computer science

Do developers need a college degree?

“You don’t need college degree to be a web developer because people with advance college degree create libraries so that people without college degree can get a job.” 

That’s the comment I just got on YouTube.



Sooo… let’s tear this guy a new… ahem…

I mean, here are my thoughts:



November 19, 2018

Most developers are frauds

I want you to imagine this for a second.

Imagine you’re from a dirty little town of less than 200 people in the middle of nowhere. You can from a dirt poor family that are outcasts in your community.

And, you’re surrounded by rich kids.

Who never miss an opportunity to remind you…

That you don’t belong.

Constantly made fun of. Constantly told you’re a dirty nobody. Constantly told that you’ll never amount to s!@#… so why even try?

Imagine that was your childhood.

Then, fast-forward 10 years and now you’re a developer.. or, at least, trying to be. And, you’re at a conference surrounded by other, more experienced, developers.

The creator of one of WordPress’ most popular plugins.

The lead developer for a popular membership software.

And, dozens of freelancers with way more experience.

And, YOU were asked to speak. To try and tell these people something they don’t know. And, you can feel their eyes burning a hole in you.

It feels like they’re all just screaming “fraud” at you…

With every word that comes out of your mouth.

That was me a few years back.

Point is…

We all feel this kind of impostor syndrome. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing it, how much you know… we all feel like frauds, at times.

Especially, when you consider how much things change.

In this industry, there’s always something you don’t know.

And, there ALWAYS will be.

If not knowing something makes you a fraud…

Then, we are ALL frauds.

Of course, then, you have these know-it-alls who happen to learn one of these new things first and love to run around calling everyone else “noobs”…

Because they haven’t learned it, yet.

And, all this can make you feel insecure.

And, overwhelm and frustrate you.

Like, “What the f!@# is the point?”

But, here’s the thing. When it comes down to it, this is all just “noise”. What it really comes down to, no matter what you do in life, is a battle with yourself.

Confidence isn’t some magic thing.

Confidence comes from competence.

And then, owning that competence.

That doesn’t mean you know everything… or need to know everything. It means you know what you know and you put your heart and soul into it.

You become a badass at that ONE thing.

And, you KNOW you’re a badass at it.

And, you OWN that you’re a badass at it.

Everyone and everything else be damned.

That’s the way out.

But, it all starts with competence. And, competence comes from putting in the work. And, when you do put in the work, you know who and what you are.

And, all the chirping from these know-it-alls…

All the fears about all the changes in our industry…

It all just fades away.


Get to work.

That’s the big “secret”.

That said, I’ve got a whole curriculum for you to build that competence when it comes to PHP, OOP, Security, HTML, Freelancing and more.

If you’re ready to get down business…

And, put in the work.

There’s over 30 hours of training waiting for you.

And, you can get started for nothing here:

I’ll be waiting.



August 8, 2018

What’s your biggest fear about becoming a web developer?

Serious question.

I made it into a Quora question, I’m asking you to answer: Please answer it over there and not in a comment.

I’m building this as a resource I can point people to.

Because, I get a lot of this kind of stuff.

And, I want to show people they’re not alone.

Appreciate it.



August 5, 2018

The cut-throat developers coming for you

Let’s talk competition.

This follows on from my post from yesterday, but there are two big trends, in my mind, that are ramping up the competition you’re going to face as a developer. And, it’s only gonna get worse.

First, is this the flip-side of what we talked about yesterday.

All the new technologies.

All the new languages.

All the new frameworks.

By the time you get one thing figured out, there’s three more new ones to learn. When you’re in this industry, it can be overwhelming, frustrating and a little bit scary. That’s one way to look at it.

But, from the outside.

When you’re trying to get in.

All these things are making “being a developer” easier to get into.

They’re lowing the barrier to entry.

The more that happens, the more people will get into it…

And, the more competition you’ll face.

The second is a function of how economies work. Back in 1870, 50% of the U.S. workforce was employed in agriculture. Today, it’s 2%. By 1910, 32% of the workforce was in manufacturing. Today its’ 9%.

