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Which way to go?

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by hontihl, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. hontihl

    hontihl New Member

    As i said in my introduction, in just over three years i will have to change careers when i come to the end of my contract, which by the way i'm not that keen to renew even if they offer. So it maybe a little premature, but i wanted to get ahead of the game and start thinking about what to do next.

    For a number of years i've had some sort of involvement in website design, and currently have designed and now maintain a site, soon to be more that one, for a small business i'm part of on the side. So i thought this might be the way to go.

    Anyway long story short, having read a lot on this site, am i right in thinking that formal qualifications count for very little? This to me seems a little odd as the rest of the job market always seem make a big thing of qualifications.

    i had been considering the CIW courses, as all the advertising suggest its industry recognised world wide. But some of the posts on here would suggest its not worth bothering with. Am I also right in thinking that prospective employers might not have heard of CIW, again this seems a little strange as its been around now for so long, i started doing the CIW design manager course a number of years ago but for reasons that i could never establish, the TP decided that i had written to them to cancel the course right at the end of the first module, it never was reinstated despite my efforts to do so.

    So my next question has to be then, where do i actually start to learn all this stuff outside of the structure of a course? i'm not afraid of self study, and i guess a good place to start is with HTML, but where from there?

    is it worth doing the Adobe and Flash ACE courses? and if the CIW really aren't worth doing, is it worth going down the Microsoft route instead?

    sorry for being a bit long winded and disjointed, but i don't really want to waste time and can't afford to waste money on the wrong route so any suggestions and advice is gratefully accepted.

    Thank you all in advance
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 18, 2010
    Certifications: naf all for IT, black belt in stupid tho
    WIP: can't decide
  2. CraigH

    CraigH New Member

    Web design is indeed a more subjective area. And one of the main problems is this universal label of 'web designer' - it means SO many things to different people.

    Most people will just think it's someone who designs the layout and feel of a website. Others may understand there could be some programming involved. Very few will be aware of the server side of things and even less will understand the commercial concepts of web design, search engine optimisation and site promotion.

    Certification is useful, but as you mentioned, it's not a priority (or even necessarily required it seems). I've worked part-time as a freelance web-designer for years (I'm in network support by day!) and I don't have any certs - but then I've never tried to get a job per-se.

    The CIW is, in my opinion, bunk. There are multiple levels and the last time I looked at it - it wasn't rounded enough.

    You should look for commercially-aware training. The most recognised certs are the Adobe ACE/ACP (et al) ones. For higher level training (programming) the MS certs (MCPD Web etc) are probably the strongest.

    You will need to cover:

    -Deamweaver (the industry standard) - learn the basics of this first - so you can start playing with simple designs.
    -Some Flash (depending on what you want to do - I get by with a minimal understanding - i.e. I can edit templates - as these days, flash designers seem to be arties)
    -HTML (You HAVE to know HTML - don't listen to anyone who tells you DW does it for you - if you can't go in and mend/repair/change HTML, you're lost)
    -CSS/XML (All modern sites work on CSS - Cascading Style Sheets)
    Design priniciples (both aesthetics and designing a site for navigation and to be search engine friendly)
    -PHP (I think this server-side language is probably the most useful and widely used - and it's on linux OS - which is used far more than windows web servers)
    -Some people recommend Javascript (I get by with a VERY minimal understanding of this though - this is a 'client-side' programming language - mostly use server side - PHP - for site control and database access etc.)
    -SEO - Search Engine Optimisation. There is an awful lot of bunk about this. But you do have to follow certain rules or your site will rate lower than it could. They key thing with SEO is understanding how to promote the site and how NOT to damage your ratings/chances)
    -The principles of client/project handling.

    Most of all, you'll need to create lots of sites and practice. Look at other good sites. Join a web template service and download loads to play with (www.dreamtemplate.com is good.) They'll give you ideas. Create a portfolio (I have over 70 sites in my portfolio now) site - with links to the actual sites and what you did on that site (if you worked with someone - I always use a particular gfx artist etc)

    As I've said in other posts, I prefer multimedia training. Do it at home - no travelling or classes to fit in - do it at my own pace (I learn quickly and get frustrated waiting for others.) I trained many years ago with Computeach (which were OK - but I hear they've gone down hill a bit?) and recently with Learninglolly - which I know have a proper web-design program - I discussed it with them when I was upgrading my CompTIA certs.

    But the main way you get any good, is by practice, practice, practice. Not a week goes by when I don't discover some new way of doing something. That's what's great about IT really... ;-)

    Good luck mate. But don't expect results without hard work and some proper effort. - I.T. is NOT a golden-ticket to sitting on your arse, as some people seem to believe!
    Certifications: A+, Network+, MCSA

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