The Self-Taught Developer's Guide to Getting Paid

There are a ton of really crappy self-taught developers out there. I know because I used to compete against them for work. They often charged much more than me, burned their customers, and made finding and working with clients ten times harder on those of us who weren’t scam artists. And that’s what they are – scam artists. Being self-taught is a difficult thing to do right and most people fuck it up. The freelancers and “companies” I was competing against designed sites like it was the 90’s and unbelieveably they had some well paying clients like local governments and politicians and they locked them in without any hope of any good developers being able to save them. They’d do awful work, make things incredibly complicated, and then in the end the client would be so frustrated and confused that it was actually easier for them to stay in that terrible relationship than to find a better developer. That’s because the client believed that all web dev shops made things complicated and because the vast majority of people aren’t very tech-savvy, these clients just assumed that getting some decent work would cost an arm and a leg and be come with the same terrible, complicated experience they already had. And so the status quo is born.

That’s why I’m going to release my first book, The Self-Taught Developer’s Guide to Getting Paid, and change all that.

I’m going to fix that one developer at a time. The book will take you through the process of learning everything from code to SEO, marketing, finding clients, closing deals, design, and everything else one needs to truly become a professional web developer. There is no shortage of terrible tutorials that teach people the wrong way to do this stuff and with this book all that will change.

What the book will cover

Here’s a brief outline of the book in its entirety.

Section 1: Code

The first section will cover everything a self-taught developer needs to know about code. Because if you’re going to be on your own then you’ll have to deal with all the major languages.

HTML – Basic and advanced HTML including HTML5

CSS – Of course all the stuff on styling including CSS3

Design (mini bonus chapter) – A brief rundown of what’s good design, modern design, timeless design, and some basic principles that’ll make any site look great

PHP – PHP may not be pretty but its still a necessity

JavaScript – Mostly jQuery

Git (mini bonus chapter) – If you’re writing code it should be under version control at all times

Section 2: SEO

The SEO section will just cover SEO. What else is there to say about it?

Basics – Stuff like PageRank and meta tags are explained

Ethics of SEO – How not to be a spammer, build for humans, etc.

Link building – The importance of links, types of links, how to get them

Tools – Accounts like Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools

Resources – Links to various resources like SEOMoz and such

Section 3: Marketing

This section takes what you learned in the SEO book, applies it, then adds more techniques you can use.

Paid advertising – AdWords and such

Blogging – How to build an audience through blogging

Email and SMS Marketing – Different types of email marketing, getting started with SMS

Social Media Marketing – How to use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to reach people

Section 4: Building A Business

This is the final section where you start your own web development shop. You can also use these same lessons and apply them to working in a corporate environment or otherwise as a professional developer.

Finding clients – How to find people who will pay you

Closing deals – Getting clients to sign the contract and pay up


I haven’t figured out the pricing model yet but I know it’ll be at least $5 with possibly a pay-what-you-want model. Each section will actually be more like a book unto itself so I may release each section separately and give a discounted price for those who want the bundle.

Release date

I think just before New Year’s would be good. I plan to do a pre-order before Christmas for a discounted price.


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