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Thread: I need guidance

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    billycundiff{float:left;} silver trophybronze trophy RyanReese's Avatar
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    I need guidance

    1) Should I go to a web design college? I mean take a course there? WIll it justify the cost?
    2) I'm about to graduate high school in May..where can I find local web design companys? How can I get my foot in the door?

    Always looking for web design/development work.
    http://www.CodeFundamentals.com

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    SitePoint Member hubbychan's Avatar
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    If were you I would continue my study..

    >Go to college and learn more enhance your knowledge and skill
    and be a competitive individual<

    Good Luck
    Professional Web Design and Development Co.
    Website | Graphic | Programming | SEO | Data Entry

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    billycundiff{float:left;} silver trophybronze trophy RyanReese's Avatar
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    But I have people telling me that I won't learn enough to justify the cost by going to college. I don't want to waste my money. Given this economy would it really be that hard to get into a web design company without a fancy degree? I haven't done that good in school..
    Always looking for web design/development work.
    http://www.CodeFundamentals.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanReese View Post
    But I have people telling me that I won't learn enough to justify the cost by going to college. I don't want to waste my money. Given this economy would it really be that hard to get into a web design company without a fancy degree? I haven't done that good in school..
    The web isn't a brand new area and while there is money to be made you're facing competition from a lot more people today and even more tomorrow. While there's definitely success stories from people who have no post-high school education and a degree still isn't required by every company it is by many and something you should seriously look into. More and more agencies require a degree these days and that's only likely to grow as time goes on.

    While again it's not universal there is a certain stigma about not having a degree and depending on where you want to go in the future that can be a big factor. If you really think you'll stay with more independent/ artistic groups you may never run into this but it's a big decision to skip the process at 17 or 18 when it's something you will not have on your resume for 30-40 years.

    I would suggest staying away from a web design specific degree... that's vocational training and really limited. Instead you could focus on design (art) or a related field which, should your interests change, would give you other doors in the future.

    Lastly don't underestimate the value of the college experience. You have your entire life to work (and you can work during school too). College provides a time to learn, express and grow.... it's not for everyone and it's not something everyone benefits from but for the vast majority of people I know they wouldn't trade the experience for just about anything.

    Of course with all advice mine is biased from my own experiences; I have a degree, I work for companies (both small and big) that hire people with degrees and I mostly associate with people who have them as well.
    - Ted S

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    billycundiff{float:left;} silver trophybronze trophy RyanReese's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted S View Post
    The web isn't a brand new area and while there is money to be made you're facing competition from a lot more people today and even more tomorrow. While there's definitely success stories from people who have no post-high school education and a degree still isn't required by every company it is by many and something you should seriously look into. More and more agencies require a degree these days and that's only likely to grow as time goes on.
    It isn't a brand new area but pretty darn new. I know that there will always be competition which is why I come here-hone my skills and hopefully get an intellectual edge over those other CSS people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted S View Post
    While again it's not universal there is a certain stigma about not having a degree and depending on where you want to go in the future that can be a big factor. If you really think you'll stay with more independent/ artistic groups you may never run into this but it's a big decision to skip the process at 17 or 18 when it's something you will not have on your resume for 30-40 years.
    That's the part I don't like-not having it on my resume for a good 30/40 years. Given this economy employers will definately be a little bit pickier about who they want to hire.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted S View Post
    I would suggest staying away from a web design specific degree... that's vocational training and really limited. Instead you could focus on design (art) or a related field which, should your interests change, would give you other doors in the future.
    That's what I love doing and I will not even think about venturing off that path. CSS is my love.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ted S View Post
    Lastly don't underestimate the value of the college experience. You have your entire life to work (and you can work during school too). College provides a time to learn, express and grow.... it's not for everyone and it's not something everyone benefits from but for the vast majority of people I know they wouldn't trade the experience for just about anything.
    College is always good, but honestly I don't want to be bored off my a$$ watching some halfrate teacher trying to figure out why IE is displaying a page wrongly only to find out he's in quirks mode.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted S View Post
    Of course with all advice mine is biased from my own experiences; I have a degree, I work for companies (both small and big) that hire people with degrees and I mostly associate with people who have them as well.
    I really appreciate your advice. Thanks!
    Always looking for web design/development work.
    http://www.CodeFundamentals.com

