The Rise and Fall of Quality Webmasters and Programmers

November 24, 2007 Posted by bheyde1
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So, Tyler apparently had a boring day and nothing creative to blog about, so I was asked to make a guest post. After pondering what to write about, I decided to talk about something that’s been irritating my lately – quality people on the web.

I guess I’ve been in the web industry for the past 6-7 years or so, and I’ve definitely noticed a big fluctuation in the development process. I began my ‘career’ on the web originally as a freelancer, after teaching myself PHP (I actually knew C++ before that, so PHP was easy). Before I began freelancing, I had written many medium sized sites for myself to help build up experience, so once I began I had a decent amount of experience. After freelancing for about a year, I made alot of money as a high school student (averaged $35-$55/hour) and had over 70 10 star feedbacks on scriptlance. I almost never completed assignments late, and was always upfront about any issues or delays I may have, which is why I kept getting repeat work from some fairly large webmasters.

After that first year, I realized I was getting lazy, and felt being a webmaster would be much more enjoyable, as well as much more profitable in the long run, so I decided to make the transition. I began scouring forums such as sitepoint.com namepros.com and dnforum.com to seek as much knowledge as possible. After learning much more about webmastering, I began to develop a few of my own basic sites, and further developed my knowledge and skills by learning about more in-depth topics, such as SEO. From all the time I spent learning and developing websites, I learned one of the most important things with being a webmaster: Patience.
Now, after having a fairly profitable start with a large variety of sites, some I created to resell and some I created to keep for myself, I began college(CS major) and realized I don’t have the time to code my own sites. In about 2 years after I began freelancing, I learned just how much the quality of programmers has decreased. I would have maybe 5-10 projects a week, and for every 1 project that was completed successfully, I probally had 5 that failed.

Why? Because there are definately too many incompetent ‘kiddie’ programmers, low quality Indian programmers, and lazy Eastern European programmers. I’ve since learned to deal with them, but I can’t stress how much of an issue this is currently. If anyone reading this is a programmer, PLEASE be open about progress on a project someone hired you for. If your not going to deliver, tell them so as soon as you know this. If you don’t have the skills to complete the project, tell them! If you don’t have the time for it, tell them! Usually I wouldn’t be mad at programmers that tell me this early on, but there have been countless times that programmers waste weeks of my time on a project that ends up not being completed.

How can people help avoid these issues? Well, after being a webmaster for the past 4 years or so and running 4 dedicated servers with 90+ domains, there are many things I’ve learned. Some may seem basic, but they must always be kept in mind.

1. Know who your hiring. Although you’re hiring someone that may have good feedback, it doesn’t mean they’ll be dedicated to you. Talk to them constantly, find out where they’re located and their age, etc. If they’re young, it doesn’t mean they’re poor programmers, but know to treat them younger, and that you’ll have to put more pressure on them.

Some basic things I’ve learned to keep in mind are: If they’re Eastern European programmers, then usually they’ll give you quality work. BUT the tradeoff is time delays. I almost always get delays from this ‘category’ of programmers, because usually they’re involved in many other projects, and want to ensure they always have work to do, and obviously can’t handle the amount of work they get hired to do. For Indian Programmers, I’ve learned to usually be extremely specific. If you tell them to do x, y, and z, they will ONLY do that. What I’m trying to say is the quality of the code is usually not up to par, and so I have to be very specific by going much more in depth as to how the code should work, to ensure that I get quality code. Obviously I can do this because I am a very competent programmer, which I feel most webmasters need to learn how to code before they begin to hire programmers. Knowing so will help them understand how long things should take to do, incase a programmer is BSing them, and at the same time help them realize what is feasible and what’s not.

2. Get constant updates. constantly. The biggest key to minimize delays is to try to get updates daily if possible. This helps you ensure the programmer is actually working on your project, helps ensure he’s doing things how you invisioned, and finally, helps ensure the progress matches the deadline. This is EXTREMELY important.

3. Have it in writing. Writing out a very specific project specification helps both sides minimize delays, bugs, and costs. Taking the time to write one is worth it, because it always allows you to argue that a certain feature was part of the agreement (if it’s listed of course), and at the same time gives the programmer something to reference, and not have to wait for you so they can get a response. Usually if I write a high quality specification with graphics etc, I very rarely have to spend alot of time repeating to the programmer what needs to be done, and end up with a project that gets completed within the agreed time frame, and I do much less explaining.

