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Which Web Design Course? Rate Topic   - - - - -

 
  • doddles
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Posted 21 January 2009 - 09:55 AM #1

This is a total long shot, and not really anything to do with CS Cart, but I think I may be able to get better advice here than anywhere else!

I am based in the UK and would like to go into web design as a full time career. I've been looking at doing a home study course, but I'm not sure which one would be the best to go for.

What I was wondering is if anyone would be able to recommend a good course that will enable me to study, whilst working full time (and running my own business and website).

Also, I don't think qualifications are the be all and end all, it seems to me that having a good portfolio of work and experience are far more important in the world of web design. Is this true?

If anyone out there can give me any advice regarding this, I'd very much appreciate it. :D

--Apologies-- I should have posted this in the Other Forums - General Chat board!
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  • zoom4267
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Posted 21 January 2009 - 11:45 AM #2

Hi, i too have posted non cs cart questons here too because of the quality of people here.

you may get many different answers. but for me who is also short on time, i do as many tutorials as i can find and practice. There are other forums for designers that you can post your work to for critique and advice. there is a good one i go to if you want to pm me for it. I look at someones portfolio and quality of work, many did not go toschool and are excellent, they practice. thats the key. if i see a diploma and lousy work, ill pass you up for no diploma and excellent work.

Hope this helps
Lisa
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  • doddles
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Posted 21 January 2009 - 12:40 PM #3

Thanks Lisa,

I thought quality of work was over and above qualifications, and now you've confirmed it for me. :D

Although I run my own site (CS Cart), which I've changed as much as I can, I only managed to do it by following my nose and asking for help on this forum. What I would like to do is learn the fundamentals of web design, so I can improve on what I already know. This way I can compile a decent portfolio.

I've found a course that I'd like to do. It won't give me the best certificate you can get, but I believe it will give me the knowledge I need to design websites from scratch. Then I can add my artistic eye to make those websites even better.

I'll pm you for the address of that forum if that's ok. It'll be excellent to get some constructive criticism for any work I do in the future!

Thanks for your advice, it's a great help. :-P
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  • brandonvd
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Posted 21 January 2009 - 06:05 PM #4

I really recommend Lynda.com

While this won't give you a certificate or anything, the courses are really great and easy to follow. The monthly fee is also very reasonable.

While I can't promote their use on this site, you can find almost all of Lynda.com's lessons with exercise files as torrentz on most torrent sites.

Brandon

 
  • doddles
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Posted 21 January 2009 - 06:21 PM #5

Hello Brandon

Wow that site looks interesting. It looks like they do everything you could possibly want to learn. It's going to take me a while to have a good look around too!

Thanks for your info, it's much appreciated. I need all the help I can get on this one!
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  • WebGuy
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Posted 21 January 2009 - 07:46 PM #6

Yes, lynda.com is a good site, especially if you are able to get the excercise files. However, doing the "hands-on" work is always the best way to learn this "web stuff".

I have used lynda.com for a number of years especially when I want an introduction to a new web or software application...once I have a "general" understanding of how it works I moved on to do the actual work.

Getting a "diploma" or certificate has no worth unless you want to "impress" someone with that piece of paper. I've been doing this kind of work since '98, on and off freelance and some corporate gigs. Your portfolio is the most important.

Ok, sorry I got off a little bit...:lol:

There are literally thousands of websites available to learn how to do just about everything you'd want with web design...all free.

One of the best I've used is:
http://www.w3schools.com/

This site has step-by-step tutorials with "hands-on" examples for just about everything...it's really great.

Outside of that, the best approach is "View Source"...find a website you like and view source to see how it was accomplished. This is probably the best way to learn. Then when you see something you don't understand, google it.

Use FireFox with the WebDeveloper and Firebug plugins...which will help identifying code.

Hope this helps.
WebGuy
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Posted 21 January 2009 - 08:32 PM #7

I've got mates with University degrees.. they can't get jobs.

Go figure that experience is the key, our market changes at such an extrodinary pace that quality education won't be worthwhile unless you keep the secrets to learning close to heart. By that I mean tutorials.

I've found that creating tutorials is by far the easiest way to learn as you have to put into practise all that you've learnt to make it worthwhile for someone else to learn from.
I've moved on from CS-Cart to WooC******** - If you need anything I can be of little help.

 
  • doddles
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Posted 21 January 2009 - 09:24 PM #8

Thanks Jesse and Webguy

I've looked at http://www.w3schools.com/ and it seems to be everything I'm looking for.

The main thing I was worried about was the qualification thing, but my mind has been put at rest. My aim now is to learn what I need to learn in order to become a good web designer.

I'm definitely not going to fork out for some course just because I get a certificate at the end of it!
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Posted 21 January 2009 - 10:09 PM #9

I can offer the person who started this topic an insight of what he asks, so if you are interested keep reading...

