July 11, 2022

How To Become A No-code Developer (And Get Paid)


Not many people realize this, but no-code and low-code apps are quite sophisticated now. You can create both web and mobile apps with little to no code. I brought on a no-code developer to share his journey in this field. We talked about quite a few things:

  1. Who is this career right for?
  2. What are no-code and low-code apps actually capable of? And what are their current limitations?
  3. What paid opportunities exist for people that want to get into this field?
  4. The progression of this movement over the next 3-5 years.
  5. Will this movement replace software engineers?
  6. And additional advice sprinkled in throughout the episode.

For those just wanting to break into tech, this episode is for you. Enjoy!

Dan Hafner (guest):
Website - https://dappermobileapps.com

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Transcript

Don Hansen:

Welcome back to another web development podcast episode, where we help aspiring developers get jobs and junior developers grow. In this episode, we're gonna dive further into coding related coding, adjacent tech positions that I think a lot of aspiring developers should consider. Cause I know a lot of you out there are wanting to just break into tech up your salary and, um, even create some of your own applications, build revenue on it. So I brought on Dan, who has, um, He's dove into the no code, low code world. It's still something kind of new for me, but I think it's something that's growing pretty fast and I'm gonna learn more about it today. So, um, yeah. Dan, thanks so much for coming on.

Dan Hafner:

Hey Dawn. Thanks for having me, man. Appreciate it.

Don Hansen:

Love it. All right. So, um, yeah, go ahead and give us a little bit of an intro. Who are you? Why should we care? What you had to say?

Dan Hafner:

Yeah. I mean, I don't know if you should care what I have to say to be, to be honest, I'm just kidding. I disagree. Um, yeah, so my name is Dan Hoffner. Um, my company, as you can see behind me is called dapper mobile apps. I started a app development company. Which is all strictly no code. Um, and I started that. I mean, I'm sure we'll get a little bit more into the story, but, um, I started it because I wanted to build applications. I wanted to break into the tech space, just like you were saying. And, um, never learned to write a single line of code up until that point and tried and was like, yeah, I can't really figure that out. That's not really for me. Um, and I was still determined to do it. So, you know, that's just kind of who I am is just someone that's very. Very determined, very willing to, to, to keep going and push through things, even when they're tough, even when it's, you know, the odds are really, really, really against me and still kind of are in, in a way Um, but you know, it's just, I've, I've built something that I created. Um, really off the, the back of just my, my, my sweat, my, my determination, my willingness to try new things and to have an open mind to say like, just willing to, willing to be bad at something for a while and learn. Um, and that's just, that's a little bit about who I am. I live here and, uh, actually I'm in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with my wife. So, um, so yeah, that's a little bit about me.

Don Hansen:

Okay. Why are the odds stacked against you?

Dan Hafner:

Well, I mean, you and I were talking before we started recording. I mean that you, the market is saturated, you know? Um, I think even. Even inside of the no code space, there, there is quite a bit of market saturation. There's a lot of big agencies out there. There's a lot of really big tools that have already went and captured a lot of market share, to be honest, um, like what tools, uh, Well, one of the most foremost ones that even that I use it's called bubble. Um, I dunno if you've ever heard of it. It's um, it's bubble.io. It's probably one of the big ones they've gained. I mean, millions in, in venture startup funding. That's, it's a really, really big, robust platform. Um, I interviewed someone on my podcast actually, who has a platform called back endless, um, which is another type of web app, mobile app, no code development tool, um, which theirs is really built for a lot more database capacity. And performance. Um, cuz you know, one of the, one of the gripes about bubbles in, in, in no code technology in, in general has been that question of scaling and capacity and Hey, are you, you know, if you're building something on someone else's boat, are you gonna eventually have to get your own boat because you're gonna run outta stuff? You know what I mean? Um, and I mean, I think there's a lot of, I, I honestly, I don't think that there's a lot of people like me breaking into this as. Like a freelancer is a small agency, um, which it definitely gives a lot of room and, uh, and market share available. Um, but you, you , it, it it's, that's kind of why I said that as far as, you know, the odds are stacked against you because obviously a custom solution, a custom build of something is usually more desirable. But there's just trade offs between the no code and the custom code world. That I've just, that's one thing I've thrived on is educating my clients on which, uh, which platform is best for them, which, which route is best for them working with a lady right now where, you know, I'm really, she's in the middle of trying to figure out is, is she gonna go with a custom solution or is she gonna go with a no code solution?

