Changing Career

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enzo

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This is probably the wrong forum but I wasn't sure where to put it...

I'm trying to figure out if changing career would be worth my while and whether or not a career in a web related field would be a possibility.

I have no actual qualifications in any computer related field but can design websites, am interested in and have a very basic knowledge of programming (php), and enjoy working with graphics (3D more so than 2D). I can also bring project management experience and a desire to learn to the job.

Do you think i'd be wasting my time trying to get into something computer related full time such as web design? Is it even possible these days to do web design full time without being able to offer other services such as programming, graphic design, hosting, etc?
And where would one start? (apart from getting qualifications or putting together a portfolio), is it worth while just applying to web design companies? would a web des. co. even hire someone without qualifications?


Whaddaya think?
 

kae

New Member
difficult question - if you don't do graphic design, hosting or programming, then what do you do?

Project management is a very useful skill, as web design can be a very messy business.

As for qualifications - in the long term, pieces of paper will only get you through the door - they will not guarantee that you stay there.

If you really want to work in web development (either as a programmer, or as a designer), you should have a portfolio of your work, which you can show to propspective employers.

Be careful what you put in the portfolio, though! We (webworks.ie) are sometimes sent CVs with links to portfolios, but usually, the work ends up being one-dimensional. A recent example comes to mind, where someone claimed to be great at HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, etc, etc. When we viewed his portfolio, it was in Flash, illogically laid out, and in our opinions, did not demonstrate any of this supposed knowledge.

The way I got my job is interesting - I was unemployed, and living in a town which had zero tech jobs, except for one small web design company called Independent Mix. I went in there and asked for a job. I offered to work for free for a month or two, just so they could get a feel for what I could do. They turned me down. I didn't let go, though - I went to a local employment agency, and arranged that FAS would pay for one year of me working there if they would agree to train me. I even wrote the training documentation! They couldn't refuse that, and five years and a name change later, I'm still working for the same company and have proven my worth.

So - tenacity is important as well. But above all, experience and the ability to demonstrate that experience, is the most important trait you can have when looking for a job (in /any/ field, really!).

You should clarify to yourself what it is that you think you would like to work at - having a vague idea that you want to work "on the web" is just not good enough - when you walk into a web development company's offices, you should have a solid idea what it is that you want to give them.
 

Cormac

New Member
would a web des. co. even hire someone without qualifications?
you'd be very surprised at the amount of qualified staff out there doing a medicore job...or would you...maybe not.

I have seen a good few jobs in the Dublin region available in Web Design/Development which require no programming. Junior positions of course. You're expected to learn so a junior position with no programming background should evolve into a more technical postion over time.

What's your location/age/current job/qualification?
 

ButtermilkJack

New Member
I... am interested in and have a very basic knowledge of programming (php), and enjoy working with graphics (3D more so than 2D)...

Is it even possible these days to do web design full time without being able to offer other services such as programming, graphic design, hosting, etc?
Hey enzo,

First off, as stated already, you need to decide what it is exactly you want to do. If you plan on expanding your php skills, then you will be entering the field of 'programmer'. On the other hand, if you will be concentrating on graphics (2D or 3D) you will be offering yourself as a 'designer'.

I am a graphic designer who has taught myself XHTML/CSS in order to be able to build the sites I design. It's useful for small brochure sites but anything else requires a specialised developer. I have got a few requests from developers who need templates designed for sites they are building but I wouldn't imagine there is 'full-time' work in it. I could be wrong?

I would suggest (especially as you already have a working grasp of php) that you study XHTML and CSS in order to be able to build sites you design. It's much harder to try and start learning graphic design as it will take you years to get that right ;)
 

enzo

New Member
Thanks for the replies lads, i'll try to address all pts.


Kae
"If you don't do graphic design, hosting or programming, then what do you do?"

Well I can do web design (html/css, htaccess, ssi), basic graphic design (simple logos etc), have installed servers, can do some very basic php/mysql. Plus, Proj Management as mentioned (I've dealt with some very high profile clients abroad).
Obviously i'd need to develop my skills if I was to seriously consider a new career.

" Be careful what you put in the portfolio, though!"

I have been reading about portfolios recently and have a decent idea of what to put in one. Thx for the advice.

" You should clarify to yourself what it is that you think you would like to work at"

Yes definitely. Right now i'm just trying to figure out if such a move is viable at all. If was was going to actually apply to a company i'd be well prepared.


Rollo
"You're expected to learn so a junior position with no programming background should evolve into a more technical position over time."

Would be no problem for me if the salary was half alright. I don't mind starting as a junior again if it's something I enjoy doing.

"What's your location/age/current job/qualification?"
North West, early 30's, degree & experience in Engineering (a specific type which i'd prefer not to mention as there are few of us out there).
Location for me is fairly fixed so that immediately limits the job opportunities.


ButtermilkJack
"If you plan on expanding your php skills, then you will be entering the field of 'programmer'. On the other hand, if you will be concentrating on graphics (2D or 3D) you will be offering yourself as a 'designer'."

My desire at this stage is to be a Jack of all trades. I enjoy both working with graphics & programming...

"I would suggest (especially as you already have a working grasp of php) that you study XHTML and CSS in order to be able to build sites you design."

HTML/CSS is sorted, I'm fairly proficient in both. But they're not enough. I'd need Javascript or DHTML plus a server side language to really make a go of it.


I have a clear enough idea of the skills I need to develop but without proper training it could take years. If I'm going to change career (a huge step for anyone) i'd prefer to get cracking before I get too old and lose motivation. I'm just testing the waters at this stage to see if i'm mad thinking about it at all.
 

kae

New Member
If you're serious about it, then I would recommend studying up on AJAX and the associated technologies - as far as I can see, there are very few of us that are comfortable working with AJAX at a low level, and it is very very powerful stuff when used right.

AJAX involves having a good understanding of a server-side language (PHP), a solid JavaScript proficiency, good experience of the DOM, and deep understanding of browser quirks.

There are very few people, as far as I can see, that have the right knowledge and ability to pull it off, but if you manage it, I imagine you'd be a pretty happy programmer, and your clients with be thrilled with their efficient sites.
 

Redfly

New Member
If you're serious about it, then I would recommend studying up on AJAX and the associated technologies - as far as I can see, there are very few of us that are comfortable working with AJAX at a low level, and it is very very powerful stuff when used right.

AJAX involves having a good understanding of a server-side language (PHP), a solid JavaScript proficiency, good experience of the DOM, and deep understanding of browser quirks.

There are very few people, as far as I can see, that have the right knowledge and ability to pull it off, but if you manage it, I imagine you'd be a pretty happy programmer, and your clients with be thrilled with their efficient sites.


That's some pretty good advice Kae. AJAX is one of those things, like RoR, that if you specialize in you will be highly sought after. Accessibility issues aside, AJAX is here to stay and those on the first ship sailing in the Irish industry are in for some nice rewards.
 

enzo

New Member
If you're serious about it, then I would recommend studying up on AJAX and the associated technologies
Yeah I know, I downloaded some AJAX books recently (AJAX & PHP/Packt Publishing for example) but haven't been brave enough to dive into it just yet! It means learning 3 new-ish (to me) technologies, quite a task. I'll get there eventually.
Thx for the advice!
 
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