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INTRO Software developer and passionate educator looking to teach advanced skills to other developers and move into the fastlane

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SoftwareEducator

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Jan 23, 2021
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Hello all! I am a software developer by trade, and I want to teach advanced software development material to other software engineers. There is an abundance of material online to teach people "how to code", but almost all of the material that I've come across is for building contrived, introductory applications.

If there are any incongruencies, inefficiencies, or gaps in the ideas I share below, please feel free to call me out or question them. Frankly, I'm still putting together the details of what exactly it is that I want to do, but I realize that I can provide a ton of value, do meaningful work, and make lots of money with the skills I've learned the past few years.

Background
I was never a big fan of the SCRIPTED lifestyle, not since I was thirteen or fourteen. In college, I studied software development because it was pretty cool and because I figured with a skillset like that, I could one day find the flexibility to create the flexible lifestyle I want. I had a couple of jobs that I legitimately enjoyed, and I even enjoyed my current job once upon a time, at least when I first started it. However, I'm becoming incredibly fed up with spending the most productive and valuable times of my life building software for an organization that I believe to be soulless and selfish.

I specialize in serverless cloud application development (this means building modern software using modern cloud services that do not require maintenance of web servers). Over the past few years, I learned a great deal about building reliable, scaleable, easy to modify, inexpensive, secure, and high-performing software in this space. I want to teach this knowledge to other software engineers, but I am certainly open to similar ideas that may be more effective.

For years, I have wanted to save up a fat chunk of money and stop working for someone else so that I could pursue projects and ventures that truly interest me and actually impact people's lives for the better. However, I had been pretty financially irresponsible pretty much until COVID started affecting the world at large. Now, I am finally beginning to reach a financial position where I can have a reasonable cushion to quit my job and try to make money doing things that are meaningful to me.

Once upon a time, I was lazy and would start projects and never finish. I'm still kinda sorta lazy about stuff like that, but I am slowly getting better about actually accomplishing the things I set out to do. One year ago, I took time off work to work on personal projects. I ended up not finishing anything, and I came to the conclusion (at that time) that I should just keep at my job. However, very recently, I took off work again to work on personal projects, and I accomplished much more, including finishing and sharing a significant project I had been talking about for a long time. By the end of my time off, I realized that I can actually benefit from not working if I productively use my time, a skill which I have improved since the previous attempt.

Books
I have not read The Millionaire Fastlane yet, but I started reading Unscripted on Monday and I'm about 70% of the way through and counting. The first part of Unscripted honestly cut me really deep, because it magnified my festering resentment of corporate life with great detail into exactly how incredibly soul-sucking, dehumanizing, and fatal SCRIPTED life is.

Interests
I am particularly interested in teaching other software engineers cloud development skills, but I am open to other ideas that can basically use everything I've learned about these application development skills to provide meaningful positive impact to others and earn money while doing so. I am friends with a few less experienced software developers that I enjoy teaching and guiding from time to time. I do that for free, but I truly enjoy the experience of guiding these other folks and leading them to either learn something they would not have found otherwise (at least not as quickly) or build something new.

I'm considering doing software consulting to speed up my ability to quit my job, but I honestly would rather not do that because I believe it can easily end up feeling just as soulless as working a 9-5 for a meaningless organization if I'm not careful.

Current understanding of the market and approach ideas
While there is an abundance of free and very cheap material online to learn "how to build X" in software, the vast majority of those tutorials and courses build very simple applications and do not discuss advanced techniques you will need to build proper software as a real-world software engineer. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with those tutorials necessarily, but in my opinion (and based on some observation), it would be incredibly beneficial for software engineers who want to go beyond the basics to have more comprehensive guides for building advanced software.

About a year and a half ago, I discovered that there is a whole segment of gainfully employed software engineers (folks who are not learning to code to get their first junior developer job) who want to learn new skills, whether to change jobs, get a promotion, or simply out of interest. I gave an introductory talk to about ten friends and acquaintances in this segment about serverless API development (to oversimplify, how to create a back end for an application without running web servers) and they were interested in the subject matter. I sat on it for a while, but right now I am currently working on building a well-architected software application to serve as a tutorial from start to finish for developers who want to learn cloud application development, including advanced techniques that are rarely mentioned in online courses and tutorials.

