Start A Coding Business

by Nate Croft

The world has changed since I’ve entered the ranks of the employed. You used to be able to show up somewhere, work hard and advance in that business. That is no longer the norm. What now? How are people getting ahead?

I don’t claim to have definitive answers, but I can tell you where there is amazing opportunity for growth. Coding.

That’s pretty generic I know but that is sort of the point. Almost everything that is technologically exciting has some sort of code attached to it. Twitter, Facebook? Code built. iPhone apps? Them too. From Javascript to Ruby on Rails, the businesses of the world need coders.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to give you links to a few things to get you started. And when you’ve gotten up the nerve and the determination to jump off the deep end into the unknown, I want to hear about it, ok?

I’m breaking this down in sections so start where you need to.

The Only Things You’ll Ever Need To Buy

Notice I said need. This is bare minimum. It’s a nice minimum, but you’ll no doubt want to add things later.

  1. A Mac - You Can get a brand new laptop for right at $1000 straight from Apple.
  2. Pixelmator - This is the everday Photoshop for $59. Image editing and creation is now way affordable. Get it here.
  3. Esspresso - HTML/CSS with FTP built in and “Sugars” that offer expandability for other coding languages. About $80 from MacRabbit
  4. A Good Mouse - That’s a personal thing so check out what seems cool to you. Cost $35 - $65.
  5. iPhone Developer Cost - This is optional but recommended if you want to build iPhone apps. $99. Check it out here.

That’s $1433.30 with tax estimated at 10%.

Free Things You Should Download Right Now

These things are free so there’s no reason not to have them on your machine.

  1. ExpressionEngine Core - Build amazing websites with our favorite CMS. The Core version is free. Download ExpressionEngine Core.
  2. Code Igniter - This is the open source framework that ExpressionEngine is built on. Download Code Igniter here.
  3. Ruby on Rails - So many great web apps and sites are build on Ruby on Rails that it is just crazy. Download Ruby on Rails.
  4. Linotype FontExplorer X 1.2.3 - It’s the free version of FontExplorer. Manage your fonts! Download FontExplorer X 1.2.3 here.
  5. Free Fonts - Seriously, they are everywhere. Do a search and load them into FontExplorer.

Learn To Code

This might come as a surprise to many of you, but they way we learned to code was Google. Seriously. Don’t know where to start? Search for tutorials and simple example projects. You can educate yourself faster and more efficiently than going to school. Start searching and start learning.

What, no PC Love?

You’ve probably noticed everything here is pretty much Mac based. You can put together the same kind of system for a Windows machine, but I don’t use one so I’m not up on the PC options currently available. If any of our PC using readers know of some good options, please leave them in the comments. Thanks!

April 08, 2009



  1. This is my plan. I love you guys.

  2. I am reading your blog from Argentina. I’m 17 years old and in less than a year I shall start university.

    It was tough to me choosing what to study. I was absolutely sure that I wanted to be in the technology business, building cutting-edge apps and devices, but I didn’t know how to face it.

    Should I study business, design or software engineering? I ended up picking the latter because I believe it will give me the necessary tools to start from scratch and really understand what am I dealing with in my business.

    I am also sceptic about spending 5 years studying just to get a degree and miss a lot of real-world experience. Time will tell. Maybe I’m too young to see the value in ‘formal’ education.

  3. Just wondering if you guys have ever tried CodeIgniter? I don’t know anything about Ruby on Rails, but it seems like CodeIgniter would be a great framework for integrating with Expression Engine projects. Since they’re both from the same company.

  4. Good call, Ben. Add us some CodeIgnitor up there, Nate. We haven’t used it yet, but seeing as EE 2.0 will be built on it I foresee it in our future.

  5. Code Igniter is up. Thanks guys, good call.

    Troy and Federico, you can do it!

  6. Nice blog posts please view links for coding/education

  7. well in fellas. Great list! I’ve been looking for an app to manage fonts. I’ve also been thinking about diving into Ruby and checking out Code Igniter. I would agree with your comment about learning to code. We all have different learning styles, but there is literally something for everyone out there. All flavors of tutorials: video, interactive, web-based, etc. The resources one has available to them now is “kick awesome”. : ) Thanks again.

  8. i’d like to know if there is a certification to show the skill level is in terms of quality of code when it comes to front end xhtml,css & Javascipt ?

  9. I would agree with your comment about learning to code. We all have different learning styles, but there is literally something for everyone out there.

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  11. Hey guys, great article! I’m glad to see I’m on a good way (by Your article) grin Cause I’ve all the things You mentioned! grin I’m learning a code for some time and I agree with You, Google and it’s search results was my first source for learning! I hope I’ll be able to set up my own web design business in the future, cause I really love it! grin

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