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    It sounds like you're set on on the belief that you need to learn or expand your learning about web design and css... if that's what you think is right then you should pursue that path and find a job that fits. You're right, going to a vocational school won't give you any amazing insights that you can't get reading and doing online which is why I'm not a fan of vocational training for people with some experience already, an internship would be far less expensive and more practical.

    However I would suggest you spend just a little time thinking. Not about how you'll master css but what life is going to hold for you in the future. Today the world uses CSS but that won't always be the case just as you may not always be interested in web design and you need to make a choice if you want to be with a degree or without one. Deciding to forgo the college route is a big decision for your life now (i.e. the college experience) and the long term... but it's also one only you get to make.

    Just remember, there's a lot more to education and college than learning how to script.
    - Ted S

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    billycundiff{float:left;} silver trophybronze trophy RyanReese's Avatar
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    Don't worry I have multiple languages as my backup career. Not as good as I am with CSS but it can get me through...true I may not always like CSS but I am getting more and more excited with CSS now with 3 in its' draft version...Thanks.
    Always looking for web design/development work.
    http://www.CodeFundamentals.com

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    I think you're missing my point but again, best of luck with your decision... do what seems right to you and be happy with that decision.
    - Ted S

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    billycundiff{float:left;} silver trophybronze trophy RyanReese's Avatar
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    I miss points a lot..in school and life. I get your point, always have a backup plan..I don't want to accept I might need one though .
    Always looking for web design/development work.
    http://www.CodeFundamentals.com

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    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Ryan, if you would like some insight from me. I am one of those people without a degree and am a self taught developer. I personally feel the idea that businesses have about having a degree is honestly not a correct one, it is a given fact these days that whatever you would learn on a college or university course in terms of producing for the web will be out of date and when you graduate, all you have is a piece of paper that may as well say “congratulations, you passed 1998”. Call me cynical but I know people on both sides of the debate and have always found the people who are self taught as opposed to educated tend to have more of a point to prove and usually more flexibility in their adoption rates of new technologies. But maybe I am incorrect.

    What I will say though is perhaps if you do consider education you take a course not directly to-do with web design but may help improve your overall ability to create websites. For example you could take a degree in English language and become a great content writer, or take a course in psychology (like I did) and give yourself added insight into how people behave which will help you with usability dramatically (and social engineering online). These qualifications would also serve as a backup to which you could focus your skills outside of web design if you had too, but it would be relevant education to being in web design and development so your expert skills could be almost a two-pronged method... having offline skills which apply online alongside your existing and ever growing web design self taught knowledge (which of course is up to date and always being tested).

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    billycundiff{float:left;} silver trophybronze trophy RyanReese's Avatar
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    That is very helpful Alex! Exactly what I was hoping for...thank you (I agree with your point of views)
    Always looking for web design/development work.
    http://www.CodeFundamentals.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    Ryan, if you would like some insight from me. I am one of those people without a degree and am a self taught developer. I personally feel the idea that businesses have about having a degree is honestly not a correct one, it is a given fact these days that whatever you would learn on a college or university course in terms of producing for the web will be out of date and when you graduate, all you have is a piece of paper that may as well say “congratulations, you passed 1998”.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google

    Google founders hypothesized that a search engine that analyzed the relationships between websites would produce better ranking of results than existing techniques, which ranked results according to the number of times the search term appeared on a page.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Html

    Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, OM, KBE, FRS, FREng, FRSA (London, 8 June 1955) is an English computer scientist and MIT professor credited with inventing the World Wide Web. On 25 December 1990 he implemented the first successful communication between an HTTP client and server via the Internet with the help of Robert Cailliau and a young student staff at CERN.

