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WEB SCHOOL Is there any money to be made in web/app design?

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karnn

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Hello all,

Looking for some inputs from experienced people in this space since I am new here and completely unaware of the market. Also I apologise if this post sounds naive and isn't totally welcome here.

I recently learnt HTML,CSS, JAVASCRIPT after reading many posts on fastlaneforum and also web deployment using Django. But I am not completely sure where to go from here. I have a service-based website business on my mind that I started working on, but it's kind of a long haul plan and in waiting I wanted to use my skills to earn some side money.

However it seems to me this market is completely saturated and every other person is a web developer. Many questions pop into mind. Is there any demand for web developers out there anymore ? How can I differentiate myself from the rest? Also it seems there are a lot of automated web design solutions out there that eliminate the need for a developer to an extent. The same is true for app design.

So my question is, if I were to build an app today, would that be a good investment of my time or is this not worth pursuing anymore?

How do web developers make money in this space?
 

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WinYourself

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I have paid big bucks for programming work....task automation, customized database solutions, data analytics tool, customized UI (up to $100/hour).

But paying $12/hour for a web developer / designer from Philippines already seems expensive to me.

Programming as skill is great, don't waste this skill with webdesign. This problem has already been solved. Hello Wordpress and Shopify =)

But there are many complex programming & data problems waiting to be solved outside of creating shiny wordpress sites.
 
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srodrigo

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I have paid big bucks for programming work....task automation, customized database solutions, data analytics tool, customized UI (up to $100/hour).

But paying $12/hour for a web developer / designer from Philippines already seems expensive to me.

Programming as skill is great, don't waste this skill with webdesign. This problem has already been solved. Hello Wordpress and Shopify =)

But there are many complex problems waiting to be solved outside of creating shiny wordpress sites.
I'd say it's just the other way around from the commercial point of view.

A good web developer can deliver a static website that makes a great impact on someone else's business with relatively low risk. There are people on this forum making good money doing that, and they don't charge per hour.

On the contrary, doing this kind of work as a programmer is VERY risky. I've thought about going this path many times, and I avoid it at all costs. Every single "client project" I've seen has either made a tinny profit or has gone horribly wrong. The reasons are simple: the cost of changing (much smaller on static webs than on programming tasks) and the amount of variables (a.k.a technical unexpected things that can go wrong). Not to mention that a client will see "just a website" or "just an app" even if it has the most complex backend ever behind, so getting people to pay what is worth it is much more challenging than with static websites.

I would rather make 3k per website that takes me a few weeks and there are very few things that can blow up than a 15k programming project that takes me months and has many more risks. Every time.
 
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karnn

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I have paid big bucks for programming work....task automation, customized database solutions, data analytics tool, customized UI (up to $100/hour).

But paying $12/hour for a web developer / designer from Philippines already seems expensive to me.

Programming as skill is great, don't waste this skill with webdesign. This problem has already been solved. Hello Wordpress and Shopify =)

But there are many complex programming & data problems waiting to be solved outside of creating shiny wordpress sites.
Thanks for the insight. This answers the question I had. Basically a website alone will not bring you money unless it solves a bigger problem. BTW could you comment on the data analytics tool and customized UI part? I have some experience in solving statistics problems with python and I would appreciate knowing what you meant here in terms of some concrete examples?
 

WinYourself

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Thanks for the insight. This answers the question I had. Basically a website alone will not bring you money unless it solves a bigger problem. BTW could you comment on the data analytics tool and customized UI part? I have some experience in solving statistics problems with python and I would appreciate knowing what you meant here in terms of some concrete examples?
One of the things I did in the past was automation of media buying / campaign optimization.

E.g. pull data from advertising plattform via API, pull data from SaaS tracking tool via API, store in database, analyze and filter data, find rules to apply based on either static rules entered by user or machine learning, then send result back via API to advertising platform to change campaign parameters. Show user what is happening on UI, allow user to apply rules via UI.

Another, pull data from tracking tool, analyze data based on certain parameters, create different lists for black & whitelist campaigns. Inform over performance variance of certain placements. The important part here was the ability to merge and filter data based on certain parameters, which the SaaS tracking couldn't provide.

At this point, literally all big media buyers either use optimization / automation SaaS or build their own tools. Since it's helping them to make big $, they pay big $ for development.

There are many more industries with big demand on customized tools and development, especially to handle their data. Many people using SaaS and need some additional tools to improve usage of SaaS via API.

If you get such gigs, and with the right budgeting and project management you won't ever even think about touching a 3k web development project again.

Of course, if you're a basic programmer without project management and budgeting skills you better off painting wordpress sites. As soon as you outsource or have team of basic programmer, painting website is better as well.
 
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rogue synthetic

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The last time I checked the job listings in my city, Django skills alone were in demand with a good number of decent to good paying jobs. If you've got decent Python chops to go with it, you'll be even better off.

Now you can add to that front-end design. Moving from noob to pretty-decent doesn't take more than a working knowledge of HTML/CSS/JS plus a willingness to dig through Github and Stack Overflow threads when you get stuck. Maybe you get comfy with Node, maybe you start working on Angular or React or some such and add that to your CV. Lots of demand for this stuff too.

I know you're not looking for a job. Point is, there is demand. Also a lot of supply, most of which is mediocre to bad, as most things are in a saturated market.

What are you doing to not be on the wrong side of the bell curve? More importantly, what are you doing to show prospective clients this? What makes them want to hire you over the guy who will do it for 20% of what you want to charge?

