Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

App Developers, It's Time For a Reality Check

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the attack-of-the-clones dept.

Software 161

Nerval's Lobster writes: "An article in the Harvard Business Review does its best to punch a small hole in the startup-hype balloon. 'Encouraging kids to blow off schoolwork to write apps, or skip college to become entrepreneurs, is like advising them to take their college money and invest it in PowerBall,' Jerry Davis, Wilbur K. Pierpont professor of management at the Ross School of Business and the editor of Administrative Science Quarterly, wrote in that column. 'A few may win big; many or most will end up living with their moms.' Whether or not the unfortunate developer ends up back in the childhood bedroom, it's true that, with millions of apps available across all mobile platforms, it's increasingly difficult for independent developers to stand out. Compounding the problem, some of the hottest companies out there for developers and programmers don't have nearly enough job openings to absorb the flood of graduates from the world's universities. So what's a developer to do? Continue to plow forward, with adjusted expectations: the prospect of becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg is just too tantalizing for many people to pass up, even if the chances of wild success are smaller than anyone rational would like to admit."

cancel ×

161 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Web Bubble 2.0 (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46643413)

Complete with outrageous billionaire dropout success stories, exploited immigrant workers, extreme gentrification, and a legion of Johnny-Come-Latelies graduating just in time to see the whole thing collapse like a house of cards.

Re:Web Bubble 2.0 (1)

poached (1123673) | about 5 months ago | (#46643767)

I just checked - NASDAQ is up significantly over DOW and S&P500, just like the dot-com days (98-99), whereas for the most part between 2001 and 2008, NASDAQ was on the same level as the other indices.

Google Finance [google.com]

Re:Web Bubble 2.0 (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 6 months ago | (#46645215)

I just checked - NASDAQ is up significantly over DOW and S&P500, just like the dot-com days (98-99)

Was at a kids birthday party, his Dad and I were talking when he says there's a lot of money to be made on the Internet, and I said no there's not. He comes back with all the money being spent by companies for these web sites, I said it's all speculation.

The next week the bubble burst.

19 billion for a web site and 2 billion for hardware, it's not making sense; other than a grab for everything while they can, and hope for the best.

Viewpoint (4, Funny)

suso (153703) | about 5 months ago | (#46643431)

Is there a startup-hype balloon? I hadn't noticed. I'm too busy dealing with the security holes of apps and services written by high school and college drop outs.

Re:Viewpoint (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46643505)

That's funny, because I'm constantly fixing security holes left by university graduates and I only have a grade 12 education on paper.

Re:Viewpoint (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46643731)

I wouldn't confuse education with credentials. You're educated, but not credentialed. They're credentialed, but may not be educated. Self education is the best education.

Re:Viewpoint (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46645865)

I wouldn't confuse education with credentials. You're educated, but not credentialed. They're credentialed, but may not be educated. Self education is the best education.

Not in the eyes of HR. Papers please. None? Step into File 13 please. Next.

Re:Viewpoint (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46645755)

That's funny, because I'm constantly fixing security holes left by university graduates and I only have a grade 12 education on paper.

That's *really* funny, because I manage over a hundred people, and I'm constantly having to weed out the lesser educated because they are pig ignorant, don't know how to dress themselves, and have no common sense.

But huh, I guess you must be the Mark Zuckerberg of the non-educated set. Good on you.

Re:Viewpoint (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46643653)

If I could mod you down I would. Fucking ivory tower purist. Some of the best software in the world was written by high school and college "drop out". Attending a 4 year university and paying upwards of 250k for education does not a great programmer make.

Re:Viewpoint (1)

nomad63 (686331) | about 5 months ago | (#46644129)

Since you are so offended by the response, I am assuming you are in the non-college-grad crowd. Together with not being a guarantee for a grad to be better than everyone else, there is a very good chance that, it can teach the principals of critical thinking, which makes you a better analytical person in turn. And I have to agree with the post you are responding to, at a certain level. Not necessarily the college dropouts or high school students but a whole myriad of people who think they can code, but in reality can't, are the reason why there is a profession called Information Systems Security. Why, because those who can't code but still do, open up the floodgates to all the malfeasance of the internet. Who do you think coded the application, which lead to stealing of millions of credit card numbers from Target stores, not too long ago ? I bet dollars to your pocket lint, it was a so-called programmer, who had no business coding the leaky application. Most probably a "java guru" working for equivalent of $5/hr in an office building, in some sordid corner of Mumbai, India, who has a shiny CS diploma hanging on the wall behind him or her.

Right (2)

Hategrin (3579025) | about 6 months ago | (#46645923)

Because without formal training in writing all the different version of Hello World, like Hello Bubble Sort, and Hello Linked List, a person has absolutely no skill as a developer to speak of. As for the Target application, it's hard to tell who coded it, cause that "leaky application" was a fucking Trojan Horse Virus installed by people with access to a system, as if the operating system being programmed by a college grad would even matter to a hacker with physical access to the machine from breaking in. So you spent 4-8 years of college and you still can't differentiate a Trojan Horse from a exploit?

Re:Viewpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46645255)

You don't go to university to learn how things are done. You go to university so you can understand why they're done.

Never confuse an engineer with a tradesman.

So make your own shitty app. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46643463)

You don't need to be part of some piece of shit company.

Anyway, I thought we needed H1-B's because there weren't enough people to fill all these jobs. What, now suddenly all the jobs are filled?