Where are all those workers going?

I’ll give you eight guesses… but I think you’ll only need one.

But, here’s the thing that’s not so obvious. 

In 1860, there were only about 2 million farms in the United States. And, that number had steadily grown through the 1800s. But, suddenly, from 1860 to 1905, that number tripled to 6 million.

A massive explosion of the industry.

Same thing happened in manufacturing.

In 1940, there were less than 10 million people employed in manufacturing in the U.S. By 1979, that number was almost 20 million. 

So, what about tech?

There’s yet to be that kind of employment explosion.

Even during the dot-com bubble, only 4% of the population was in tech.

Today, it’s 3.9%.

But, I think that’s going to change.

You only need take a quick look at what’s happening in the world. How computers are being injected into every thing we do. From phones, to TVs, refrigerators… hell, even “smart” toasters.

The future is a tech future.

This is why I tend to roll my eyes when I hear all this “koombaya”, community of developers stuff. Yay. It sounds good. But, at the end of the day, this industry is a competition.

And, a cut-throat one at that.

No developer is going to say, “Oh, ya know, I got that last client, you go ahead and take this one.” Or, “I landed that last job, why don’t you get this one.” Ain’t gonna happen.

You have to compete.

And, you have to compete and win.

Now, I think there are three things you need to do that.

The first is the obvious: talent. Skills matter. The second has historically been less obvious, but I’ve talked about it so much and it’s become more accepted that I won’t spend much time on it.

That is marketability.

The last one, though, I don’t think gets talked about much.

Which is adaptability.

In an environment of rapid and constant change, the people who can read that landscape, quickly identify what’s important and adapt themselves to it… those are the people who’ll win.

And, it’s not just about intelligence.

I was watching this documentary the other day. It was about the transition from Neanderthal man to homo-sapiens. And, they said a lot people believe Neanderthals were just dumber than homo-sapiens.

And, that’s why we survived and they didn’t.

But, that’s a misnomer.

Actually, all the archaeological evidence points toward Neanderthals have larger brains than homo-sapiens. And, in an evolutionary sense, a larger brain means a smarter animal.

So, Neanderthals were probably smarter than homo-sapiens.

But, Neanderthals had wide, fat tongues that sat further back in their throats. So, they were only capable of a handful of sounds — 14 or so. Whereas, homo-sapiens have thinner, narrower tongues.

And, are capable of dozens, if not hundreds, of different sounds.

Which enabled us to develop more sophisticated language.

And, communicate better.

That’s why we “out-competed” the Neanderthals.

So, it’s not just about intelligence.

In our industry, I believe the ability to adapt is linked inextricably to learning. The quicker you can learn, the better you are at teaching yourself, the more effectively you can adapt to this environment.

And so, it’s about making a serious commitment to education.

Now, a lot people when they hear that will say, “No kidding!” Brilliant insight there, John. But, this is where I want to challenge you a bit.


Knowing is one thing… doing is a whole other.

I’ll use myself as an example.

I spend about $200/month on education and training. That’s a bare minimum, consistent, month in and month out commitment. And, of that $200, $100 of it goes toward one thing.

A print newsletter.

Wait, what?

“You’re a web developer and you spend $200/month on a print newsletter?”

“Are you stupid?”

But, that print newsletter has easily been worth 10-20 times what I pay for it. I can track it explicitly to before the newsletter and after the newsletter. So, the ROI is clear to me.

And, I’d happily increase that $200, if necessary, in the future. 

So, again, it’s one thing to know.

It’s a whole other to do.

And, I believe it’s those who make that serious, consistent commitment to their own education… those what actually do it, not just talk about… that will survive the coming explosion of competition we’re gonna see.

Now, one of the things I’ve done to help is to create a free tutorial site, at I took lessons from some of my most popular courses and put them over there…

Completely free.

It’s a good way to get started with that commitment.

But, whatever it is you do…

Do something.

Make some kind of commitment.

No matter how small.

Because, that’s what  will mark the difference between the winners and losers in the disruption that’s coming to our industry — and will allow you to compete and win.



August 3, 2018