4. Pay them what its worth. If you have an important project that is large scale, it’s worth paying the programmer a bit more than you’d like. Don’t tell them you’ll give them extra money from the beginning, but wait till it’s your turn to make a payment for some of the work, and toss in a little extra $$ and tell them ‘this is for the good work so far’. This leaves them hoping you’ll do it again, and will keep them eager to complete the work professionally.

5. Patience. Yes, this is very important as a webmaster. The ‘new trend’ lately on the boards is people that know very little about webmastering go get a site developed, post it for sale, and base their pricing on 2 or 3 months of income. You really need to keep sites for longer, to help ensure you learn how a site begins to mature, and at the same time get you more for your money in the long run. Seeing these type of sites for sale has definitely become my pet-peeve, because they bloat the forums with very low quality immature sites. Usually once I see someone selling these type of websites, I try to avoid them in the future, because there’s a high chance most of their sites follow the same trend, and usually have very inflated statistics.

Now, after looking at what I’ve written, it’s alot more than I had originally planned to write. Hopefully after people read what I’ve said, it will help reduce all the pollution online with weak programmers as well as webmasters. When I originally started, there were much fewer webmasters, but at the same time much higher quality ones. Now, it’s become the exact opposite, due to all of the hype the internet has gotten over the past few years as turning anyone into a ‘millionaire’.

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Posted: November 24th, 2007 under Guest Posts  

26 Responses to “The Rise and Fall of Quality Webmasters and Programmers”

  1. none says:

    reeks or racism, sorry

  2. MrGPT says:

    It’s a good post, and completely true.
    I don’t consider it racist, it’s true. I love how Tyler speaks his mind :P .

  3. steve dowripple says:

    Tyler, I find your advice is becoming decreasingly relevant with every passing week. I really think you should give up on this blog and instead focus on your sites as you don’t appear to posting any quality content here.

    Instead you could focus on creating quality content on your various forums. Have you ever given any thought to the fact that the bulk of your income comes from pokerforums? This puts the majority of your income in one basket which does not make for a very secure financial state.

  4. mftpg says:

    Really and honestly saddened to see a formerly excellent blog start spouting such racism.

    Will not be back – GL with all your business ventures.

    Cheers, Mark

  5. jmeier says:

    This really just goes over the line. Do you not read your guest posts in advance Tyler? I’m now unsubscribing…

  6. Tyler says:

    For all of you that are spouting off about this being a racist post, you are missing the point of the article.

    Although I don’t have any experience with hiring programmers, my experience with trying to hire article writers has been almost exactly the same as the experience of this guest poster.

    In a little over a year, I have received over one hundred responses to three or four threads that I have posted in various forums seeking article writers. Out of all of these inquiries, I have only hired five people. Four of the people were from the US, and one was from Europe. However, at least 60 to 70 of the people that sent inquiries were from India or China.

    Now, why did I reject over 95 applicants, which were mainly from India and China? Because even though they billed themselves as writers (and were willing to literally work for pennies), they could barely put together a sentence. A $10 piece of content spinning software could write a better article than these people. For this reason, I no longer waste my time even trying to “interview” any writers outside of the United States (or occasionally Europe). It has nothing to do with any prejudices about other countries, but from my extended experiences, their work is simply not up to the standards that I require.

    So, although you may wrongly view the guest post as “racist,” the poster is simply explaining his experiences and the observations that he has made, which time and time again have proven themselves to be true.

  7. csmaster2005 says:

    Not sure where people are getting the idea that I’m racist… 2 of my closest friends are Indian.

    I’m not saying 1 race is better than the other. I’m just stating things I’ve learned over the past 5 years or so.

    It’s not 1 is better than the other, but rather 1 group has much less of culture gap with me than the other, and thus I don’t have to go as in depth.

    I’m not racist, but just stating things that I’m sure 99% of other webmasters that actually outsource as much work as me would know.

  8. Don Robbitas says:

    First off, I’d like to point out that csmaster2005 (the writer of this article) is about as credible as a statement from Bill Clinton about his sex life.

    Search his user-name on any webmaster forum (ie: dnforum.com) and you will see that there are many complaints against him, including scams, reselling something he labeled as “exclusive”, etc. Further, he is no position to be posting about “quality programmers” as I have purchased one of his scripts in the past (kingdom of chaos “turnkey” browser-based game), and let me tell you, that the code was a piece of junk. It looked like it was written by a script kiddie, and it was full of bugs and open to all sorts of injections and attacks. I’d be amused to hear your reply to this “csmaster2005″.

