and how to <relatively> get it, or have access to a host of devs who can get it for them… So what’s gonna set you apart? Communication! Your sparkling wit, easy demeanor, and sly and inviting grin as you effortlessly deliver what the client wants and make the necessary changes right in front of them assuring them that not only are you knowledgeable, but so easy to get along with! They’re so lucky they found you and look forward to working with you on all their future projects!
Check out the vid, where we give you personal experiences of these situations and illuminate on the skill on communication. I mean, sure there might be lots of devs who can do what you do…but can they deliver it, like YOU deliver it? Enjoy!
PS- stick around to the end to see footage of the minute before the lich lords attacked and made us their unwilling thralls…
A couple of tips on how to price your freelance web design and development contracts.
Okay, you’ve got your first paying/serious/ for real-sises (technical term) job and after giving you the lowdown on the job, your client asks what the price tag is going to be?
Well, maybe you think to yourself, “I charge ‘X’ amount of money per hour and this looks like a ten hour job, so -” whoa, whoa, whoa, champ! there’s soooo much more to take into account.
First off, Shameless Promo: Check out the link to our freelancer courses that we offer. They’re real and they’re spectacular!
Second, if you’re freelancing you have to factor in all the stuff that goes around the project. ie: phone calls, re-writes/edits/corrections, etc. and those take up your time too and therefore need to be accounted for.
The good news is, you’re worth it, all of it. But, you do need to get into the practice of being able to correctly judge the price of a project.
Some businesses want know the sum total at the end of a job (“Is this going to cost my business 1000.00$? 5000.00$?) and you’re going to have to give them that. Check out the Vid below where we give you a few pointers and for maximum coverage, checkout our link below to our freelancer course.
Sure, you’re gonna learn a lot of stuff the hard way out there in ‘freelancer world’, but if we can save you a few hard knocks with our own experience, isn’t it worth it?
Thinking of kick-starting your freelance web design career?
Alright, it doesn’t matter the reasons that got you here, (but I agree, if you have to listen to one more of Brad-in-accounting’s “tight” 2 minute sets that he’s put together for his always upcoming/never happening open mic night, it was either gonna be him or you!), you’ve decided to strike out on your own and become a freelance web designer, congrats!
Now before we get to work, we just want to make sure that we’re clear on the terminology here when we say freelance. We don’t mean that you shopped your resume around and found work with another small company or start-up…
We’re talking <Peter Parker selling his “pictures of spider-man ;)” to J.Jonah Jameson, for money and if he doesn’t do it again tomorrow, he doesn’t get paid/doesn’t eat > freelance. But we’re not just gonna leave you “hanging” with no help at all; we’ve got 7 great tips that will help propel you into the freelance web designer-verse. Go get’em tiger!
Make Sure It Looks Good: You’ve got your skills and you feel confident. Well, the client may have no idea what they’re looking at, so always make sure it’s aesthetically pleasing (pleasing to the eye) that way even though they have no idea what it is you do, they know it looks great!
Small Jobs/Practice Jobs: Heads up you may work for next to/nothing your first few gigs. It’s fine: think of it as stretching your legs and seeing what you can do. Contact friends, family, or friends of family and local businesses to get these small jobs. You’re really just learning to work with other people/clients and gaining reputation…rep. is huge (we’ll get back to that).
Try Online Markets: If you can’t find local stuff (or you’re tired of it and want to try something a little more challenging and “long distance”, there are websites where you can sell your skills (not for much though, remember you want experience and reputation). Some quick sites that come to mind: “Fiverr”, “upwork”, to start. But google it and you’ll start your journey down the rabbit hole…
Social Presence: This is just becoming a MUST for anyone in almost any field. You know the rules: keep it professional. Let people see what you’ve achieved (ie: certifications) and what you’re capable of (the work you done for others). Again, build that reputation!
Specialize in a Business Sector(OPTIONAL): Not strictly necessary but it does help. Maybe you work designing websites for only coffee shops? There’s lots of them (and more on every street corner, amarite?), but it would be a specialized area to know exactly what every coffee shop needs if they want to seriously compete in the online space. Real estate agent websites are another really good expertise to have, which brings us to our last tip…
Develop Workflows to Cut Down on Time & Maximize Profitability: A mouthful of a final tip but it’s the very zenith of freelancing…to be so damn good/knowledgeable at what you do that you can get it done fast/easily and for muchos bucks!! This is where reputation kicks in. Now that you’re known for doing that thing you do so well, you can finally charge what you’re worth (and then some), and do it in half the time while still making it look tight and outta sight!
You’re money, baby!
