Hello, this is my first post. I came here for advice regarding casual contract work for programmers.
I'm a recent graduate, and I took on a casual contract with an organisation as the sole developer to build a non-commercial Java application and which would pay a set amount at the completion of the project. Because of the nature of software development work - shifting requirements, debugging and ongoing maintenance, etc. - I was a little worried about the nature of the contract, but I knew the people fairly well and trusted them to be fair, and I really needed the work!
Well, requirements did continue to shift, and new things added to the project, and the time-frame kept expanding, and I was eventually paid less and less per hour until in the end it was barely worth my time (and I didn't know how to say no to them!).
My question is: has any one else had experience with this kind of contract, and what was your experience like? How did you handle the contractual relationship when requirements continued to be added and changed? Was I completely idiotic to take on a contract with these conditions for this kind of work?
How did you handle the contractual relationship when requirements continued to be added and changed?
By being very specific with the scope of the job. I do exactly what's written on the requirements document, which you Company have read and signed, for that amount of money. X modifications and Y hours of support are included, after that we renegotiate.
Was I completely idiotic to take on a contract with these conditions for this kind of work?
Idiotic? No. Naive? Yes, but you're inexperienced so it's easy to fall into this pitfalls. What doesn't kill you makes you smarter.
The general rule of thumb is to be specific and explicit. What happens if you're not satisfied with the final product? What happens if I have to call back on the project? What happens should the company cut off the project? And by "what happens" I'm talking about "How much do I get paid / have I to refund to the company" and "What are my legal liabilities".
has any one else had experience with this kind of contract
Probably most of us have been down this track in our early years of developing. As has been suggested be as specific as possible, I would be surprised if you even had a spec document probably more likely a requirements statement and worked from there.
In my later years I would take the requirements meeting and maybe 2 others. I would then give them and estimate to write the specification.
Once you have written the spec you should have reduced the potential scope creep. Note, you will never eliminate it! So now you should be able to put an estimate on the development costs (you will get it wrong so go high). Then note that additional requirements will mean additional funding.
Try and identify milestones where you can get paid and how much of the pot you can get at each milestone. This should help you get a reasonable return for your time.
Never forget your reputation is worth more than money so leaving the client satisfied is very important as you need references more than pots of money.
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity
So im asking for guidance on which programming language to learn if i have basic knowledge of MS-access, and my goal is to be able to create a web based database with the latest futuristic tools by myself, and sell it to small businesses.
so far 2 companies rejected the idea of access, even after proposing the migration of tables to SQL server to bypass the 2 GB limit :S , however its safe to say they were fairly large businesses.
I'm curious, Raffi, why you insist on programming for Access. It's a long obsolete, inefficient database management system with extremely limited capabilities. Once upon a time it was a viable platform for many small business applications because SQL Server was so incredibly expensive. So long as the user count remained below about 5, it was relatively reliable, though prone to corruption if locking was improperly implemented.
But now the free version of SQL server offers capabilities that are orders of magnitude greater than Access ever had, and supports much larger databases. Why in the world would anyone still use Access?
By the way, Access, as part of the MS Office suite, was designed to be programmed using Basic - VBA, to be specific. Using any other language will involve workarounds and compromise. If you really want to build a product that has any hope for widespread acceptance by businesses of any size, Access is definitely the wrong way to go.
well at the time it seemed to be a simple easy way to a create database, at least for small businesses i thought, i know i over estimated it, i started out access cuz i have no coding skills at all, but hey at least i got familiar with limited amount of macro's in access while creating the database, anyway now im learning C# and then asp.net.... and then i guess SQL =/ if i want to pursue my dream of creating databases for small sized businesses by myself to get lots of money
Hi guys, first and foremost, I want to take the time to thank all those who contribute beforehand. Your help is greatly appreciated.
I have really been stressing on making a good career choice that will allow me to be my own person. Over the years (I am 24) I have been thinking about becoming a fullstack dev for an environmental company (primarily front end for creative reasons.) I believe this is a good choice for me that can be a great opportunity and feed my soul. It is in a field that I love which allows you to be your own person and is for a great cause. My amount of time for achieving this goal is one year. I am currently in the monthly planning stage of it, after I develop a solid sketch I will move on to weekly. I have little experience in the area though I can have a conversation on it, so it is probably better to assume I know nothing.
I really need help designing my goal plan. I am motivated to make this happen and will follow the advice given and post blogs on my progress each month.
