Good Way to Get Experience

I’m thinking of building a platform where companies/project managers can post projects, and anybody that wants to learn a skill can participate and gain practical, real world experience. Unlike simply contributing to Open Source Software, there are timelines and you get reviewed on the project. The reviews appear on your public profile. Unlike freelancing sites, it’s not a competitive bid, but more like first come, first serve, and in the beginning, you don’t get paid to work on these projects.

Below are some user stories:

  • As an authenticated user, I can see project scope, tasks, and timelines.

  • As an authenticated user, I can search projects by skillset, framework, language, tool, etc

  • As an authenticated user, I can see what I will learn by taking on each project.

  • As an authenticated user, I can build a profile to highlight my skills and experiences.

  • As an authenticated user, I can get reviews on past projects I’ve worked on.

  • As an authenticated user, I can see links out to GitHub and InvisionApp after signing up for each project.

  • As a user, I can register on the site for free.

What are your thoughts on this? Feel free to comment.

Anybody interested in helping me build this out? Please add user stories in the comments below.


1 Like

It’s late, so bear with me.

I like the idea. I don’t like the idea that managers and companies can post projects for people to work on, even if it is open source.

That’s like saying “Hey, companies! I got some free workers here who need EXPERIENCE!”

They’ll use the free code for their own uses in the end.

Now, it isn’t a bad idea, just needs some work. Instead of relying on companies/etc, just make more challenging challenges. Pick something you like and put it up as a challenge.

For example, build an API that users can log into and grab data from, then log out.

Or something like that. Hell, feel free to use that idea.

I say companies because I think of them as having the business needs, but, in reality, anybody can post a “software need” or “challenge” on this platform, and have a junior dev work on it, and then review the junior dev for a job well done. Of course, the poster can use the completed code in the end for their own gain, that’s what motivates them to use this platform in the first place.

The key take away is that this will be community driven, because I cannot alone come up with all the software needs out there to post on this site.

1 Like

This is getting virtually no traction in the forums! Is this simply a bad idea? If this gets more traction, I’d be happy to build this for people to use.

1 Like

It’s an intriguing idea. I would not say bad, because I thought AirBnb and Uber were bad ideas, but apparently look where they are now. :slight_smile:

If you’re a web developer, you’re basically giving away your services for free… working for free… in return for exposure, or the right to put this company in your resume as work experience.

If you’re a company, this can be a source of free labor. Very open to exploitation. But then again, since you want it first-come, first serve, what guarantee does the company have they’re not getting crappy programmers to work on their project. Maybe they deserve what they get. And what company in their right mind would entrust projects to strangers?.. strangers not even vetted in their skills and qualification?

And let’s say you as the developer built a great software for a company, but the company keeps asking for more…you refuse, since it became obvious to you they’re just using you…company gets mad because you’re now refusing, so they left you a negative feedback…“bad code, didn’t finish project, etc.” So now your reputation is trashed… and you haven’t even found a paying job yet…you’re now an indentured servant to this company, held hostage.

I think there has to be some kind of check and balances to prevent the abuses I mentioned above… and find a way to remove the “exploitation” aspect of it. Freelance programmers would hate this site if they see it as stealing money from them, stealing work from them, etc. Maybe if you substitute only VERIFIED non-profits can post/solicit jobs, then maybe it can work.

Very good points!

An easy check to the exploitation problem is that the project specifications are outlined up front, and the work shouldn’t really deviate too far from it. Reviews can be contested, and if it’s determined that the company was abusing the worker, then the review wouldn’t show on the profile.

Just like open source software, the code submitted doesn’t necessarily have to go in production. If you’re building something mission critical, then you should hire a paid agency or full time developer to do it. If the “free programmer” does a bad job on the site, then the work can simply be rejected and reposted, with the participant unable to work on that project again.

The reason I’m thinking of such a thing is that it’s SO DIFFICULT to find your first job as a programmer. The vast majority of the top posts on this forum are related to getting your first developer job. I struggle, and so do many others to find their first job. This can be a possible solution to those lacking any professional experience in web development.

Last but not least, not all of the jobs will be “free”, once a developer establishes himself as a good developer, he can bid on the “paid” projects, and actually get paid for the work.

1 Like

I’d say the biggest challenge when it comes to engaging companies to buying into this is the legal end. Too many companies now want very clear divisions with regard to employee/contractor/opensource contributor. They need to know exactly what the licensing is going to be, exactly what the expectations are for a Statement Of Work. There might be a market for this within the small-business side of things, but even then businesses might want the cleaner cut expectations involved with going through a contracting firm or an established business.

Now you could market it to those types of businesses; Contracting firms and already established development shops that are looking to enhance their access to cheap labor. However, they usually want that labor pool at the ready, so unless you already have a user-base to lure them with and some sort of provable track record it might be slow going for some time.

I’m not a lawyer, so I’d have to hire one to draft the terms of use, licensing agreements, and what work belongs to whom.

Here’s a live example: Facebook publishes React on GitHub for anybody to contribute to. I can enhance React, make a pull request, and hope it gets accepted. If it does, great!

  • Facebook is a company. React is an OSS project. If I contribute to React, I still don’t “own” it.
  • Here’s the issue: what recognition do I get for contributing to React?
  • With this site, the project manager at Facebook can give me a review and rating for my contribution.

Assuming the project specifications are laid out in advance, the legalities are worked out, and the company is acting in “good faith”, for those of you who are struggling to get experience, so you could ultimately get a full time developer job, would you use such a site to gain this experience and recognition?

1 Like