My aim would be to sell this information in an e-book or a (cheap) online course to software engineers, but I think it would be beneficial to provide paid mentoring sessions as well or even workshops. Honestly, I have not explored the paid mentoring or workshop ideas, but I definitely do not want to close my eyes to those because they can potentially be even better for my bottom line than just selling information impersonally.

EDIT: A quick Google search shows several services for online monthly course subscriptions between $29/month and $39/month offering far more content than I could offer as an individual (at least, at a glance). It's a little discouraging, but I'd prefer to work the angle where I provide individual and small group guidance, so on Rabby's suggestion, I am looking to see if people would be interested in that.
 

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Rabby

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Welcome :)

Out of curiosity... Why do you say cheap online courses, as opposed to say, appropriately priced ones? It seems like developers or the companies that retain them might benefit a lot from techniques that make code better, more efficient, or that open up new programming paradigms to solve new problems. Personally, I wouldn't be trying to talk myself out of charging more for them, before I knew the size of the problem I could solve, and the size of the market (what if there are only 1,000 developers who would buy them, but they're willing to pay $2,000 instead of $10?). Just something to think about! Do your best.
 

SoftwareEducator

New Contributor
Jan 23, 2021
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16
14
Welcome :)

Out of curiosity... Why do you say cheap online courses, as opposed to say, appropriately priced ones? It seems like developers or the companies that retain them might benefit a lot from techniques that make code better, more efficient, or that open up new programming paradigms to solve new problems. Personally, I wouldn't be trying to talk myself out of charging more for them, before I knew the size of the problem I could solve, and the size of the market (what if there are only 1,000 developers who would buy them, but they're willing to pay $2,000 instead of $10?). Just something to think about! Do your best.
Thanks for your response! I suppose I don't actually know how much software engineers would be willing to pay for this information in the form of a course, but I chose to mention "cheap" because a) as I understand it there's a growing stigma against $997 or $1997 or whatever the price is courses that provide information you can find in a $25 book, and b) I'm not aware of any learning resources in the software development space that are very expensive besides full-on workshops.

I am certainly open to the idea of starting a virtual workshop (or in-person once we've finally properly mitigated COVID) as that would be very lucrative and allow me to interact directly with individuals who want to learn, which I really enjoy doing.

I guess my next step would be to determine demand for such a workshop?
 

Rabby

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Thanks for your response! I suppose I don't actually know how much software engineers would be willing to pay for this information in the form of a course, but I chose to mention "cheap" because a) as I understand it there's a growing stigma against $997 or $1997 or whatever the price is courses that provide information you can find in a $25 book, and b) I'm not aware of any learning resources in the software development space that are very expensive besides full-on workshops.

I am certainly open to the idea of starting a virtual workshop (or in-person once we've finally properly mitigated COVID) as that would be very lucrative and allow me to interact directly with individuals who want to learn, which I really enjoy doing.

I guess my next step would be to determine demand for such a workshop?
Exactly :) Before you spend a lot of time and money building it, talk to some people and find out how much of a problem it solves for them, and see if you can get ideas about how much they might pay. Now... just talking won't necessarily prove anything (unless it's money that starts talking), BUT, you can take a step at a time, find the best part of your hypothetical market, and then build a bare prototype and see if you can get some early adopters to pay for it. At least, that's something like my process. The thing you really want to avoid is a super long development cycle (editing videos, writing months worth of content, etc), before you find out whether there are a lot of people willing to pay a little, or a few people willing to pay a lot, so that you can scale enough to make the venture profitable.
 

SoftwareEducator

New Contributor
Jan 23, 2021
12
16
14
Exactly :) Before you spend a lot of time and money building it, talk to some people and find out how much of a problem it solves for them, and see if you can get ideas about how much they might pay. Now... just talking won't necessarily prove anything (unless it's money that starts talking), BUT, you can take a step at a time, find the best part of your hypothetical market, and then build a bare prototype and see if you can get some early adopters to pay for it. At least, that's something like my process. The thing you really want to avoid is a super long development cycle (editing videos, writing months worth of content, etc), before you find out whether there are a lot of people willing to pay a little, or a few people willing to pay a lot, so that you can scale enough to make the venture profitable.
Thanks again! I think I'm going to reach out to other software engineers and ask them the following:
  • What do you want to learn about?
  • Would you be interested in guided education (e.g. one on one or group learning) on that subject?
  • Would you pay to learn the subject(s) if it could help you learn more and more quickly? If so, how much?
I am certainly open to suggestions.