Re:So make your own shitty app. (5, Insightful)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 5 months ago | (#46643483)

I thought we needed H1-B's because there weren't enough people to fill all these jobs. What, now suddenly all the jobs are filled?

With H1Bs.

Re:So make your own shitty app. (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#46643643)

You don't need to be part of some [...] company.

You do if you're trying to make an app for a Sony or Nintendo platform.

Re:So make your own shitty app. (1)

tfranzese (869766) | about 6 months ago | (#46645055)

I'm starting to think you're a shill. You listed the two most open console platforms to independent developers without the need for a publisher, but left out the one that is the absolute pits to self-publish on (Microsoft).

Re:So make your own shitty app. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46644329)

there aren't enough people to fill the jobs because they all went off to start their own companies in the hopes of becoming filthy rich either through a successful product or being bought out by the big leagues.

Where does article say "not enough openings"? (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 months ago | (#46643471)

The article that was supposed to illustrate there are "not enough job openings" was just about two fairly successful kids developing, and an overall question if college is as good an idea as it used to be.

Lots of companies still seem to be strongly hiring developers, and I don't see a "flood" of them coming from anywhere. Why would you claim it's a bad idea to get into programming now? Especially if you find a CS degree somewhere you will be ahead of a lot of people in terms of building better software on WHATEVER platform you work with - web or mobile or desktop or anything.

Re:Where does article say "not enough openings"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46643583)

The article was written by an "Ivory Tower" professor who never actually did anything in the real world.

Re:Where does article say "not enough openings"? (0)

slashdot_commentator (444053) | about 6 months ago | (#46646277)

Yup. And it costs that Ph.D absolutely nothing to make generalizations using data which may be utterly invalid today, post 2006.

I believe the truth is somewhere between four results. Some people will go to college, and become financially successful. Some people today will try to complete their college degrees, in exchange for indentured servitude (to student debt) for most of their working lives. Some people won't go to college, strike it out on their own, and not be financially successful. A few people will skip college, strike it out on their own, and become financially successful. There is no real middle strategy; its just a matter of which choice you will make, and you will have to live with the result. My feeling is that you make the choice that best fits yourself, and have a strategy when it doesn't work out.

The only thing I'm pretty certain about: If you're poor, and can't get a subsidized ride into a very good four year college, you are definitely opting to be a wage slave if you take on a lot of student debt. Very few poor kids are going to take on debt in a profession like doctor or lawyer, and work his way out in his lifetime.

Re:Where does article say "not enough openings"? (4, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | about 5 months ago | (#46643733)

There are jobs out there. However, the days of 2008 where one could put out 99 cent fart apps and rake in the cash, or the days of 2012 where one could put out a free-to-play, pay-to-win game are now behind us. The market is saturated.

But there are markets where things are not like that and niches can be made. Embedded programming will be work that requires a real expert, just because each application (and hardware device) is different. A microcontroller for a RV's A/C will require a completely different set of code than a microcontroller that monitors a building's HVAC system at multiple locations. One size does not fit all in the embedded arena, so "commodity development" (i.e. offshoring) will be more expensive than hiring people domestically since there is new ground to be broken.

I'm sure the next bubble is going to be security. SSL/TLS need to be reworked to support multiple root CAs in case one is compromised. That way, if two CAs have no clue about a cert, but one CA vets it, this can raise a red flag. Security isn't something one can do on the cheap. This needs real expertise, and more than just reading "The Cookoo's Egg" and calling oneself a "security professional". White/black hat hacking is going to be an important part of things, and this, yet again, isn't something that comes cheap.

Then there is the fact that there are international issues now. Just last year, people were content to get all their hardware from one country, their software from another. Now, nations want to pack their own parachutes and develop their security in house, and not rely solely on the word of other countries that the smartphones or other items don't come bristling with backdoors and kill switches. So, there will be duplication of effort that wasn't around just a year ago.

On this note, governments will become a bigger client for developers. They will want their own infrastructures, social media sites, and many other items. This will be where the money lies for upcoming companies because governments have deep pockets, and the ability to work on things even if not an immediate profit is obtainable.

Then there are items to be addressed that would make money, infrastructure wise. Here in the US, there is plenty of LAN bandwidth to go around. WAN bandwidth is expensive. Someone making an infrared laser routing system and other means (microwave relay) to create a mesh network would likely make a lot of money, especially if it has innate encryption that consists of more than "trust us, the glowing 'it is encrypted' LED ensures 100% security" flim-flam.

Finally, the model of advertising revenue is going to hit a wall pretty soon. Once ad-supported sites start selling to advertisers every click, mouse wiggle, and keyboard stroke that subscribers do, or even worse, demand intrusive spyware be installed on subscribers' machines, then there will be no more they can sell to the advertisers. Once that happens, the bubble will collapse. Who knows from there. "Free" E-mail may become a thing of the past, perhaps even Google or other search engine use would require micropayments.

All and all, there are still niches to be filled. One just can't follow the herd all day long and expect to be able to get to fresh grass.

Re:Where does article say "not enough openings"? (3, Interesting)

Sloppy (14984) | about 5 months ago | (#46644337)

[yeah, this is a digression]

SSL/TLS need to be reworked to support multiple root CAs in case one is compromised. That way, if two CAs have no clue about a cert, but one CA vets it, this can raise a red flag.

That's not how you do multiple CAs. You don't raise red flags; you abstain from raising green ones. Everything starts red by default. No CA (even the most hated and distrusted one) can ever possibly harm your estimation that a key is correct; they can simply fail to increase your estimate. Trust is somewhere between zero and one, but never less than zero. Even Cthulhu Hitler CA rates no less than 0.0.

