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How to get into web development

Any point getting into this business?

     
11:05 pm on May 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi everyone,

I'm considering offering my services as a web developer. I have a solid background in Windows Software Dev and CRM. I'm fairly quickly learning all the web technologies, like HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, etc., but I feel like I'm late to the game. I'm a engineer first, well before being a graphic designer.

I have a few questions.

How did you get started?

What is the minimum requirement a developer should meet before offering professional services?

How tough is it to break into web dev?

If you live in the west, how do you compete with cheaper suppliers from China, India, etc?

I look forward to the replies.

3:40 am on May 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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How did you get started?

What is the minimum requirement a developer should meet before offering professional services?

How tough is it to break into web dev?

If you live in the west, how do you compete with cheaper suppliers from China, India, etc?

I got started by accident; web design was to be a small part of a church consulting business, and the web deisgn took off on its own.

How tough is it to break in? The easy part is breaking in. The hard part is sustaining. You can break in by doing a few sites for free for friends, a church, a non-profit. Staying alive requires solid dev. skills, excellent graphic design ability, non-stop networking, and customer service that sets you apart.

I don't really feel like I am competeing with self-build template suppliers. Most of my clients are more high-end, and they could never get what they wanted by pointing and clicking on a wysiwyg building tool. Forms, MySQL, PHP, custom graphics, and flash, to name a few. I don't worry about those guys at all.

good luck!

11:33 pm on May 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I second the graphic design skills comment. There are welders and then there are jewelers. I frankly enjoy that many c++ (among others) coders make the jump the web dev. Most of my work starts by re-designing sites made by them.

In a nutshell a great web developer straddles the lines between graphic artist, programmer, and psychologist. Develop your eye for beauty, organization, and presentation like a musician develops his/her ear and you'll be on the right track. You must also develop your social / user interface skills and be very observant of people. In order to make a site to represent an artist, you have to have a keen eye for what might represent them.

Just my 2c.

12:44 am on May 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Pick a niche that has not been exploited that has some money behind it and focus on targeting that. The less competition that better, unless you have something unique to bring to the table.

Or you could go affiliate and built your own network - be sure to diversify and experiment with different sites, models and industries.

8:09 am on May 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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This really isn't rocket science.

Party A wants to make money from the Internet (call them the client)

Party B wants to make money by selling their services to Party A (Call them the provider).

Success is simple, Party B just needs to perform!

Dang, ain't that so simple? So, why do you make it so complex?

Now you need to think......for hundreds of hours......then you can do the right thing! And no, you don't get a free lazy-ass post answer to the solution!

10:57 am on May 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If you live in the west, how do you compete with cheaper suppliers from China, India, etc?

Compete on proximity rather than cost :), Seriously if feel you are competing with India/China on cost you are targetting the wrong sectors/businesses. Try local SMEs to get started.
1:22 am on May 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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how would you market your serices as webdeveloper? are there places or other websites where you can list your services?
2:17 am on May 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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how would you market your serices as webdeveloper? are there places or other websites where you can list your services?

Word of mouth is your best friend. However, there is no way to generate word of mouth until you have a few solid designs under your belt. Ergo, you will simply need to donate a few sites to get up and running. the first 6 mos, my portfolio was nothing but donated sites.

After that, if you are good at what you do, provide excellent servicem quality design and affordable pricing, people will begin recommending you.

Meanwhile, I would highly recommend some networking via your chamber of commerce, lead-lunches, etc. You need to get into a room with other people who are looking to swap business cards, etc. It's unpleasant, but it must be done.

Finally, yellow pages. Some people will dismiss it, but I've gotten some of my biggest clients via my YP ads. It more than pays for itself in my case.

Ultimately, this is where my business comes from, in about equal parts:

1. Word of mouth
2. Yellow Pages
3. Google search

good luck!

2:34 am on May 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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10+ Year Member

joined:Apr 6, 2004
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how would you market your serices as webdeveloper? are there places or other websites where you can list your services?

Word of mouth is your best friend. However, there is no way to generate word of mouth until you have a few solid designs under your belt. Ergo, you will simply need to donate a few sites to get up and running. the first 6 mos, my portfolio was nothing but donated sites.

After that, if you are good at what you do, provide excellent servicem quality design and affordable pricing, people will begin recommending you.

Meanwhile, I would highly recommend some networking via your chamber of commerce, lead-lunches, etc. You need to get into a room with other people who are looking to swap business cards, etc. It's unpleasant, but it must be done.

Finally, yellow pages. Some people will dismiss it, but I've gotten some of my biggest clients via my YP ads. It more than pays for itself in my case.

Ultimately, this is where my business comes from, in about equal parts:

1. Word of mouth
2. Yellow Pages
3. Google search

good luck!