Is it realistic for one person to do all of the web application tasks

For my company I am looking into a billing solution that allows us to build our own web application. We are a utility company and this is kind of rare.

I'm working out of PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites. After this I plan to work out of PHP Advanced and Object-Oriented Programming. Then I plan to work out of Modern PHP and take a Unix and Secure Web Development class.

After I graduate next fall I was going to take a job in Birmingham for backend web development for aprox. 8 months before law school.

After law school I'll have a good idea of how to use PHP for clients. But while I'm building a practice and taking on clients I'll work for the utility company.

Is it possible for one person to develop the database structure, do the frontend (we are a utility company so it's cool if we look like OWASP, actually that would probably be the most professional) and build the backend? We will want to work with some software that ties into the database so online billing tasks are automated.

Will 8 months be enough or should I do more work during law school?
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Ray PaseurConnect With a Mentor Commented:
If you're going to law school, you should concentrate on law.  Eight months is not enough time to learn either law or software engineering, and as Chris points out, there are a lot of specialties in web development (as in law).

Generally speaking, you can't do it all yourself.  You have to work in collaborative teams.  For the most part this means you need to use object-oriented design, a code repository like Github, you need version control like Git, and you need to adopt agile practices with sprints and scrums.
Julian HansenConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Short answer - yes one person can do all of those things - many experts on this forum operate like this. However, it does depend on the size of the project - obviously bigger projects will require a bigger team to achieve any kind of realistic deadlines.

How much studying do you need? That depends on how much background you have in programming. If you are already a programmer the learning curve is much shorter. Rule of thumb I work by is 10000 hours experience to master a skill - although this heuristic is being tested in the current techno climate as technologies are evolving so fast that by the time you accumulate 10K hours they are almost obsolete.  Having said that, once you have mastered the art of coding and have a sound knowledge of the base technologies out there (they don't change much) adapting to new ones becomes part of the job.

With respect to the task you mentioned: you also mention that there are no skills currently in the company. You need to consider a couple of things
* How big is this project - if it is bigger than one person then you are going to have to employ / train additional people
* How will the system be maintained - will the company keep on skilled people just for the purpose of maintaining this application
* Linked to the above - if the system is built by one person (you) and you leave to start your practice - where does that leave the company.
Chris HarteConnect With a Mentor ThaumaturgeCommented:
You may be able to build "a" front end but graphic design is a degree course in its own right. You chose a font or colour because you like it. A graphic designer will know how this sort of choice affects the mood and empathy of the customer/user. I learnt this when I did a front end for a company I was working for. They hired a designer who then did it properly. From then on I describe myself as a backend developer, because I cannot do a front end justice.

Either way you are going to have to decide whether you are going to become a coder or a lawyer, because it is one or the other. Managers in particular like to dismiss computers as being "only IT" but it takes a lot of dedication and hard work to be a professional software engineer.

To quote from a seminal Dilbert cartoon
"Alice, I need a career that has job security. Teach me to be an engineer. I don't care if it takes all day. But don't tell anyone; they'll all try to get in on this scam."
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Julian HansenConnect With a Mentor Commented:
From then on I describe myself as a backend developer, because I cannot do a front end justice.
It is a bit misleading to lump graphic design and front end development together. While I agree that the layout / look and feel is the domain of someone who specialises in Graphic Design - implementation of the front end is not in their domain - they merely provide the specification of how the front end should look. Front end development pertains to the HTML / CSS / Javascript that implements the final design. Backend pertains to the serverside scripts that both render out the front end and provide the business logic layer between front end and data.
Slick812Connect With a Mentor Commented:
greetings burnedfaceless, , you last inquiry is -
      "Will 8 months be enough or should I do more work during law school?"

I would say NO, 8 months is not enough, even if you only do the HTML, CSS, JAVASCRIPT, SQL, and PHP learning, 8 months is not really enough time, even if you are building web pages, to absorb very much about the many, many interactive factors needed for a current MOBIL responsive non-amateur (paid professional) web site. Unfortunately, for you the web page building "Trends" and "Practices" are shifting and changing due to the now incredible web access of phone users. There are more and more sites using the newer CSS FLEX, and TRANSISTIONS techs. And single page sites using AJAX tech are showing up more and more.

You may or may not can do the tasks for your -
  "Is it possible for one person to develop the database structure, do the frontend and the backend?"

But if you are getting PAID, then they usually want their web site finished "Yesterday", so the amount of time is a Large factor in how many code heads are hired.

But no matter how much you know or do not know about anything for "web site construction", if you are a good salesman, you can get jobs building web sites, because the people "Hiring" most developers do not know a thing about the WEB factors for a site.
So there probably no answers to any thing you ask, except
burnedfacelessAuthor Commented:
Thanks. In that case I will just get the site to where it's ready for someone to come in and do a backend.

Maybe they'll have someone come in and do a better job someday.
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