Re:Where does article say "not enough openings"? (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 5 months ago | (#46644441)

I stand corrected... Your model is far better. The intent was to give an example of what core protocols need to be improved to handle modern attacks.

Re:Where does article say "not enough openings"? (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | about 6 months ago | (#46644771)

However, the days of 2008 where one could put out 99 cent fart apps and rake in the cash, or the days of 2012 where one could put out a free-to-play, pay-to-win game are now behind us.

No more than a tiny fraction, perhaps a percent of a precent, of mobile developers were "raking in the cash" making novelty apps and pay to win games. The overwhelming majority of mobile developers had full time jobs writing software for established companies then, as they do now.

And it's funny that you mentioned embedded programming. Back in the PDA days it was considered embedded programming, so we'd hire anyone with embedded experience, whether it was microcontrollers, or set-top boxes, or cell phones, or what have you. It didn't really matter what you worked on, only that you knew how to write C code for a constrained environment and only thought about suicide when dealing with the overtly complicated toolchains.

Apple and Google made it too easy.

Re:Where does article say "not enough openings"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46645051)

Not sure how much there is left to develop in terms of new "rake-in-the-cash" platforms.
The equivalent in the late nineties was the multimedia CDs with one-shot games and utilities (before most of us were jaded with a previously owned stash of hardware, utilities, or downloads that now saturate the market).

They were little more than experimentation with sound and video technology in the part of inexperienced programmers. Whoever could not press their CDs was apparently doing shareware, or games sold levels in installments. For small utilities and apps VB was king.

I think wearable may have some shot at the next big tech cash cow, but there's no killer app yet that smartphones can't achieve if we allow for a bit of room. Seeing how flop-sy the idea of smartwatches and Glass look, we may have to wait until some country liberates Neural interfaces from labs into our living rooms. Seeing how strict the US FDA is with trial requirements, and how bad privacy trust got so quick, it'll NEVER be the US doing this. Good chance here for the EU or scruple-free (sadly) East to push its way into our visors.

Re:Where does article say "not enough openings"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46645713)

(Different AC here.) I do remember that. Myst was one biggest names in the "multimedia" age around those times. Then came the "shovelware" games pushing the entire concept of a "multimedia CD" to a novelty that one could buy 8-10 CDs in a pack.

I agree with you. Wearable is where smartphones were in 2006, a niche technology. The US might be interested in the tech if Apple goes forward with it and gets people interested (thus clones come in to enter in on the low range of the market, similar to how the MP3 player market went.) No other company would be able to.

Another niche is going to be military and corrections. SCOTUS in the US has put the country and every single elected office up on the auction block (making the US the -only- country in the world where the government is controlled by foreign nationals without even trying to hide it.) Because campaign funding is everything, we will see a rise in private prisons and their needs (Check out Corrections Corporation of America... their stock looks like it is growing faster than Apple, even in Apple's heyday.) So, if one writes for corrections or internal security, it is a guaranteed job, and someone is going to do that work.

I would second the grandparent -- governments are starting to get paranoid again due to Russian aggression and Chinese cyber-trespass and state sponsored espionage. So, it is a matter of time before countries started having their own core Internet... We might even see multiple "internets", using IPv4, but each country using its own IP space and DNS the way they feel like... and it will be left to the peering companies how stuff is routed.

Re:Where does article say "not enough openings"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46643737)

Damn near every company I have worked for in the past 25 years has always been in need of good developers. This includes both experienced and even those just starting out. Each group requires separate evaluations but it is pretty easy to judge the value of both groups with the right questions. The experienced candidates usually fail due to overly rigid attitudes on what type of development environment or tool sets they will use. There is nothing worse than an experienced programmer who is wedded to a particular platform or architecture because they KNOW without a doubt any thing else is not worth their time. And those just starting out need to understand there is a whole lot more important things than just scripting languages required when building applications. If you really want a high paying job keep your C/C++ skills up to date because there is still a tremendous amount of work out there for people with this particular skillset. I have worked with excellent and very productive .NET and JAVA programmers who basically have no clue as to what their program is doing once it disappears into the runtime layer. There are a lot of applications that require programming against the actual OS and without people developing these type of applications those writing silly little apps would be out of work.

Independent developers (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46644097)

The article is talking about Independent App developers.

To make a living in the US and this is living cheap - you need to sell $50,000 per year worth of apps. After SS, taxes, etc ... you'll have a take home pay of about $35,000.

Now, go up to your favorite app store and see how many apps are selling at those levels - remember per year. So, if an app has been around for a couple of years, it'll need to have sold at least $100,000 worth. That's 100,000 at $0.99.

And I didn't even mention startup costs: computers, devices, developer fees, etc ....

tl;dr: the only app developers I know making a living developing apps have a W2 job working for a company that uses their apps as part of their service - examples: NetFlix, Weather Channel, The Economist, Amazon, Napa, etc ....

It's easy to live as an independent app dev (3, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 months ago | (#46644295)

The article is talking about Independent App developers.

I am one.

To make a living in the US and this is living cheap - you need to sell $50,000 per year worth of apps.

Let's pretend $50k is not overly high.

You need to sell a combination of enough apps AND earn consulting income worth $50k.

THAT is not hard if you are skilled.

And I didn't even mention startup costs: computers, devices, developer fees, etc ....

