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Programming Own App vs. Outsourcing

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OhMyGuersh

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Hello. I have many mobile application ideas, and wanted to look into having a programmer develop them. I am also learning to code, but i know it will take a while before i can create a fully functional application. I want to decide whether I should program a few of the concepts myself, or have someone develop them. Does anybody have any experience where they can shed light on the process of having an application developed (preferably a multiplatform with C# and xamarin, but if not thats fine), and expected expenditures. Also any resources to get quotes and development times?
 

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lowtek

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I don't have direct experience with software as a business, but here's my thoughts:

If you're learning to code, I would go ahead and do it myself. There is some opportunity cost of your time spent on the app, but there's a risk in having someone else do it for you as well.

Get a small version going, quick and dirty as possible, and then if it takes off pay someone more experienced to update the code.
 

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I'm not sure how much money you have on hand, but if you're going to hire an app developer, you're looking at $10K+

Perhaps you can look to partner with someone who can develop an app. To do it yourself is an incredibly daunting task if you have no prior coding experience, though not impossible. If you decide to do it yourself, have extreme determination and commitment.
 

ExcelGuy

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One way to get your ideas more finely developed and get feedback is the use prototyping. Prototypes can have little or no actual functionality but look like the real thing, or as close as you want.
A lot of visual drag and drop languages work great for this. If Visual C# is out of reach then try starting with Visual Basic.

Even Excel has built-in GUI form/screen development (teaching it for over 7 years).

For low cost UI testing or feedback on your idea, search for 'free UI kits' and you can get graphical widgets to mockup app screens in photoshop or Gimp.

One great app I just learned about is Adobe XD. It's in beta so I think it's free right now.

Now you've given me the idea to pit a video together demoing these techniques.

Sent from my SM-A500W using Tapatalk
 

ExcelGuy

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Actually had never heard of Xamarin until now, looks pretty cool.

Sent from my SM-A500W using Tapatalk
 

Tim Allen Jr.

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Hello. I have many mobile application ideas, and wanted to look into having a programmer develop them. I am also learning to code, but i know it will take a while before i can create a fully functional application. I want to decide whether I should program a few of the concepts myself, or have someone develop them. Does anybody have any experience where they can shed light on the process of having an application developed (preferably a multiplatform with C# and xamarin, but if not thats fine), and expected expenditures. Also any resources to get quotes and development times?
Solid suggestion by 'ExcelGuy'. If your goal is to see if others would find it valuable, you should just create a prototype.

There is no easy answer your question, it's something of a decision that every app developer deals with.

A couple of questions:
1. What is your goal of putting out the app?
- Is it learning, or seeing if you could make money off of it. This could change your execution strategy.
2. How much do you want to spend?
3. Do you really need to put an app out on both app stores? (does your market skew towards android or ios), this could help save you money.

First things first - I'm a huge fan of someone learning to code, for me it has been incredibly important in coming up with ideas, learning how things work, and understanding the challenges of any technological idea.

I've never developed with a multiplatform tool - but that's because if I wanted/needed to fix issues or add features.... I wouldn't be able to (because i didn't know the language). So that's something to think about.... after your app is developed.... now what... If you can't fix it yourself or add features yourself, you are going to have to have it developed again.

If you are learning android or iOS (natively), there is more resources online for you to learn for those as opposed to Xamarin (just something to think about) as well as more developers you could find.

Another thing to think about is plugin's and api's. Android and iOS are well known and have tons to tools to use, does Xamarin have the same?

Depending on what your idea is (if it simple enough), might be worth it to learn it yourself. This way if you have another idea you can develop it yourself.

In regards to too getting quotes and estimates, the best idea is just to put your project on a Upwork or a similar website and just get quotes from developers on how much something like that would cost. Feel free to PM with a general idea of what you want to do (you can keep out specifically what you want to do if you are unformatable) and I can let you know how complicated it is, a general idea of what it might cost, and some things to think about, or like I mentioned above - just post on a website and see whatever the market tells you it would cost.

Hope this helps.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
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OhMyGuersh

New Contributor
Feb 23, 2017
19
17
22
New York, NY
One way to get your ideas more finely developed and get feedback is the use prototyping. Prototypes can have little or no actual functionality but look like the real thing, or as close as you want.
A lot of visual drag and drop languages work great for this. If Visual C# is out of reach then try starting with Visual Basic.

