So You Want to Be a Web Developer?

Ah, well, welcome to my world!

Work from home, when you want to. $150 an hour potential income. Work part time at full time wages.
Well, maybe 10 years ago.

So much has changed since I put up my first website back in the early 90s. Back then, the Internet was nothing more than a few pictures and some text, not much to it. The hosts were all UNIX boxes and you had to know how to make a directory, upload files, and the set folder and file permissions before anyone could see it!

Jump forward almost 20 years; the technology has changed so much that my 13 year old son could put up his own site. No worries about knowing where that file is, what makes it work, or how it could be improved. Such is the case with millions of other people who have access to the internet.

So why would someone want to pay you for something they could do themselves? Easy. They might be able to put up a picture and write some text, but it won’t look like all the other sites out there. Why? Easy. Because they were written by a professional, who has studied and learned what makes the internet tick and how it works.

So that’s the first obstacle you must overcome is to learn the internet, learn how to talk to the world!

The next obstacle is clients; you have to somehow get someone that wants a website, or a better one. Many people make up signs and post them beside the road with a phone number. Some use classified to search for people wanting a website, and then send them information about themselves; examples of past work and beg them for the job. Others don’t really have to look for work. Because they have done so much work and made their customers happy, they in turn refer someone to them.

Which leaves the last and final piece of advice, how much to charge. People are funny about websites. They want a professional website, but they want it for as little as they absolutely can get away with. When I was searching online classifieds for work, I can’t tell you how many time the headlines read:
“I need a Website, prefer student or beginner to pad profile” or something in that manner. In other words, “I need a website, I don’t want to pay you, but you can tell everyone that you made it for me”. Which in my opinion is just complete and udder disrespect for the trade! Then when you do find someone who respects you enough to pay you, they want to pay minimum wage. Even though it may have cost you as much as a Jr Collage degree for online courses, books, web space and advertising, it’s still only worth minimum wage to them.

So there is some advice from a professional web developer to someone who wants to be one. I have learned a lot about people, technology, and most of all financial security in my career. I hope that should you decide this is what you want to do, you will give the community, you and your customers the respect that this trade deserves.