Which can be as little as $1k if you buy lower end computers/devices. You only need to spend that about once a year if you are keeping up on newer devices, less if you skip a few generations.

You can also keep using that computer for 3-4 years.

the only app developers I know making a living developing apps have a W2 job working for a company

But the point is said companies (and lots of other smaller companies besides) still have a lot of need for developers.

Re:It's easy to live as an independent app dev (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46644543)

Let's pretend $50k is not overly high.

If you are an independent business person, you have to cover all the payroll taxes, workman's comp, unemployment insurance, and there's a couple more that I can't remember because I have my accountant handle that. If you want to take home $35,000 per year - and that's about what it would take to have an one bedroom apartment, car, insurance, health insurance, and no family - you have to gross $50,000/year.

You need to sell a combination of enough apps AND earn consulting income worth $50k.

THAT is not hard if you are skilled.

Ah yes, the "consulting" gigs - assuming it is not "THAT" hard , that means you are driving sales (being your own salesman) or you have a body shop do that for you. Meaning, that is time you have to spend on your business (or extra overhead if farming that out to a bodyshop) that you have to include: if you work 2,000 per year developing and another 500 hours (that's LOW) at sales, then you need to take your annual income and divide by 2,500 spent on your business. And if you do your own books and other things, those hours get added in.

Let's put it this way, I have a feeling that if I looked at your books, I wouldn't be impressed. But if that's something you love to do, well, it's not for me to criticize.

Your estimates are still too high (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 6 months ago | (#46644783)

If you want to take home $35,000 per year...you have to gross $50,000/year.

The overhead of $15k still seems a little high, but it's the $35k that I think provides a lot of room for living in and could be lower without issue, if money or material things were not a focus and you live in the right area.

if you work 2,000 per year developing and another 500 hours (that's LOW) at sales

Remember how I said I was an independent app developer? So I have actual experience with what it takes to be one?

Working 2000 hours means 100k-200k in income (or more depending on what you can get).

For sales hours (recruiting clients) ever since the start of my mobile development consulting, I have spent very few hours on that alone, because lots of companies large and small are looking for developers and they have come to me. Even factoring in training to keep current you are at far less than 500 hours needed. I am sure at some point I may have to exert more effort in finding clients but 500 is very high for a competent programmer.

Re:Your estimates are still too high (1)

slashdot_commentator (444053) | about 6 months ago | (#46646287)

The overhead in $15K is not overhead; a huge chunk of it is taxes & the "payroll end" of taxes. If anything, the overhead is a little low.

Mod parent up! (1)

Kludge (13653) | about 6 months ago | (#46645083)

Taking advice from an MBA is a bad idea.
The reality is that if you blow a couple years of your life learning how to code and build apps, that is a great two years of your life spent, whether your app is "successful" or not. You will have learned a lot and people with good technical skills will always be in demand.

Re:Mod parent up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46645687)

my parents are both MBA's... I wish I could cite this quotation from a more trusted source, as I loathe their advice.

Not enough jobs? I thought not enough candidates! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46643493)

> Compounding the problem, some of the hottest companies out there for developers and programmers don't have nearly enough job openings to absorb the flood of graduates from the world's universities.

Wait a sec, they keep screaming that there arent't enough candidates to fill the spots. Something fishing is going on.

Re:Not enough jobs? I thought not enough candidate (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46643579)

Yeah, people still want to get paid for programming for others. Until people are willing to work for free, people running these companies will continue complaining about the "shortage".

Re:Not enough jobs? I thought not enough candidate (3, Insightful)

bob_super (3391281) | about 5 months ago | (#46643963)

There's a severe shortage of programmers with 25 years experience in Java, gimme more H1B.

This completely disregards the educational value. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46643549)

College isn't the only place to learn things. Building stuff on your own teaches you stuff *faster* than a standard curriculum. You learn more there about business, development, marketing, etc. than a school could ever teach you.

Doing > listening.

That said, a formal education can compliment that self-taught knowledge nicely, but at the additional cost of time/money. This is every university's business model so obviously some guy looking at this as a "Powerball" and completely disregarding people becoming self taught is a fairly one-sided.

Why not do both and figure out what works best for you? It's better for these young people to try things on their own and THEN go to college so that they have more life experience.

The role of an established company (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#46643697)

Established companies prefer college graduates. College gets you past an established company's HR.

Those who control certain popular mobile and set-top platforms prefer developers with experience working for established companies. (Source: warioworld.com/apply) Working for an established company gets you past the platform's developer approval.

Re:This completely disregards the educational valu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46643873)

Building stuff on your own teaches you stuff *faster* than a standard curriculum.

Anybody learning "to a curriculum" shouldn't be in college. There are only bare minimums to pass exams, and everything else you do while surrounded by experienced researchers and keen peers.

You learn more there about business

"Learning about business" is like "learning how to live in your own house" - you don't do it instead of something else, but instead wait until you're ready, and then learn as you need it. Unless you're running a huge company, which you're not.

Why not do both and figure out what works best for you? It's better for these young people to try things on their own and THEN go to college so that they have more life experience.

College is primarily an academic exercise. "Life experience" isn't relevant, unless it's academic life experience.

Re:This completely disregards the educational valu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46644681)

I worked on a project on my own that has about 200 or so users. When applying for a job, nobody from a well established company seems to give a shit. Just saying.

There aren't enough jobs for the developers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46643551)

and there aren't enough developers for the jobs. There's always more money for the banks though.

