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CIW: advice needed!

Discussion in 'CIW Certifications' started by Hannah Jo, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. Hannah Jo

    Hannah Jo New Member

    Helo hello

    I am new to this forum and have signed up in the hope someone can offer me some quick advice about CIW website design.

    I had a sales rep come round yday from skills train who obviously is a sales rep selling! Anyway this is the course SHE recommended to me. I haven't actually got any details yet, just the price plans.

    Basically I wanted to know:

    • if this course is viable
      whether i can get a job at the end of it, and how hard this may be
      whether i will be able to design websites at the end of it
      What the actual pay is likely to be
      if CIW is a recognised cert
      If 10 hours a week to complete in 12 months is realistic
      how hard the course is
      whether i can pass if i have no idea about website design!

      I have a degree in performing arts and am halfway through my second degree in counselling. This course sounds interesting and would be good if i can work part time hours to fit around counselling, family (in the future!) etc. However it is not worth the cost and effort whilst working full time if none of the things i have been told are realistic.

      I have been told that my female and age (24) status helps me get a job in website design becuase this is what they are looking for.

      Please advise anyone doing the course, reserched the course or it bods/ professionals!

      Thank you:rolleyes:
  2. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    Welcome to the forums!

    Personally, I think your sales rep was selling you for all she was worth. Web design companies don't care if you have a certification, are female, or are 24 years old... they care about one thing: whether you can design websites. And for that, you don't need a course... you just need to learn how to design websites. Certainly if you've got money burning a hole in your pocket, you can take a course... but you don't have to. Everything you need to learn can be found in books and on the Web.

    Whether you can pass a course shouldn't be the focus... whether you would a) enjoy Web design and b) have an eye for designing sites should be your primary concerns. I wouldn't recommend taking a course only to find that you really don't enjoy what you're learning...

    So... learn how to design sites, create an electronic portfolio (e-portfolio) of sites you've designed, and apply for some entry-level design jobs. Show employers what you can do, and they'll hire you... regardless of your certification status, gender, or age. :)
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  3. thecatsmother

    thecatsmother Byte Poster

    The CIW Web Design Manager course would teach you a lot of background stuff that it's useful to know, like the basics of networking and server administration, some very elementary Perl and Javascript, and some project management skills. Those are useful but not essential if what you want to be is a web designer. It will also teach you the rudiments of xhtml, and give you an introduction to Flash, Fireworks and Dreamweaver. It won't teach you design.

    I have used the skills I learned on the course (I'm on the last section now, and it's taken me around 18 months with a 3 month break in the middle moving house) to set myself up in business as a web designer and my portfolio is growing now. However, I already knew html, and had been designing sites as a hobby for years. I did the course to fill some gaps in my knowledge, and to validate my skills for potential clients and give myself the confidence to go self-employed. If I was interested in being employed, I doubt that an employer would hire me on the basis of the cert, or on the current level of my portfolio unless it was a smallish company aiming at the sort of clients I'm getting just now on my own. So, if you do the cert don't be expecting to walk into a job when you finish. You won't be employable purely on what you learn in the process of getting the cert, but can use it as a starting point for more in-depth study and work on a portfolio to show potential employers what you can do. The sections on Flash and Fireworks are laughably basic.

    To be honest, the biggest thing it's done for me is give me a structured way to test myself on whether I can work after a very long illness, so I don't regret doing it. I think your position may be different though, and you might be better off doing some self study to see if you actually enjoy web design before spending money on any courses. There are lots of good tutorials on the web to start you off. You would even save money if you bought your own copy of Dreamweaver and "The Missing Manual" and worked your way through that... you'd learn just as much about building websites with Dreamweaver as you would on the Skillstrain course!
    WIP: CIW Website Design Manager
  4. nellyp123

    nellyp123 Byte Poster


    What he said!!

    Realistically though....if you have the enthusiasm, passion and ten or more hours a week to learn all about web design and you have the money to BURN!!! (which i think is a waste of anyone's money) Then you should pass your first two exams within a year!...i did!

    Don't...DON'T..... D O N T ! ! spend any money on this course though. Think about it......you pay some training provider over five grand to do what? To sit in front of your PC (or laptop) and read from their course books and perhaps use their software.? Anyone can do that anyway! There is loads of books about web design and there are loads of online tutorials and online training sites that teach you all you need to know.

    And all you need is a plain text editor (notepad, already installed on your computer) and some adobe software like Photoshop (a must), Flash and Illustrator or even Dreamweaver. You can even download a 30 day trial of any of these software apps for free from Adobe!

    My advice would be to look on www.amazon.co.uk and buy one of the latest books on xhtml and CSS and get practicing. Then learn Photoshop and flash ect form sites such as www.lynda.com www.totaltraining.com

    I didn't use a training provider, it was all self study and it only cost me just over £300

    Neil x
    Certifications: CIW Professional
  5. toppywill

    toppywill New Member


    • Rolleyes,
      If i may ask you one question?How much dd she tells you that you would end up paying throughout the section of the course?
  6. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    I would have thought that these were the sort of questions that the salesman should have been there to answer in the first place?
    Otherwise, what was he doing?
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  7. MickyBobs

    MickyBobs Nibble Poster

    So me reading that, i'm acctually wasting my time on the course because, i wont eventually become a Web designer.....err...might aswell pack it all in then!

    Rubbish, if you do this course, which is totaly worth it, then you will become what it says on the tin, obviously you have to be assertive and do some side study, which is what i do...Mondays, tuesdays, thursdays, fridays and saturdays i do the course....Wednesdays i take a look at the W3 school, and sundays learn photoshop...

