Is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Programming' started by LukeH, Mar 28, 2019.

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  1. LukeH

    LukeH Enthusiast

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    Good Morning all,

    I was looking at the prospect of learning to code with PHP and MySQL, with the intention of creating addons for forums. From looking around (mainly in the Xenforo forum, which is the system I currently use/favor) the general consensus is that most developers can't/don't make a living from this sort of coding as they can't currently demand higher prices.

    I was wondering if this is the same through most of the forum software's (both paid and free)? Do most addon developers also have day jobs elsewhere to pay the bills and do this work as a hobby/side income?

    It is something I've always wanted to do, just never took the leap to do it. I have a few ideas (mainly for Xenforo) for addons that aren't currently available and that at least 4-5 people I've seen asking for them, I know that isn't many, but it's a start.

    Any information is greatly appreciated :)
    Thanks
     
  2. Joel R

    Joel R Fan

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    I'm very involved and talk to a lot of the developers in the Invision Community Marketplace.

    Here are the insights that I've gained:
    1. You should expect 2 - 4 years of studying and practice.

    I know there are coding camps and boot camp where it's "only six weeks", but this is honestly a change of profession to computer science and you should treat it like a professional pivot in your career.

    2. Use the Marketplace as a place of advertising. The best developers in Invision Community only offer a handful of marquee apps with amazing support and features. They use that to funnel work to private development.

    And private development is where the real money is located for the best developers. You can charge $25 - $80 / hr depending on your skillset and experience and you can set a retainer model where clients pay a flat monthly fee for ongoing work. There's always work for the best developers.
     
  3. Anton Chigurh

    Anton Chigurh Ultimate Badass

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    PHP and MySQL are great, but CSS is driving the bus more these dsys.

    I'll add to the above - coding is art. If you're looking for money at it, you're lost before you start. You MUST love it and have PASSION for it to the point you feel like you'd do it for free. It's not something you can stamp out and produce like a machine.

    Reading your OP I get the feeling you see an opportunity due to what you see as a generally unsatisfied market. That ain't the motivation, that ain't something you can just go get - That's something that comes to you if you have the desire and the passion for that work. It'll show.

    But by all means explore it, get the training and commit time and effort. And even some money. Find out if it's a love or just a means to an end.
     
  4. LukeH

    LukeH Enthusiast

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    Thanks Joel RJoel R, would you say Invision has more of a market for paid addons?

    I don't expect to know what I'm doing straight away, however I'm in a job at the moment where I have 5-6 hours that I can spend a night doing whatever I want as the site is quiet (night shift's are great lol). This will give me the time to learn, practice and develop whilst still having a secure income.

    Thanks Anton ChigurhAnton Chigurh, I have some experience in the past of HTML and CSS, but would need to touch up on it. I understand where you are coming from with passion, I've always been taught that if you love what you do, then it doesn't become work. I will be doing some work for free, as it's great experience and visibility for a brand. The opportunity that I see is actually more of a requirement for myself than others, it's just handy that others require it too.
     
  5. Joel R

    Joel R Fan

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    I don't agree with this statement at all. I think it's an idealistic, dream in the clouds statement that sounds inspiring but it's not practical.

    I'm not against having passion and enthusiasm for your job / career. But you also can't pursue a career where you're paid in passion. You can't eat passion. You can't pay for groceries with passion. You can't cover your mortgage, build retirement savings, or pay for healthcare, life insurance, or a 529 college savings plan with passion.

    I applaud those who want to work for free. If you know anyone who wants to work for free, j have plenty of forum work where I can pay them in passion. In fact, I may even hire them for overtime work with overtime passion points, redeemable for passion and deep gratitude from me and my users.

    The most successful developers in the Invision Community are clear about the kinds and types of clients they bring on. They don't want passion projects where the admin wants everything for $25. They want professional communities with professional budgets and a clear set of goals.
     
  6. Anton Chigurh

    Anton Chigurh Ultimate Badass

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    Taken out of context of the rest of the post and stand-alone, neither do I.
    Nobody's saying anything like that at all.
    Nobody's saying anyone does, or should.

    What I AM saying is, getting into developing isn't for opportunists. What keeps one at it despite all of the pain in the ass that it can be, is going to be your love for it and your passion for it. I hope that's more clear now. If you don't love doing it you're not going to be all that good at it. That's true of just about every pursuit, actually.
     
  7. LukeH

    LukeH Enthusiast

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    Just out of interest, could you show me some examples of profession forums? Are you talking about forums which started out as passion projects, but basically grew to the size of something like TAZ Where it's become somewhat of a business? At what point would a passion project become enough to demand professional services?
     
  8. overcast

    overcast Participant

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    Here's my 2 cents.

    1. If you learn it as a hobby, it remains as a hobby. You have to get serious about coding.
    2. PHP and MySQL stack has demand in the market. But that is from the buyers who pay very low. That's one reason people move to other languages.
    3. Learning to code is worth it. Lot of automation is possible if you know how.

    But you have to do cost benefit analysis from what you can do with it before investing time.
     
  9. LukeH

    LukeH Enthusiast

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    Thank you overcastovercast, is PHP/MySQL good as a starting code? I can't predict the future and looking at other codes until I learn at least one, but you never know where that one will take you.

    I haven't looked too much at cost benefit analysis as at least the first few projects will be more to do with learning and developing than making money. I don't want to start selling sub-standard addons before I've even started as that will tarnish the brand before it even gets going. CBA can then be done on a per-addon basis as even if I didn't go into selling the addons, there are some that I want just for myself anyway.
     
  10. NotRupert

    NotRupert Neophyte

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    PHP is a good novice language because it's really easy to get going and produce usable things -- BUT -- the PHP community is also (still) filled with lots of amateurs and best practice advice is often drowned in the noise of "I've always done it this way" from helpful novices.

    If you want to make a few plugins used by a few people, I would definitely go the PHP way. If you're serious about coding as a profession I recommend reading up on basic computer science and trying different languages and tools. If you're familiar with imperative, functional, and object oriented programming picking up a new language is a breeze. If you know the basics of networking, operating systems, and floating point arithmetic understanding what goes wrong is much easier. If you know the ideas behind encryption, authorization, and authentication you'll easier spot security flaws before implementing them.

    I don't agree that you need to be passionate about coding to make a living out of it. If you're a freelancer working on small projects and going at it alone that could be true, but if you work in corporate settings with enterprise projects the coding part of your work is barely half of what you do -- if even that. You and everyone around you are competent coders and coding becomes just that final thing to do before shipping a feature. The hard part is all that comes before it (figuring out what exactly is needed, when, by whom, how, communicating this, designing the solution, fitting it into your large distributed system, making sure it's maintainable, checking what laws you need to account for, etc).
     
  11. Gamecharmer

    Gamecharmer Aspirant

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    If it's any consolation, my forum is written from scratch in PHP/MySQL. Back when I was passionate about it, I was constantly making improvements. It was an excellent learning experience. Unfortunately, as life became more busy between work and kids, the passion faded and it's now more or less a dead community with less than 20k uniques a month. The drive to want to do more, to continually improve, to get better at your craft really has to be there if you're starting out.

    The best of luck to you LukeHLukeH !
     
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