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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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  • Web Bubble 2.0 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @04:30PM (#46643413)

    Complete with outrageous billionaire dropout success stories, exploited immigrant workers, extreme gentrification, and a legion of Johnny-Come-Latelies graduating just in time to see the whole thing collapse like a house of cards.

    • by poached (1123673)

      I just checked - NASDAQ is up significantly over DOW and S&P500, just like the dot-com days (98-99), whereas for the most part between 2001 and 2008, NASDAQ was on the same level as the other indices.

      Google Finance [google.com]

      • I just checked - NASDAQ is up significantly over DOW and S&P500, just like the dot-com days (98-99)

        Was at a kids birthday party, his Dad and I were talking when he says there's a lot of money to be made on the Internet, and I said no there's not. He comes back with all the money being spent by companies for these web sites, I said it's all speculation.

        The next week the bubble burst.

        19 billion for a web site and 2 billion for hardware, it's not making sense; other than a grab for everything while they can, and hope for the best.

        • Me and a few friends were grabbing back then. We were writing software for those "big startups", launched by MBAs without a hint of what the internet actually is but with THE idea that would allow them to land big bucks.

          I bought a house, a friend bought a few cars and the other one now owns part of a REAL company. The "big startups" that we worked for don't exist anymore. None of them. And no, not because our software was bad, quite the opposite, we are pretty good at what we're doing.

          But it might explain w

  • Viewpoint (Score:5, Funny)

    by suso (153703) * on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @04:32PM (#46643431) Homepage Journal

    Is there a startup-hype balloon? I hadn't noticed. I'm too busy dealing with the security holes of apps and services written by high school and college drop outs.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That's funny, because I'm constantly fixing security holes left by university graduates and I only have a grade 12 education on paper.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I wouldn't confuse education with credentials. You're educated, but not credentialed. They're credentialed, but may not be educated. Self education is the best education.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @04:36PM (#46643471)

    The article that was supposed to illustrate there are "not enough job openings" was just about two fairly successful kids developing, and an overall question if college is as good an idea as it used to be.

    Lots of companies still seem to be strongly hiring developers, and I don't see a "flood" of them coming from anywhere. Why would you claim it's a bad idea to get into programming now? Especially if you find a CS degree somewhere you will be ahead of a lot of people in terms of building better software on WHATEVER platform you work with - web or mobile or desktop or anything.

    • by mlts (1038732) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @04:59PM (#46643733)

      There are jobs out there. However, the days of 2008 where one could put out 99 cent fart apps and rake in the cash, or the days of 2012 where one could put out a free-to-play, pay-to-win game are now behind us. The market is saturated.

      But there are markets where things are not like that and niches can be made. Embedded programming will be work that requires a real expert, just because each application (and hardware device) is different. A microcontroller for a RV's A/C will require a completely different set of code than a microcontroller that monitors a building's HVAC system at multiple locations. One size does not fit all in the embedded arena, so "commodity development" (i.e. offshoring) will be more expensive than hiring people domestically since there is new ground to be broken.

      I'm sure the next bubble is going to be security. SSL/TLS need to be reworked to support multiple root CAs in case one is compromised. That way, if two CAs have no clue about a cert, but one CA vets it, this can raise a red flag. Security isn't something one can do on the cheap. This needs real expertise, and more than just reading "The Cookoo's Egg" and calling oneself a "security professional". White/black hat hacking is going to be an important part of things, and this, yet again, isn't something that comes cheap.

      Then there is the fact that there are international issues now. Just last year, people were content to get all their hardware from one country, their software from another. Now, nations want to pack their own parachutes and develop their security in house, and not rely solely on the word of other countries that the smartphones or other items don't come bristling with backdoors and kill switches. So, there will be duplication of effort that wasn't around just a year ago.

      On this note, governments will become a bigger client for developers. They will want their own infrastructures, social media sites, and many other items. This will be where the money lies for upcoming companies because governments have deep pockets, and the ability to work on things even if not an immediate profit is obtainable.

      Then there are items to be addressed that would make money, infrastructure wise. Here in the US, there is plenty of LAN bandwidth to go around. WAN bandwidth is expensive. Someone making an infrared laser routing system and other means (microwave relay) to create a mesh network would likely make a lot of money, especially if it has innate encryption that consists of more than "trust us, the glowing 'it is encrypted' LED ensures 100% security" flim-flam.

