Programmers finding new niches

Published in Working on the Web on Thursday, March 8th, 2007

Via Simon Willison, an interesting article - featuring the likes of Adrian Holovaty - that discusses a slow growing movement where newspaper are hiring programmers to help streamline work for journalists while at the same time creating mashups and other valuable user interaction widgets for the newspaper's online presence.

The interesting take away from this article from the standpoint of possible business plans for people who work developing the web, is that more and more these days companies are going to be facing a reality like the one presented in the article: having a programmer on staff to mix your old business with your web front.

For many companies, having a programmer on staff may be unthinkable. To the web design agency or the freelancer with an eye for opportunity, however, this can easily pan out into an extended service contract where the developers work on a project by project or part time basis to develop new and useful functionality for a company, its employees, and its market (i.e. readers, buyers etc.).

The added side benefit here is that you can further develop or leverage that work you put into building your client relationship, rather then just saying farewell at the project sign off.

The opportunities are out there

Our experience with this has been that sometimes it takes a little digging to find these opportunities, but they do exist. From something as simple as streamlining the process of dumping leads from a site directly into a CRM tool, to more complex tools that ultimately save the client time and money or tools that by their very nature increase the value of the clients service to their clients.

Finding the opportunities and then pitching the idea - cost and benefit - could be an opportunity where, like the programmers being hired to work in newsrooms, companies begin to benefit from developer talent on the front lines, rather then the back rooms.

Comments and Feedback

What you are saying makes perfect sense. For the past years the clients demands have increased drastically... I can say that sometimes you do not even have to go find opportunities just wait for them.. :)

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