Don Hansen:

I think eventually I wanna dive into. Because you were even talking about building mobile apps with, um, kind of just a no code direction. I do wanna dive into that eventually, but I kind of wanna get a field for the, what no code can do what low code can do. So here's, here are a couple things that I have, um, dove into. So for example, my third software engineering position, we basically built. Essentially like a low code solution for enterprise businesses to be able to use our software and automate a lot of their business processes. And so there's interesting building a lot of that. And there's one thing I realized there's a lot of complexity, cause I think a lot of people think, um, no code, low code is gonna be a super easy setup. And I think there's still a lot of technical things that you have. Grasp to even understand that specific platform. And then the data that you're receiving and sending that's gonna look different. You kind of have to, um, manipulate data in different ways for different platforms to use that data. Um, but you know, I've also heard about solutions of, you know, for web developers, quite frankly, as a software engineer, if all, you know, how to do is build a landing page, uh, your job's replace. It just is, um, you can build pretty, uh, robust custom solutions for even just different industries. There's so many, like no code, low code solutions for like, I use pod page, which is essentially like, I didn't have to build my website. It's incredibly simple, very robust. And I keep telling myself, I'm gonna code this out, but I'm like, why I don't need to. Yeah. It's gonna be everything I need to. Um, and then I've also, um, I'm also a fan of like Integra, which kind of automat. Integrates a lot of what I'm using. Mm-hmm , um, I can't think of like their big competitor that more people would know about, but those are the kind of solutions that I've discovered that, um, I personally been involved with or I use what, what can no code and low code actually build? Like, what are those, what I guess, how complex of applications can you come up with in that area?

Dan Hafner:

I mean, that's a good question. So there's, there's really two answers. I mean, there's, there's like a mobile app type of no code. And then there's like a web app type of no code solution. Right? So in terms of like a web app, kinda like what you were talking about, um, I mean you can build Facebook clones, you can build Airbnb clones, you can build fiber clones, Twitter, clones. Like you can, you can build those. Those level of, of, uh, of apps, right. And platforms where there's, um, complex sign in there's different admin and user and instructor dashboards. We just got done building one that's a little bit like a TMY, um, clone, which is courses and, you know, um, and, and repeatable things and, and, you know, I'm looking for the, the best word. It it's a course platform. Right. Um, so I mean, you can build things that complex, you really can. Um, you know, I love what you said before, just cuz you think it's a no code solution. You think the implementation's gonna be easy and it's, it's really not that that's kind of where I built my. My business and my authority was on, Hey, like I went down this path and found out all the things you could do. And I still found out that business owners just, they want the result. They want some, like you said, you can't be replaceable. So. Um, you know, in terms of the mobile app, uh, solutions there's oh my gosh. I don't even know how many platforms out there. Um, there's, you know, platforms out there, like build fire, like, uh, business apps, like, uh, you know, good barber, all kinds of different ones out there that you can find. And there's probably new ones that come up every week. Right. Um, and. Truly, it comes down to just a matter of preference. And that's kind of how I started was I just, I had an idea for a, a fitness app that I wanted to build and I went into, I don't know, probably 20 or 30 platforms and I would build the app with the free trial. Right. And then I would, you know, if it didn't quite do what I wanted it to do or wasn't complex enough or didn't, you know, fulfill the needs I had for the app, I would move on to the next one. Um, and that that's kind of a, you know, I think the mobile world is actually way behind the web app world. Um, there's, there's a new solution out there. I don't know if you're familiar with it's called flutter. Mm-hmm um, that's a, that's a really big up and coming one for mobile. I have not dove into that fully yet. I've played around with it. I've done the, you know, the sign up and, and seen a little bit more about what it can do. That seems like one of the most comprehensive platforms for me, um, in the mobile space at least. But, um, but yeah, I mean, you can really, it really comes down to just a, a use of your imagination and software engineers are usually pretty imaginative people to begin with. Um, and for me it was, it was really going back to. Lauren, just being very cognizant of that. It's, it's the same process as a regular development piece in inside of the 30,000 foot view of you need product requirements you need, um, You need a roadmap. You need actual like documentation of, Hey, this is what we expect this to do. And I've yet to run into a situation. I, I shouldn't say that I've run into one situation where I found a no code capability that could not be done. And that was this, this same lady where it's basically virtual reality stuff, augmented reality, that kind of stuff. She's like, I wanna do all this stuff. And I was like, eh, you don't really know if I can do that. That's probably more of a custom thing that you're gonna wanna look up. Um, and if anyone knows of anything inside of a no code way, you can build, uh, virtual reality, please let me know. cause that would be really, really cool. Um, but yeah, I mean you can do, you can do a lot. You really can.