Even Excel has built-in GUI form/screen development (teaching it for over 7 years).

For low cost UI testing or feedback on your idea, search for 'free UI kits' and you can get graphical widgets to mockup app screens in photoshop or Gimp.

One great app I just learned about is Adobe XD. It's in beta so I think it's free right now.

Now you've given me the idea to pit a video together demoing these techniques.

Sent from my SM-A500W using Tapatalk
Thank you. I did not know about UI kits. This seems like a great way to market test an idea or prototype. I will be looking into this when I launch a venture. For now, I'm a fastlane noob, so I want to get my feet wet with some app ideas in the next few months. I feel i will learn the most through small projects (and small failures) and using as many alternative resources vs. hiring (I currently dont feel comfortable risking the capital I have because I'm still in early stages of understanding mobile apps & entreprenuership).
 
OP
OP
O

OhMyGuersh

New Contributor
Feb 23, 2017
19
17
22
New York, NY
Solid suggestion by 'ExcelGuy'. If your goal is to see if others would find it valuable, you should just create a prototype.

There is no easy answer your question, it's something of a decision that every app developer deals with.

A couple of questions:
1. What is your goal of putting out the app?
- Is it learning, or seeing if you could make money off of it. This could change your execution strategy.
2. How much do you want to spend?
3. Do you really need to put an app out on both app stores? (does your market skew towards android or ios), this could help save you money.

First things first - I'm a huge fan of someone learning to code, for me it has been incredibly important in coming up with ideas, learning how things work, and understanding the challenges of any technological idea.

I've never developed with a multiplatform tool - but that's because if I wanted/needed to fix issues or add features.... I wouldn't be able to (because i didn't know the language). So that's something to think about.... after your app is developed.... now what... If you can't fix it yourself or add features yourself, you are going to have to have it developed again.

If you are learning android or iOS (natively), there is more resources online for you to learn for those as opposed to Xamarin (just something to think about) as well as more developers you could find.

Another thing to think about is plugin's and api's. Android and iOS are well known and have tons to tools to use, does Xamarin have the same?

Depending on what your idea is (if it simple enough), might be worth it to learn it yourself. This way if you have another idea you can develop it yourself.

In regards to too getting quotes and estimates, the best idea is just to put your project on a Upwork or a similar website and just get quotes from developers on how much something like that would cost. Feel free to PM with a general idea of what you want to do (you can keep out specifically what you want to do if you are unformatable) and I can let you know how complicated it is, a general idea of what it might cost, and some things to think about, or like I mentioned above - just post on a website and see whatever the market tells you it would cost.

Hope this helps.
First I want to say thanks for the Upwork advice.

Second, here are my answers to your questions:

1. My goal is to get my feet wet to learn, and to see if I can turn a profit in the process.
2. $1k- $5k
3. I don't need to put it out on both stores, but I would like the option too depending on the market for the app (s) in each app store. As of now, I don't really want to make platform specific native apps (at least for now. From what I've read that is more complex and expensive. I would consider this if I gain traction and see the need for it). Thats why I am learning C#, so I can use Xamarin to create apps (or understand the tech to hire someone) for either of the 3 major appstores.
 

PatrickWho

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Aug 4, 2017
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I'm a software dev and here are my 2 cents:

1. Build your prototypes using tech that your future devs won't hate.

Why?

When your idea takes off, you'll be looking for professional developers, and that will be much easier if you can hand over a code base that is somewhat professionally put together. The code builders do not give you that.

You'll need:

- a free account with AWS for your server
- a JavaScript frontend
- a JavaScript or PHP backend.

///
EDIT: Python may be good, too. I don't have any experience in this ecosystem, though, so I can't recommend it personally. My impression is that the JS / PHP are more prevalent in the web app space.

///

With that setup, you'll have a very large selection of quality devs happy to take on your project.

Mobile App Development & App Creation Software - Xamarin does not look like a good choice.

2. Start with a web app - not a native app for Android / iOS

A web app will be accessible on any device, so you're not stuck trying to convince users to download / install your app as would be the case with a native iOS / Android application. That's one less hurdle to deal with.

