I’ve been a programmer for hire for a number of years now, and in such a broad field as software development, it’s taken me some time to converge on a succinct description of what it is I do, especially one suitable for non-technical folks. But I think this sums it up:
I design and build software that powers businesses.
This line contains a lot ambiguous connotations in my field, so in the interest of clarity let’s break this down one key word at a time.
I. I do the work that I am hired to do. I don’t sub-contract my part out, I don’t manage the projects for others to execute. The projects I am hired for are executed by me, made with the love of a craftsman who values being able to hand over completed work that is a proud expression of what I am capable of.
Design. Design is often taken to mean the pretty pixels: color schemes, imagery, graphics, styles. That is not me: I take my aesthetic cues from the established brands that hire me, or the designer my clients are using, or one of the graphic designers that I recommend. I’m talking about design of user experience, functionality, solutions to the real needs. This means my clients don’t have to feed me a lengthy spec doc brewed up at great effort & expense, their mere knowing they have a need is enough to get the conversation rolling. I play the role of collaborator responsible for designing an effective solution.
Build. I build the software that I am hired to create. That means I’m intimately familiar with how it’s going to go in terms of time and money. It also means I can intelligently contribute to the design process, attuned to what will be low hanging fruit and what will be more hassle or expense than it’s worth.
Software. Interactive stuff that runs on a computer or other smart device. Generally complicated, usually custom tailored, and always web-based.
Powers. The software that I design in build plays a vital role in the functioning of businesses that hire me. Real results depend on it, either as internal tools for operations or public facing software that customers need to use and love. Clunky or hated or hacked together work is not an option.
Businesses. Organizations rely on the software I build, my fee is worth every penny and priced well compared to less nimble firms, and with projects starting at $5000 I am generally not suitable for individuals to hire. I work for businesses where the stakes of successful execution are high.
That’s what I mean when I say I design and build software that powers businesses.