As of right now I am focusing on working a lot and though I have time to relentlessly study I am not sure if school would be a good idea. (its expensive and I make little money) I have started looking into online courses and want to choose the best options.
I am not good at goal planning. I am literally turning my life around, changing the way I think and leaping into a new world of possibility through taking control through studying life skills.
Any advice on this journey and how it should be approached will be greatly appreciated
I am sure professionals in the Software Development community have come across this scenario in their careers.
I am about to be assigned to work on an existing project that my team mate worked on. However he is being moved to work on another project. One of my team members who worked on this project has left. So as you can see there is only one person left on how this piece of software is suppose to work.
I am overwhelmed/nervous because my knowledge on the project is very limited and the deadline for this is short. This individual has knowledge on the technical aspects of the project and the business requirements/process. He has 20 years experience in software development.
We have a tester assigned to the project but the tester only has knowledge about the business requirements not the nitty-gritty stuff.
I appreciate if someone can provide me with advice/general tips on how to become better at adapting to new projects, learning about the project and implementing features, fixing bugs, what to do, what not to do.
Unfortunately there is no easy answer to this, as it depends on so many unknowns: the complexity of the application, the programming language, the rules and processes, your knowledge and experience, etc.
I have had to do this a number of times in my career, and the support I received varied from very good to non-existent. If you have access to the original developer then you should be able to ask for help from time to time. As it is you need to spend as much time as possible studying the code and (hopefully) the documentation, to get familiar with the overall design and flow of the application. One of the things I sometimes did, was to take a copy of the project and do mock changes and builds for my own testing, just to see what happened in certain situations. Ultimately the only real way to do it is by practice, practice, practice.
9 years ago I was hired to build an application for an iron foundry.
It took almost 2 years to build.
I used PHP and mySQL.
Now because of the economic crisis they had to let me go.
After 7 years I decided to contact them again.
Nobody did anything to the software nor the database.
Now they are telling me they are still using this.
I realy could use some advice about how to proceed in this proces.
How can I best proceed to make it future proof.
I would like to create an open source platform for iron foundry software but where to start.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
If you were hired by a company to write an application for them, then the code belongs to them. If you're intending to use that code as the basis of an open-source project, then you'll need to get written permission from them before you start. I'd strongly suggest talking to a lawyer to make sure everything's legal and above-board.
"These people looked deep within my soul and assigned me a number based on the order in which I joined." - Homer
Not entirely true. If he was an employee of the company the code belongs to them. If he was a contractor, say 1099, then he has the intellectual rights to the code, even if he sat in their office and coded it.
I know this because I've been doing it for a while and been through this more than once. The company needs to specify in writing in the contract how the ownership is applied.
I'm working on an assignment -- not about programming directly -- where I thought I could collect some data useful to the community. At least in a "How about that!" way.
In short: I've been asked to review five applications that help put together online surveys. And while I could ask dumb questions like, "What is your favorite flavor of chocolate?" I think it'd be more fun to find out what job attributes -- beyond tech considerations -- developers feel are most important. This isn't scientific, and I can't use it for "real data," but wouldn't it be nice to know whether this group of people cares more about telecommuting options than flexible work hours?
The results are, obviously, completely anonymous. I'm just trying to get enough data for my screen shots to have pretty charts. But I'm happy to share the results with anyone who participates. (That lets me check out the software's reporting features, too.)
If you don't want to share honest opinions, then don't take the survey. It's no skin off my nose.
I figure that sharing the results with the people who do take the time to respond is a small thank-you for their participation. As I wrote, the results won't be considered scientific (it's too small a sample size, and self-selecting) so I can't use the data for another purpose.
I am a mainly C#/.Net/Vc++ etc etc developer, carrying around 12 years of exp. A lot of my work was related to mobile apps in eVC++ earlier and now in latest Windows platforms. I did some iOS work as well in between.
But now the client side work has started to tire me out, mainly because I find myself battling with a lot of UI issues, and Framework limitations. The Projects are small and Need fast development, which does not provide depth in my work. I am getting inclined towards Server side Technologies, but having worked for sometime on Azure and a lot on SQL Server, I must say I was really not a fan of these tools. Moreover with Azure, I think you get stuck on a lot of Hardware related issues? Is that true ? I don't know a lot though.
So I am pretty much confused right now, about what Kind of direction I should take? I am also thinking of plunging into Java world, mostly because I am really not excited about Microsoft Server side Technologies.
Though it is a vague question, to give more insight into what Kind of work I like, I would say I am all for clean architecture, Patterns and practices and I would like to get into something that provides me more opportunity to design and implement a full Software System.