    Now, to be fair, I somewhat agree with the statement of this article. I am a recent graduate, with a software engineering degree, with a minor in computer science. There is a huge difference in the material taught in CS students and SW ENGG students, and it all comes down to your budget, and who you are hiring. This is the very reason why there is a high unemployment rate for computer science graduates, because corporations do not hire them.

    The problem with programmers located in India is there is no licensed engineering organization in India. Every person that can knock up a piece of code that runs is calling themselves a software engineer. Thus, when outsourcing, investigate who you are actually hiring.

  9. Tyler Cruz says:

    Just a note, a previous comment which appeared to have been written by me was in fact not. I just finished deleting it.

    Obviously I’m not going to make comments such as “So what If I’m a racist? Unsubscribe if you don’t like it”.

    Sigh. It’s rather sad to see some of the “TylerHaters” continue to check my blog daily and try to stir up trouble…

    • Anonymous says:

      Sure, it’s sad, but it’d be sadder if you tried to sweep this entire issue under the rug on account of such people.

      But, I suspect that’s exactly what will happen. Same thing happened with the whole logo debacle. The blog will continue to deteriorate and I presume nothing will be done to address any of its many problems because “any publicity is good publicity” — a serious miscalculation, to my mind. Such publicity is fleeting and double-edged, but hey, good luck. I’m out of here.

  10. PigsnieLite says:

    If an ANonymous gets out of here, would anyone notice?

  11. Anonymous says:

    You just did. And if he’s cancelling his RSS subscription and not posting anymore comments after this, then yes.

  12. csmaster2005 says:

    just a response to Don Robbitas:

    Do you really believe that stuff? Please don’t say searching my name brings up tons of scam and complaints. What you’re referring to was a one time situation, and I did nothing wrong. It was blown out of proportion just because an admin did not like the fact that I sold the script afterwards for a lower price than I sold it to him. Please learn to find out both sides before making judgments.

    Also, in reference to the script you got from me. A) I doubt you got it legitimately from me, since I’ve never heard of you, so you probably got it ‘illegally’, and b) I didn’t code it. I outsourced it to a programmer, and I just managed getting it developed. So technically, you’re racist now, since the code is poor quality, and it was coded by a Ukranian programmer I had hired. Now, I’m done explaining myself, and won’t waste any more time on the issue.

  13. Scoffield says:

    Awful article. And it´s true that csmaster2005 is infamous for ripping people off.

  14. Anonymous says:

    haha, way to go csmaster… you killed about 50 subscribers from Tyler’s blog by writing this piece of shit of an article.

    Right after that milestone of 900 subscriber post too.. hahaha.

  15. fumbler says:

    Stereotyping by race, by definition, is racism.

  16. Disgruntled User says:

    Encore, encore! But this time titled “The Rise and Fall of an Internet Entrepreneeur’s Blog”

  17. Dan says:

    Actually, I think its a well-written article. It generalizes but thats what you have to do in business otherwise you’d be stuck interviewing everyone all day. The difference is, in the US you can go after someone if they really screw you, its a lot harder internationally.

  18. Jason says:

    LOL! Even less rss subscribers than yesterday. You pissed off a lot of folks.

  19. Sakon says:

    Wow what arrogant people. I’m sure Tyler cares less if you leave or not.

    Personally, I actually felt the article was great and pointed out several things that needed to be addressed. From my limited experience as a webmaster, I’ve encountered most of what was mentioned in the article, and what I haven’t encountered, it seems feasible I could.

    I’m tired of people making useless posts just to ‘voice their opinion’. These are real issues in webmastering, and I assume the people that are bashing it arn’t real webmasters.

    Have any of the people that try to discredit the person that wrote the article actually been a webmaster as long as him? I know Tyler has (not sure who is longer) but Tyler agrees with him as well, so there must be some truth in his statements…

    Just my 2 cents.

  20. Jean Costa says:

    This is a quality article! Great post, csmaster2005!

    It is a shame that people even resort to calling it ‘racist’ and other things.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I’ll agree with that, but at least he speaks from a high level of personal success. All of these “making money for talking about making money” blogs are pointless and circular, but doubly so when coming from someone with only a modicum of success.

PeerFly

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