Actually, what if I offered something? Like I offer a short PDF like "here's you build this piece of a cloud software application" and not even collect email addresses, but just ask to fill out a short survey with the questions above?
 
Last edited:

Rabby

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Thanks again! I think I'm going to reach out to other software engineers and ask them the following:
  • What do you want to learn about?
  • Would you be interested in guided education (e.g. one on one or group learning) on that subject?
  • Would you pay to learn the subject(s) if it could help you learn more and more quickly? If so, how much?
I am certainly open to suggestions.

Actually, what if I offered something? Like I offer a short PDF like "here's you build this piece of a cloud software application" and not even collect email addresses, but just ask to fill out a short survey with the questions above?

Offering something that's low risk for you to develop is good too, when you can do that. If you're familiar with "magnets" in marketing terms, they work the same way. You guage people's interest by whether or not they are attracted to the magnet, and potentially whether they still care about your products (or future products) once they download or otherwise receive the magnet.
 

SoftwareEducator

New Contributor
Jan 23, 2021
12
16
14
Offering something that's low risk for you to develop is good too, when you can do that. If you're familiar with "magnets" in marketing terms, they work the same way. You guage people's interest by whether or not they are attracted to the magnet, and potentially whether they still care about your products (or future products) once they download or otherwise receive the magnet.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom! The more I think about it, the more I'd really like to explore the workshop route. Here's what I'm going to try and do by Monday, February 15.
  • Create a thorough tutorial like "how to build [small piece of a large software application] like a senior developer" (already started working on this)
  • Create a Twitter account and try to build some online presence (someone posted another thread earlier about learning resources to grow a Twitter account quickly)
  • Create a landing page to collect survey questions and emails and then provide a PDF of this tutorial
  • Learn about LinkedIn advertising
  • Create a LinkedIn ad to try and gather this information
Thoughts?
 

404profound

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Mid-level software engineer here. I would pay up to 200 bucks for a comprehensive blockchain track (distributed database architecture, cryptography, gossip protocol and p2p, etc). Any price more than that would be unjustifiable because I can get books / free resources way cheaper and just grind it myself.
 

Rabby

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Thank you for sharing your wisdom! The more I think about it, the more I'd really like to explore the workshop route. Here's what I'm going to try and do by Monday, February 15.
  • Create a thorough tutorial like "how to build [small piece of a large software application] like a senior developer" (already started working on this)
  • Create a Twitter account and try to build some online presence (someone posted another thread earlier about learning resources to grow a Twitter account quickly)
  • Create a landing page to collect survey questions and emails and then provide a PDF of this tutorial
  • Learn about LinkedIn advertising
  • Create a LinkedIn ad to try and gather this information
Thoughts?

If you can do all that by Feb 15, you'll have successfully contained your risk to a few weeks of prep work and whatever minor expenses you incur. And you'll be able to find out if you get positive or negative feedback, crickets, or what. The main things, as I see them, are bullets #1 and 3... that's your potential asset. You can test it with people who you contact using [insert method here] without spending a ton of money to test, and that will help you develop the next step, and figure out what your market really needs / wants.
 

Andy Black

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For years, I have wanted to save up a fat chunk of money and stop working for someone else so that I could pursue projects and ventures that truly interest me and actually impact people's lives for the better.
You don't *have* to save up a chunk of money. Why not build revenue streams immediately in the projects and ventures that truly interest you?

Over the past few years, I learned a great deal about building reliable, scaleable, easy to modify, inexpensive, secure, and high-performing software in this space.
I like this. I was a *Senior* Production Oracle DBA because I used those types of words in interviews instead of just talking technical. A lot of IT Directors and Managers want to hear that sort of language from consultants. A lot of IT folks don't know that to get ahead they need to be able to speak the language that hiring managers want to hear.

