I want to get an app on the app store but I am a newbie. Should I learn how to code? Or hire a developer?
I get this question every other day so here is an attempt to tackle this topic in depth. 100 words in an email is not able to do it enough justice, so here goes.
Should I learn how to code?
Programming is kind of becoming mainstream. What used to the domain of geeks and nerds is now starting to become cool. Are you for real? That’s some crazy stuff
Why is this the case? My take on it (and this whole post is simply that, just my own take, make your own conclusions) is that we are now entering an age where software products are seen as a way to make money.
There are enough tales about the Instagrams and billion dollar exits to entice enough of us to want to replicate the success even if it was just 1% of that billion, that would be enough:-)
There are no problems with wanting to have success but it cannot be your main motivation. Coding is hard and takes a lot of time and sweat and long nights in front of a computer trying to figure out why a button you put on the screen seems to disappear every time you start your app.
I am a developer and I love coding but last night I was developing an app that loads a file to Dropbox and I spent 4 hours on finding the path of the file alone. I was about to pull all my hair out ( then I realised I had none)
These glitches happen often and of you don’t love a challenge and solving problems analytically, don’t bother learning programming, you won’t make it past month 3.
If you are one of those people, you may be the luckiest person on earth because you may have just escaped the curse of a developer, which I will explain more about later in this post.
How do I Iearn how to code and write apps?
Okay, let’s say you like solving problems and you can’t wait to get your hands dirty and start making great apps, the question is now “Where do I start”?
You are in luck because it so happens that developers are the most generous people on earth. There is so much free stuff and sample code on the Internet that you probably don’t need to spend a dime to start writing your own apps.
Where else will you have a bunch of people who spend tens of hours figuring stuff out and posting it online for others to use for free?.
The first step is to learn the basics. All programming languages have some common concepts that you need to understand. Object orientation, code structure etc.
A good place to start is Codecademy which will help you with the basics. Once you have the basics, the next step is to start making some sample apps in the language of your choice. If you are on this site, chances are you want to make iPhone apps, so that means you need to learn objective C.
A great way to start is to go through the tutorials on Ray Wenderlich’s site. There you have full length epic tutorials that walk you through the development of an app from start to finish. If you want to start from the beginner level and get more basic tutorials, get the apprentice eBook. You will get more tutorials that hold your hand through the process.
After that, you are ready to start rolling out those apps. Get your hands dirty by browsing sample code on GitHub and discover how the world best developers do stuff.
Those are the things you need to do if you want to learn how to code, what if you don’t or can’t be bothered?
Should I hire someone to build my app?
Earlier in this post, I hinted at what I call “the curse of a developer” and you may be better off not knowing how to code. Read this post to find out more about to curse.
The main gist of it is, coding is not the most important skill to have as a startup. Being able to market and get attention for it is 80% of the work that needs to be done. Your time is better spent where it matters the most.
I spent years making software products hoping that someday someone would take notice and I would hit it big. When that didn’t happen, I tried to hire a marketing manager that was going to market my stuff like a pro and get me thousands of customers. That also did not happen.
I decided to learn marketing and stuck in it and now I know how to get the word out about my own stuff. Now, I freaking love marketing and I don’t know why I didn’t learn it earlier.
So I believe the best way is to have someone else do the work of developing the app while you focus on getting the word out there.
Spending 4 hours animating a button will make you $0 but spending 4 hours emailing potential partners can make you $10,000. Choose one <- Tweet this.
That being said, you still need to know enough developer speak to communicate well with who you want to hire. So I still recommend learning the basics and knowing what it takes to make an app.
How do I hire someone to make my app ?
The global economy means we now have access to the whole world as a resource to tap into when we are looking to hire talent.
This means you need to have some funds to invest upfront. The two sites I mentioned will allow you to hire someone from $600 – $10,000 depending on how complex your app is.
I will advise you start with a small idea to get your feet wet. Don’t go gun ho with your complicated app idea and want to hit it out of the park. Outsourcing is like an art and you need to master it so you don’t get taken for a ride.
There are lots of talented developers out there but there are also lots of crappy ones. Please take a look at the previous jobs they have done and the feedback they got from previous employers. Don’t always go for the cheapest, because you get what you pay for.
So that concludes this long ass post on what to do if you have the question…. Should I learn how to code or hire someone to build my app?
If you have any questions, please leave it in the comments or if you disagree with anything I have said, let me know too… It is a free world (I think)….