You can start with a setup that gives you what's called a "progressive web app." These are browser-based applications that allow users to add simple shortcuts to their mobile screens, just like a native app (among other important things you don't need to worry about right now).

You can always create the native app later if you really want to, but you'll get things done much more quickly with going web first.

3. Building it yourself:

For the web, you'll need JavaScript.

Spend the 2 months to really deep dive and learn to build a web app prototype using one of the many JavaScript starter projects.

For ease of learning and fast prototyping, I highly recommend spark.laravel.com for building out really nice apps that future devs will love to work with.

For Spark, you'll need to understand JavaScript - particularly the Vue.js framework (very popular and one of the easier ones to learn). And you'll need to develop some familiarity with the Laravel PHP framework.

4. If you simply must build a native app, your best bet is React Native, but if you don't know how to code it will be very very difficult to work with. Even seasoned devs take a bit of time getting used to React. It is not for the faint of heart.

Again... for the sake of your future devs, do not work with one of these code builder things like xamarin.
 
Last edited:

Marley T

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Mar 5, 2018
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I'm not sure how much money you have on hand, but if you're going to hire an app developer, you're looking at $10K+

Perhaps you can look to partner with someone who can develop an app. To do it yourself is an incredibly daunting task if you have no prior coding experience, though not impossible. If you decide to do it yourself, have extreme determination and commitment.
Hey,

I'm a little late to this but i was wondering if you know of any particular websites that might help me find someone with coding skills but is looking for business partnership rather than just money.

Somewhere I can kind of find someone who believes in my idea who has the coding skills that I don't and might want to go on the journey with me as a co founder or something?
 

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lowtek

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Hey,

I'm a little late to this but i was wondering if you know of any particular websites that might help me find someone with coding skills but is looking for business partnership rather than just money.

Somewhere I can kind of find someone who believes in my idea who has the coding skills that I don't and might want to go on the journey with me as a co founder or something?
If you think meeting someone over the web and then giving them a chunk of your business because you're not competent enough to do the coding yourself is a good idea, then you're in for a really rough ride. It's almost certain to end in disaster.

A slightly less bad idea, though still terrible, is to find them at a local meetup. At least you can meet the person face to face and get a feel for who they are.

The better idea is to just sit on the idea until you have enough money to hire a reputable agency to build the product.

Also, post an intro thread so we can get a feel for who you are, your background, and where you're going.

Welcome to the forum, hope you stay a while.
 

Marley T

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Mar 5, 2018
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England
If you think meeting someone over the web and then giving them a chunk of your business because you're not competent enough to do the coding yourself is a good idea, then you're in for a really rough ride. It's almost certain to end in disaster.

A slightly less bad idea, though still terrible, is to find them at a local meetup. At least you can meet the person face to face and get a feel for who they are.

The better idea is to just sit on the idea until you have enough money to hire a reputable agency to build the product.

Also, post an intro thread so we can get a feel for who you are, your background, and where you're going.

Welcome to the forum, hope you stay a while.
i will admit I'm being lazy I haven't even really thought about coding myself I have just automatically decided I will be terrible at it and won't have the patience. Maybe down the line I will realise I'm going to have to try but it's only been a few months that I have tried to actually pursue one of my idea rather than just say "that's a great idea" I think the problem I'm having is this idea isn't just a remake of flappy birds and I think even an expirence coder would say it's a difficult task.

It's easy to look naive on these forums but I know that I have a plan worth listening to, I have been speaking with an investment company that specialises in concept startups and rather than just investing money they invest time and help more like a partner. For me this is great I have no expirence whatsoever so just the conversations I have had with them so far are a small step in progress and if they do decide to invest and I can somehow come up with my share the knowledge that I will gain from it alone is a win for me.

but because it's early days with this investment company I'm just intrigued to see if there are any other possible ways other than coding myself.

I will deffenately post an intro soon, I'm a little lost as you can probably tell haha.

