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Old 04-19-2018, 12:00 PM   #1
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Earning money on the road, the future of coding??

Hey Everyone,

I have been tinkering with ways to earn while traveling. In my past travels I have met folks who made a living as traveling nurses, radiology techs, web designers and financial professionals.

I am not qualified for any of those......

I took programing classes in college many years ago. Fortran, COBOL etc. I have not used those skills since college (30+ years).

After reading a post on another thread regarding the Lambda school I got to thinking that maybe I could build the skills to make a modest living coding. I started to get excited about the prospect.

Then I came across a discussion on another site complaining about how all of the sites where independent contractors look for jobs/projects being overrun by people who will work far cheaper than the typical rate for a US based programmer.

That was followed by a conversation with my nephew who was telling me about his 5 year olds coding class.

That kind of took the wind out of my sails.

I know that there are a number of technology professionals on this site. What do you all think the future holds for work prospects coding/programming?

Is it worth it for an old fart, who doesn't absorb new material like you 20 somethings do, to learn the skills and expect to make a modest income.

What do you think?

Thanks

S.
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Old 04-19-2018, 02:40 PM   #2
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How long is a piece of string?

Yes it can be done, but once past 30-40 gets a lot more difficult, just to market yourself if nothing else, especially starting from scratch.

But compared to all the other options, few easy ones exist, and less upside potential.

Go for it! Worst case the brain activity helps fend off Alzheimer's.
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Old 04-19-2018, 04:50 PM   #3
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I work and code on the roads all the time.. its a great way to write code actually... as code is art.. and art requires inspiration.. and often coding issues I solve by walking away and driving for awhile then come back and work more..

I dont know if you can get connected to a code-by-the-hiour resource like rent-a-coder or such? where you bid on projects people post that they need done... similar to a freight board but for code.. there are several such enviornments out there for both customers and coders..
-Christopher
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Old 04-19-2018, 04:58 PM   #4
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This is simply my opinion, and I have very little to back it up since I haven't tried to look at the contracting gig in many years.

But I think it will be difficult if you don't have any recent educational or work experience to promote. It is so easy to fall behind technically.

I work in the industry, yet I am still very behind in some areas that I don't have occasion to use. My best bet would be to try to focus on one area I do currently work on and be an expert in that, and try to market that. It is very hard to market yourself as an expert in multiple areas.

Do I think I could make the same living I do now working on one of those contractor job sites... nope.

But if I got a job that was somewhere closer to a traditional job where I worked for a traditional company doing a traditional job, but doing it remotely 90+ percent of the time, then i could make as much as I do now and it might have enough flexibility for me to live wherever I want doing what I want in my free time. But it would probably cost me a few plane tickets out of my pocket when something comes up where I HAVE to be physically in the office for something.

So if you want to try to do some coding for money, I would suggest doing something that will get you some sort of certificate or something that shows you are fairly current in at least one subject, and then take a few jobs for whatever pay rate you can (maybe even free for a nonprofit) just to get some real world experience and some experience in the contracting gig in general.

But the long term future of IT is all offshore. About the only IT area safe from offshoring is stuff that requires you to have a clearance, but those type of jobs won't let you work remotely.
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Old 04-19-2018, 05:38 PM   #5
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I work in the internet/IT field I know a decent amount of coders that have left that field due to outsourcing. Especially if you are on the road and not "in house" their is not much to keep someone from hiring off shore for $5. an hour vs what you would need to survive here in the US.
I also know a few coders that went to school for years got out sat in a cubical coding for a year and hate it.

I do know coders that make a good living they work in house, specialize in a niche code or they clean up code that off shore people did.

Personally I would look for that niche, I know Drupal designers that are usually looking for someone with PHP skills but then again they usually want "in house" or at least weekly meetings.
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Old 04-19-2018, 05:46 PM   #6
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I recently worked with a gy who changed careers in his late 40s. He was a pharma sales rep and decided he didn't want to do that any more. He took a series of online learning courses on html, css, javascript, and finally angularjs. He did the work, he took it seriously, he was doing 8 or 9 hours per day of training and classes. Within a year of completing those courses he broke 6 figures working for a bank, and recently went full freelance.