Of course, check out the vid for more detailed info for each step, plus a little PSA about keeping your body (almost) as sharp as your mind. Trust us, it’s all fun n’ games until you pull a muscle getting off the couch one day… Enjoy!
In a word…Yes. Depending of course on the size of the company; massive companies tend to give intense (technical) interviews. “They’ll throw everything at you including the kitchen sink…They have HR departments where they’re ticking off boxes, and there’s a tendency in those circumstances that they’re going to ask you for everything.”
Conversely, smaller businesses “…tend to be more accurate in terms of what the requirements that are stated for the job are, relative to the actual job.” Chances are the ‘iron curtain’ may be pulled back and you’ll even get to talk to the lead developer right away and then you can ask and be asked questions in a little less formal setup…
That being said, there really is no limit to the stuff you could be asked (as we’ll explain in the video), no matter the size of the company. A lot of the testing may not even really be applicable to what you do, for example they may want to test your knowledge of deep algorithms, even of you’re going to be working with a simple/clean code.
All-in-all, it’s not uncommon. In this video we’ll break down some suggestions for making sure you’re not too caught by surprise and even have a little bit of company knowledge to surprise your interviewers with. As we’ve said before know your fundamentals and you’ll always have an idea of what’s going on.
WordPress, is the most popular CMS in the world … and for good reason.
Spoiler Alert: Yes, WordPress did approach us to do this.
Also, SPOILER ALERT: we don’t know how to use spoiler alerts…
It’s not selling out or corporate schilling because we actually believe in and love this product, and are happy to tell you guys about it. It works for us and we hope it works for you, if you need something like this; plain and simple. Yes there are other platforms comparable to WordPress and if you are happy with them, more power to you. But if, you’re curious about it, we think you’ll find what you’re looking for, whether it be style or function.
We could list all the amazing functions and plug-ins right here but it’s easier to just watch the vlog.
That way you can see my awesome sweater-jacket too 🙂
These days, UX and UI are by far the most important aspect of any web app and perhaps, most software written. At least any software that has a visual component.
Let’s get down to it! For those of you on the fence about becoming programmers and are reading this and breathing a little shallow because you have no idea what we’re talking about, “and oh my god, I can’t do this, I don’t know anything…” Breathe, my friend… You are welcome here and all is revealed to those who ask…
UX = User experience. Essentially how a client/customer “experiences” a website. IE: are the articles too bunched up that it hurts the eyes? Are all the buttons the same color? Is the “BUY NOW” button right under the product so you can see it and not have to go looking for it? Etc.
UI = User interface. What the user interacts with to “experience” your product. IE: Touch screens, laptops, phones, etc
I’m not going to lie, these things do overlap sometimes and the blurred lines can make even the most seasoned programmer start muttering curses under their breath, like Yosemite Sam. But instead of separating the two, let’s lean into it. Let’s look at a set of principles that will make all your work in UX (with a dash of UI) streamlined, simple and elegant…
I really recommend watching the video for further explanation because, “there’s a certain set of rules but there’s also a bit of an art to it. …I’m going to teach you some of the rules that I’ve learned over the last few years in terms of designing UX for user interfaces whether it be websites web apps or mobile apps…” …and also I want you to watch the video. Enjoy!
PS – As always, stick around after the chat for a soothing ride that ends up…in a cemetery!!! I know, right?!
…Fair warning: this may get a little depressing but it’s worth it; promise…
Chances are at one point or another you’ve felt the itch. That feeling of wanting a change of [job] scenery, maybe even a new career path. Some of us grab opportunity by the horns and just make that switch, others make a more calculated move that usually involves taking some courses, making some phone calls and waiting for the right time to jump and land on the “terra-firma” of a new career.
Much to the utter amazement of the last group of us who unfortunately feel like there’s no chance; maybe we feel like we’re under-educated, maybe our present job has sucked all the motivation out of us or maybe we’re just scared to fail and fall behind on payments (mortgage,bills,etc.).
I’d imagine the issue becomes especially worse when you’re looking into technology jobs, like a software developer. Our insecurities about our own skill and ability to learn can be almost crippling. We may even ask ourselves what are real benefits of investing myself in this field? Not to mention the time/energy commitment and how much money are we really going to make?
Short (and admittedly somewhat vague) answer: lots of things. But right after job satisfaction, let’s face it: it’s money. How much will do I stand to make? Check out this video and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised…
Also, if you’re wondering how stable a software development job is, check out this page.
The good news is, the more time you invest in learning new skills and competencies, the more money you can charge knowing that you are fully worth that amount <the more you learn, the more you earn>. So get out there and absorb all the knowledge you can. It may take time, it may take more energy than you thought, but it’s worth it and so are you!