Reality Check: Go for your dreams (3, Insightful)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 5 months ago | (#46643571)

Or you'll live a miserable life of what if's and what could have beens. Are the odds against immediate success against you? Maybe. Sure. Who gives a fuck.Go for it. Even if you "fail" you'll still learn a bunch of shit and be better for the effort in more ways than you can ever imagine.

Re:Reality Check: Go for your dreams (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46643695)

This is the story of my life. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten an idea, prototyped it, and let it sit and gather dust. Only to watch, a couple years later, someone get rich off the same idea BECAUSE they took it and ran with it. I'm content (or maybe not) with just throwing shit on the wall and see if it sticks. Once I've proven my idea I just let it languish. Don't let this be you - trust me. I get depressed almost everyday when I think of the money I didn't make.

It was rejected. Now what? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#46643721)

Robert Pelloni went for it but famously got rejected [wikipedia.org] . Plenty of developers have had their App Store apps rejected as well. What's the best practice to deal with rejection of your application by a platform's exclusive gatekeeper?

Re:It was rejected. Now what? (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about 5 months ago | (#46644485)

What's the best practice to deal with rejection of your application by a platform's exclusive gatekeeper?

Depends on the rules that the gatekeeper has for acceptance. It should be noted that in Nintendo's case, the answer is "Rule 1: Be a big game developer. Rule 2: Don't be a small game developer." (as opposed to "lock yourself in a room for 100 days"). If some platform has overly-onerous requirements, find another platform; you've got plenty of choices out there, and none of them are big enough to be the only practical option.

Re:It was rejected. Now what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46645551)

Learn a hard lesson about writing portable code from day 1. Yes, all the game engines are different; but you should be able to separate those concerns. Most of what you contribute should be levels, art, and game logic which don't depend on the engine.

Re:It was rejected. Now what? (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 6 months ago | (#46646213)

Bob's game is your reference? Bob Pelloni was a flake, you don't think Nintendo couldn't figure that out?

The day of a single guy in a basement is over. If you don't want to deal with the gatekeepers find another platform. If you want to do a game on a specific platform, you deal with the gatekeepers for it.

Re:It was rejected. Now what? (0)

tepples (727027) | about 6 months ago | (#46646303)

I don't want a specific platform. I want a specific class of platforms. The problem prior to things like Pub Fund was that all platforms in the class had similar harsh policies. But now that I've read about Pub Fund, I'll go away for a while.

Re:Reality Check: Go for your dreams (5, Insightful)

bob_super (3391281) | about 5 months ago | (#46643949)

Graduate first. Then go for your dreams.
Because if you fail and you have to fall back on normal employment, dropping out has just put you all the way back to the end of the line, behind all the unemployed educated people.

You can waste a few years after college in dead-end attempts. You can explain that in an interview, it might be a positive (because you're entrepreneurial, and because you've failed and won't be running off again soon).
But if you didn't graduate, you aren't likely to get the interview in the first place.

Re:Reality Check: Go for your dreams (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 5 months ago | (#46644531)

"...behind all the unemployed educated people."

Gotta say, that's not much of an incentive. **Those** unemployed people have enormous debts to *still* pay off. You won't. College is overrated.

Re:Reality Check: Go for your dreams (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46646503)

Only if you live in the US...

And if you did graduate... (1)

Hategrin (3579025) | about 6 months ago | (#46646133)

You're probably not going to get an interview either. The majority of college graduates, in many areas and in general end up working low-income jobs, under 20,000 a year. Now, that's probably different if you went to an Ivy League school, or if you majored in something like Nursing or Law, but we're talking about Computer Science here, right?

Computer Science is a complete sham at most colleges. I have a degree in CS from an accredited college, the most advanced thing we wrote was a linked list that we tested with something similar to a "Hello World" application. The only things I really got out of college were in the English/Rhetoric courses. After I graduated, I found out that I wasn't any more employable by adding a photocopy of my degree to my application/resume. I couldn't even get an >interviewexperience

With that degree that is marketed as a key that will open any door for you in life, after a year of hard work I went on to become an assistant manager at a Jason's Deli. Not a single other manager was a college graduate, none of the college grads were worth much more than minimum wage, they simply didn't have any experience/knowledge of how to run a business (payroll / taxes).

Yo0 Fail It. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46643581)

BSD'5 accLaimed

Powerball = 1:175,223,510 odds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46643627)

Winning the Powerball jackpot is one in 175 million.

There are not anywhere close to 175 million app startups out there so therefore you would have a better chance blowing your college money by starting up an app business

RE: Powerball = 1:175,223,510 odds (1)

bramblez (862150) | about 5 months ago | (#46644003)

Only if you have $2 (the cost per ticket) saved for college. If you have $35,000, that buys 17,500 tickets. Now your odds of winning are 1-(174999999/175000000)^17500 = one in 10,000.5 I'm guessing this is of the same order as the number of app startups, or at least the ratio of apps that lead to a 7 figure payout.

Wait a minute! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46643671)

Are you telling me that a story in the Harvard Business Journal, published by Harvard College, tells students not to drop out of expensive college courses?

Inconceivable!

It's amazing isn't it (1)

Hategrin (3579025) | about 6 months ago | (#46645965)

For all the claims about college degrees turning people into sub-geniuses, and being the only source on Earth where you can find "critical thinking skills", the college suckers/shills on here claim to have, they still can't piece together that the main reason college is associated with financial success is because there is something called a "marketing team" that tries to inflate the "public image" of these very expensive schools. I used to be a hiring manager at Jason's Deli, the fact is many of the "cream of the crop" college grads weren't even fit for employment washing dishes, and only a single one ever made manager at my store.