It certainly can be done. It's not super easy, you gotta want it. Depending on the type of stuff you pursue, there can be both freelance and remote employee options. You have to be on point to keep these going long term, but it's doable if you're into it.

Freelance is hard. It's easier to sell a product you've developed than to sell your development of someone else's product. You might establish a name for yourself doing piece work, but you'll burn out quickly building widgets like that.
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Old 04-19-2018, 06:26 PM   #7
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Wow!

To many good responses for me to address each individually. Thank you for all of the replies.

What prompted me to ask was my observation of offshore competition and the fact that mainstream kids are being taught coding skills here. It cast doubt for me regarding the future value of the skill.

I spent 30+ years in the IT & Telecom industries. However, I was never the guy writing the code or developing the websites. I hired and managed the guys that did the real work. I also administrated servers and kept networks. I tinkered in VOIP PBX's as well. I have been away from it for a few years and am a bit mortified at how quickly, and how far, I got behind the curve.

I am willing to put in the effort to learn and become proficient but only if I can see a worthwhile reward waiting for me. I am beginning to think that if I had gone down this road 10 years ago I may have a shot. I am not so sure that starting today would be worthwhile.

Back in the 90's I worked for a company, and later as an independent consultant, that allowed me to bounce around the country working various network/server projects. I lived in my first bus and, while working, traveled 43 States. I had enough free time here and there to see a lot of the country. I loved it and have been looking for a skill that will allow me to do it again.

I think that I am going to take advantage of some of the low cost & free educational resources online and see how my old, decrepit brain responds. Then tackle a few simple projects of my own and see how I feel about it at that point.

Thanks Everyone for your responses.

S.
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Old 04-19-2018, 06:30 PM   #8
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Just FYI, udemy.com has sales a lot, and right now most of their courses are on sale for like $11. I bought a pile of them late 2017 when they had a bunch of $5 courses. The trick is deciding what you want to learn!
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Old 04-20-2018, 08:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Back in the 90's I worked for a company, and later as an independent consultant, that allowed me to bounce around the country working various network/server projects. I lived in my first bus and, while working, traveled 43 States. I had enough free time here and there to see a lot of the country. I loved it and have been looking for a skill that will allow me to do it again.
If you have network server skills you should look into AWS. "Cloud" servers and networks are the next big thing. AWS or similar (microsoft, etc) are giving free trails so you can play and learn the technology for cheap.

You can get to the bleeding edge of technology there. That's where money is.
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Old 04-20-2018, 09:32 AM   #10
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I agree with ACamper; cloud services and cloud management is a good place to put your future. So is cybersecurity; that is going nowhere but up. However, I have to also stress another's observation that you have to keep learning and updating your skill set.

The industries that consume coders in a big way (and I use that word intentionally) have been working as hard at making us surplus as we have in making ourselves indispensable; it's an "arms race". There will always be a place for the right skillset to make a bunch of money, but what constitutes "the right skillset" is very much a moving target.

I've been at this 35 years. I started with Fortran. In the last 5 years I've gone from being good at Web services to REST services to microservice and now I'm picking up cloud analytics. I'm 64-1/2 and I'm glad as hell that I'm leaving this rat race soon.

For the immediate future I would suggest either learning the skills that allow you to manage large collections of cloud-based virtual machines, or the skills needed to take advantage of those VM collections. I would discount the stories of people taking 6 weeks off, learning JavaScript and CSS, and immediately moving to Hawaii. IMHO if you put your eggs in that basket (writing the user-facing side of web apps) your lunch will get eaten by children.

If you go into cybersecurity, both the possible earnings and the need to keep yourself cutting edge approximately double.

All in all, unless you already know you have a knack for the coding process, I would warn you off it as a second career. The core skill needed is the ability to wrap your head around a problem or a needed set of functionality (and by "wrap your head" I mean find the edges), decompose it into an interoperating set of simple straightforward processes, and express those processes in one or more computer languages. And that, you either have or don't have.

Hope this helps.
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