Startup Series: Why You Should Host a Web Developer
This blog is part of our Startup Series. Read our post on why you should host a copywriter.
I’m the sort of person who doesn’t ask for help very often. I like to think that I can do everything on my own, or at least Google the answer and find out within a couple of minutes. As a writer I’m all over the writing side of things. But there are many occasions when I need to figure out how to fix things that I have no idea how to resolve on my own.
I successfully picked up a second language (Swedish) and parts of a third (Russian), yet HTML remains a relative mystery to me.
Coding is something I’ve been meaning to learn for quite some time now, but I never seem to get around to it (probably because I have such reliable people on GoCambio’s IT team to help me out if I get stuck). But if there’s one type of Guest that I need to host, then it’s a web developer.
For me, the skill exchange would be about picking up the basics of HTML and CSS but there are plenty of other reasons why you should think about hosting a web developer. I’ve put together a list of several of them below. But first of all…
What exactly is a web developer?
Personally, I refer to them as wizards. But here’s what Wikipedia has to say:
“A web developer is a programmer who specializes in, or is specifically engaged in, the development of World Wide Web applications, or distributed network applications that are run over HTTP from a web server to a web browser.”
If you didn’t catch that, our techie Hugo has a much simpler explanation that even the most technologically inept of us can understand: a web developer creates websites.
What skills am I looking for?
While hosting a Guest who is studying or has completed a degree in Computer Science would be a bonus, this isn’t necessary. More important is your Guest’s prior experience building websites and their ability to help you with what you need. Ask any potential Guests to show you examples of websites they have built in the past so that you can get a feel for their level of experience.
They might also refer to themselves using different titles. Web developer is one, but some might think of themselves more as programmers, IT managers or even computer scientists. Here’s a handy link that describes the differences between a web developer, web programmer and computer scientist. To summarise it, they all write code and have different but overlapping areas of expertise. To be honest, it’s less about the title and more about what they can do. So when you connect with your potential Guest, describe what it is that you want to learn and the reason you’d like to host them, and they’ll be able to tell you if they have the right expertise for the job.
Why should I host a web developer?
The main reason you should host a web developer is because you want some help building a website or learning the skills needed to do so yourself. A cambio won’t make you an expert overnight, but it will help you pick up the basics so that you can continue learning in your own time. Plus you’ll have the benefit of having a person there next to you who can answer all your questions in real time.
You want to start a blog
Recommended cambio length (based on 2hrs of skill sharing each day): 1-2 weeks
Whether you’re about to embark on the trip of a lifetime, are the next Nigella Lawson, or simply want your own little corner of the web to document the inner workings of your mind, having an online platform is essential. A web developer can help you set up a shiny new blog. Some of our members have experience developing and running their own blogs, so they can offer you some helpful tips based on their personal experiences. You may already have a blog set up somewhere like Blogger but want to make the switch to WordPress (the most popular choice blogging platform out there these days) and need some help navigating the platform. A web developer can help you with this too.
You want to create a website for your business
Recommended cambio length (based on 2hrs of skill sharing each day): 3+ weeks
A business website can be more complex and take more time to set up than a personal blog. If, for example, you wish to sell products and set up an online store, then your developer will need longer to get it up and running. Medium and large-sized businesses will usually employ an in-house developer to build and maintain their website. But if you’re a startup or a one-woman show it can be difficult to get the funds together to hire someone in the early stages. Luckily, on a cambio, you pay your cambio Guest in the form of a comfortable bed and meals!
Italian traveller Alessandro is working on his own platform and has experience in mobile development, so if you need to optimise your site for mobile browsing then he can definitely lend a hand.
You want to learn HTML and CSS
Recommended cambio length (based on 2hrs of skill sharing each day): 1-2 weeks
You might already be familiar with how HTML and CSS look on a screen but no idea how to actually use them. That’s where a web developer Guest comes in! I started learning HTML and CSS with an online course run by Codecademy, which I thought was great. But there were times when I wish I’d had someone beside me to explain things in more detail and answer specific questions. A cambio Guest is like your own personal tutor; they can sit beside you and help you through the difficult aspects of an online course that you don’t understand. After the cambio, you can always continue your learning online and build on what you learned during your cambio sessions.
You want to pick up another programming language
Recommended cambio length (based on 2hrs of skill sharing each day): minimum 1-2 weeks
Perhaps you’re already familiar with HTML and CSS, but you’d like to pick up another programming language to add to your skillset. Java, PHP, Ruby, C, Python – these are only some of many that you can choose to learn. Azael from Mexico is a Java developer, while Italian software developer Luciano knows many programming languages so you can take your pick. There are loads of programming languages out there and they are all useful for different things. If you’re unsure which one you’d like to learn, simply chat to your potential Guest beforehand and they can give you some suggestions.
Because web developers are awesome people
It won’t take you more than a single day – a warm welcome, a nice chat, and an introduction to your neighbourhood – to realise this! While learning to code may take a while, the time it takes to get to know your Guest if you’re both open to the experience shouldn’t be long at all.
Just take two of our resident techies Frankie and Mark (pictured above), who both recently spent five months abroad in the Philippines. These guys know how to get work done and have fun. If you want a Guest with web development skills and that little something extra, then we recommend reaching out to Steven from Guatemala, who not only can help you with a range of programming languages but can show you how to make a killer cup of coffee. Yes, we are all aware of the stereotype of the web developer with limited social and interpersonal skills, and it’s time we stopped perpetuating it.
Search all of our Guests with some serious tech skills and invite them to stay with you for a cambio.
And if there are any web developers out there wanting to use your skills to travel the world for free, make sure you sign up to GoCambio and start getting in touch with Hosts! (And if Sweden’s on your bucket list, then definitely get in touch)
About the Author: Clarissa Hirst is GoCambio’s Content Manager. A born-and-bred Australian, Clarissa currently calls Sweden home. She’s travelled to over 40 countries, loves learning foreign languages, and her passion is inspiring others to learn about and explore the world around them. She hopes to one day speak fluent Russian and ride the Trans-Siberian railway. You can learn more about Clarissa on Twitter.