Don Hansen:

I, um, so I brought on someone that's a little bit more of a flutter expert. Uh, it was an episode a while back. Uh, he became, I think, a Google expert and he did entire speeches on it and like, it, it sounded really P uh, powerful. And I think even flutter, I think it started out on mobile and then it would, um, I think it transitioned to different platforms as well now, but there are the thing is there are so many different apps out there. I don't think people actually realize all these apps that do exist, that can give someone that wants to build a fitness app, you know, 30 different tries to be able to build a perfect fitness app. Like even just that number is an incredible, I, I would not even think they're like 30 different options to be able to build some random mobile app. Um, so for software engineers, I guess that are a little. That aren't entrepreneurship minded that actually do want to expand into building an app eventually for themselves and maybe build a business out of it. There's a big struggle to come up with ideas. There's a big struggle to come up with those product requirements. There's a big struggle because I think a lot of. Developers are taught to dive into the code too quickly by quite frankly, very low quality courses. Um, I think like good software engineers know to take a step back and to understand the user and understand the problem, but there are so many aspiring developers that haven't been taught yet. So this is kind of a random question, but if you want to build stuff, but you don't feel like you can come up with ideas, how do you train yourself? To get that mindset to come up with ideas, to identify problems and solutions that you could build out.

Dan Hafner:

Oh man. I mean, that was, that was something I developed over years to be, to be honest, I don't know if people wanna hear that, but cuz I that's kind of, my superpower now is I can go into really any business and kind of see exactly how they can translate, you know, what you were talking about earlier. Any, any business problem into a technology solution. Right. Um, but you know, for, for anyone out there who's, who's, who's wanting to get into this field, but. You know, doesn't really wanna go the entrepreneurial route. What what's super powerful about this is that if you do come up with an idea, now I'm kind of skipping over your question here. But if, once you have that idea of, of a platform or an, or a solution you wanna build the no code way allows you to do it very, very quickly and a lot quicker of a way, because. Of the, the very nature of plugin, like plugins and templates and those types of things that you can just go in and change the text and change the links and change where it goes and change the colors. And then boom, you have, you have something that's that looks very, very professional and no one can even tell that it was done on no code or, or, or code. If, if, you know, if you don't really know what you're, what you're looking at, right. Um, But for me in terms of finding the ideas, um, man, I mean, I, I come up, I, I hear ideas all the time when I'm on podcasts, when I'm in conversation with clients, um, you know, hearing. Like, Hey, you know, it'd be cool if I had a solution for this thing, when you hear something like that, that's when your ears perk up. When you, when you hear someone complaining about a problem, or when you, when you hear something repeatedly, I've, I've trained myself to learn like, huh? There's there's, there's a reason they're running into that and there's gotta be a solution. That it might not be technological. You know what I mean? It might be, might be brought your neighbor down the street. I don't know. But like, it, it can be something that you can pay attention to and think how, how could there be a solution for this. Right. Um, and yeah, I, I get it with, with the ideas and, and sometimes, you know, have grace with yourself when you're, if you can't come up, everyone wants to come up with like the next big, giant awesome idea. And the fact is. when you come up with original ideas, like those are the ones that are gonna be more complicated, take more time to implement. And it's gonna be two years before you get an MVP of that up and running. Right. Try to build an improvement product, try to build something that's a little bit different if you're just starting out. That's my recommendation, you know, take something like a, like a five or. Workplace. Right. But put it in inside of one niche, put it inside of something and then add a, uh, quoting feature or like add something different that just kind of sets it apart a little bit. Right. Um, that's, that's a very, very, you know, easy way to start, I think is just kind of building improvement products. um, at least if you're trying to showcase that you've built something or done this product. Um, but yeah, coming up with ideas is, is always the . It's always the snag point for sure.

Don Hansen:

It is. Um, I feel like I'm someone that's been doing that since, uh, college, a long time ago, and I feel like it is something you have to train for a very long time. Um, it's hard for me. To always be able to empathize with someone's mindset that can. That just draws a blank when coming up with project ideas, I think like you said, it happens over time. It's listening to different ideas. And I actually like the recommendation. I've heard this before, when you have like, even with, uh, fiber focusing a little bit more on a niche, right. Does fiber need all of those features? Probably not. If you're focused. More on a more specific niche, right? You have more targeted features. You can probably trim a lot of the bloat. And so even narrowing down a very specific feature of a, a very large application that you are well aware of can kind of take you down this avenue of discovering a more specific solution for users with a more specific need. Um, that's advice. I got a long time ago and I think it's really good advice, but yeah,

Dan Hafner:

the way, well, okay. I'm sorry. Just, I just wanted add one thing in there too. One thing I've seen really that's really, really big recently is those kind of matching slash marketplace solutions. So if, if people are looking for ideas, um, you know, being able to match with, um, a specific service, like say you come up with a platform where. Um, local singers can get matched to restaurants who are looking for live entertainment, like something like that. Right. Those kind of things. Um, I've seen like actually are very, very popular these days. I'm a, I'm a part of, a lot of like forums and apps that, you know, people can post work on. And I have to say almost like 75% of new ideas that people are bringing for like, Hey, I need a developer. I, I need a no code solution for this are marketplace ideas, those types. Curated. Hey, I need to match with this type of person or this type of business. Those are, those are kind of a hot ticket right now. Hmm.