Shouldn't this be a Reality Check for Investors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46643685)

Where do startups get the money to Start Up?

From some dummy who thinks a stupid me-too style app is going to get traction in a flooded marketplace.

Then again look at the cottage industry "Flappy Bird" produced almost overnight

Maybe I'm the dumb one

republicans turned america into winner takes all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46643699)

no point in worker for somebody else and living in constant fear of outsourcing, health care costs, foreclosure etc. might as well go for the gusto since you're just going to end up poor and unemployed anyways.

Doing the math... (3, Interesting)

Eric Wise (3521651) | about 5 months ago | (#46643713)

So reading the NYT article, the boys had the idea in Dec 2011 and released their app in Jan 2013. So a year with two people, learning to build an app, etc. They split $30,000...

Now let me preface this by saying that the skills they learned are worth money, knowledge is invaluable. But I meet people every week who are looking to make a quick buck off of apps. I would imagine these boys put in at least 1000 hours on this initiative, plus all the spend for the traveling and stuff they did. All said and done, they probably made minimum wage at best off this app.

The new tech bubble is mobile.

Re:Doing the math... (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 5 months ago | (#46644141)

$30,000 / 1000 = $30 an hour. Just saying.

Taxes, Pizza, Beer, Rent, Insurance, Gas... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46644491)

how much of that cash was pocketed, and not written off as a business expense?

Re:Doing the math... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46644883)

$30 an hour is shit for good programmers. I earn over double that as base and have full benefits.

$30 an hour is actually fantastic for these kids. (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 6 months ago | (#46645707)

$30 an hour is shit for good programmers. I earn over double that as base and have full benefits.

$30 an hour is actually fantastic for these kids.

They're not good programmers, they're high school sophomores, one is barely old enough to get a restricted drivers license, they don't have enough formal education that they wouldn't be lost in a team meeting where "big-O" notation or "trie" were mentioned, and they wouldn't be able to communicate with their peers effectively, even if it was just over email to avoid the whole ageism thing.

That's $62,400 per year, and even if we split that between two of them, that's $31,200 each, which is 25% more than the college interns with three years of college toward a CS degree were making.

And even divided, it's higher than the starting salary of a public school teacher with a masters in education (because it's required to get the job and the teachers union membership) in the San Francisco Unified School district.

Re:Doing the math... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46644905)

You missed what the authors failed to see; that the real value is the education gained in failing at your first business. That's worth a whole hell of a lot more than the 4 years I wasted at UCLA.

There is no way to know... (1)

nomad63 (686331) | about 5 months ago | (#46643809)

There is no way to know how many developers had flopped, with respect to the flappy birds, or angry birds developers of the app wars. No programmer will admit defeat publicly and come out saying , "I have worked so many hundreds of hours on my game/app and realized that I can not make it marketable or make money out f it anyway, so I abandoned it". We all are spoon-fed by any media outlet, how great this app or that game is and at 99 cents-a-pop, it is a steal. And oh-by-the-way, the app developer got crazy rich, selling the stupid game. Which basically primes the inexperienced new-comers, thinking into, they will be the next shiz-nit of the app world. And when the failure strike, they will never admit to defeat. Hence we will never know what the real ratio of success over failure will be. Although, anyone with a smidgen of common sense, can say it is very close to ZERO. Reminds me the Big Bang Theory episode, in which the nerd crew decided to develop an app for solving quadratic equations that one snaps the picture of and Howard saying, "to make that kind of money, we have to charge $12,000+ per copy of the app".

So, I wish good luck to the new comers to the wonderful world of IT, who are expecting to strike it rich by coding a few hundred lines and create the next killer app. Real life slaps you hard and good.

Peak oil (1)

cyberspittle (519754) | about 5 months ago | (#46643813)

If you are not in early, you get lost in the flood of apps. Time for the next big thing.

Powerball odds (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46643815)

Well, Android and IPhone each have about a million apps (6 months ago, http://mashable.com/2013/07/24/google-play-1-million/ ) on their respective app stores, so let's say there are a nice round 2 million mobile apps. If every mobile app were a Powerball ticket, there's a 98.7% chance that not a single one has hit it big. Writing a wildly successful app is a long shot, but so much so that it is obviously foolish like the lottery.

Especially while you're going to college, it's possible to dabble in this kind of startup without any real negative consequences for your future career development. College kids can be lazy and no more interested in education than as an excuse to party away from home. They can also be extremely motivated and driven with a lot of energy and free time to create.

Percentages not a good view on the matter (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 6 months ago | (#46644875)

Looking at percentages of apps for things like the possibility of app store success is foolish.

That's because it's not random. For instance, if you develop another TODO or flashlight app I can say 100% you are not going to "hit big".

Your success in any app store is not wholly chance. It a combination of how good of an application you have developed, along with some marketing. There are random people that get elevated without the marketing, but it's not like you have to rely on that as the only mechanism to success. It's just a bonus event for someone.

HA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46643849)

I think it's funny that someone is calling out the ego maniacs for a change... Heaven forbid he be correct.

Lies (Sort of ...) ... (1)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 5 months ago | (#46644005)

Opportunity is an intangible but sometimes it stares you in the face and you have to answer the door.

Sure, many startup dreams are irrational and almost no one is going to end being a billionaire, but if you have an approach to a problem that few others see and are willing to accept the risks ... GO FOR IT!