      Finally, the model of advertising revenue is going to hit a wall pretty soon. Once ad-supported sites start selling to advertisers every click, mouse wiggle, and keyboard stroke that subscribers do, or even worse, demand intrusive spyware be installed on subscribers' machines, then there will be no more they can sell to the advertisers. Once that happens, the bubble will collapse. Who knows from there. "Free" E-mail may become a thing of the past, perhaps even Google or other search engine use would require micropayments.

      All and all, there are still niches to be filled. One just can't follow the herd all day long and expect to be able to get to fresh grass.

      • by Sloppy (14984) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @06:07PM (#46644337) Homepage Journal

        [yeah, this is a digression]

        SSL/TLS need to be reworked to support multiple root CAs in case one is compromised. That way, if two CAs have no clue about a cert, but one CA vets it, this can raise a red flag.

        That's not how you do multiple CAs. You don't raise red flags; you abstain from raising green ones. Everything starts red by default. No CA (even the most hated and distrusted one) can ever possibly harm your estimation that a key is correct; they can simply fail to increase your estimate. Trust is somewhere between zero and one, but never less than zero. Even Cthulhu Hitler CA rates no less than 0.0.

        • by mlts (1038732)

          I stand corrected... Your model is far better. The intent was to give an example of what core protocols need to be improved to handle modern attacks.

      • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

        However, the days of 2008 where one could put out 99 cent fart apps and rake in the cash, or the days of 2012 where one could put out a free-to-play, pay-to-win game are now behind us.

        No more than a tiny fraction, perhaps a percent of a precent, of mobile developers were "raking in the cash" making novelty apps and pay to win games. The overwhelming majority of mobile developers had full time jobs writing software for established companies then, as they do now.

        And it's funny that you mentioned embedded prog

      • Security is slowly getting saturated. Sadly, it gets saturated with people I would LOVE to just stuff into a giant cannon and shoot a few weeks from next Tuesday.

        Various schools around here are pumping out "security engineers" like there's no tomorrow. Basically what you get is someone who holds a college degree and can spell ISO27001 without stumbling more than once. Don't expect him to have any kind of measurable realistic idea of what he learned for that, though. Or that he ever had anything but a theore

      • I'm constantly thinking of places where more software development is needed. The problem is, most of those places aren't the "sexy" ones. The kids in school are all about being the next video game coding superstar, which only makes sense when you consider they're raised on titles like Minecraft.

        To be a successful developer right now, you almost need to run away from anything that's being hyped. If it smacks of "social networking" -- pretend you never saw that! Video gaming? Saturated ... avoid it.

        Niches

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Damn near every company I have worked for in the past 25 years has always been in need of good developers. This includes both experienced and even those just starting out. Each group requires separate evaluations but it is pretty easy to judge the value of both groups with the right questions. The experienced candidates usually fail due to overly rigid attitudes on what type of development environment or tool sets they will use. There is nothing worse than an experienced programmer who is wedded to a partic

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The article is talking about Independent App developers.

      To make a living in the US and this is living cheap - you need to sell $50,000 per year worth of apps. After SS, taxes, etc ... you'll have a take home pay of about $35,000.

      Now, go up to your favorite app store and see how many apps are selling at those levels - remember per year. So, if an app has been around for a couple of years, it'll need to have sold at least $100,000 worth. That's 100,000 at $0.99.

      And I didn't even mention startup costs: comput

      • 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.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          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 (bein

          • If you want to take home $35,000 per year...you have to gross $50,000/year.

            The overhead of $15k still seems a little high, but it's the $35k that I think provides a lot of room for living in and could be lower without issue, if money or material things were not a focus and you live in the right area.

            if you work 2,000 per year developing and another 500 hours (that's LOW) at sales

            Remember how I said I was an independent app developer? So I have actual experience with what it takes to be one?

            Working 2000 hou

            • The overhead in $15K is not overhead; a huge chunk of it is taxes & the "payroll end" of taxes. If anything, the overhead is a little low.

          • 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.

            Depends. Are you incorporated? If so, then your S-corp or whatever presumably has you as an employee, and you may well have all of those. If not, then you're self-employed, and all you have to cover is all the payroll taxes (but you do get an income tax deduction on half of them).

    • Taking advice from an MBA is a bad idea.
      The reality is that if you blow a couple years of your life learning how to code and build apps, that is a great two years of your life spent, whether your app is "successful" or not. You will have learned a lot and people with good technical skills will always be in demand.

  • > 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.

    Wait a sec, they keep screaming that there arent't enough candidates to fill the spots. Something fishing is going on.