Don Hansen:

Yeah. Okay. That's good to know. Yeah, for sure. The way, the way you talk, you definitely talk like an entrepreneur. You talk like someone that has been doing this for a while. Do you feel like, so I don't, I don't. Yeah, you probably Don. Know, a whole lot of software engineers in depth. You might have worked with them in the past, but like, I guess my question is, do you really need to want to build cus or not custom solutions, but just like solutions for business problems. Um, do you need to wanna build applications on your own? Do you need to have an entrepreneurship spirit to really enjoy low code? No code and low code, or do you feel like there's like a specific personality type that would absolutely love this and a specific one that would hate it?

Dan Hafner:

Hmm. That's a good question. Um, so I don't think you need to have an entrepreneurial mindset or approach to be able to do this. You know, for me, it was just, I, I had the entrepreneurial bug. Before I had the desire to build apps, right. It just, it kind of came to me as an idea. And I was like, oh, that's that? That's interesting to me, that's something I wanna build. Right. Um, that was just my path. But, you know, I think, you know, there there's plenty of room and I I'm even, you know, that's one thing in this space that I've searched for, it had trouble finding is, is people who are actually experienced in this type of technology. Because for me, I'm I'm more of the entrepreneurial mindset. I would rather spend my time on getting new clients on marketing my brand on actually growing and then delegating that kind of stuff to someone who's better at it than me. Right. And if you can still I'm I'm I mean, there's, there's, there's jobs that pay really, really good money for this kind stuff, to be honest, you know? Um, but I think I still. I mean you're right. I, I, I worked, I don't know a whole lot of software developers in this day and age like that are personal friends of mine or anything like that. A few. Um, I used to work in software testing. That's kind of how I got my, my start in, in all of this. Um, and you know, I think anyone who's, who's still. Mind it like if you, if you're problem oriented, if you're solution oriented of like I was talking about earlier of how, how to take a business problem and turn it into a technical solution, I think you're very, uh, you're very well off on the right foot for starting in this, in this world. If that's something you want to do, um, because the speed at which you can and solve things is so quick. It's, it's so fast. Like. Even, even if there's something that doesn't exist that you're trying to solve, there's probably something you can build or link to it. And I call it duct tape and stuff together. Right. You can actually do that. And then the client never has to see that, or the person never has to even know that it's like that, you know? Um, I don't think that answered the question. Um, uh, but yeah, I mean, it's, it's a very, very interesting thing to think about for sure.

Don Hansen:

Okay. So essentially, yeah, I think when people think like, are you entrepreneurship minded, you kind of simplified it. Well, are you problem and solution oriented, right? Are you focused on identifying problems? And that's essentially, I think might be a good indicator that maybe you would enjoy something like this, but you also mentioned that there are high paying positions. If you did wanna pursue this. So like outside of entrepre, What happens when you want to join a company, you're trying to break into tech you're problem, solution oriented. What positions like if I was that way, what positions would exist for me in the no code, low code world that would pay me a salary.

Dan Hafner:

Yeah. I mean, cuz the first thing that comes to mind for me, um, this was a path I went when I was first starting was actually being a co technical founder, um, was actually going out and. Finding there's a lot of platforms out there like this that will, there's tons of people with app ideas out there who are searching for the person who can technically pull it off right now. I will preface this by saying, um, you know, there's probably, there's a lot of risk in starting a business. There's uh, maybe no salary. Guaranteed for, um, for a technical co-founder of sorts. Um, but you know, risk versus reward. It can always be something that turns out pretty well for you. Right. Um, I think another, um, role inside of that is probably the role of either like head, you know, head, maybe not head engineer, but, um, like a project management type of position. Um, or even just like an, any kind of implementation job where you are. And I'll be, I'll be honest. I mean, I've searched for jobs inside of. Indeed. And in zip recruiter and stuff like that, using the words like bubble and, and some of the NOCO platforms and you don't really find a whole lot. Right. Um, which is very interesting to me, cuz I feel like there's a lot of companies who are really more focused on. Wanting, you know, traditional, uh, coding, um, skilled people that, that can actually build the custom stuff. Right. You know, in, in any kind of language or anything like that. Uh, which is interesting, you know what I mean? There's so, I mean, I don't know if there, if you go out and search for like NOCO jobs on indeed. If you'll find a whole lot, um, But, you know, there's always a freelancing option that you can do. Um, there's always side gigs that you can do for that as well. And, and then I think, you know, definitely the technical co-founder piece is something, um, that, you know, you don't have to dive into 10. You don't have to be a co-founder for 10 different companies. If you find the right one, um, there are some people who will bring, they can bring you in as, as a partner for a certain percentage of the company. If you don't need to be just a 50% owner, you can do like a five. Revenue share type of deal. You know what I mean? So there's, there's a lot of different deals that I've seen go down with with, um, with those kind of opportunities.