    Even your beloved CSS

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Css

    Håkon Wium Lie (now the CTO of Opera Software) proposed Cascading HTML Style Sheets (CHSS) in October 1994, a language which has some resemblance to today's CSS. Bert Bos was working on a browser called Argo which used its own style sheet language, Stream-based Style Sheet Proposal (SSP). Lie and Bos worked together to develop the CSS standard (the 'H' was removed from the name because these style sheets could be applied to other markup languages besides HTML).

    It's funny how all the tools that make the web what it is today are all created by college educated people for you to use and here you're laughing at their face.

    Unfortunately the problem with your so call "fact" is college is not here to teach you how to use tool. College is teaching you how to think. College allow you to think, dream and create tool for the future.

    If you want to use tool, self-taught and two years community college is more than enough but if you want to create tool and the next generation of web then college is a must. There is no such thing as out of date. Ajax is consider out of date technologies since it's build on stack of older technology and yet. It is the main focus of the web 2.0

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    billycundiff{float:left;} silver trophybronze trophy RyanReese's Avatar
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    So your saying there are no successful people who didn't go to college? Ok I'll hold you to that.
    Always looking for web design/development work.
    http://www.CodeFundamentals.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanReese View Post
    So your saying there are no successful people who didn't go to college? Ok I'll hold you to that.
    Where did i say that?

    AlexDawson said College teach you outdated technologies and yet tool that you use are made by college educated people. You seem like you're already set on what you want to do. I don't care about giving you guidance nor am i addressing you. I'm addressing his point on college education and i'm holding him to that. if you don't understand it then maybe you do need a college education.

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    I think the bottom line is that you have to look at education as a decision for life and not just for one job. If you're fine without the college experience that's one thing but the real question is are you really sure you want to forgo having the degree 10, 20 or 30 years from now? Are you sure your line of work will evolve enough that what you do will remain applicable and not having the degree won't hold you back?

    From the seat I'm in, the world of opportunities for new designers/ coders without degrees is shrinking quickly. More and more people have education and skills and that means companies that may have forgotten about their degree requirements for certain roles are bringing them back. Even many of the most progressive and cutting edge dot-coms require a degree.

    There are certainly many avenues that don't require a degree mainly in doing your own thing but that doesn't work for everyone or forever. If it does work for you that's awesome. At the end of the day you have to think longer term and make up your mind. That's not to say thinking long term means thinking you should get a degree... not everyone needs to go down that road but don't mistake your ideas for today with tomorrow and don't think tomorrow is just an issue for 20 years down the road... the needs you have in a few years may be much different than what you have today.

    Thankfully you'll find many successes here at SP from people on both sides of the education discussion so you should be able to get advice to help you either way. Just don't forget the whole point of advice is to challenge your ideas and make you aware... not to find things that just agree with what you want. If that's all you're looking for skip the thread and go with what you already know.
    - Ted S

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    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Dotnetnoob, clearly you do not even have the slightest comprehension of my point of view on the subject which is rather a shame considering I made my viewpoint perfectly clear. I never once said that college educated people were unable to function in the workplace or achieve anything and I certainly did not “laugh in their faces”, nor did I state that college is not there to teach you how to do something. This is entirely something you have fabricated and come to your own conclusion and in no way has any basis in reality so please could you at least try and keep to factual information for the purpose of neutrality rather than making such blatantly inaccurate comments up on the spot?

    My viewpoint was that some businesses tend to have the opinion that someone who has a degree will have a greater knowledge of web design or a related skill than someone without, which is clearly no longer the case. While going to college or university is perfectly fine, I have a problem with the idea that those without a degree should be discriminated against on the basis that they do not have a piece of paper showing that they have acquired a small skillset over their study period when a portfolio of work can emphasise entirely that they do in fact have the skills they profess. And while it is true that educational institutions are getting better about keeping their courses up to date, one of the biggest flaws in education today is that it takes a long time for new syllabus to go through the processes and bureaucracy required to be accepted as something that can be taught in the classroom. Which is why all over the world academic instructions still teach depreciated and potentially damaging (to the end user) methods of development which violate accessibility and usability recommendations. Web design and development are skills you never stop learning, progression is always constant and no educational institution in the world can embed you with a complete skillset in such a restricted timeframe.