Or live a life of wondering "what if"?

Few people as a percent are suited to take the risks of a startup company, but when you are young the risks are the most easy to handle and if you fail, just go get a "real" job. Or work on your startup at night, work a real job during the day.

Live life saying you tried and gave it your all for an interesting idea! You might lose, but even moderate success in a small business is a lot of money.

I went for it. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46644299)

And I failed.

I now have almost $150,000 in debt, ruined credit, and no job prospects. What should I have done different?

I shouldn't have been so optimistic. A bit of pessimism is good for getting a reality check.

That's the trouble, we see all these success stories out there in the media and never the failures which then gives us a skewed perception of our chances of succeeding.

Re:I went for it. (1)

Xaedalus (1192463) | about 5 months ago | (#46644395)

Mod up please--this is the argument against Grand OP

Re:I went for it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46646135)

This is an argument against a culture that (poorly) rewards subservience and punishes personal drive, ambition.

Re:I went for it. (1)

slashdot_commentator (444053) | about 6 months ago | (#46646317)

No, this is a capitalist culture. You exploit the gullible.

Re:I went for it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46644465)

no job prospects

I find this aspect hard to believe. I would think that now you are well qualified for all sorts of salaried work. Perhaps you are still being optimistic that you can pay of $150k in a signing bonus or something.

Re:I went for it. (4, Insightful)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 5 months ago | (#46644509)

I now have almost $150,000 in debt, ruined credit, and no job prospects. What should I have done different?

I went for it.

I failed.

I have no debt other than the mortgage I started with, excellent credit, and a good job. What did I do differently?

I gave up when the money ran out and went back to work for The Man, rather than throw good money after bad. Trying to launch a startup is a gamble and should be treated precisely the same way. Only use money you can afford to lose and do not spend one thin dime of money you don't have trying to "win it all back" if you hit bottom. Quit and go home.

Too late for you, but for other people thinking about it, this can't be repeated enough.

Re:I went for it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46644785)

How the fuck did you blow $150,000 on developing a fucking app? No wonder you failed, god damn.

Bankruptcy? (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 6 months ago | (#46644833)

I now have almost $150,000 in debt, ruined credit

Then aren't you the perfect candidate for bankruptcy?

and no job prospects

What the hell company did you spend $150k+ on that you have no marketable skills from? You are ether lying or a moron.

People don't care if a company you worked forwent bankrupt. Hell, in a lot of circles it's seen as a badge of honor.

Re:Bankruptcy? (2)

Lodlaiden (2767969) | about 6 months ago | (#46646313)

I now have almost $150,000 in debt, ruined credit

Then aren't you the perfect candidate for bankruptcy?

and no job prospects

What the hell company did you spend $150k+ on that you have no marketable skills from? You are ether lying or a moron.

He paid himself 75k a year to play flappy birds.

Re:I went for it. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#46645729)

I now have almost $150,000 in debt, ruined credit, and no job prospects. What should I have done different?

Not paid for everything on high-interest credit cards?

So then we don't need more H1Bs?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46644009)

What a surprise! More gaming of the job market by IT companies.

I have been there - Mobile Apps (3, Interesting)

Rob Fielding (3524407) | about 5 months ago | (#46644013)

For mobile apps, this is actually not a bad idea if you can afford to fail; because you are still unattached enough that nobody depends on your income in a critical way. If nobody is going to pay your way through college, then you have nothing to lose. Get your failures and experience in before you have a house and a kid. LinkedIn will light up for you as a side-effect. A lot of my friends are the top developers in the iOS music app space; and I was in the mosh pit trying to make it happen along with them (while working a good full-time job - contemplating full time app dev). A small number of them make a healthy living doing little more than occasional maintenance on long-shipped apps while using the rest of their time learning the craft and having a life. 90% of them fail badly, with improved job prospects. The 30% Apple tax is high, but the mobile user mindset is what makes it hard. The large volume of users that can drive your asking price down nicely can also be a major support nightmare because you have to deal with them directly. You will deal with fads, gaming the review system (ie: send you an email that implies that if they don't get something for free in a few days that you will get a 1 star review, or requesting refunds while keeping the app and still sending support questions for months on end). The huge numbers of apps can make it hard to get a foothold on iOS/Android. On other platforms, even a well promoted and executed (even best and only for its category) app can still fail because there really are almost no users. Even given a *great* app and somebody that's good at the business, it's still far more of a gamble than showing up to a job and knowing how much you will make. But it's far better to do this while you are living with your mom than sitting around doing nothing or working an unskilled job for minimum wage.

College ain't so great either (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46644067)

Considering that for 22 year olds with college degrees the unemployment rate is 11% and the undermployment rate is north of 60%, going to college doesn't exactly sound like a great idea either.

True, college grads are better off than non in this environment in terms of employment numbers. But if you've got $20-$100k to pay your way through college or need to borrow $20-$100k to get through it, it may be better saving those funds/not building up the debt and instead finding a creative way to put your skills/talent/knowledge to work.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/16/recent-college-grad_n_4602772.html

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/12/05/twice-as-many-college-grads-in-minimum-wage-jobs-as-5-years-ago

we're not at the top yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46644075)

But getting close. Every tom dick and harry is getting millions in funding for their largely unprofitable shit ideas. Share stuff socially with friends? Wow Amazing! Here's $5m. The crash may not happen this year, but oh yes it will happen.

