Defining ‘Beginner’

What is a beginner?

Yesterday I talked about my software hypothesis that building a web-app creator for beginners would benefit the people using the app and their co-workers. 

But today, I am thinking about the word beginner. No one really wants to be considered a beginner. It makes it sound as if you are inadequate compared to others on the continuum of skill. A label of beginner can make you feel small. But what other words could you use? 

Amateur? That sounds even more insulting than beginner. 

Future expert? That’s pretty patronizing. And besides, we don’t know that you are going to be a future expert. We only know that you aren’t an expert now. 

We’re going to stick with the word beginner. But instead of trying to make blow fluff and unicorns which will magically obscure what people might feel about the word, I’m going to define precisely what beginner means in this case. To help us define beginners, we will also define mid-level and expert. 

A beginner web app creator

  • Can use a computer for other tasks. (For example, Twitter, email, or for work.)
  • Has not done coding or software development projects before (personally or for work.)
  • Can imagine how a web app would look that would solve their problem, but wouldn’t know where to start to make this a reality.

A mid-level web app creator

  • Has done some software development and can figure out how to create a web app through hard work and a lot of googling.

An expert web app creator

  • Someone who codes every day creating web apps. 


If beginners start being creating the web apps that they imagine in their minds, a few things will happen:

  1. People will get the apps that they want (because the gap from imagination to reality is smaller)
  2. The mid-level and expert level of web app creators might have to step up their game if it turns out that the beginners are starting to create apps that rival some of the more straightforward apps that previously needed mid-level or expert level development. 

The hypothesis is yet untested, but understanding who is a ‘beginner’ is a helpful first step to understanding who we should be talking to and who we should be building the app creator for.