A client has asked me if I can make an app (because a company asked him). He knows I've never made one before.

They have a long list of specifications that they want it to do. There's no hurry: I would have six months to complete it.

While I have experience with PHP, C, UNIX, MySQL, HTML, CSS, WordPress, Joomla, etc., I haven't used any of the tools they want to build the app with (Amazon Web Services, a couple of data sources, and an SDK they like). I'd like to learn app development. It just seems like a lot of things to learn all at once.

I think my best option would be to talk with someone who's already familiar with those tools. At the very least, that person could give me some idea of how much time and effort I'm looking at. How do I find someone for consultation with those skills?

Thank you for the advice. I'm sorry I didn't respond sooner.

After several other developers gave the client estimates for the app (large estimates), we both realized it was too big of a job for just one person – let alone one who's never even made an app. So I bowed out.

Last I heard, the client couldn't find any estimates within the customer's budget.

I appreciate all of your responses, and now I'll know what to do the next time I'm in this situation.

  • 1
    I would say the best option is to refuse the work, or subcontract to someone who does know how to build an app. It is too much to try and accomplish for client-driven services for your first venture into app building.
    – Scott
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 16:48
  • 1
    Learining while building a real life example is a great idea. However, like Metis above said, if you really are completely at a loss to begin with (never even having produced a hobby app of any sort) in all good conscience you have to turn it down. You will produce something for them but it will not be good. You cannot possibly take payment to do something over which you know nothing and have 0 experience. Do not underestimate the complexity of the task. Spend your time earning money doing what you can do properly, and learn new stuff in your spare time.
    – PaulD
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 18:35
  • If they are aware it's not an area you have experience in you could work at a heavily discounted or fixed rate. Commented May 3, 2017 at 5:02

1 Answer 1


You could look for experts on freelancing websites. I've seen jobs posted for people asking for this kind of help - not to execute the project but to give some directions.

There are also online communities. For example, for app development, you could look into: https://www.facebook.com/groups/react.native.community/ Then ask your questions there, interact, and you might find people who can help you. I imagine there should be communities for other tools as well.

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