Is web development too competitive to be self employed in?

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It seems like with freelanceing especially, I am competing with a lot of people who live overseas, website builders like Wix for example, and people who develop using wordpress.


Wordpress - The Complete Web Developer Course 2.0 has a section on Wordpress. I don’t remember much about it other than you can make some pretty websites. Supposedly, there are some mySQL capabilities and is built on PHP. If so, learning some mySQL and PHP are two more arrows for your quiver.

Overseas competitors - I’ve seen what you’re talking about. I saw a guy from Egypt claiming he could do anything for $2/hour. Upwork is much the same way from a glance.

Here is a thought: hire them. Create a small project beyond your abilities. Some of the freelancers are going to be amazing. Learn from them. Complete the project. Sell it to a buyer at a huge markup. Repeat. Once you have a team of several, reliable, cheap freelancers, take on larger projects. Become both a better programmer and a project manager at the same time. Once you’ve managed enough projects, pursue the PMP certification. Once you have that cert and several projects under your belt, you can look for a job as a high level corporate drone like me or keep pmping your stable of freelancers.


From what I’ve seen and heard, those groups of people you mention rarely employ good software engineering practices. And plug-and-play websites are great if you want to set up website quick and easy, but the tradeoff is that there are limits to what you can build.

The best way to compete with quantity-based groups is through quality and customisability.


Beeing a freelancer is hard, probably much harder than working as a employee.
That said, there is a lot of competition but there is also a lot of demand for software developers.

The best way to start freelancing is probably to ease into it while beeing employed.

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I don’t think @Hjb1694 wants to become a project manager.

Nobody wants to be a project manager. A project manager can earn as much as many programmers with less effort and risk.

If you’ll allow a minor equivocation fallacy, I know several engineers who are too smart to go into sales. With their superior intelligence, they work 20 more hours a week during maintenance windows for $40K less a year than a sales engineer.

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Is it normal for project managers to lose their programming knowledge after their transition to management?

My only sample size is my mother. She used to be a programmer but after a decade as a manager, she’s awful with computers and she doesn’t remember anything about programming.

Though, the retention of programming knowledge, I reckon depends a lot on the person and the kind of projects they manage.

Yes, because like any other skilled profession, they get rusty at it when they’re not actively doing it. There’s a lot of confirmation bias in this though, since the developers most likely to jump into project management already don’t have an overriding preference to keep coding; those who do tend to remain in the engineering track. And while your sample doesn’t fall in this category, most people are more likely to notice the bad clueless managers over the ones that keep their tech sharp.

I’ve had PMs who were still programmers, and those who could barely write a line of code, and I’ve had good and bad ones of both kinds. All told, I’d actually rather have a PM who doesn’t code who concentrates on the PM job, as long as they have at least a minimum amount of domain knowledge, or at least enough to ask the right questions.

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Skills degrade without practice. There are always trade-offs. Do you pursue a career with a skillset that can fall out of use or diversify into areas that open up other career paths?

Overspecializing can lead to outrageous success or failure. Overgeneralizing prevents having the necessary experience to be hired.

The best bet is to keep learning a variety of skills that will be around in five years and won’t lead to soul-crushing jobs.

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I see.

Now I understand.

Skills degrade without practice. There are always trade-offs.

Yeah, like @chuckadams mentioned, she’s one of those programmers who doesn’t like programming in the first place. Maybe project management itself requires little programming but her no practicing it on her own time probably contributes to the decline too.

For her, maybe it’s not a tradeoff as she might be glad to not be programming anymore.

Overspecializing can lead to outrageous success or failure. Overgeneralizing prevents having the necessary experience to be hired.

I like this.

I heard some people call this “T-shaped” skills or something like that.

Thanks for the answer.

My sample is exactly like this so I can understand why she took the management track. From what I can gather, her PM skills are much better than her programming skills; since the former is more important for management, I can see why she has a reasonably high salary.

Thank you for the answer.

No it is not too competitive. People are often afraid to jump in out of fear that they won’t be able to compete with the issues you mentioned (template builders, people overseas, etc.). Too often, however, people convince themselves that it’s too competitive so they don’t try jumping in in the first place. I’m building a website for a church group right now, for example, and they didn’t consider anyone overseas or using a template builder. There’s plenty of money to be made being self-employed. Here’s an article/video on the subject if this helps.