Interview with a Web Developer
An interview with Duane Harrington, a web developer and part owner of the company Twins Inc., located in Alpharetta, GA.
What is the most requested service you provide?
Search Engine Optimization. The most highly sought after goal of most website owners who are looking to create a successful business online is search ranking. Our program of organic search engine optimization works to deliver even the smallest websites to the highest ranking available per the content involved. Our success sometimes hinges on a website finding a good rank overall after we have completed our work.
How long have you been operating Twins Inc.?
Eight Years. While I was attending college, I created this business to allow me an opportunity to practice some of the skills I was learning while getting my degree. Through all the hard work that has occurred since then, me and my partner are now able to earn a good living from our efforts with our clients.
Can you tell us a little about your training and school experience?
I began developing Internet content while in school at the University of Pittsburgh. The classes I was taking did not center on web development, but because of my business background, I looked to advance my knowledge of business online by taking HTML, PHP, and other designing languages for use on my own programs. Now that I have my degrees, I take the business knowledge I learned and mix it with the Internet business opportunities that have been available now for over 20 years online. Because I found my love of the Internet to be real during a time when the Internet was first booming, it was a natural fit for me to utilize my love of the Internet with my love for business. Because of that, I am now able to do what I love to do, and have the business smarts to do it right.
What’s your favorite part about being a web developer, and in contrast, what is the worst part?
To answer what I like most about developing Internet content, I would say freedom and creativity. Because I am able to direct and design the solutions that people want, I am able to feel like I have full control over the work I do. There are not many industries where someone can become a leader in their field in such a short amount of time. Those are two of the top reasons I like being a web developer. The contrast you’re looking for would probably be the customer service side of any business. Unless you have some experience dealing with clients that are happy and clients that are mad, you won’t be able to fully understand how unpleasant client interaction can sometimes be. What creates the most friction between client and developer sometimes is in the lack of knowledge on the client side. My partner and I have made it our goal to become excellent customer service agents for our business and this has allowed us an opportunity to excel at this as well. What used to be a pain is now a great part of the operation.
Tell us about an average day at Twins Inc.
Oh, that’s hard to describe. I’d like to say in at 8, out at 5, lots of work was done. That’s entirely too easy though. Our staff arrives at the office at 9AM, contacts that are needed to be made will be made, and new contacts will be given a reply to any and all questions prior to the developers arriving. Our business is web development and we feel that developers should develop and service employees should be there to support the developer. When the developer arrives at his desk, there are maps of the current, past, and next day’s work. Client needs are handled on a “Hot” / “Not Hot” basis outside of the three day organized plan. The work begins moments after the developer arrives, and goals are met on-time, every time. The exact work that is done daily depends on the bids and offers that have been accepted. We could build an entire website or e-commerce shopping cart. We do search engine optimization, directory submissions, and much more, so every day is different.
If you ever take the next step in business, what would that be?
I want to run my company as an owner should. Less work and more supervision, that’s my goal.
Did your previous work history have anything to do with your current business position?
I can’t say that it did. Prior to me entering college, my interest in the Internet and web development was just that, an interest. The more I found ways to involve my business training with my love for design and creative works, the Internet naturally pulled me in. Because I love working with this electronic media and with being able to make a good living while I do what I enjoy, I learned naturally how to utilize my enjoyment without having much work history to fall back on.
As a web developer, what kind of benefits do you receive from the work place?
That’s funny. No, really, our employees receive a basic package of medical benefits. Our employees are able to take vacations after a period of continued employment with the company, and other than that, I think our business model reflects the same interests as other companies in Alpharetta. Now, for myself personally, being the owner, I can take what benefits I find an opportunity to take. I am medically insured, and if I had time, I would take a vacation. If those are benefits, then those are the benefits I enjoy.
What kind of money do you make in this business?
Well, the money I make is exactly that. We make our money by doing what our clients want, when they want it. The better we perform those duties, the more money we make. Beyond the run-around answer, our company is currently operating on $900,000 a year in revenue. What is left after all the bills and employees are paid sometimes differ. A safe estimate of average salary for myself and my partner is in the $90,000 range. The developers we employ are paid an average of $46,000 a year.
What makes someone good at this profession?
Attention to detail. Being able to follow directions. Creativity. A love for the Internet. Those are what got me going, and I think that if you start there, you’re well ahead of others who are trying to do the same thing as you.
Now that you are totally involved in the web development process, would you recommend this career path to others who are looking for the same things you were when you started?
I would definitely recommend this industry to others. I would hope that those who get involved with web development have the same desires as I do. There are many times you will find yourself alone in front of a computer for long periods of time. I would want others who look to this industry as a career path to realize all that is needed to be successful. Training, intelligence, creativity, desire, ambition, and hope are all great, but for someone to be truly successful, they must be good at what they do, and at the same time love what they do. For those folks, I recommend web development as a great career choice. For those that are undecided, I hope they find what they love to do even if it isn’t web development.