  • College isn't the only place to learn things. Building stuff on your own teaches you stuff *faster* than a standard curriculum. You learn more there about business, development, marketing, etc. than a school could ever teach you.

    Doing > listening.

    That said, a formal education can compliment that self-taught knowledge nicely, but at the additional cost of time/money. This is every university's business model so obviously some guy looking at this as a "Powerball" and completely disregarding people becoming

    • Established companies prefer college graduates. College gets you past an established company's HR.

      Those who control certain popular mobile and set-top platforms prefer developers with experience working for established companies. (Source: warioworld.com/apply) Working for an established company gets you past the platform's developer approval.

  • and there aren't enough developers for the jobs. There's always more money for the banks though.

  • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @04:44PM (#46643571)
    Or you'll live a miserable life of what if's and what could have beens. Are the odds against immediate success against you? Maybe. Sure. Who gives a fuck.Go for it. Even if you "fail" you'll still learn a bunch of shit and be better for the effort in more ways than you can ever imagine.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is the story of my life. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten an idea, prototyped it, and let it sit and gather dust. Only to watch, a couple years later, someone get rich off the same idea BECAUSE they took it and ran with it. I'm content (or maybe not) with just throwing shit on the wall and see if it sticks. Once I've proven my idea I just let it languish. Don't let this be you - trust me. I get depressed almost everyday when I think of the money I didn't make.

    • Robert Pelloni went for it but famously got rejected [wikipedia.org]. Plenty of developers have had their App Store apps rejected as well. What's the best practice to deal with rejection of your application by a platform's exclusive gatekeeper?
      • What's the best practice to deal with rejection of your application by a platform's exclusive gatekeeper?

        Depends on the rules that the gatekeeper has for acceptance. It should be noted that in Nintendo's case, the answer is "Rule 1: Be a big game developer. Rule 2: Don't be a small game developer." (as opposed to "lock yourself in a room for 100 days"). If some platform has overly-onerous requirements, find another platform; you've got plenty of choices out there, and none of them are big enough to be the only practical option.

      • Bob's game is your reference? Bob Pelloni was a flake, you don't think Nintendo couldn't figure that out?

        The day of a single guy in a basement is over. If you don't want to deal with the gatekeepers find another platform. If you want to do a game on a specific platform, you deal with the gatekeepers for it.

    • by bob_super (3391281) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @05:21PM (#46643949)

      Graduate first. Then go for your dreams.
      Because if you fail and you have to fall back on normal employment, dropping out has just put you all the way back to the end of the line, behind all the unemployed educated people.

      You can waste a few years after college in dead-end attempts. You can explain that in an interview, it might be a positive (because you're entrepreneurial, and because you've failed and won't be running off again soon).
      But if you didn't graduate, you aren't likely to get the interview in the first place.

      • "...behind all the unemployed educated people."

        Gotta say, that's not much of an incentive. **Those** unemployed people have enormous debts to *still* pay off. You won't. College is overrated.
      • Not quite. If you drop out of college and try to make a startup go, you're getting valuable experience. Not getting the degree means it'll be harder to get the interview, but lots of employers would consider the experience a definite plus.

        Not to mention, if you fail fast enough as an entrepeneur, you likely can finish college. It should be a lot easier, given more maturity.

        • Stats are formal that the average person with a degree makes a lot more than the average without. It's still true, even if the numbers have been changing.

          And when HR is sorting through 20+ (or 2000) resumes for a position, failing the "BS required, MS preferred" is the easiest and most lawyer-free way to send yours to the recycle bin.

          How did you finance your startup? Can you still afford to finish college? The bankers prefer to lend money to people with a real degree...

          YMMV, but the odds are against you. It

          • Sure, the college degree is, on the average, beneficial. We're not talking about average people here, since average people don't start their own businesses nowadays. This applies to your other points also: dropping out of college to start a business is not for average people.

  • Wait a minute! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @04:53PM (#46643671)

    Are you telling me that a story in the Harvard Business Journal, published by Harvard College, tells students not to drop out of expensive college courses?

    Inconceivable!

  • Doing the math... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Eric Wise (3521651) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @04:56PM (#46643713)

    So reading the NYT article, the boys had the idea in Dec 2011 and released their app in Jan 2013. So a year with two people, learning to build an app, etc. They split $30,000...

    Now let me preface this by saying that the skills they learned are worth money, knowledge is invaluable. But I meet people every week who are looking to make a quick buck off of apps. I would imagine these boys put in at least 1000 hours on this initiative, plus all the spend for the traveling and stuff they did. All said and done, they probably made minimum wage at best off this app.

