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  1. #1
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    Help! Laid off with no certs and no degree.

    At 55, about to start collecting unemployment, I have to find a new job. I have 12 years experience with web design including HTML, CSS, javascript, php, mysql, graphic design, SEO, copywriting, email campaigns, ecommerce, press releases and more. But, I have no degrees or certifications. I could start my own web business, but I don't like the idea at all. I'm not an entrepreneur, and don't like trying to sell myself, then trying to collect payments. I just like to do the work.

    I've read many of the threads in this section, and I'm learning that most companies prefer a degree. I've worked with new hires that have 4-year degrees in computer science and web design, and they were actually extremely limited in their capabilities. It seems ridiculous that these people have a much better chance of landing a job in web design because they have that piece of paper. But at 55, by the time I got a degree while working full time, I'd be almost at retirement age. What I'd like to know is what are the most credible certifications I could get quickly in php, css, html, xhtml, javascript, search engine optimization and similar topics that could be done online, and be recognized by most small to medium-sized firms.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru silver trophy JamesColin's Avatar
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    Why don't you want to try the self-employed route, but not workign for clients, just creating websites that you keep for yourself and monetize, and that you can resell here on sitepoint if you want to make quick cash, or keep on monetizing for the years to come, even at retirement.

    Collect unemployment and put these months to get to grips with PPC ads and Affiliates programs if you don't know about them yet (it's possible if you had a salary you have never been interested in those subjects)
    and when money starts to come in, then you can legalize it and become self-employed, at first it will be harder than a salary, but then the sky is the limit, you can earn much more than a salary, and never have any bosses or customers.
    Do you really need traffic? Where to? What for?
    If you really do need traffic then stop messing around!
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesColin View Post
    Why don't you want to try the self-employed route, but not workign for clients, just creating websites that you keep for yourself and monetize, and that you can resell here on sitepoint if you want to make quick cash, or keep on monetizing for the years to come, even at retirement.
    Hi James,

    I am doing this, but it doesn't look all that promising as of yet. So far I average about $50 a month. The main site I'm doing this on was my experimental site. Unfortunately, I didn't care about it as much as I would have cared about someone else's, and went a bit too far with testing the limits of search engines. Unwittingly, of course. For instance, back when the "sandbox" was first noticed in Google about 4 years ago was when I launched this particular site. Within 2 weeks of launching it, I had more than 700 inbound links. I was coming out on top for just about every search term. Then the site was out of the SERPs for any good terms for 2 and half years (most people had to wait about 6 months). Later, I had a PR6 and started selling links in my directory. 2 weeks after I started doing this, Google slammed sites for selling links. If I was paranoid, I'd swear they were watching me. They busted me down to a PR0 and it's still a PR0. Maybe I should just trash the site and start over.

    My concern is that I still won't be making jack by the time my unemployment checks run out.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Guru babyboy808's Avatar
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    I would suggest getting a small site together that showcases your portfolio and skillset. In my opinion, companies prefer what you can do than how you learned (degree). good luck.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by babyboy808 View Post
    I would suggest getting a small site together that showcases your portfolio and skillset. In my opinion, companies prefer what you can do than how you learned (degree). good luck.
    I do have a few sites, but they don't highlight anything all that great. I published a novel a dozen years ago, and the publisher is closing. I just picked up the remaining books and put a site up for that. I did put in a wordpress blog and customized it to look like the rest of the site. It'll take a while, though, to get some traction in the search engines. My blog posts are showing up, and Google and Yahoo! have already crawled the site. No sales, though.

    Maybe I should take your advice and James's, roll 'em into a new site, and work on that for awhile. I already belong to a few affiliate programs and Google adsense. I'd still like to get some credible certifications and be able to get a decent paying job.

    Does anyone work for a company that uses online training programs to train their employees or certify them for particular jobs?

  6. #6
    SitePoint Guru silver trophy JamesColin's Avatar
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    I have absolutely no idea what is the minimum wage per month that you would consider ok to be able to stay at home to work on your site.
    As for online business, for sure you should have several sites, at least a few, if only to test out different niches.
    You have two choices, either there's already a hobby of yours that can be interesting to put on a site/blog because you're passionate about it and there are advertizers in this niche. Or you need to select and make research on some popular topics which touch everyone or nearly everyone, and then create content to answer their need, decorated with affilitate offers and ppc ads.
    A third option would be to sell things online too, such as your web skills or other unrelated products or services.

