Superceded / rewritten 2021/12

seeking night owl software apprentices (2021, May edition)

I am a vastly experienced software developer who has sought apprentices since 2013, with mixed success. History has shown that I will spend vast amounts of time trying to help apprentices learn to develop / program, also with mixed success. Hopefully I have learned from the unsuccessful parts of that mixture.

When forced to make a binary choice on CraigsList computer gigs, I say "no pay." I freelance, and I don't claim to be good at the non-technical aspects of freelancing, such as getting paid. (Either direct or indirect ways of helping with that may be one of your tasks.) The longer answer is that your getting paid is possible, but there are a bunch of if-thens. If you need fast, reliable money, I can't help.

prereqs / qualifications

what you don't need

what you will or may need

Some people list these back to me to check off the qualifications, which is what I often do when responding to an ad. There is no need in my case, though. I will assume you meet the qualifications. If you don't, it will become clear soon enough. The checklist is for you, not me. There is no need to spend the time checking them off.

I won't try to help you develop on a mobile device. Thus a desktop or laptop are best. A Raspberry Pi (roughly $35, maybe less) hooked up to a keyboard, mouse, and screen (which you can get a thrift stores) should be enough horsepower and otherwise get the job done. With that said, I have not played with Raspberry Pis, so I can't be sure. If you're going to take that route, though, desktops and laptops you can get used at pawn shops or thrift stores are probably more straightforward. A friend got what seemed to be a perfectly usable used desktop for $100 at a pawn shop in 2019 or so.

I'm personally running on roughly $300 of hardware that I bought used in 2017. The point being that you don't need expensive hardware, just something beyond a mobile device (which of course can (foolishly) be several times more expensive than my setup).

You almost certainly need what I consider to be really basic computer skills. As specific, learned-the-hard-way examples, you need to know how to keep your graphical desktop clean by creating folders and tossing files into them. I don't care if your desktop is messy, the problem comes when a browser upload crashes because your desktop has 800 items on it. (This is a limitation introduced in Satan's Operating System (SOS) in very roughly May of 2019. I run Ubuntu Linux, so I only know about it due to muggles who have experienced the problem.) So, I don't care if it's messy right now as long as you are technically capable of cleaning it. The goal of that incident was to email me a text / HTML file as an attachment, although including it inline would have sufficed. Certain apprentices could not accomplish anything other than sending me photos of the file.

For related basic skills, it's helpful if you know where in the file tree files you create actually live. It helps if you have some idea what the file tree is, although you may not think of it as that. Hint: there is the root of a file tree, generally known as C: drive in SOS, then C: has "users" under it, then your user, then "My Documents" or whatever it's called now. (I grudgingly help people with SOS, and I only abandoned it myself in 2013, so I unfortunately know the terminology.)

For another very slightly more advanced skill, it's helpful if you can turn file extension on--can see them--and have some idea what they are: .DOC, .DOCX, .HTML, .TXT, etc.

You need to be content communicating in writing, starting with email. This probably means you need to type fast, but if you want to spend time hunting and pecking, maybe it will work. I don't initially want your phone number or XYZ newfangled app contact info. For example, I barely know what WhatsApp is. I'm open to learning what it is, but your leaving me that contact info is probably not motivation enough to get an account and go find you.

It is very helpful if you can sometimes be active between 4pm and 1am my time--Atlanta / New York / US Eastern Time / UTC -4 during Daylight Saving.

what you'll be doing for yourself

Maybe I should start with what I won't help with. I recently had a respondent go on at great length about learning the innards of an iCult device. I am a foaming at the mouth open source fanatic. I don't want to hear about the iCult or Satan's Operating System. So that leaves you two general choices that immediately come to mind:

1. Start learning the front end of web development--HTML, CSS, client-side, browser-based JavaScript. All of this is platform independent, so you can learn it in proprietary operating systems.

2. Install Linux, preferably Ubuntu. You can install it alongside other OSs.

I elaborate on those two paths.

what you'll be doing for me / what's in it for me

Giving software lessons makes me happy, which makes it easier for me to do unpleasant stuff like gig hunt.

If you'll help me go through CraigsList computer gigs ads in various cities, gig hunting, that is very, very helpful. You should figure out what you want to do first, though--pick one of the paths above or come up with another one.