    The new tech bubble is mobile.

    • by tlambert (566799)

      $30,000 / 1000 = $30 an hour. Just saying.

  • There is no way to know how many developers had flopped, with respect to the flappy birds, or angry birds developers of the app wars. No programmer will admit defeat publicly and come out saying , "I have worked so many hundreds of hours on my game/app and realized that I can not make it marketable or make money out f it anyway, so I abandoned it". We all are spoon-fed by any media outlet, how great this app or that game is and at 99 cents-a-pop, it is a steal. And oh-by-the-way, the app developer got crazy
    • by Quirkz (1206400)

      I think a lot of solo/indie developers would be happy to talk about their failures, if you ask them. It's just not *news* so you won't have any such stories fed to you.

  • If you are not in early, you get lost in the flood of apps. Time for the next big thing.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Well, Android and IPhone each have about a million apps (6 months ago, http://mashable.com/2013/07/24/google-play-1-million/ ) on their respective app stores, so let's say there are a nice round 2 million mobile apps. If every mobile app were a Powerball ticket, there's a 98.7% chance that not a single one has hit it big. Writing a wildly successful app is a long shot, but so much so that it is obviously foolish like the lottery.

    Especially while you're going to college, it's possible to dabble in this kind

    • Looking at percentages of apps for things like the possibility of app store success is foolish.

      That's because it's not random. For instance, if you develop another TODO or flashlight app I can say 100% you are not going to "hit big".

      Your success in any app store is not wholly chance. It a combination of how good of an application you have developed, along with some marketing. There are random people that get elevated without the marketing, but it's not like you have to rely on that as the only mechanism

  • Opportunity is an intangible but sometimes it stares you in the face and you have to answer the door.

    Sure, many startup dreams are irrational and almost no one is going to end being a billionaire, but if you have an approach to a problem that few others see and are willing to accept the risks ... GO FOR IT!

    Or live a life of wondering "what if"?

    Few people as a percent are suited to take the risks of a startup company, but when you are young the risks are the most easy to handle and if you fail, just go ge
    • I went for it. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @06:02PM (#46644299)

      And I failed.

      I now have almost $150,000 in debt, ruined credit, and no job prospects. What should I have done different?

      I shouldn't have been so optimistic. A bit of pessimism is good for getting a reality check.

      That's the trouble, we see all these success stories out there in the media and never the failures which then gives us a skewed perception of our chances of succeeding.

      • by Xaedalus (1192463)
        Mod up please--this is the argument against Grand OP
      • Re:I went for it. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @06:32PM (#46644509)

        I now have almost $150,000 in debt, ruined credit, and no job prospects. What should I have done different?

        I went for it.

        I failed.

        I have no debt other than the mortgage I started with, excellent credit, and a good job. What did I do differently?

        I gave up when the money ran out and went back to work for The Man, rather than throw good money after bad. Trying to launch a startup is a gamble and should be treated precisely the same way. Only use money you can afford to lose and do not spend one thin dime of money you don't have trying to "win it all back" if you hit bottom. Quit and go home.

        Too late for you, but for other people thinking about it, this can't be repeated enough.

      • I now have almost $150,000 in debt, ruined credit

        Then aren't you the perfect candidate for bankruptcy?

        and no job prospects

        What the hell company did you spend $150k+ on that you have no marketable skills from? You are ether lying or a moron.

        People don't care if a company you worked forwent bankrupt. Hell, in a lot of circles it's seen as a badge of honor.

        • I now have almost $150,000 in debt, ruined credit

          Then aren't you the perfect candidate for bankruptcy?

          and no job prospects

          What the hell company did you spend $150k+ on that you have no marketable skills from? You are ether lying or a moron.

          He paid himself 75k a year to play flappy birds.

      • I now have almost $150,000 in debt, ruined credit, and no job prospects. What should I have done different?

        Not paid for everything on high-interest credit cards?

      • by itsdapead (734413)

        I now have almost $150,000 in debt, ruined credit, and no job prospects. What should I have done different?

        Not run up $150,000 in debt.

        If developing your world-beating software cost more than a chunk of your spare time (while continuing in college), a hundred bucks or so for developer subscriptions and the use of a PC that you would have bought anyway, you did it wrong.

        If you're building a better mousetrap, you'll hit the unavoidable roadblock where you need to manufacture thousands of the things to get them into the shops, and you'll need finance. With software - that needn't happen. Even in the bad old days

      • I now have almost $150,000 in debt, ruined credit, and no job prospects. What should I have done different?