    If you read my post in full you would be aware that I certainly do not have anything against going to university, in fact I made sure to state to Ryan that if he chose to take the academic route to rather than take web design (which in its current state is too volatile and fast moving to be accurately taught in college or university due to the turnaround of new skills) but to take a course in a related subject. If people wish to study at university or college level, good for them however I along with many people would point out that in many cases, education is failing web design and development students by not being able to teach them skills which could take them directly into the workplace instead of graduating and finding out that they have to undo all of the bad habits taught to them and essentially be forced to relearn and reapply those skills to meet modern standards.

    Academic education does not make someone a professional – all education does is provide you with the basic skills you will require to be able to work in a subject area. What makes all of those graduate professionals the highly skilled individuals that they are is passion, experience and the willingness to keep up-do-date and continue learning throughout their career. None of which can be taught in the classroom, it has to be obtained by the individual themselves (and as a self-taught individual I believe that it is my own passion that drives me to achieve in this industry). Universities can only point the way, they certainly cannot turn you into some sort of Zen master.

    PS: Do not insult Ryan by stating that if he does not agree with your point of view he clearly need to be re-educated as that is rather infantile and childish.

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    To All - This is an interesting topic so please keep it on topic and do not make it personal. You can make your points strongly but you should respect others views even if you disagree and there's certainly no need to make them personal as that destroys whatever good points were made.

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    billycundiff{float:left;} silver trophybronze trophy RyanReese's Avatar
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    Paul I think you should give your feedback .
    Always looking for web design/development work.
    http://www.CodeFundamentals.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    Which is why all over the world academic instructions still teach depreciated and potentially damaging (to the end user) methods of development which violate accessibility and usability recommendations. Web design and development are skills you never stop learning, progression is always constant and no educational institution in the world can embed you with a complete skillset in such a restricted timeframe.
    I don't think you understand what college is about even when i listed some example of what college education can help a person achieve.

    I'm not interesting in debating if a person can success or not without a college but you seem to have this mindset on College suppose to teach you how to use tool. Why?

    From your first post:

    "I personally feel the idea that businesses have about having a degree is honestly not a correct one, it is a given fact these days that whatever you would learn on a college or university course in terms of producing for the web will be out of date and when you graduate, all you have is a piece of paper that may as well say “congratulations, you passed 1998”."

    Why do you think a college education mean "congratulations, you passed 1998"? Is College suppose to teach you how to use RoR (Ruby on Rails)?

    Tool like C, C++, Java, Ruby, RoR...etc. come and go. We are already on the 4th generation of programing languages. Should College keep teaching you whatever flavor of the month language? I doubt it and that's not what college is about either.

    A College with a good CS program should give you the foundation of computer sciences and from that you can learn all the tool that you need for your job. After all, how many different way can you make a loop?

    Even DHH (RoR creator) said it himself, he created RoR based on MVC design pattern and where did this pattern come from? You will learn about design pattern, theory...etc. at College. That's what you should learn instead of learning how to use whatever current flavor to create a website.

    I said it before and I'll say it again. If you want to learn how to use tools, pick up a book or go to 2yrs community college or vocational school. They have good program on how to be a web designer but if you want to create tool or shape the future then College is more valuable in that regard.

    Notice all the technologies(tools) that we are using today are all spawn off from College research and attending College get you closer to cutting edge.

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    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    I don’t think you actually read what the topic was about. Ryan did not in any way state taking a computer science course, he asked explicitly about a web design course which in turn would teach skills such as producing mark-up and as I have mentioned, due to the rapid evolution of web development by the time the skills they physically teach in the classroom reach the students, there ends up being a lot of depreciated and out of date material being passed around the classroom. I think what your current problem is you think that higher education does not teach people any applicable skills or at least, should not (due to the fact they are so easily outdated) or the “flavour of the month” as you called them. Unfortunately for you, unlike computer science, web design / development is one of those areas which is entirely vocational and hands on. You will not get anywhere in web design unless you can code HTML / CSS / JavaScript or have the rapidly evolving processes involved in the various levels which are too quickly evolving to be “current” when reaching the classroom.