I am not sad to say that Microsoft needs to just quit making software! I have been a big supporter of Microsoft for years but lately all they produce is garbage. I understand the basic Ideology of MVVM for applications but WPF is terrible at delivering this. It used to be a simple task to wire up a simple combo box to display a list of options but with WPF its not so simple. In fact when I started to ask questions about how to do it the only response I get was "ummm.... I have to look at your code" no one seems to have a simple response. Even researching online I never see a clear example not even from Microsoft's own site. So if the company that wrote this can't provide a simple example why are so many people dedicated to make this sh*t work. The entire platform is not obvious and the learning curve is too steep. Additionally, it seems that performance of these applications is terrible and buggy. Yet you see the demand for everyone to have this skill set from employers. A framework should deliver the following features to developers: stability of execution, obviousness of design, simplicity, and hopefully a reduction of effort. If you can't ensure these traits don't deliver a product, you will just weaken the end user. I don't feel that WPF delivers any of these traits. In fact a much broader statement could be made here Microsoft as a company no longer supplies this, or maybe it never did. I started looking back at everything Microsoft has produced and I realized its just a lousy provider of software in general. I kind of wish more people would abandon these products for the sake of pressuring these industry giants to start providing better solutions. If we as a community continue to accept inferior tools to do our jobs it will only become more difficult to progress forward. I know that some people will say "well if you don't like Microsoft what would you use in place of it?" The answer is I don't have a good answer to that one. There are so many lousy software companies out there that provide bottom of the barrel products that there is no safe haven for anyone. I see too many times that people generate so many patches or hack code to work around platform bugs that I wonder what would the software look like if you didn't always have to fix the code before you work on your own problem. If you eve wonder why you have so many service calls start looking at the underlying problems with the framework you have chosen you may find your answer there.
I find the same with all the .NET framework, each object and method is documented... with the obvious. But there is no MSDN page saying things like "File Operations: the classes aaaa, bbbb... zzz are the main interfaces with the File System. If you need to do this other thing that looks related plese look classes abc and bcd.". Then you look at class aaaa and see it is a file indexing so maybe you don't need it, bbb is a parser, and so on.
The plain old API is perfectly documented and there is little anyone can't do with a couple of days at most of documentation delving. The whole overgrown .NET framework is a collection of obscure objects.
Microsoft has never released a working product, and has consistently lowered quality standards for the entire industry. They were the first to sell software that doesn't work, then have the gall to charge for updates. They were the first to eliminate manuals. They were the first to charge for telephone support for their defective "products." They set the standard for non-performance that all modern software companies now profit from following. If you think WPF sucks, you should read the documentation (very expensive) for MFC someday.
I wrote a couple of articles on the Healthcare.gov software
development disaster, and I'm looking for advice on the best way to
submit them to CodeProject.
I did three months of research, interviewing developers and
whistleblowers, and reviewing numerous media reports. I'm not a
mainstream journalist, but I was a tech journalist for years, as well
as being a senior software engineer. As far as I know, I'm the only
journalist who has done such a thorough technical review of what
The second article contains "lessons learned" for managing software
development projects, and dealing with project stakeholders who either
are incompetent or who actually try to sabotage the project. This
article is targeted to managers, researchers, and academics, and
contains a lot of technical information that would be useful to both
programmers and managers:
I'm neither journalist nor lawyer, but I spent 10 seconds looking at the first article to see it contained numerous incidents of libel that you could be sued for. Journalism is best keep to reporting of facts rather than accusations you might find yourself having to prove.
I've already discussed all that with my lawyer, and besides that, many readers of my web site are lawyers, and would have written to me about it.
The reality today is that the corruption and criminality in Washington and on Wall Street are at enormous levels, at levels so high that they were unthinkable prior to the rise of Generation-X in the 2000s.
So the other side of that is nobody gets sued because almost everyone is a criminal, and criminality is the norm, so no one goes to jail.
It's possible that someone will try to sue me, but for what purpose? I have almost no money, I'm old enough that I don't give a sh*t, and suing me would just cause me to write about the people suing me, which would give more publicity to their crimes. They know that, so they'll just ignore me.
By the way, the whistleblowers that I wrote about have also given evidence to the FBI, which is investigating the same crimes. These are people who took hundreds of millions of dollars, knowing that their programming staff were too incompetent to even implement a network connection, and the results speak for themselves -- Healthcare.gov: The Greatest IT Disaster in World History.
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