        Exited before stacking up 150k dept.

        But that aside, try to stay on track. And don't waste your time. You can always make back money, you can not, however, make back time. Don't waste it. And when you start making the money back, getting of 150k gets easy very fast. Just don't *add* more dept, that would be my advice. Be glad you've got nothing to lose. ... Think outside the box.

        Tim Ferriss "4 hour wor

  • by Rob Fielding (3524407) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @05:29PM (#46644013)
    For mobile apps, this is actually not a bad idea if you can afford to fail; because you are still unattached enough that nobody depends on your income in a critical way. If nobody is going to pay your way through college, then you have nothing to lose. Get your failures and experience in before you have a house and a kid. LinkedIn will light up for you as a side-effect. A lot of my friends are the top developers in the iOS music app space; and I was in the mosh pit trying to make it happen along with them (while working a good full-time job - contemplating full time app dev). A small number of them make a healthy living doing little more than occasional maintenance on long-shipped apps while using the rest of their time learning the craft and having a life. 90% of them fail badly, with improved job prospects. The 30% Apple tax is high, but the mobile user mindset is what makes it hard. The large volume of users that can drive your asking price down nicely can also be a major support nightmare because you have to deal with them directly. You will deal with fads, gaming the review system (ie: send you an email that implies that if they don't get something for free in a few days that you will get a 1 star review, or requesting refunds while keeping the app and still sending support questions for months on end). The huge numbers of apps can make it hard to get a foothold on iOS/Android. On other platforms, even a well promoted and executed (even best and only for its category) app can still fail because there really are almost no users. Even given a *great* app and somebody that's good at the business, it's still far more of a gamble than showing up to a job and knowing how much you will make. But it's far better to do this while you are living with your mom than sitting around doing nothing or working an unskilled job for minimum wage.
  • How about? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @05:46PM (#46644161)
    How about graduates switch back to solving problems in science, engineering, health. Stuff that matters. The world needs another Facebook or another "app for that" like it needs a hole in the head.
  • Where it was the PC rush of the 1980s, dot.com 1.0 or the current mobile App era. You just try over and over. I've known people who have joined a half dozen startups before doing well.
  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @06:36PM (#46644547)
    their moms/dads are rich. They can blow off school and go back whenever you feel like it. If you look at just about every successfully "Entrepreneur" they come from upper (way upper) middle class to very rich.

    We here in America like to pretend we've got a lot of upward mobility that isn't really there. So when somebody starts making millions we pretend they pulled themselves up by bootstraps. Heck, Bill Gates started out with nothing except a 1 million dollar trust fund, his father's years of experience as a business lawyer and his mother's seat on IBM. If he can make it anyone can.
    • I came from a very poor family, I was able to pay for college and end up with a great career without any financial help from family.

      It's still very possible if your parents are not well off. In some ways it's even easier because you can get a lot of loans and grants for school if your parents are below a certain income level.

      The great thing about learning to develop is that it does not take a huge amount of capital resource to get started.

      • It's possible, but most don't make it. Everyone remembers Abe Lincoln, but can you name any of those kids from his Log Cabin School?

        Also, learning to develop is now very, very expensive. A college degree that was $50k in my day is $200k now. That degree gets you the same $50k to $60k year job today, but with 4 times more debt...

        You got lucky enough to pick an industry that didn't get devastated in your area and you didn't have anything really, really awful happen to you. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy
        • Also, learning to develop is now very, very expensive.

          Learning to develop has never been cheaper. You can get a whole set of videos on iOS programming from Stanford for free; apple makes the whole of it's developer content and all developer videos available for the $99/year developer program.

          Looking wider, for any given language there are more resources than you can even use. I've learned many new languages and techniques long after leaving school.

          But even the basics of a CS degree are covered by many onl

  • by LF11 (18760) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @08:59PM (#46645661) Homepage
    Programming is one of the few industries with a reasonable unemployment rate composed largely of people who are voluntarily between jobs. In my opinion (having gone into a programming career straight out of high school, then going to college at 26) skipping the fucking bullshit in higher ed and going straight for programming is a perfectly valid and appropriate course of action.

    Skip the debt. Skip the "social justice" BS while money slips away from you like diarrhea. Skip the booze and marijuana and dead-end "self-discovery." Go straight to where it counts, and build a life in a field where lives and careers are still being built.

