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  1. #26
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    I took some evening extension courses in web design through our local university. Some were very good. Others not so much. One good thing was I was able to get software and hardware through the university bookstore at the student rate.

    The best classes were those that teamed the students up for projects. It helps things sink in when you are interacting with the instructor and other students.

    During one term the classes were over several weeks with one session per class per week, taking one or more classes at a time. The next term they condensed the classes so that all the sessions for one class were taken in the same week or two, and you took only one class at a time. I definitely preferred having them stretched out. The info sticks better for me when the learning is stretched over time and there is more time to spend on homework and reading.

    Back when Barnes and Noble had an online free university I took a free Flash class. That was quite good.

  2. #27
    SitePoint Zealot somecallmejosh's Avatar
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    I've taken several courses through continuing education programs. Most of the information I learned was incredibly outdated. In all cases, the courses were taught by someone who didn't understand the medium. A graphic artist, who was teaching web design from a print perspective... a developer who was teaching from a desktop application perspective. And so on and so forth...

    My real education came from applying the information I learned in the books, blogs, and trade magazines. http://www.alistapart.com, for example, is a great place to start. http://www.digital-web.com/ is another great blog. Of course, Sitepoint, is outsanding. These websites always have excellent, up to date information. I also recommend http://www.smashingmagazine.com/ for design inspiration.
    Joshua K. Briley
    Website Design and Front End Development

  3. #28
    SitePoint Zealot Timbothecat's Avatar
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    I'm feeling very fortunate reading this thread.

    I've recently started a BA Internet Studies with Curtin University through Open Universities Australia which is done solely from home (Distance Education etc). My Tutors are all Web Designers and have been a great help so far. They even have some of the sitepoint books in the booklist.

    There have been some sources of frustration (like not being able to use JavaScript, I wanted to do a drop down menu but the site "has to work in 98% of browsers" and you can't get the hover pseudo class to work in IE without JavaScript) but all in all it has be pretty good.

    BUT, the other unit I'm doing is "A Socio-technological Introduction to the Internet" and while containing some vague interest from a novelty perspective, is about as useful to my goal of becoming a Web designer as an ashtray on a motorbike, or flyscreen door on a submarine.

    There are other Units that i'm doing like the legal aspects of marketing and business law and accounting practices. As Brendon Sinclair says in the Web Design Business Kit, it's good to have some idea of what's going on in these areas.

    Like any course though, it has both its good and bad aspects.

    The bulk of my knowledge though has come from purchasing 15 Sitepoint books and spending time on forums like this one and others liike it. I'll continue to learn in this way and use the degree as a foot in the door down the track. In an industry as competitive as this one, sometimes a degree can be the difference between getting and missing a job. That's ******** of course, as you've seen here there are many good designers with no formal education. But unfortunately we don't have the privledge of calling back an employer who has knocked us back for a job to let them know their perspective is built on a foundation of sand.

    I'd be really interested to see how many designers on here have missed out on a big contract because the prospect didn't think they were qualified enough. On the other hand, how many feel that dealing with smaller clients all the time is a better way to go. That's not to say that someone who is self taught can't pull in a big contract by the way, but I'd love some perspective on those thoughts from people who are out there doing this for a living.

    Hope this hasn't been too confusing.

    All the best,

    Tim.
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  4. #29
    SitePoint Zealot somecallmejosh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timbothecat View Post
    I'm feeling very fortunate reading this thread.

    ...I'd be really interested to see how many designers on here have missed out on a big contract because the prospect didn't think they were qualified enough. On the other hand, how many feel that dealing with smaller clients all the time is a better way to go. ...
    In all honesty, I've never had a prospect ask me about my educational background. Not one. They've all asked to see samples of our work, however.
    Joshua K. Briley
    Website Design and Front End Development

  5. #30
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    For me learning online is the most beneficial, i.e tutorials and forums. There are also excellent books out there. For the very basics it can be good to do a course. It depends on you and whether you find it easier to learn on your own or by taking instruction.

  6. #31
    SitePoint Wizard ryanhellyer's Avatar
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    Off Topic:

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbothecat View Post
    IThere have been some sources of frustration (like not being able to use JavaScript, I wanted to do a drop down menu but the site "has to work in 98% of browsers" and you can't get the hover pseudo class to work in IE without JavaScript) but all in all it has be pretty good.
    IE7 and IE8 handle :hover fine. And IE5-6 handle a:hover fine, so by using some tables inside IE conditional comments you can get dropdowns working in <IE6 browers without any javascript.