I am friends with a few less experienced software developers that I enjoy teaching and guiding from time to time.
I'm sure you're not just guiding them with technical coding. Are you helping them to deal with clients, bosses, colleagues, other departments, etc? This stuff is what helps people get raises.

I'm considering doing software consulting to speed up my ability to quit my job, but I honestly would rather not do that because I believe it can easily end up feeling just as soulless as working a 9-5 for a meaningless organization if I'm not careful.
Then don't let it become soulless? I think consulting/contracting could be a quick way to start working for yourself and learning faster because you're working with lots of different businesses. You'll start to see patterns of the types of problems you can solve and the types of businesses you like working with.

it would be incredibly beneficial for software engineers who want to go beyond the basics to have more comprehensive guides for building advanced software.
There's loads of people who want to go beyond the basics. They're the ones "in motion" and typically will pay more.

there is a whole segment of gainfully employed software engineers (folks who are not learning to code to get their first junior developer job) who want to learn new skills, whether to change jobs, get a promotion, or simply out of interest.
Yes, the ones already earning good money who want to advance their careers are a good market. They would see it as an investment. When I was an IT Contractor earning €600/day I’d happily pay €2-3k for a one week (in-person) course if it meant I was more up to date. (The lost week would cost me €3k in revenue btw, so I saw that as costing me €5-6k.)

My aim would be to sell this information in an e-book or a (cheap) online course to software engineers, but I think it would be beneficial to provide paid mentoring sessions as well or even workshops.
Low ticket certainly has it's place and I'm working on low ticket offerings, but that's after doing higher ticket consulting first. Just throwing another route out there.


I think you're onto something. If you've good skills AND you're a passionate educator then you can stack those on top of each other and make a high ground.

Lot's of ways to skin a cat. My advice would be to engage the market as soon as possible (bearing in mind that your market are those that pay you ... i.e. get people to pay you as soon as possible).



Maybe check out this thread where I started fast with a low ticket offering:
 

SoftwareEducator

New Contributor
Jan 23, 2021
12
16
14
Mid-level software engineer here. I would pay up to 200 bucks for a comprehensive blockchain track (distributed database architecture, cryptography, gossip protocol and p2p, etc). Any price more than that would be unjustifiable because I can get books / free resources way cheaper and just grind it myself.
Hey, thanks for kinda validating my ideas! Unfortunately, I don't know anything about blockchain development, but I can at least speak some to distributed database architecture and a little to cryptography.
You don't *have* to save up a chunk of money. Why not build revenue streams immediately in the projects and ventures that truly interest you?
I definitely like your idea, but I suppose it would depend on how immediately I can make this happen.
Then don't let it become soulless? I think consulting/contracting could be a quick way to start working for yourself and learning faster because you're working with lots of different businesses. You'll start to see patterns of the types of problems you can solve and the types of businesses you like working with.
I guess you're correct here. Learning faster will definitely help me snowball my knowledge as well. While I've learned a ton at my workplace, I'm definitely coming to a point where I'm learning less on the job than I did once upon a time.

Really all, thank you so much for your input, I'm happy to get back to you guys with my progress in two and a half weeks!
 

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Hiscurrency

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Hello all! I am a software developer by trade, and I want to teach advanced software development material to other software engineers. There is an abundance of material online to teach people "how to code", but almost all of the material that I've come across is for building contrived, introductory applications.

If there are any incongruencies, inefficiencies, or gaps in the ideas I share below, please feel free to call me out or question them. Frankly, I'm still putting together the details of what exactly it is that I want to do, but I realize that I can provide a ton of value, do meaningful work, and make lots of money with the skills I've learned the past few years.

Background
I was never a big fan of the SCRIPTED lifestyle, not since I was thirteen or fourteen. In college, I studied software development because it was pretty cool and because I figured with a skillset like that, I could one day find the flexibility to create the flexible lifestyle I want. I had a couple of jobs that I legitimately enjoyed, and I even enjoyed my current job once upon a time, at least when I first started it. However, I'm becoming incredibly fed up with spending the most productive and valuable times of my life building software for an organization that I believe to be soulless and selfish.