    My company just upgraded their dev position hiring rec to always-on. We now are hiring (competent) devs any time we find them, regardless of whether we have a place for them at that moment.
  • It doesn't cost anywhere near 30,000$ to make an app. I have friends who 2 years ago didn't know a single line of C++, they signed up for MS Bizspark, got a free copy of Visual Studio Ultimate (I think registering a business is about 50 bucks), and they wrote an app. They have also published books/training courses on how to write software within the bounds of various frameworks. This person didn't even finish high-school, much less College, and the content that he has produced/licensed is making him about 3

  • The company I work for does a lot of contract work making apps (it's about a third of our business, the rest being traditional websites or a pair of large, ongoing projects). People come to us with an app idea, we charge them for us to build it (plus hourly rates for continued updates or changes), they get all the profits from it, if any.

    As far as I've heard, very few have actually turned a profit for their owners. Most are genuinely useless apps, that nobody would ever pay to use. Others are decent ideas t

  • From all the comp-sci grads I've seen, going to uni taught them java, entry level c++ (a single shitty communications arts subject) and an intro to SQL on Oracle, also how to install a linux distro, but not use it for anything, so noone touched it again. Almost none of those people work in a real Comp-sci related job. Most ended up as sysadmins in schools or companies. Having the paper meant they knew "IT" most of them can't do anything except pick Microsoft Products and sign SLAs. If you want to be an app
  • Great Advice! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by msmonroe (2511262) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @04:41AM (#46647193)
    From my observation of the start-up community it seems obvious that 99% of the engineering students should continue to pursue their degrees and work on their dreams of becoming billionaires on the weekend or in their spare time. I am speaking in generalities and could be full of crap! Your mileage will vary!

    Most entrepreneurs would not use the product they are working on daily; I know their are exceptions, thanks!

    Most of the ideas that people come up with fit into 4 basic categories.
    1. The idea is actually a feature that could be implemented in an existing piece of software but it is not worth becoming an actual stand alone business and would probably not bring in any paying business.
    2. The idea is actually a really horrible idea and they are either too delusional or have been lied to about how bad it is and they just don't know.
    3. The idea can make money; but it's actually an idea that is a business niche and could generate some income but it is not a huge business!
    4. The idea is a copycat; unlikely to make money, why go with a copycat when you can go with the original product. Brand inertia is difficult to overcome.

    Being part of a start-up is also pretty crappy, Hollywood makes it out to be this big glamorous adventure; The expectation is that you'll spend all your time and excess money into the start-up; it's like being divorced with 3 kids and your ex-wife is a gold digger and drags you back to court every chance she gets to get more money out of you.

    Even if you get funded the Angel/VC , seems like the terms are almost interchangeable nowadays, they will want you to still work for free; yeah work for free! I know there's a lot of talk about how much compensation do you take out once your funded but the truth is that it is almost always doesn't happen.

    If your lucky enough to make it all the way to the end and sell out to larger business or go public your compensation at the end is usually comparable to those that worked professionally during that same period of time or less.

    Even with all that though it still depends on what your long term goals; if you want to get experience in building a business and leveraging finance then it could end up being worth it. If your expectation is a really painful get rich quick scheme I'd advise staying away.
  • I know the statistics, but I also know the apps out there. And I can say that even most of the 5 star apps just simply suck; they do one or two just wrong or not at all.

    My motto is going to be "We did it just right", and I believe achieving that to be a seriously underappreciated and especially in IT underdeveloped skill. I like my chances.
  • In the 70's we did not need degrees to get most jobs. We still do not need degrees to work most jobs, the tools have gotten more complex, but their interfaces remain as easy and teachable as ever through on the job training, if not more so. In fact, at many fields where they've contracted my computing related solutions I put in place systems that require ME to know the jobs of their workers better than their workers themselves, and yet I am a software and hardware architect, not a chemist. I overheard a

  • Just because you can write a mobile app, doesn't mean you should. I'm capable of it, but I don't because there's no point making another crappy version of $whatever. I'm not going to be as motivated as the other people already in the market, so so I'll 'fail'. Having an idea of yet another way to hoover up people's personal information isn't a guarantee of success - and actually most things like that require lots of marketing and other efforts, which have a high cost when you're yet to make any money.

    Howeve

  • I love how this sort of thing is always focused on the applications, the programmer, bad decisions, etc...

    The focus should be on how this is all enabled in the first place, which is the crazy financial ponzi scheme which is wall street.

    If you look at those glowing examples of success stories, and their details you start to see a few commonalities.

    You get companies like Facebook going public to a valuation of like 100 BILLION dollars. Which EVERYONE even non-technophiles know is total horse shit, however spu

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