Don Hansen:

That's a really good piece of advice. Um, I don't think I've seen a lot of like no code, low code in those words in job postings, but I hear about a lot of positions. Um, and this is my personal experience. I think having this type of knowledge, like we'll dive in a project, uh, management, project development. I think usually a lot of project managers have an entrepreneurship spirit or will simplify it. They are problem and solution oriented and. Kind of like, they really love analyzing and just being aware of and discovering problems that exist and how we can solve them. Right. I think there are like more specific like product development roles that it's not like project management necessarily where everything, everyone else is building things out. But I, I hear product development roles are a little bit more focused on actually pushing out like a very bare bones thing and testing it out. I wonder if there are project management or development roles that will focus on, like the project manager will build this solution out, like a very bare bones thing of it while engineers are working on. The, you know, the custom solution that you guys are just managing. Maybe the product development team starts trying to build out something new that doesn't take as much time. Doesn't take tons of engineering money and, and you don't need the whole team to build it, just to test it out. And maybe that's how companies can push out new products. I feel like that's where I really see this type of position shining in much larger companies that even have very strong engineering teams. What do you think about. no,

Dan Hafner:

that's, that's really good. I, I know there are solutions. Uh, when I first started down this, I actually interviewed for a couple of jobs in, in that kind of product development role. Um, and, and, you know, what's interesting when you, you keep bringing up the word entrepreneur, right? I think that, I don't know if anyone has ever heard of this term, but there's, there's a term called intro entrepreneur as well. And that's kind of a role where you get to be. Kind of an entrepreneur inside of a business, right? So say for someone in my business, I would hire head of product development, right? And I'm just saying, Hey, you are in charge of all our client projects, all these special projects I hand over to you. I need you to design these. I need you to figure out how they're gonna work. I need you to manage the developers. I need you to, to figure all this out and run this depart. I'll check in with you in a month. Right? Let me know how it's going. That kind of role. Um, cuz you, you, you're not the business owner. You're not taking on the risk of like, oh, where's my paycheck coming from and where's the next client coming from? And then what's our marketing budget look like. You're you're on the role of like manag, you're still managing people. And you're, you're still managing projects and budgets and that kind of stuff, but you're, you're still in charge. You're, you're in, you're kind of running your own little business inside of a business. So you don't really have the risk of that associated with it. Um, so maybe that's attractive to some kind of people, right. And a lot of, like you said, a lot of people kind of start. In that developer role and some people graduate to that product or product manager or project manager or whatever. Um, so I mean, yeah, I definitely see the value in that. Just like you said, as far as kind of working your way up that ladder to get to that point. And, you know, that's perfectly, I mean, to be honest with you sometimes, I mean that that's a more secure role. You can make more money than an entrepreneur in that role because it's, it's steady. You don't, you don't have the, the, the stress and the, the anxiety of the business and in all the different moving parts, you're just in charge of this one thing, you know,

Don Hansen:

I like that. I like that. Yeah. I mean, you don't have to answer this, but I wonder if a lot of product, uh, developers, they sign. Contracts to prevent them from creating their own applications on the side. It almost feels like you can even use that to gain the experience, to be able to eventually start your own company like software engineering. You gotta watch for that in the contract. There are certain states that'll protect you, but you're. what do they call you? Not a creator. You're an inventor. I think maybe that's the word where a lot of your inventions can be claimed by the company. Whereas like, like Illinois, I was protected. If I built something without company resources off company, time thing is it gets tricky cuz they wanted me to work off company time sometimes. So what is my normal time? But um, Illinois protected me with that. And I wonder if project managers are protected with that, because I feel like, so even just like my audience, they wanna salary. They don't a lot of people that are watching my channel. Uh, especially during these times they're kind of starving for money, right. So they're trying to break into tech. They're trying to up their paycheck. Uh, they're career. Transitioners a lot of the time too. And I think hopefully that gives people some hope that like, if you do have that entrepreneurship spirit, I think maybe I like that word entrepreneur, um, can be your next step. If you really wanna learn the business side of things, if you really wanna understand users and identify problems and you like doing that, um, yeah, this is really interesting, I think.

Dan Hafner:

Yeah. Yeah, sorry. I didn't mean, well, I was just gonna say, um, so there's actually a really good dynamic. I want to explain to you too, as well is so like when I said I, I, I got my start in software testing. I, I was working at a help desk and they kind of moved me up in the organization to this QA role. Right. And it was all manual testing. I did some, you know, automated testing of software eventually, but it was all. User case, um, end user testing. Right. And we worked on web apps and that kind of stuff. And I, I learned a little bit of coding when I was there, just cuz I had to and. It, but, you know, when I look back on it, I'm so glad I was in that role because it's helped me tremendously inside of starting this business, because I realized we went by the agile methodology there, we used tools like JIRA and confluence and that kind of stuff. And I've carried that over into my business, even though it's mainly just me and a few outsource VAs and, and a little bit of outsourcing, right. Because there's this. This transition from, you know, going as I'm like, I'm just the, the QA tester. Like, Hey, you test this use use case, test this, whatever, to being the actual person who interfaces with the customer and know has to know all the business processes has to know what it's gonna actually gonna take to pull this off. And then all of a sudden you're in, in a sprint meeting with a customer and they're like, Hey, I want this feature. And you're like, oh, that's gonna cost you another $50,000. Right. As a, as a tester, as a developer, as someone inexperienced in that, you're not gonna have that, um, that experience, right? So developing apps inside of bubble and in the, in the mobile app space that I've been doing taught me when I was starting out to think in that way to always, even if I had a customer that was paying me barely any money, right. When I started out, I was charging way less than I should have been. I, I still treated it like. A, you know, what, what's the requirement? What does this have to do? What's the use case? What's the incentive for the user? What problem are we solving? And it, and it helped me transition into this. Okay. There's data, there's database things. And this has to pull from here, and this is doing a search here and I'm filtering for this. And it was, it's been a really good go between. So if I ever wanted to transition into a full custom coding type of deal, I already have that background inside of business processes, logical thinking, you know, all how all this ties together. Um, so I, I just, I just wanted to add that because it it's been something that's been, um, been really, really helpful for me.

Don Hansen:

I like it. I'm glad you added that. It feels like it feels like a lot of people that are going to enjoy something like this are probably going to get entangled in a lot of different areas in the business. And I think, I think that's really interesting in that, to me sounds promising because I, that to me tells me that cuz like even software engineers and building custom solutions, it's still. It's still kind of limited into building the, the essentially, uh, the product itself, but it, a lot of times that scope is capped off and most teams aren't really giving software engineers that flexibility to like really have ownership over the features that they're building. And that's, I, I, my third company that changed, I was much more of an owner of what I was building and it was weird. But that's not like the traditional software engineering way, especially when you get in a much larger companies, especially fan companies. You're very, very, very focused on building this one specific thing that tons of users are gonna use, but it's like you have a very giant process and there's no way that they really care to have software engineers expand into taking more ownership of the product, into solving problems within the business. And that's why I actually. I wouldn't do this interview because I see like no code having much more of an opportunity to expand and build roles in many areas of the business. I think that's really interesting. I think that's really powerful.

Dan Hafner:

Yeah. Um, I mean, it, it's, it's funny. So I actually, when I, when I first started, I, I, uh, I got approached by a company. They were just starting out and they offered me just kind of a partnership deal. Kind of like what I was saying, just to kind of build the app. Um, and I really liked the idea. I, I was really on board with it. It was something that I was really getting into and I was like, I, I really wanna do this, this I'm just gonna do this for them. Right. Um, and it's been, it's grown ever since. And what, what is really cool is I almost turned into the head technology officer, the, the CTO of the company, because I, the, the intent was just to go in there and build the app and then just kind of be like, okay, I'm just gonna be passively gaining my revenue, share from what I built. Right. But then I realized there's gonna be a lot of maintenance. There's gonna be a lot of improvements that are needed. I built the damn thing. So I should be able to like, you know, go in and even if they need to outsource, they need to hire someone or do whatever. I should be able to be the one that's like, Hey, this is how this works. This is where this is documented, all this kind of stuff. Um, but I almost turned into a product owner because I was very, um, involved. Hey, I think we really need this feature. Um, I really think, you know, the people are crying out for this type of thing. They need this search capability, they need this filter thing, they need, whatever. Right. Um, so I almost, I, and, and even I got to the point at one point where I was like, man, if this, if this app really takes off, I'll just quit. I'll just lay my business down because this has so much potential. This could truly be like a, really like a multimillion dollar, big time venture. I'm like, I'll just lay my business down and go work over here as this as a CTO. You know what I mean? So, um, so yeah, it's, it's really, really interesting. I mean, there are possib, I I'm living proof of that for sure. It's

Don Hansen:

a really inspiring story. That's yeah, that's interesting. I think the more I dive into this, the more I discover the capabilities of it. I'm very, so I think I wanna touch on two things and we'll kind of probably summarize with that, but. where do you see no code ending up in three to five years? And then how do you even get started with that? So, which do you wanna tackle first?