You've got the technical skills. The next hurdle is selling them.
 

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Thanks for the insight. This answers the question I had. Basically a website alone will not bring you money unless it solves a bigger problem. BTW could you comment on the data analytics tool and customized UI part? I have some experience in solving statistics problems with python and I would appreciate knowing what you meant here in terms of some concrete examples?
A website alone can bring you money. There is ample demand for websites. You don’t need to solve any overarching problem when building websites for people.

There are two kinds of people that need websites.

People that know what to do with one and people that don’t.

Build websites for the former if you don’t want to focus on delivering results or solving problems.

It’s all about your targeting and positioning.

That’s the difference between solving a knowledge problem or an efficiency one.

When solving knowledge problems you have to convince people why they need a website by promising results.

Efficiency solutions don’t need to be focused on results. People with efficiency problems already have a plan for what they want to do with a website. They just need someone to build it.

I need a website to curate resources and guides for novice UI/UX designers.

I’m looking to outsource the website to a freelancer and I don’t need the freelancer to promise me results. I just need the freelancer to listen to me and build what I want exactly.

I will say it’s a lot easier to find people that need websites and generally know how that fits in to their goals than focusing on results and solving problems with your websites.
 
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karnn

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The last time I checked the job listings in my city, Django skills alone were in demand with a good number of decent to good paying jobs. If you've got decent Python chops to go with it, you'll be even better off.

Now you can add to that front-end design. Moving from noob to pretty-decent doesn't take more than a working knowledge of HTML/CSS/JS plus a willingness to dig through Github and Stack Overflow threads when you get stuck. Maybe you get comfy with Node, maybe you start working on Angular or React or some such and add that to your CV. Lots of demand for this stuff too.

I know you're not looking for a job. Point is, there is demand. Also a lot of supply, most of which is mediocre to bad, as most things are in a saturated market.

What are you doing to not be on the wrong side of the bell curve? More importantly, what are you doing to show prospective clients this? What makes them want to hire you over the guy who will do it for 20% of what you want to charge?

You've got the technical skills. The next hurdle is selling them.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I guess my problem is not knowing to sell my skills and since I am new in this industry I don't feel confident about my skills. I need to work on this
 

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jakeG

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I guess my problem is not knowing to sell my skills and since I am new in this industry I don't feel confident about my skills. I need to work on this
This x1000. The simple skills that used to be in major demand 5+ years ago are all substantially less valuable now a days. HTML, CSS, and basic "know how" are no longer consider an ultra valuable skill. However, developing in higher level languages and solving complex problems with custom built solutions are VERY much in demand and business owners will pay plenty for those skills.

You can look at web development just like housing development. You can buy a pre-made home that comes out of the box and will work just fine for any normal regular person. These are cheap homes that dont require much maintenance and can be built by anyone. Compare this to a custom built home that requires extensive planning and is far more complex and unique. You want to be building custom homes. Or better yet, in the way of the fastlane, control a company that systematically builds sub divisons of custom built homes without much involvement from you. This requires great skills and years of experience, but is being done.

The demand for programming skills will never go away. Just like the demand for home builders.
 

srodrigo

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How can I differentiate myself from the rest?
Since you are interested in Django (therefore Python), may I suggest something bold? One massive differentiation factor could be getting expertise in Machine Learning. Python is THE programming language for Machine Learning (also R, but that's not a general-purpose programming language that would help you build real stuff).

The amount of problems you can solve with Machine Learning is huge but only the surface of what will probably come in the future. I've been actually thinking about this today, I'm sure there are plenty of needs that Machine Learning can help improve, and could be a big differentiation factor from both pre-baked/static websites and even custom traditional websites. Also, it's not an easy field to master, so that removes a good amount of competitors.

Personally, if I weren't already hooked into something else and don't want distractions, I'd explore this path. It's also a great tool for fastlane ideas like building your own SaaS, which can be way better in the long term than building custom websites for people.
 
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karnn

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Since you are interested in Django (therefore Python), may I suggest something bold? One massive differentiation factor could be getting expertise in Machine Learning. Python is THE programming language for Machine Learning (also R, but that's not a general-purpose programming language that would help you build real stuff).

The amount of problems you can solve with Machine Learning is huge but only the surface of what will probably come in the future. I've been actually thinking about this today, I'm sure there are plenty of needs that Machine Learning can help improve, and could be a big differentiation factor from both pre-baked/static websites and even custom traditional websites. Also, it's not an easy field to master, so that removes a good amount of competitors.

Personally, if I weren't already hooked into something else and don't want distractions, I'd explore this path. It's also a great tool for fastlane ideas like building your own SaaS, which can be way better in the long term than building custom websites for people.

Wow I myself was thinking of this the other day. Roughly a website that is non-static but reorganises itself based on the browsing habits of a certain user. Is that what you had in mind too? But I feel like such websites can be penalised by search engines since they treat it like black-hat SEO. I am not an expert in SEO so I am not sure. But this is definitely something I am actively thinking about
 

srodrigo

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Wow I myself was thinking of this the other day. Roughly a website that is non-static but reorganises itself based on the browsing habits of a certain user. Is that what you had in mind too? But I feel like such websites can be penalised by search engines since they treat it like black-hat SEO. I am not an expert in SEO so I am not sure. But this is definitely something I am actively thinking about
I didn't have anything in particular in mind. There are so many things you can do with ML that there are countless possibilities.

I know 0 about SEO. Hopefully other people will be able to guide you. But I'd be surprised if that kind of software were penalised by search engines.
 

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