    Trust me, the course is very worth it! :eek:
    WIP: Hoping to gain
  8. nellyp123

    nellyp123 Byte Poster

    You know....... you could argue about whether this (CIW) course is worth it until the cows come home! There's always someone out there that enjoys doing the course and will gladly shout it out. To me though....and putting aside the COST! of this course, i would say that it is worth it! Why?...because you are learning something new and you are learning it right! like you would on any course!?

    When i started studying, i learn't all about usability and accessibility, which all web designers should know. I learn't about the internet and how a network operates. I also learn't how web browsers worked and other useful stuff that only web professionals would and should know. This was just from studying from the CIW's official training modules (self-study). But....is the CIW certification worth it and will you become a fully fledged web designer with loads of job offers every week or month. The only answer i have for that is....NO!!!!!!!!

    I know this to be right because as soon as i passed the web designer IDO 520 exam, i still couldn't design a web site that was good enough to showcase. I had many emails unanswered and all the potential employers that i spoke to hadn't even heard of the CIW cert. My CSS skills where amateur and i hadn't even started learning Photoshop, flash or dreamweaver.

    And i hope micky is using other means to learn because you really need to hit the ground running as they say. CIW teaches you the right way but the basic way. There's a lot to learn with regards to web design and it's always changing (HTML 5 now on it's way) and you need to use as many different books and as many different web sites as poss. It weren't until i did this that i started to really learn!!!!

    What you need to realize is CIW certification isn't the be all and end all! It's just i good starting point. Build up a good portfolio and that will be your key to getting into the web industry!!!
    Certifications: CIW Professional
  9. webMonkey

    webMonkey New Member

    After working in the extremely tough web design/development industry for the past three years I can honestly say that this is probably one of the few areas of IT where a person with no IT related certificates/qualifications can easily enter if they can perform on the job and own examples of previous work.

    In my first job my 16 year old collegue straight from school put me to shame programmatically and used to teach me web things everyday. I was out of university with a 4 yr computing degree..

    While I believe that the CIW qualification is not a complete waste of time I would be wary of spending too much time or money on it as the employers that I have worked with really want to see a portfolio of work unless the job is extremely basic, in that case they will still want to see at least one proffessional looking site that has been made for a client.
  10. tobo

    tobo Bit Poster

    Hi Hannah Jo!

    I also have a degree in Performing. Had been working as an actor for 7-8 years. then one day realised I was doing it for money rather than passion, which I think was why I hadn't had much work at the time. So decided to go into Webdesign which I had wanted to do for some time.
    I took a full time job in IT and was lucky that they were happy to pay for the course but I have to say I think now that the self study route would be just as beneficial since the only extras I have are not really worth the extra couple of grand!!!
    For some reason people dont rate the course much and when a question like this comes up there is often quite a negative response. Which I have to say I think is unfair. Yes the course is expensive but I think this course is suited to someone how has dabbled in web design but has decided to confirm what they have managed to teach themselves and learn stuff they might have missed out along the way.
    Much like performing I went to drama school thinking that it would get me jobs and I would just continue to work as I pleased. Then I left and did work but met alot of people who had just been brave enough to audition and get jobs. the most annoying thing was that they were more creative in alot of cases because they hadn't been cought up by the silly habbits you get from Drama schools about the industry. It seems to me that the web industry is much like this work comes when you can show your design ideas practically like a portfolio.

    So thats my opinion. to answer your questions:

    if this course is viable -It is viable to improve or build on design knowledge but give it a go on your own first. I dont think it's a good idea to start this course as a comlpete beginner.

    whether i can get a job at the end of it, and how hard this may be - I haven't finished yet so dont know. but I think Partfolio is the key.

    whether i will be able to design websites at the end of it - I would hope so but I strongly recommend supplimenting the course with your own studies. theres loads out there and if you do go for it request helpful resources on these forums and you should get some good suggestion.

    What the actual pay is likely to be - as part of the Skillstrain portal I get to view a jobs portal and they are quoteing 20K-22K for a junior designer not sure if this is right though.

    if CIW is a recognised cert - it is recognised but I think its quite an american oriented. I still think having a certification is better than nothing.

    If 10 hours a week to complete in 12 months is realistic - Sounds about right but I have allowed 18 months and I'm doing about 12-15 hours a week.

    how hard the course is - I've only completed the foundations section and I found parts of it quite difficult to comprehend but if was too easy I guess I would feel cheated.

    whether i can pass if i have no idea about website design! - I would have a look on the web and get a basic idea of what web design involves at least maybe even try and set up a small site. you will learn alot from just doing this in my opinion.

    Anyway hope this isn't too long winded and helps you make a decision.

    Good luck!
  11. Hilz

    Hilz Bit Poster

    Hi Hannah

    I had a very lucky escape with Skills Train two years ago after one of their reps insisted in coming round to the house to discuss my interests in one of their courses. Fortunately, I was living with my brother at the time and he put out the warning signals just after I had signed up for the course. I cancelled all committments to pay and study the course-but I never ever received a reply to confirm the cancellation. I sent all the materials back after reading how others had bad experiences with them too. The SK chap who came along to rip-me-off brought a course folder which he said I could keep after signing up for the course. I asked if it was new, as it had mud and scuff marks on it-he said:"Oh it's just been in the back of the car". :ohmy

    Anyway, for more info on people's experiences with Skills Train check-out the PC Adviser thread on the subject:

    Hope it helps.

    Certifications: Non at present
    WIP: non at present, that's why I'm here
  12. Hilz

    Hilz Bit Poster

    Here Here Bosun! :biggrin
    Certifications: Non at present
    WIP: non at present, that's why I'm here
  13. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    It's not really valued over here in America, either. What employers want to see is an e-portfolio, not a certification.
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!

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