Dan Hafner:

Um, we can, we can do the fir in order you said it, so, um, I mean, it, it's hard for me to group it all into one again, it's almost like there's, there's two different worlds almost with mobile and web inside a no code, cuz the they're just different. They just really, really are different. A lot of 'em don't talk to each other. Um, even inside of, you know, the, the platform I've been talking about bubble. Um, you really can't build a mobile app with it. There are extensions and different plugins. You can buy and translate it into a mobile app. It's like a, you know, a few hundred dollars upgrade. You can there's companies that exist that'll translate that. Um, but I was, I was doing an interview with somebody who was a big SAS, uh, startup founder, and he was telling me, um, what he really wants. And he's like, Dan, if you could build this, just be awesome. He, he said he wants to be able to talk to his phone. And have it spit out, um, like funnels and email automation and tech, like in a marketing sense, right? Like it'll like literally build your funnel for you as you're speaking it. Right. And I was like, well, what if you could build an app like that? Like, what if you could just speak into, you know, like speak into your phone in some kind of AI would just build all that for you. Um, you know, in the next three to five years, I really see, uh, the no code space being able to handle. Um, a lot more capacity than it currently can. Cause there's, there's some businesses that's always been one of the rubs of no code is like, well, like I said, at the beginning, when, when you, when your boat's big enough, you gotta kind of go onto your own boat. Um, and I think, you know, companies like that backend list, like I was talking about are, are ones that are, that have kind of figured that out. And you can say, Hey, we could scale infinitely from day one. We don't even have to switch. Right. And then I would really like to see the ability to include things like what I was talking about earlier, these, these virtual reality things, these augmented reality things, um, you know, the ability to just almost be able to do just about everything that a custom solution can do. I don't know if it'll get there in three to five years. Um, but those types of things I think would make a huge difference and would really make. To the point where companies would say like, man, we don't even really need to spend. 10 times the money when we could just build a good enough solution for, for, for this, you know what I mean? Um, so, so that's kind of that part of the question. And then the second part is how, how do I get started? Um, again, what do you wanna build? Do you wanna do mobile apps or do you wanna do web apps? Right? I think a lot of people are probably think on here probably thinking web apps. Um, so. I think bubble is a great resource. I think there's over 2 million people on the platform already. I mean, it's very well established. Um, many of you on here, maybe even know what I'm talking about already. Um, it's a free account. You can, you can host your app on there for free forever, and you don't even pay until you launch it live. And then it's just like a small monthly fee, right? Um, so you can take 10 years to build it if you really want to. And then, you know, never pay a dime. Um, And then for, for mobile apps, obviously you can get in touch with me and I can put you in the right right direction. But there are a lot of, a lot of platforms out there that you can search for, um, that have varying levels of complexity, of UI, um, of capability and capacity. And a lot of them are, I mean, it's hard for me to give a recommendation on all those cuz obviously I have my own software for that, but, um, but it's, I. I, I would really try a bunch of different ones. Kind of like I did is you can sign up for a lot of these for free, um, or even like free, you know, two week trials or something. I wouldn't, I wouldn't do that unless you're really kind of intent on, on using it. You know what I mean? Cuz then you get charged and you get all, you know, oh, I mean to pay that or whatever. Um, but, um, but yeah, I mean I think there there's a lot of really, really cool ways to get started on all this and it's, it's pretty easy.

Don Hansen:

How long do you think it'll take for the VR one to come into play? Oh, not when you wanted to, how long, real, real

Dan Hafner:

estate? I probably longer than five years, to be honest. I mean, it's so for me, I'm, I'm totally, I'm totally green to that world. I don't even know what it what's required to build a VR app. Like to be very straight up. I have no idea what's included. Um, all I know is that my one, my client went to a VR company and got a quote from them and it. Astronomically high. Um, so I can only imagine what it would take to, to build into this. Um, maybe there would be just kind of, um, a way to do it. I mean, I even looked into one, one of my clients. We actually had a, uh, They had a, they brought up an idea about making a, a Roku app, like a Roku TV type of app. Um, and I found that there's really no code solutions out there for those kind of things. You know what I mean? So building, building those kind of things, even, I never would've thought a million years that I could build an app that I could actually click on my TV. You know, I never would've thought that that's possible, but you can do that. And, um, so things like that are really cool, you know, to be able to, to build. So, I mean, honestly, I think in the future, like what does apple do? What do, what do big companies like this? Do they take the comp they, the complex things and they make them simple. Right? That's that's ultimately what a great product does. , you know, you, you're taking something that's super complex and making it as simple as possible. Right. So when you think about your ideas, when you think about getting started into something, what. What super complex thing. Can you boil down? And that's, that's a lot of work. That's not easy. That's not like something you can do every day. Um, but you know, and I think that's kind of where the future of these no code tools are, are going, they're making it. So it's more re it's more mobilely, responsive. It's more, um, it's just has better capacity, better UI, better experience, better tagging systems, better automation, right? Because. If you can make it so you can build a business and a box by signing up for a $97 a month subscription. I mean, that's making the complex incredibly simple, right? Um, I mean, that's one thing I, I strive to do and that's one thing I'm working on, but you know, that's, that's a hard thing to do, so.