Ideally I want at least one apprentice "on hand" / active every day between roughly 4pm - 1am. I want a virtual study group / daily affirmation group. Soon we may have a (virtual) company that works off hours. If you're on hand, you can help me gig hunt or perhaps just give me a different perspective on the various ways to find gigs. I'm weird enough that any different perspective is valueable, even if you're just a slightly different weird.

As for what you're doing technically, one option is that it's up to you. What do you dream of creating? I can help you divide up the steps and start doing it, or start learning the rudiments to do it, even if it takes months or years.

If you don't have your own ideas: look at my GitHub repos. (I had a GitHub account long before SatanSoft ate / absorbed them. Also, if SS wants to host my code for free, great! I have my own copies and backups.) They may be mostly unintelligible. Don't beat your head on them. Within a few minutes, though, you may find something that looks interesting. Ask me about it.

I have a pretty long list of other ideas for apprentices. Perhaps I'll be motivated to post it one day. I have posted various ideas, too, but they are quite a few years and iterations back.

how (not) to respond to me

If I can't tell you from a robot, I probably won't answer. For example, automated ads for your services just annoy me. "I am interested in your ad" can be written by a bot to *any* ad. "Not a robot" means you have given at least a whit of thought to how my ad is different. "I am not a robot" can be written by a robot. I once got into a brief exchange with someone who was probably human but what having a very hard time demonstrating it. If you can't think of how you'd program a simple bot, that's probably a bad sign.

History shows that I need a number of active apprentices. At the moment I have a number of mostly inactive apprentices. This is not a competition. Responses to the effect of "pick me" aren't needed. In almost all cases I'll keep responding to you. Keep in mind that a CraigsList relay address is keyed to the real address you first used, and CL will silently reject anything else. I suspect some people appear to vanish for that reason. If I'm not answering, you may slowly escalate to other means. You have my full name or can figure it out; my contact info is out there. With that said, please start with the CL relay because it's easier for me to keep track of you at first that way. If you go around that process, I may lose track of you. Note that I don't log into Facebook for months sometimes.

When I say *slowly* escalate, I once had my monitor die at 1am. I foolishly did not have a backup. This is when Wal*Mart was open 24 hours, but I couldn't quite motivate myself to go during the night. Then a respodent sent me about 30 text messages. I told him that my monitor was dead, and I really dislike typing on small keyboards; he kept at it. History shows I should have blocked him and been done with it.

Along the lines of non-competition, I don't really want your resume, although it may amuse me to read it. Also, I mentioned above that there is no need to check off your qualifications above. If you fail those, I'll figure it out soon enough. Those checks are more for you than me.

It's fine to write to the effect of "I am sick and tired of CL posters not responding to me, so I won't spend a moment until you answer." I have been there, done that, so that will get a positive response.

I get frustrated with "What do I do?" in very early emails. I have tried once again in this document to give you ideas. I am not claiming that this document is sufficiently clear to get you started, but then you should at least have questions to the effect of, "You said X, but I'm not sure what that means?" Or "Why should I install Linux?"

I usually respond between 4pm - 10pm. I may respond from 10pm - 2am. Outside of that, I am very unlikely to respond until 4pm - 10 comes back around.

If you write me at 7 - 10am and you neither express irony nor have an interesting response, that can be irritating. My life would be much simpler if I could function during those hours.

CraigsList version

seeking night owl software apprentices (Cumming (or anywhere))

I am a very experienced software developer seeking apprentices. I want to emphasize "no pay." The most obvious possible benefit to you is my helping you learn valuable skills.

You need something beyond a mobile device. Most obviously this is a desktop or laptop, but there are other options.

I don't care where you are, and no development experience necessary. You do need what I consider very basic computer skills. I give examples in my longer version: [this]

You need to be content communicating in writing, starting with email.

It is very helpful although perhaps not vital that you're sometimes available between 4pm - 1am Atlanta time (same as New York).

It's fine to write to the effect of "I am sick and tired of CL posters not responding to me, so I won't spend a moment more until you answer." I have more commentary on how to respond or not respond in the longer version.

Post ID: 7319853878 ; posted: 2021-05-10 19:47

previous incarnation

For the record, my previous ad, dated 2020/09 and still there for my 2021/03 CL post.

page history

  1. 7:49 - adding CL version info
  2. 7:34:16 - first post to web
  3. 2021/05/10 7:04pm - first validated and spell-checked version, not yet posted (EDT timezone - UTC -4 / Atlanta / New York
HTML5 valid