Thanks
 

OlivierMo

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Hello. I have many mobile application ideas, and wanted to look into having a programmer develop them. I am also learning to code, but i know it will take a while before i can create a fully functional application. I want to decide whether I should program a few of the concepts myself, or have someone develop them. Does anybody have any experience where they can shed light on the process of having an application developed (preferably a multiplatform with C# and xamarin, but if not thats fine), and expected expenditures. Also any resources to get quotes and development times?
Unless you need stuff that requires native API I'd recommend building your mobile using a JS framework. It'll be easier for you to learn. OnSen, Cordova, Ionic, React Native to name a few. Instagram is built on React Native.
As far as outsourcing not a bad idea if you can hire someone serious. An agency will be expensive.
That's my business and I code for a living so I can tell you that learning to code the app and I'm sure the backend (most likely you'll need a server-side API) will take quite a while. Time vs money.
 

Chromozone

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Screenshot_2018-03-05-21-59-20-107~2.png

I literally had this conversation today.

I've been through the same pain as a non tech person. But there are only a few options to choose from and the option you'll choose depends on the effort you want to put in and the amount of money you're willing to spend.

1) Learn to code - cheap option, very hard execution

2) Pay a Dev firm - most expensive but the least hassle.

3) Hire a contractor - medium expense and medium effort required to find someone trustworthy and competent.

4) Get a CTO - low cost and high effort to find someone as you're basically asking a highly skilled person to work for free.

So what will it be?
 

OlivierMo

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Thank you. I did not know about UI kits. This seems like a great way to market test an idea or prototype. I will be looking into this when I launch a venture. For now, I'm a fastlane noob, so I want to get my feet wet with some app ideas in the next few months. I feel i will learn the most through small projects (and small failures) and using as many alternative resources vs. hiring (I currently dont feel comfortable risking the capital I have because I'm still in early stages of understanding mobile apps & entreprenuership).
Feel free to reach out to me. I am not selling anything. Would just be happy to help you re: apps, software development, etc.. since I've been doing it for 20 years.
 

Maxboost

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View attachment 18416

I literally had this conversation today.

I've been through the same pain as a non tech person. But there are only a few options to choose from and the option you'll choose depends on the effort you want to put in and the amount of money you're willing to spend.

1) Learn to code - cheap option, very hard execution

2) Pay a Dev firm - most expensive but the least hassle.

3) Hire a contractor - medium expense and medium effort required to find someone trustworthy and competent.

4) Get a CTO - low cost and high effort to find someone as you're basically asking a highly skilled person to work for free.

So what will it be?
View attachment 18416

I literally had this conversation today.

I've been through the same pain as a non tech person. But there are only a few options to choose from and the option you'll choose depends on the effort you want to put in and the amount of money you're willing to spend.

1) Learn to code - cheap option, very hard execution

2) Pay a Dev firm - most expensive but the least hassle.

3) Hire a contractor - medium expense and medium effort required to find someone trustworthy and competent.

4) Get a CTO - low cost and high effort to find someone as you're basically asking a highly skilled person to work for free.

So what will it be?
It all depends on what you are trying to build. Most apps are derivative of an app taught on Udemy. Are you trying to build a facebook clone? Uber? A work out app? All of these can be found on Udemy. If time is not an issue I would recommend teaching yourself IF you have 2 hours a night to learn and build.... I'm in the "teach yourself how to code" camp because even if your app fails (it most likely will on the first try....), you can build another one until you hit one out of the ball park.

Even if you are stuck on a problem you can at least find someone on upworks to fix or solve a coding problem. It helps when you have a basic understanding of SWIFT/ coding.
 

Mbc

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Ha the eternal question here. There's not really a right or wrong answer, as some have mentioned it depends on your circumstances and skills.

I did a mix of both - I wanted to learn at the same time. So I hired a guy (Upwork) who could help me out when I got stuck, explain stuff to me faster, etc. I lucked out with a great young Egyptian student, he's keen, honest, and smart. And affordable for me.

If you're working in finance making ~$80/hr then it probably makes sense to lean more towards outsourcing. I'd say you should still know the basic though.

If you're broke...well your options are limited. Either way you won't regret learning a new skill. Whether it's programming, writing, or shaman healing.
 

lowtek

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Feel free to reach out to me. I am not selling anything. Would just be happy to help you re: apps, software development, etc.. since I've been doing it for 20 years.
20 years? Bro in your pic you look like you're 25.
 

OlivierMo

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20 years? Bro in your pic you look like you're 25.
That pic is maybe 3-4 years old. Thanks for the compliment. God gave me a youthful appearance and have a lot of energy too. I'm almost 45. Just more grey hair now :)
 

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