I’m Dann Berg, and I help non-technical people teach themselves to code and turn their app or website ideas into real products in their free time.
If you have an idea for a mobile app or website but have no idea where to start, then you’ve come to the right place. I’ve helped hundreds of people — from lawyers to accountants to graphic designers — turn their ideas into tangible products. In my two-hour New York City workshop, I teach specific methods that anyone can use to make an app, no coding knowledge involved. Now I’m bringing that knowledge to the web with Novice No Longer (this website and my podcast).
I built my first app, Reader Tracker, in my free time while I was working retail full-time (meaning no computer access during the day). I wrote a blog post describing my unnecessarily long process (two years!) which got quite a bit of traffic. A lot of people wanted more details, so in July of 2012 I launched my NYC workshop The Non-Programmer’s Guide to Getting an App in the App Store. Since then, I’ve built more apps and helped hundreds of students take the next steps towards realizing their app ideas.
If this is your first time here (welcome!), I want to share a little bit about my goals:
1. Avoid lumping real advice with bullshit
I’ve wasted so much time reading articles or books that claim to teach new skills but never move beyond the fluff. These resources teach you absolutely nothing, yet they use so many words. You’re not going to make an extra $1,000 by wearing a rubber band on your wrist and snapping it every time you have a negative thought. Nor will you build a good mobile app by drawing a couple of mockup ideas on a piece of paper and listing an ad on an auction site for freelance developers.
It’s amazing how many blogs and have so much content without actually saying anything.
Instead, I aim to give people real, actionable steps that can be followed to a project’s completion. I cut out all the fluff and bullshit, leaving just valuable advice and a solid game plan. I build the type of content that I wish I had when I first started building things.
2. Provide real value
I’m not going to waste my time writing a blog post that I don’t think will actually help readers learn something new or gain a new skill. Likewise, as the hundreds of people on my newsletter list can confirm, I won’t send you an email unless I actually have something worthwhile to say. You’ve chosen to give me one of your most valuable resources — your attention — and I don’t plan on wasting that with content that doesn’t immediately provide real value.
Likewise, I want to limit your exposure to worthless resources. I’ll won’t post a link to something unless I personally recommend the product or service, and you’ll never see link-bait posts littered with affiliate links (check out my affiliate disclaimer for more info). I want to save you time, not waste it.
3. Help you achieve your goals
The hardest part about tackling something new is figuring out where to start. When I decided to make my first iPhone app, I wasted two years trying to learn how to code instead of actually working on my application. I lost track of my original goal — to get an app in the App Store — and wasted so much time chasing a tangent. I want to save you from the same mistakes.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t learn to code. If your goal is to learn app development, then burying your nose in Objective-C or Java is the only way to go. But if your real goal is simply to create an app, there are much better ways that you can spend your time. I want to show you my shortcuts.
In order to help readers achieve their goals, I made a promise to myself that I would read every single email that’s sent to me, and respond to as many as humanly possible. You can use the contact form on this website or email me directly. Either way, your message is guaranteed to land before my eyes.
These goals are what lead me to build Novice No Longer. It’s a place where I share everything that I’ve learned and help people efficiently move beyond the “novice” stage of whatever they want to learn.
My life outside this blog
I worked as a tech journalist before leaving the industry to work on Novice No Longer full time. I was a staff writer at LAPTOP Magazine and then Reviews Editor at The Verge. Additionally, my writing has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, Mashable, TechRadar, Tom’s Guide, and Gizmodo. If you ever want some help pitching your app to the press, I’m your guy.
After running Novice No Longer and consulting full-time for a year, I accepted a position on the Platform Operations team at MediaMath. I’m taking this opportunity to dive deep into code, AWS, and technical operations. I’m documenting my process on this blog in order to help others who want to become more technical.
Aside from technology, I’m an avid reader with a tendency towards non-fiction — although I have a healthy addiction to a good Stephen King. I’m also a playwright; my one act “Diary: A One Act Play” was performed at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre on 42nd Street in Manhattan in 2015 (check out the video!).
Some people might know me as “that guy with the magnet in his finger,” and I’ve been known to pick up a paperclip or two upon request.
Where you should start
If you’re looking to make your own website, but don’t know where to start, check out my free video course with everything you need to know about hosting, domains, and WordPress.
Finally, subscribe to my weekly newsletter for exclusive content that’s not on my blog or in the podcast. That’s where I share all my best stuff. I’ll also give you a free copy of my ebook 8 Things to Learn Before Making Your App when you sign up.