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App Developers, It's Time For a Reality Check 161

Posted by Soulskill
from the attack-of-the-clones dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes: "An article in the Harvard Business Review does its best to punch a small hole in the startup-hype balloon. 'Encouraging kids to blow off schoolwork to write apps, or skip college to become entrepreneurs, is like advising them to take their college money and invest it in PowerBall,' Jerry Davis, Wilbur K. Pierpont professor of management at the Ross School of Business and the editor of Administrative Science Quarterly, wrote in that column. 'A few may win big; many or most will end up living with their moms.' Whether or not the unfortunate developer ends up back in the childhood bedroom, it's true that, with millions of apps available across all mobile platforms, it's increasingly difficult for independent developers to stand out. Compounding the problem, some of the hottest companies out there for developers and programmers don't have nearly enough job openings to absorb the flood of graduates from the world's universities. So what's a developer to do? Continue to plow forward, with adjusted expectations: the prospect of becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg is just too tantalizing for many people to pass up, even if the chances of wild success are smaller than anyone rational would like to admit."
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App Developers, It's Time For a Reality Check

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  • by tepples (727027) <<tepples> <at> <gmail.com>> on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @04:50PM (#46643643) Homepage Journal

    You don't need to be part of some [...] company.

    You do if you're trying to make an app for a Sony or Nintendo platform.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @06:01PM (#46644295)

    The article is talking about Independent App developers.

    I am one.

    To make a living in the US and this is living cheap - you need to sell $50,000 per year worth of apps.

    Let's pretend $50k is not overly high.

    You need to sell a combination of enough apps AND earn consulting income worth $50k.

    THAT is not hard if you are skilled.

    And I didn't even mention startup costs: computers, devices, developer fees, etc ....

    Which can be as little as $1k if you buy lower end computers/devices. You only need to spend that about once a year if you are keeping up on newer devices, less if you skip a few generations.

    You can also keep using that computer for 3-4 years.

    the only app developers I know making a living developing apps have a W2 job working for a company

    But the point is said companies (and lots of other smaller companies besides) still have a lot of need for developers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @06:35PM (#46644543)

    Let's pretend $50k is not overly high.

    If you are an independent business person, you have to cover all the payroll taxes, workman's comp, unemployment insurance, and there's a couple more that I can't remember because I have my accountant handle that. If you want to take home $35,000 per year - and that's about what it would take to have an one bedroom apartment, car, insurance, health insurance, and no family - you have to gross $50,000/year.

    You need to sell a combination of enough apps AND earn consulting income worth $50k.

    THAT is not hard if you are skilled.

    Ah yes, the "consulting" gigs - assuming it is not "THAT" hard , that means you are driving sales (being your own salesman) or you have a body shop do that for you. Meaning, that is time you have to spend on your business (or extra overhead if farming that out to a bodyshop) that you have to include: if you work 2,000 per year developing and another 500 hours (that's LOW) at sales, then you need to take your annual income and divide by 2,500 spent on your business. And if you do your own books and other things, those hours get added in.

    Let's put it this way, I have a feeling that if I looked at your books, I wouldn't be impressed. But if that's something you love to do, well, it's not for me to criticize.

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