Don Hansen:

I like that. Even when you talk about a lot of this, you can, you can definitely tell the passion for this field, for sure. And even for aspiring developers that are like they've listened to us and are like, I'm not sure I really wanna dive into this. I think I really still wanna focus on software engineering. I mean, you basically describe some things that still need to be built for low code solutions, right? Like as a software engineer, maybe that could be your next project. See where the deficits are with software engineering. I mean, you already know how fascinated Dan is with this, uh, with this, uh, VR idea. Right? So maybe you build that for Dan that he's gonna love you forever. Um, I would, but I feel like I have a better feel for the field. I feel like I have a better feel for the capabilities. Um, good. And you know, I'm glad I brought you on, cause I you're clearly passionate about this and I think maybe even following you down the road, I could see you as someone that you should follow, because I think you're really following this pretty closely. You're really fascinated by what's coming out of this field. Um, do you think we've missed anything? Um,

Dan Hafner:

No. I, the one thing I, I just wanted to share again, was that, you know, That bridge and that go between of, you know, it, when it hit me of that logical thinking piece, that was something that had been disconnected from, from my other job, um, until I got into here. And, um, no, I mean, I think we covered pretty much, pretty much anything, uh, or everything. Um, I guess the, the only other thing I would add into there is, um, I mean, this isn't like game changing stuff, but a lot of these platforms, if you go on and you start, or you do whatever you're gonna do with 'em. A lot of them come with prebuilt templates. So a lot of it is not even starting from scratch. Um, there's repeatable things you can do. Um, so I mean, even if you're just looking to build something as a proof of concept, that's, uh, one thing, oh, you know what, this is good. We should cover this. So you can build prototypes. You can build clickable prototypes. That's a really good use case for this kind of stuff. I've done that. Uh, before I actually used to have a service, I don't really do it anymore. Um, but I've built. Clickable prototypes for companies who were looking to go get funding, um, and get investment. And I was able to turn it around in like a couple of weeks, like something that would've taken them, you know, a lot more investment, a lot more time upfront. Um, I was able to do, you know, and, and, you know, for somebody like in your audience, if they're lacking projects that they've been able to build in a custom way, um, I'm not saying hack your way into this, but you know, you can use a no code template. You can build something like that, change it around and, and put your name on it. And you know, it, you can call it your work, cuz you've done the work for it. But a lot of it was done for you. You know what I mean? So I'm not saying to. Copyright INFR anything like that. But, um, but you know, it can be used as use cases in a lot of, in a lot of cool ways cuz you can build stuff so much quicker.

Don Hansen:

Yeah. I think that's interesting. I think that's really good advice. I love the idea of the prototype or using it to build a prototype I'm I'm notorious for spending way too much. Building custom solutions when, um, I should have, I like even just a concept like five years ago when I learned that I need to just put a landing page. Put up signups put up pre-sign up right before building out the entire solution. Like I can, you know, I can even just build out the front end with a bunch of mock data and like build, uh, interactivity with it, but like even diving into a no code solution or low code solution that, um, just builds that prototype much more quickly. Um, I think that's an option. I think I'm personally going to. but, um, yeah, I, I mean, that's all really good advice. Uh, I do appreciate you coming on Dan. Uh, so, you know, let us know what you think in the YouTube comments. I'm super interested about this. I, I don't think software engineers, I think some software engineers have a fear of no code, low code. I can tell you personally, my opinion is it's going to evolve software engineer. and it's also going to create new positions for software engineers that do wanna focus a little bit more on automation on AI and even virtual reality, and just like getting solutions up, um, that are focused on making other areas of business, have an easier time of pushing out their products and iterating on those products. So. It's not something you should fear, but it's something that I think you should consider even moving forward to. If any of this sounds appealing to you, but, um, yeah. Before we wrap this up, uh, Dan, if people wanna reach out to you in anything else you wanna share, uh, what do you have to share for us?

Dan Hafner:

um, well, I just real quick wanted to add, you know, when you going back to the jobs you were asking about, um, you know, if you go to any no code agency website and you look at careers, I guarantee you, you click on careers. What you'll see is, uh, senior developer needed junior developer needed senior developer needed because they're always trying to improve the platform to make it more. Robust and, and, and more competitive with real, uh, with, you know, more custom capabilities. So just like you said, some of the jobs are actually in the no code space to build the custom code for it. Absolutely. Um, but yeah, so if anyone wants to, to reach out to me, um, the best place is, is my site. It's called dapper mobile apps.com. Um, you can book a call with me just for a free, you know, 15, 30 minutes to just talk about anything or ideas you might have. I always love having. Ideas of, um, I hear, you know, people pitch me up ideas almost every single day. So I love to hear about all the off the wall things or the really cool ideas or anything like that. So I'm always open for, for conversations like that.

Don Hansen:

All right. I love it. Uh, well, like I said, let us know what you think, um, of this field. Does it even interest you? Um, and definitely reach out to Dan he's, you know, you. You've heard him talk. He seems really optimistic, very passionate about this. Um, and I think he'll be pretty excited to talk to you, but yeah. Seriously, Dan, thanks so much for coming on.

Dan Hafner:

Thank you for having it was awesome.