    Stu Nicholls has a whole stack of examples of this type of dropdown at cssplay.co.uk. They do lead to some horrid code, but they can be made W3C valid if you like. Personally I recommend using javascript to trigger the hover in <IE6, but if you aren't allowed to for your course, then you should definitely take a look at Stu's site as there is really no limit to what you can do with them.

  7. #32
    SitePoint Enthusiast qazpoc's Avatar
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    I'm self-taught. Started by stealing source code and playing around with it, as others have mentioned. Did a few basic online tutorials over the years. Built up to JavaScript, then PHP & MySQL. My day jobs have given me some experience in ASP.NET...

    Because I'm purely self-taught and applied only the knowledge I needed for the jobs at hand (often by nabbing and manipulating pre-existing code) I never knew how much I really knew. If that makes sense . I either knew how to do what I needed to, or found out how to do it. But what else was there to know? What hadn't I learnt? Maybe I could be doing things better? Maybe there were basics I didn't even know?

    Even though I visit websites like this one, and learn things all the time from them, I felt the need for a thorough, course-like learning experience to create a strong foundation. Something to fill in the gaps and make me confident about my knowledge.

    So I decided to read a huge book on HTML/XHTML and CSS from front to back. Upon finishing the book, I only learned a handful of new things. But the real benefit for me was the confirmation in my mind that I knew as much as I thought I did.

    Might seem like a waste of time, but if you think like I do, it's anything but. I've since read a massive book on JavaScript, during which I learned much about the language I'd not thought about before. And experimenting with what I learnt obviously helped. And now I'm about to start a huge book on PHP & MySQL. Who knows what other massive books await...

  8. #33
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    IT depends on what kind of courses. I would just like self taught because it is all low priced. (Maximum of $200 dollars). Courses run at around 500 - 1599 dollars.

  9. #34
    SitePoint Evangelist zeruel's Avatar
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    I guess you really need to start from the basics. So there's no harm on trying courses for web design if you really got money to afford it. But if not, you can learn it through books and online tutorials...

  10. #35
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    I think that having a good basis for knowledge helps, also if you want a job, depending on what you do now - it can help to have a qualification that backs you up, so doing some adobe exams can help - as one woman said doing a short course a college get your dreamweaver and flash certificate and then people will take you more seriously when looking at your cv.

  11. #36
    SitePoint Zealot Aimhigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tailslide View Post
    I agree with oddz - generally these courses are not worthwhile. I did a few but stopped when I'd have to re-learn frames to complete a course! I've found books and internet forums plus tutorial sites much more useful.
    Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm enlightened now, because I'm thinking on getting a course on web designing.

  12. #37
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    Courses always only teach basics. It's your choice if you want to expand the basic teaching to become more succesful or just get contented on what you got.

  13. #38
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    As far as I know,there many online communities that offer either free or paid tutorials on best practice web design.For example sites like drupal and joomla are a community specifically about their respective products.You can learn alot from these sites because you've got all sorts of questions and answers relating to web design

  14. #39
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    When the web design industry matures more, to the point where it covers enough ground to make a whole college major about it, then classes around web design would get better in general. More emphasis needs to be put on theory and application, rather than the tools used.

    A lot of web design teachers are too focused on the coding languages used to make an end, while the courses I took in Computer Science never got too bogged down in the Java language in which we were using to apply data structures. Hopefully some day all web design and development classes will be taught in the same manner.

  15. #40
    SitePoint Zealot Timbothecat's Avatar
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    ccRicers makes a good point here. I first learned about Web design doing a course at TAFE (for those of you that aren't sure what that is, TAFE = Technical And Futher Education. The highest qualification you can get from TAFE is an Advanced Diploma, whereas Uni gives you a BA, MA or Phd) and it didn't so much teach us web design as it did Dreamweaver. The real problem though was that it taught us table based layouts. When I went back a couple of years later to go through my books again I was stuffed because a) I didn't have & want Dreamweaver and b) I didn't know how to design without using tables for layout.