    As for colleges or universities teaching “tools” as you called them, if you are expecting a college to teach a web design, how exactly do you propose they teach you how to build websites if the course material does not include languages such as HTML and CSS (which are predominantly what become outdated before reaching the classroom) or the fundamental skills such as accessibility and usability. It would be impossible for a college course just to teach theoretical web design and not actually partake in any production of websites using the tools you so quickly absolved from involvement. After all, if you take a course in web design (rather than computer science as this thread is about – so keep on topic) and at the end of it you have a piece of paper that says “this person knows about web design but due to the fact of only learning theory and not practice they have no skills in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, serverside languages or any rapidly evolving areas such as accessibility or usability” you are left thinking... I spent thousands of dollars on what exactly, and employers would see the qualification as nothing more than a shallow promise.

    Essentially your view of what higher education should be is nothing more than a pipe dream. And even though I do agree with your viewpoint that colleges should teach generalist skills which do not change overtime (such as good analytical skills, how to enhance creativity and such) if you have actually taken a course in web design as it stands today, the reality is something entirely different. While computer science courses will set you up for many positions in the IT sector, web design is one of those vocational areas which a computer science degree though enhancing your way of thinking will in little way prepare you for the job position, and those courses which are intended to set you up for such a position (explicitly in the sector of internet development) teach outdated practices in HTML, very misconstrued ideas of semantics, accessibility and usability and rarely cover the areas which people often overlook which are essential to being a professional in web design.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanReese View Post
    Paul I think you should give your feedback .
    I think you are getting good arguments from both sides already and ultimately it's a choice you have to make for yourself and be comfortable with.

    I wish there was an easy answer but life just isn't like that. You make your choices after you have considered the alternatives but whatever path you choose you must commit 100%.

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    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    I think ultimately, the best choice might be to learn the stuff which evolves rapidely (like accessibility / usability / SEO / and best practices) solo, however there is nothing wrong with taking the educational route for something which will help improve your skills (so you have a piece of paper) alike what I mentioned origionally.

    There are so many courses out there which will make you a better web engineer (that aren't "web design" courses teaching outdated practices) for example...

    Computer Science (General Development / Webmastery)
    English Language (Content Writing)
    Healthcare (Accessibility)
    Graphic Design (UX Design)
    Marketing (SEO)
    Media Studies (Content Writing / NewMedia)
    Psychology (UX Design / Usability)
    Sociology (Usability)

    You could even learn a new language to allow you to do some interpreting or professional conversion work.

    The A List Apart survey showed a wide range of people coming from various other non IT related occupations (aren't transferrable skills lovely), it makes sense that perhaps other professions helped in this respect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    I don’t think you actually read what the topic was about.
    Essentially your view of what higher education should be is nothing more than a pipe dream. And even though I do agree with your viewpoint that colleges should teach generalist skills which do not change overtime (such as good analytical skills, how to enhance creativity and such) if you have actually taken a course in web design as it stands today, the reality is something entirely different. While computer science courses will set you up for many positions in the IT sector, web design is one of those vocational areas which a computer science degree though enhancing your way of thinking will in little way prepare you for the job position, and those courses which are intended to set you up for such a position (explicitly in the sector of internet development) teach outdated practices in HTML, very misconstrued ideas of semantics, accessibility and usability and rarely cover the areas which people often overlook which are essential to being a professional in web design.
    Again, I'm not addressing this thread's topic at all. I already said I'm addressing your point of view on College and that's what I've been doing when I posted my first reply.

    If I'm not mistaking basically you believe College should teach you more up to date skills for web design. Isn't that what vocational school and 2 years community college suppose to do?

