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!
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!
How old can you be and still be a successful freelance coder / developer?
Gonna be a short article and VLOG, it’s mostly just a ‘WOW’ piece. For a quick refresher check out this and that previous article but there’s a man out there who is still a freelancing programmer at 83 years old!!
I mean C’mon! That’s insane! This guy either loves what he does, or owes some serious money. But it really does go to show you that age is just a number and where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Check out the VLOG for the whole story and keep on rockin’ in the free[lance] world! -Enjoy!
<Shameless promo> check out the really cool and thoughtfully put together courses that we offer. Whether it’s 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!
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!
Do you need to have had work experience working for someone to become a freelancer?
American poet and playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay is quoted as saying, “I am glad that I paid so little attention to good advice; had I abided by it I might have been saved from some of my most valuable mistakes“. Even though that classy, gangsta quote sounds like something the Dowager Countess of Grantham would say on Downton Abbey, it is super applicable today when we broach the topic of freelancing and previous experience.
On our ‘code-on-the-go’ segment we answer the oft-asked question: should young devs get experience working for a company prior to getting into freelancing? Can a self-taught freelancer get as skillful as a dev who works within a company?
“Short answer is yes – not a problem. I’ve had many of my mentees come right outta school and they start freelancing; working for me as contractors: I start them with little projects and they would build up that way.” We’ve talked about this in past and even dedicated a whole article to it regarding field experience vs. class/book learning, but essentially “…learn your foundations, one or two quick project courses and then what you do is you start asking around local businesses about whether they need a website (if you’re doing web stack), and start with small simple projects…the key is to build your portfolio…yes, self-taught programmers can become just as skillful…”.
Check out the VLOG. Although it’s short I can guarantee you’re going to be illuminated. Also<Shameless Plug> if you’re interested in freelancing but don’t know where to start or you’ve just started and don’t think you’re doing it right, check out our course: ‘The Complete Freelancer‘. We wouldn’t offer it unless we were confident that you could profit from our over 3 decades of experience in the field. Links down below… -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!
WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world and they just released a new major update.
With over 30% of the world’s websites running on WordPress and something akin to 80% of small businesses, it’s safe to say that this content management system (CMS) is a pretty big deal. Which also makes it a huge opportunity for freelancers to become ‘WordPress professionals’ – someone who provides services on the site to those businesses.
WordPress recently released version 5.2, named “Jaco” in honor of renowned and revolutionary jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius, and it’s available for download or update in your WordPress dashboard. For those of you not familiar with the CMS giant – TaDa! – and for those of you that just wanna check it out for yourself –Abracadabra!– but we’ll be looking at a couple key/cool updates. Full disclosure, we use WordPress…why? “Because dealing with the headaches of creating your own CMS or your own sites…”, it’s just easier with WordPress.
–PHP Error Detection: You’ll be able to fix fatal errors – like the white screen of death – without requiring ‘developer time’. Also, if your plug-ins and themes go haywire, there’s a recovery mode that you can enter into.
–Accessibility Updates: If you’re using a screen reader of other accessibility technologies, there’s a more seamless integration and more “contextual awareness and keyboard navigation flow”.
–Heads up: *If you are running an old version of PHP (less than 5.6.20), update your PHP before installing 5.2.
Of course, please check out the link above for a list of all things new and shiny, not to mention the VLOG for a more robust pass at this new version. On a side note click here for a really cool offer. We’ve teamed up with InMotion hosting and they’re essentially going to pay for you to take my course and learn how to become a web developer. Links to the offer and my courses are down below. -Enjoy!
Selling online is really the future of selling; no question. So, is getting into a niche eCommerce business the way to go?
Niches historically have their highs and lows, depending on subject matter. A niche band that your buddy introduced you to might be music to your ears, but perhaps that band isn’t making a lot of money at shows because only a hand full of people who really appreciate what they do turn out…
On the other hand, finding a niche in eCommerce that you can fill would be a good thing. “Niche is the key to success, because if it’s not niche then you’re going to be competing with a lot of big players (possibly), meaning bigger companies or you’re just gonna have a lot of competition.” This is gonna be a shameless plug, but we go into this in better detail in our ‘Complete Entrepreneur’ course that we offer (link below).
“…If you want to get into business go into niche or you go into an industry where there’s just a huge amount of demand that the demand outstrips the supply.” One of the reasons we recommend finding a niche on the web to fill, whether it be eCommerce, WordPress, etc. is that you don’t necessarily have to go to school to be able to jump in. We’re talk about 3-5 years of schooling here… for example, you don’t have to get a data science degree, or a software engineering degree. You can simply take a course…like the ones we offer…nudge, nudge, wink, wink… and be able to jump right in, get your experience, grow your reputation and make your living.
VLOG your face off and check out more in-depth reasons to find a niche market to go into and stick around til the end (or just jump to the end), to see Montreal in the winter…just in case you’ve had enough of this wonderful July heat and forgot about what comes next… -Enjoy!
What kind of highly complex and crazy work will you be doing? The answer may surprise you…
So what is the most common web developer job that is going to be out there in 2019? Are you gonna be building the next FACEBOOK from NODEjs or the next WordPress.com with PHP? The short answer is…maybe, but probably not…
“The most likely situation is you’re going to be working with small to medium sized businesses. Web developers will be building wordpress-based sites with custom mini apps, perhaps. You might be modifying shopify sites and deploying those for people.” Not as glamorous as you thought, is it? Well, it’s the truth…
Think of your standard web developer “…like a GP in the medical [professional]. You got medical doctors that are general practitioners, they don’t specialize in brain surgery, which would be kind of the equivalent of a NODEjs master or a PHP-Laravel master. The most common doctor out there is the GP (general practitioner): someone who takes care of most people’s medical needs. That is what a web professional is, you might do a Paypal integration, another day you might do a WordPress theme customizer…this is where a lot of the professional web-based jobs are gonna be.”
Don’t get us wrong, there’ going to be plenty of work building highly complex apps from scratch, “… but at the end of the day for every advanced app that’s built with NODEjs, there’s going to be five hundred, maybe thousands of jobs where you’re going to modify and build up a WordPress-based site, or work on a Shopify site for somebody.”
The VLOG really does this subject justice, including an answer to the common question of money. Specifically why does the NODEjs master make as much as the common web developer who’s just modifying Shopify or WordPress, etc. and it’s a good answer. -Enjoy!