    The course I'm doing now however... The criteria is that we use css based layouts. The other thing it's taught me so far is that commenting is far more imortant than I ever believed it to be. Whilst my commenting has been mainly for referencing etc, it is getting me into the habit of using the function.
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  16. #41
    SitePoint Zealot igniz's Avatar
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    i think it will help you to learn the basics schools is a great environment in learning... but the development must not end at school

  17. #42
    SitePoint Member cessvergara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve80 View Post
    I will suggest you to buy one good book and read it very careful and practice and practice!
    yeah you are right, to practice is a better way. just focus and set a goal you want to achieve, so you will know how much you need to learn..
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  18. #43
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    Hey I would say the webdesign aspect in the uk is totally different to the webdesign in the US so you need to find out what style you want to do first then either buy a book even a magazine, or go on a course. Personally I have taught myself everything I know of webdesign and have been doing this for over 10 yrs but teaching yourself webdesign is a whole different ball game than doing it commercially so it depends where you want to take your new ambition.

    As I am from the uk myself I don't think courses in webdesign cut it because everyone has their unique own taste so by going on a course your just doing something which is to someone else's tastes, on the offset there are some powerful qualifications for webdesign out there so its work checking them out and where they can take you, where would the university course take you, how would it benefit you? all the questions to ensure your doing what is right for yourself. I did go on a course when I was younger but didn't think it was too great however I have a urge to go on a 3d course because I would love to learn in that area and found it hard teaching myself in that area.
    Graham Barnes

    Webdesign Nottingham

  19. #44
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    Designer, Developer, both?

    Designer: A solid education in graphic design will set you apart. Form, color, composition and typography are missing from many sites. Educate yourself either at school, online or books.

    Developer: As an old print designer learning web, other posts have better advice than I.

    Where do you want to work? Freelance, in-house, design firm?

    The larger the company the greater need for educational credentials. A BFA is required in many large firms. If you are freelancing or with a smaller firm, educate yourself daily, keep up with the technology.

    And never forget being reliable, responsible and professional.

  20. #45
    SitePoint Addict ameRie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frisbee View Post
    As someone with a day job that isn't totally to do with web design as such, I've been considering doing some evening and weekend distance learning courses with a university (UK) to develop my knowledge and skills in different web design practices and technologies. It's not the qualification I'm interested in per se - more the learning of techniques and developing the ability to apply them.

    Reading up on available courses and the amount of time they take to complete (especially given the pace at which techniques change and go out of date) has made me wonder whether I'd be better investing in a few decent up-to-date books and working through them instead.

    Would be interesting to hear how people got their knowledge in web design.

    Have you done formal training? What course did you study? Was it useful?

    Or are you self-taught? How did you decide what areas to study? What materials did you invest in?

    you can just do a self study, self practice and read some latest books.

  21. #46
    SitePoint Guru hifigrafix's Avatar
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    I bring a contrary experience to the table on this one. I am a self-taught freelance PHP guy that does a LOT of work for bigger companies comprised of a number of "design graduates" coming from different schools and such. I must say that there is certainly level of quality involved with the designers that have a formal education. Not saying there aren't exceptions to this rule as I see a lot of outstanding self-taught designers but some people learn better from a teacher led instruction.

  22. #47
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    I would recommend books and web. I just landed a new job as a web developer BECAUSE I don't have an education. They've been having trouble getting workers that are good at programming who come from educational backgrounds. They now hire exclusively self-taught programmers because they're shapable and know more than theory. I recommend books and especially solid websites because you can get current information. Pairing the two is best.
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  23. #48
    SitePoint Member The-Pixel's Avatar
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    Hello,

    I do think having the education in web design will help you out. If you went in for a job interview and you another individual had the same skills the fact you have a degree in Web Design will land you the job. Just because you get a degree in web design does not mean your web design learning experience is over. You will constantly be learning new techniques and skills that will make your resume / portfolio solid.
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  24. #49
    SitePoint Enthusiast D3niss3's Avatar
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    Learning from the experts are always good. If you can stick to someone that is well-known or veteran in the field to mentor you then that is one of best method or technique you can get.

    Self-taught is somehow good but you can never get away from trial and error and learning the hard way. But it's worth once you learned well coz you can proudly say that nobody teaches you on this or that. But I'm telling you, it's still best if you learn something the right way at first encounter than using the wrong method all the while then you'll just realized it was wrong.

    So going to academy and take courses for such is one good option too.

    It's just my two cents anyway.

  25. #50
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    Hi,

    Learn Latest designing course including multimedia, it will very useful in web design.


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