Though my position as Webmaster in a Web firm was rewarding there were numerous individuals who were very resentful of my job role. I got the post because I was an excellent technical author and the Web group required a writer. What they didn't understand was that being a Webmaster isn’t all Web pages and "splendour". I imagine that Web expansion is striking to technical people since it allows them to be imaginative, in addition to being attractive to artistic individuals because it permits them to get technical. However no matter what kind of qualities you have, there's more to being a Webmaster than meets the eye.

Do you wish to be a web development contract basis. By this I mean that you are subjected to the crazed ideas of your clients. If you don't have any clientele you don't have any income. But if constructing Web pages is your only means of support this can be rather frightening. Are you a good salesperson of yourself to obtain the work you need to stay afloat? Although it maybe true that your ability may speak for itself, there are countless developers out there, so be prepared to have a persuasive reason for your clients to decide on you.

Many web developers succeed on uncertainty. One workmate of mine sought after riding as many different roller coasters as he could, he took work from all over the country. But in order to get to that point of flexibility, you have to be excellent in what you do, and be open to the likelihood of not getting work right when you require it. I’m not familiar with many web developers who fancy being as flexible as my workmate, nevertheless when the work is lacking, from time to time you have to be.

Being a contract Web designer can be a lot of work. For a few months you can have more work than you can handle and then in other months you might be struggling for an uncomplicated Web page alteration. Ahead of deciding to become a web designer, be sure you know all the details about being a professional Webmaster?

One of the most complicated responsibilities of a Web designer is to establish what the client wishes, together with the colours, design, and layout of the page. The client frequently has a very clear image of what the page should look like, except they are not a Web designer, so it is very tough for them to turn this clear aspiration into words. As soon as a Web developer gives them some example pages to glance at, they compare it to their mental picture and the page nearly always comes up short. So get used to the phrase “that’s not exactly what I'm looking for"

Most clientele appoint a Web developer as they don't have the understanding, time, or appetite to construct a Web page for themselves? This makes common sense, but also means that they don't recognise what is and is not possible. They may come to you asking for a page designed that replicates a magazine. Or they may fancy a huge database driven site on a free Web server. It’s up to you to inform them to the possibilities of the Web and put it in plain words the boundaries so they understand.

There are the clients who do DIY Web design themselves, and know precisely what they want. Its frequently your job to ensure stability of your customer vibrant page with the needs of the business to have a consistent Web page. As an example, one job I did, the business colours were red and purple. But there was one marketing client within that comapny who loathed the colour red. Every time I produced a page for her using the business colours she detested it. She would then create it herself using greens and yellows then ask us to put it up. They were pleasant pages, but not in my approach and this would cause hostility.

For the most part, contract Web developers can lay down their own working hours. If you are a self-motivated individual, then great. If your inclined to turn on the computer to play Chess prior to you starting work, then this can be fatal.

The delicate part in constructing Web pages comes with the environment of the Web - it is global, and your clientele can be too. Even if your clientele are not worldwide then they may wish their Web page geared on the way to a different time zone than the one you're on?

And remember Web pages never seem to go down during the day. If you're accountable for the server maintenance, be prepared to be called at three in the morning. A Web site is serious to many businesses. As a Web developer, you have to be prepared to be called by your customers at whatever time they need you.

Operating on the Web can be very demanding. It's a lot different to designing a magazine. With print work, you’re familiar that once the editorial is printed it's not going to look radically different to whoever reads it. However with Web pages you may well have customers viewing your web pages in screen readers, browsers 2 and 3 years old, different operating systems, and numerous monitor configurations. Most developers decide upon a set of platforms, browsers, and colour depth, and trust that those not supported are either very few in number or very accepting.

The connection you have on the internet can be a huge aspect in how you get your work done. If you work from home off of a 28k modem you are restricted in what you can see. Numerous sites that your customers may want to copy will take an age to download, yet even having the reverse situation on a high-speed connection to do your job can be a dilemma. If you view all your Web pages on a partial (or even full) highspeed broadband connection, you won't be acquainted with what they are like to your dial-up clients. A page that downloads in 3 seconds for you may look stunning, but readers on slow connections will not have stuck around long enough to find out.

To continue to be competitive, it is vital that us Web designers stay up-to-date on the most up-to-date Web approaches. Many companies no longer fancy a Web developer who only knows HTML. They must in addition know CGI, databases, server maintenance, and backend software packages like ASP or PHP. When working for a company, it’s simple to keep working on maintaining a site and not extend with new tools. As a contractor, you can effortlessly get caught up in finding work, doing it quickly but leave no time for keeping up with the your own business needs.

If you are an aspiring Web developer in the making and suffer from arthritis you’re in trouble , as you could be typing most of the day and as for back aches all I say is get a goooooooood chair?

Being a Web Developer is not all "easy". There is an assortment of work involved, ongoing training, and a dedication to yourself, your customers, and the readers of your Web site.

So do you still want to do this now?....

Oh and one last thing.... be prepared for people to say ‘how much, all I want is...’ this is common approach from people all around the globe want something for nothing, but if you are good at what you do then don’t sell yourself short.
Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it



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