I specialize in serverless cloud application development (this means building modern software using modern cloud services that do not require maintenance of web servers). Over the past few years, I learned a great deal about building reliable, scaleable, easy to modify, inexpensive, secure, and high-performing software in this space. I want to teach this knowledge to other software engineers, but I am certainly open to similar ideas that may be more effective.

For years, I have wanted to save up a fat chunk of money and stop working for someone else so that I could pursue projects and ventures that truly interest me and actually impact people's lives for the better. However, I had been pretty financially irresponsible pretty much until COVID started affecting the world at large. Now, I am finally beginning to reach a financial position where I can have a reasonable cushion to quit my job and try to make money doing things that are meaningful to me.

Once upon a time, I was lazy and would start projects and never finish. I'm still kinda sorta lazy about stuff like that, but I am slowly getting better about actually accomplishing the things I set out to do. One year ago, I took time off work to work on personal projects. I ended up not finishing anything, and I came to the conclusion (at that time) that I should just keep at my job. However, very recently, I took off work again to work on personal projects, and I accomplished much more, including finishing and sharing a significant project I had been talking about for a long time. By the end of my time off, I realized that I can actually benefit from not working if I productively use my time, a skill which I have improved since the previous attempt.

Books
I have not read The Millionaire Fastlane yet, but I started reading Unscripted on Monday and I'm about 70% of the way through and counting. The first part of Unscripted honestly cut me really deep, because it magnified my festering resentment of corporate life with great detail into exactly how incredibly soul-sucking, dehumanizing, and fatal SCRIPTED life is.

Interests
I am particularly interested in teaching other software engineers cloud development skills, but I am open to other ideas that can basically use everything I've learned about these application development skills to provide meaningful positive impact to others and earn money while doing so. I am friends with a few less experienced software developers that I enjoy teaching and guiding from time to time. I do that for free, but I truly enjoy the experience of guiding these other folks and leading them to either learn something they would not have found otherwise (at least not as quickly) or build something new.

I'm considering doing software consulting to speed up my ability to quit my job, but I honestly would rather not do that because I believe it can easily end up feeling just as soulless as working a 9-5 for a meaningless organization if I'm not careful.

Current understanding of the market and approach ideas
While there is an abundance of free and very cheap material online to learn "how to build X" in software, the vast majority of those tutorials and courses build very simple applications and do not discuss advanced techniques you will need to build proper software as a real-world software engineer. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with those tutorials necessarily, but in my opinion (and based on some observation), it would be incredibly beneficial for software engineers who want to go beyond the basics to have more comprehensive guides for building advanced software.

About a year and a half ago, I discovered that there is a whole segment of gainfully employed software engineers (folks who are not learning to code to get their first junior developer job) who want to learn new skills, whether to change jobs, get a promotion, or simply out of interest. I gave an introductory talk to about ten friends and acquaintances in this segment about serverless API development (to oversimplify, how to create a back end for an application without running web servers) and they were interested in the subject matter. I sat on it for a while, but right now I am currently working on building a well-architected software application to serve as a tutorial from start to finish for developers who want to learn cloud application development, including advanced techniques that are rarely mentioned in online courses and tutorials.

My aim would be to sell this information in an e-book or a (cheap) online course to software engineers, but I think it would be beneficial to provide paid mentoring sessions as well or even workshops. Honestly, I have not explored the paid mentoring or workshop ideas, but I definitely do not want to close my eyes to those because they can potentially be even better for my bottom line than just selling information impersonally.

EDIT: A quick Google search shows several services for online monthly course subscriptions between $29/month and $39/month offering far more content than I could offer as an individual (at least, at a glance). It's a little discouraging, but I'd prefer to work the angle where I provide individual and small group guidance, so on Rabby's suggestion, I am looking to see if people would be interested in that.
Hello there. My name is Reggie A. and I appreciate your recent share. I started researching on the forum for “software developer” and your post came up. I appreciate what you shared and the context provided.

My background is that I am an accountant most recently working as a CFO. I’ve done so since 2003/2004. One would consider me as successful but I feel I haven’t truly explored my talent in providing it to the market place is my goal. The reason I am reaching out to you is I am seeking assistance with developing a software solution. In my professional life I am considered the “nerd” being an expert excel user, etc. Conceptually I understand software development but would need assistance in the mechanics of it. Let me know if we can further discuss. Thank you.
 

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