Living with their moms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46644121)

'A few may win big; many or most will end up living with their moms.'

So situation normal then?

How about? (4, Insightful)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | about 5 months ago | (#46644161)

How about graduates switch back to solving problems in science, engineering, health. Stuff that matters. The world needs another Facebook or another "app for that" like it needs a hole in the head.

Re:How about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46644397)

Sounds like a chicken or the egg problem. How will we know how badly we need a hole in the head without solving problems in science and health?

get rich success rate always been single digits (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 5 months ago | (#46644173)

Where it was the PC rush of the 1980s, dot.com 1.0 or the current mobile App era. You just try over and over. I've known people who have joined a half dozen startups before doing well.

Humans live a long time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46644251)

Why not let kids try their dream or try and make some cash early in life? It may work out for them it may not. Life is a gamble. Having a college education doesn't guarantee success and there are many college graduates that move in with their parents after they graduate.

Most of these guys got connections (4, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 5 months ago | (#46644547)

their moms/dads are rich. They can blow off school and go back whenever you feel like it. If you look at just about every successfully "Entrepreneur" they come from upper (way upper) middle class to very rich.

We here in America like to pretend we've got a lot of upward mobility that isn't really there. So when somebody starts making millions we pretend they pulled themselves up by bootstraps. Heck, Bill Gates started out with nothing except a 1 million dollar trust fund, his father's years of experience as a business lawyer and his mother's seat on IBM. If he can make it anyone can.

Re:Most of these guys got connections (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46644821)

Steve Jobs was the only guy with no connections whatsoever. He built his empire from scratch. He's pretty rare though, the only one I have found and I read the bios of all the tech stars.

Re:Most of these guys got connections (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46644965)

He was fortunate enough to be introduced to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Markkula. $250K in 1977 and a partner who had all the connections and knew the business is a hell of a boost.

Today, they'd probably get sued into bankruptcy by a bullshit patent they couldn't afford to defend.

The startup game is a ruse, get a decent everybody tech job. Enjoy your youth, you only have it once.

We do have lots of upward mobility (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 6 months ago | (#46644857)

I came from a very poor family, I was able to pay for college and end up with a great career without any financial help from family.

It's still very possible if your parents are not well off. In some ways it's even easier because you can get a lot of loans and grants for school if your parents are below a certain income level.

The great thing about learning to develop is that it does not take a huge amount of capital resource to get started.

No reality check needed (4, Insightful)

LF11 (18760) | about 6 months ago | (#46645661)

Programming is one of the few industries with a reasonable unemployment rate composed largely of people who are voluntarily between jobs. In my opinion (having gone into a programming career straight out of high school, then going to college at 26) skipping the fucking bullshit in higher ed and going straight for programming is a perfectly valid and appropriate course of action.

Skip the debt. Skip the "social justice" BS while money slips away from you like diarrhea. Skip the booze and marijuana and dead-end "self-discovery." Go straight to where it counts, and build a life in a field where lives and careers are still being built.

My company just upgraded their dev position hiring rec to always-on. We now are hiring (competent) devs any time we find them, regardless of whether we have a place for them at that moment.

Re:No reality check needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46646043)

My company just upgraded their dev position hiring rec to always-on. We now are hiring (competent) devs any time we find them, regardless of whether we have a place for them at that moment.

What is the definition of a competent developer according to your company? And by "my company" do you mean you are the owner or just another employee?

Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46645885)

The market is just unable to absorb all of the Computer Science graduates who spent 4 years specializing in "Hello World!", "Hello Bubble Sort!" and all the other "in-demand" versions of Hello World type programs that businesses just for some odd reason can't live without.

It doesn't cost... (2)

Hategrin (3579025) | about 6 months ago | (#46645997)

It doesn't cost anywhere near 30,000$ to make an app. I have friends who 2 years ago didn't know a single line of C++, they signed up for MS Bizspark, got a free copy of Visual Studio Ultimate (I think registering a business is about 50 bucks), and they wrote an app. They have also published books/training courses on how to write software within the bounds of various frameworks. This person didn't even finish high-school, much less College, and the content that he has produced/licensed is making him about 3,000 a month while he spends all of his time working on his next release.

30k a year isn't really that bad, especially when you consider the cold hard fact that overwhelming majority of college graduates end up making something close to minimum wage, not six figures a year with limitless benefits and paid vacations like these college PR firms like to lead us to believe.

The real winners in any war are the arms dealers (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 6 months ago | (#46646479)

The company I work for does a lot of contract work making apps (it's about a third of our business, the rest being traditional websites or a pair of large, ongoing projects). People come to us with an app idea, we charge them for us to build it (plus hourly rates for continued updates or changes), they get all the profits from it, if any.

As far as I've heard, very few have actually turned a profit for their owners. Most are genuinely useless apps, that nobody would ever pay to use. Others are decent ideas that compete with too many similar ones. And often they're poorly-designed or have other limitations that prevent us from actually making a good app (for one in particular, we did the app but the server-side code was done by another group of contractors, who seem to hail from Elbonia judging by the fact that it takes 15 minutes for a user login call to succeed - the app has a one-star rating even though we did everything we could to make it better, even offering to take over the webservice side).

Still, we get paid well to do it all. We're never going to make a massively-successful app (or if we do, we're not getting massive stacks of cash from it), but we usually turn a profit on each project because we get paid regardless of whether the app succeeds or not.

Like the old saying goes, the real winners in a war are the ones selling the guns. In a tech bubble, the real winners are the contract companies.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?