Through my own job, my network, and my other activities, I’m exposed to the industry a lot. I have the chance to talk to other insiders, enterprise/bank IT leaders, and many many more. I also consult as a side hustle and build one or the other website from time to time. I don’t do this full-time, yet, but it may give me some credibility.
This section is here to showcase scenarios, skills, and business ideas that I view as opportunities for someone who wants to make a change and go the entrepreneur route or simply upskill themselves.
Upskill Yourself - The AR Developer
The pandemic has taught a lot of people one very important thing: Although you might like to go out and shop for things, you can very well get everything online, pretty comfortably, ordering directly from your couch. But this comes at a cost. It’s more difficult to imagine how a cabinet looks in your own home when you only see some pictures. Having a way to see it live, like in your favorite IKEA, can help a lot to spark your imagination.
This is where AR - Augmented Reality - comes in. There are a few promising applications of AR for e-commerce already on the market. They allow you to look through your smartphone’s camera and place 3d models of furniture and other objects directly in your room, so you can imagine how something might look and feel. We’re still in the early days of this technology but it is already awesomely promising. This will definitely lead to more demand for developers who are capable of implementing AR solutions.
Self-employment - The Fullstack Marketing Developer
Building websites for other people is one way of earning money as a developer. You can build full pages or landing pages for friends, businesses, and even large corporations. You can also add single-page applications to your portfolio and serve the full UI experience. That’s already a pretty solid service as you offer a service not many people on earth are capable of (developer supply is short).
Especially building websites and landing pages is an interesting field to work in. When someone launches a product, a single marketing page giving potential customers all the information they could probably need to make a decision is an awesome way of increasing sales. But what if you added more to your service portfolio than only building websites? The next natural service to add is search engine optimization. The best website doesn’t work well if you can’t get enough traffic from search engines. Most people open Google when they search for something they haven’t already accidentally stumbled upon. A good search engine rank is necessary today. If you can’t reach the first page of search results, you nearly don’t exist on the internet and people won’t find you.
There is, however, more that can give you visibility. If you can’t reach the first page of search results for a keyword, why not spend some money on Google Ads to still be shown on the first page of results on Google? And what about some clever ads that show up on Facebook and on Instagram stories? This can generate a lot of traffic if planned and executed well. This is digital marketing at its best. And those are skills that can be learned. Add them to the service portfolio and your clients get the full experience. You can get paid to create the website and to do SEO initially, and after that, you can get paid continuously for digital marketing efforts and also for continuous further SEO.
There is also a great potential for synergy in all this. You are a business yourself and will directly profit from this yourself. Increasing your own visibility is a great showcase for potential customers that you know what you do. And you can use this for a lot more. Maybe you want to create your own products or create a profitable blog. You already know nearly everything you need to know to get this started.
I think that the following skills would be necessary to pursue such a career:
Alternative: No Code Tools
Well, I said you should be able to develop a website, and as a dev myself, I of course favor writing code. But there is a multitude of services out there that all allow creating websites, even with CMS functionality, without having to write a single line of code. Take Webflow
for example. This could be an alternative to you if you like to build visually.
Search Engine Optimization
Ranking high in search results is crucial as we already learned. Knowing the how-to is essential. SEO can be a pretty wide topic but knowing at least the fundamentals of what is necessary and what not already helps a lot. Placing good meta tags describing the current content appropriately, using semantic HTML, optimizing images, basically anything that makes a search engine favor you more (hopefully even more than any competitor). You should dive as deep as possible here, really, the difference between no/bad SEO and good SEO can be a universe.
Digital Marketing is a broad field but we are talking explicitly about ads and ad campaigns here. Planning and executing a campaign on Google and/or Facebook/Instagram could be your focus here. Perhaps add in YouTube if you like, but the initial three already cover quite a range of audiences. All platforms offer resources on how to learn their ad products, so you can start there and then maybe take some courses from marketers that have a lot of experience running successful campaigns.