    I don't believe it's a pipe dream for having a good CS foundation. For example, you can implement PageRank in any tool (language) but you can't come up with PageRank algorithm (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank) if you don't have a good understanding of CS.

    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. I don't believe in College teaching you tools so you can get a job done for today. How about tomorrow? Shouldn't College prepare you for the rest of your life? College should give you a good foundation for you to build on. You still need to keep learning new thing.

    I don't want to drag this any longer than it already is and I understand your point of view but i think that's what vocational school is for.

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    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy Slackr's Avatar
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    Having spent 9 years studying in areas other than web and now having now worked for 9 years on design and the web, I can comment on this from a different point of view.

    As I mentioned I've spent a lot of time in academic institutions I left college and went to med school. Did 4 years and pretty much hated every moment struggling through. I moved and switched to a physiology major to help me quick track studying psychology. Family commitments meant I needed to leave Uni and go and find paid employment.

    I went out and found work as a graphic designer using the skills from all my summer jobs spent working in my father's office.

    I've since spent more time at university studying things completely separate from web design but I make my money off of the web right now. I can safely say that while I've done it for the last 8-9 years I will not stay in the profession long term. But it's kept me and my family fed and clothed.

    Higher educational institutes are not about 'pieces of paper', but if that is what they get reduced to believe me that in a competitive world all other things being equal, the person with that 'piece of paper' will be the one preferred. It shows more than sitting on your butt for 2-3 years. It shows that you will commit and put your money where your mouth is.

    Ryan: If you are actually interested in this area, you may want to listen to some of those people who have watched and worked in the area for more than half of your life time. The fact that there are different opinions out there mean that there's room for everyone. You might get lucky, you might not. In my father's generation they expected to have one job for life, last I saw it was likely to have 3 different major career options over your lifetime. It's probably more now.

    The world will change. The web will change. The tools we use will change. Your life circumstances will change. Other people can give you advice but ultimately you have to live with your own choices. Choose well. Good luck.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by dotnetnoob View Post
    Again, I'm not addressing this thread's topic at all. I already said I'm addressing your point of view on College and that's what I've been doing when I posted my first reply.

    If I'm not mistaking basically you believe College should teach you more up to date skills for web design. Isn't that what vocational school and 2 years community college suppose to do?

    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. I don't believe in College teaching you tools so you can get a job done for today. How about tomorrow? Shouldn't College prepare you for the rest of your life? College should give you a good foundation for you to build on. You still need to keep learning new thing.
    You were in fact mistaken then, I was not stating that College should teach more up to date skills, I know that currently that simply just is not possible due to the turnaround speeds (as I have explained to great length). I was simply showing Ryan the downsides of going to college doing a vocational course when the material is not up to scratch, nothing more. As for college teaching skills which are a solid foundation, that is a good thing and I wholeheartly agree that going into education to be opened up to different perspectives of learning is a good thing. I myself went to college for 4 years so I understand the benefits of getting a qualification (though it was not a degree). However I must place emphasis on the fact that vocational schools and community colleges were the problem which I have been targeting this entire thread, places which are meant to teach the explicit skills you will require but fail to keep up-to-date and unfortunately fall short of expectations.

    College cannot prepare you for the rest of your life, as you have probably seen due to the recession worldwide, finding work is hard, especially in a field such as web design which the vast majority have the same degree, which pretty much dilutes the value of the thing when the majority have one in a highly competitive field.

    PS: If you only entered this conversation to (mistakenly) debate my opinion (which so far you have not managed to understand effectively) rather than answer the question in the tread, it was rather a waste, especially considering you jumped to a lot of conclusions about me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slackr View Post
    Ryan: If you are actually interested in this area, you may want to listen to some of those people who have watched and worked in the area for more than half of your life time.
    Ryan is 17, I have been web designing (at a professional level - as in making money from it - since I was 14), I am now 25 years old so that gives me 11 years... more than half if I am not mistaken... though like everyone, I am still learning new things all the time! ... And now I feel old


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