    It's by multiplying the sources of income, not relying on just cj.com and adsense, but on many, for instance if you have dreamhost as a web hosting, they offer a referal program, ok that's another potential source of income that needs to be used, even if it gets you only $10 a month, that will add up with the rest and perhaps pay for your web hosting, so you don't have to.

    At $50 a month you are well below your possibilities for someone who don't have the webmastering problem of people starting out with a blogger account. Getting paid by adsense every month only requires $3 a day, that's nothing to achieve, you know you can do it with just one site without even trying too hard.

    But perhaps you don't have the mindset to work at home like you're already retired. I don't know how someone who worked all his life can think, personnally I've spent less than a year in all my life working for a boss, and perhaps 3 years working for customers, the rest is all by myself ever since I stopped accepting customers because as you said I was fed up of requesting the money and keeping them on tracks.

    EDIT: if you really want some certifications, I know this site is very old, I know it since maybe 10 years, if you think you want to measure your knowledge in some areas it's a good way:
    http://www.brainbench.com (individual certifications: http://www.brainbench.com/xml/bb/ind...ndividuals.xml )
    Last edited by JamesColin; May 28, 2009 at 11:43. Reason: added brainbench
    Do you really need traffic? Where to? What for?
    If you really do need traffic then stop messing around!
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  7. #7
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    Thanks James,
    Yes, I used to get a check from Adsense for $100 just about every month. Then something changed, and now I get the same amount in about a year, even though I've quadrupled my traffic. I think Google changed the split substantially. Some of the clickthroughs used to give me a buck or two. Now, they're all in pennies. I don't get hardly any results from cj.

    Oddly enough, I went to brainbench.com yesterday, and thought "what company would take a certification from a place called brainbench seriously?" So, I was looking for others.

    Stay at home, work on my own web sites, and make enough to live on? Yeah, that sounds like heaven to me. I've been in and out of these affiliate programs for years, but just can't seem to crack the code to real monetization. I do very well with the search engines. In fact, between these posts, I just checked my book site in Google. It must have just gotten indexed and now comes up #2 for "ancient fiction" in Google: Results 1 - 10 of about 79,600,000. I launched the site on May 5th, 23 days ago. Now, if I could convert that into money, I'd be all set. $100/day would work fine for me. I'm not greedy.
    Last edited by mrlost; May 28, 2009 at 12:11. Reason: misspelled word

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bluedreamer's Avatar
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    With 12 years under your belt,and all that experience, I'd say it's worth a crack at going freelance but looking for subcontacting work from design agencies and the like as your main source of income. I don't know what it's like where you live but all my contacts here in the UK are busier than ever and I'm taking bookings for September already.

  9. #9
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    I agree with babyboy - if you put a quick portfolio site together that shows your coding work so potential employer's can view that, it will outshine the fact that you don't have a degree. Remember that Bill Gates and many other successful people were dropouts. Results count in the tech world - not just degrees and certifications.

  10. #10
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    Thanks Jervin and Bluedreamer. As usual, I'll focus on all of these points until something sticks. It wouldn't hurt to create a dozen or more web sites just for the practice, and use them as examples. And, if I could simultaneously monetize them as much as possible, I'd have an extra source of income as JamesColin suggested. Maybe enough to just work on my own sites.

  11. #11
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    Thumbs up

    Hey Mr. Lost

    I understand how you feel. I'm close to 40 and I don't have an degree. But I got a Teacher Assistant Certificate. All you need is just a High School Diploma. The exam is not that hard to take for TA. I'm been a TA for 11 years. I assisted students with learning disability. I help usually tutor two or three kids at a time to show them how to used computer software like Mircosoft suite, Window movie maker, Adobe photoshop, Adobe firework, creating blogs and basic html.
    I mean since you know so many languages and how to create a website, you can get work immediately once you get your TA Certificate.
    I hope this is an encourage for you. Gosh 55 you're not old!!

    Mitchell

  12. #12
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    Hey! Sure he's a kid! You're only as old as you think you are. I'm 67, and I feel the same as when I was in my 30's... much better than when I was in my 20's, when I felt like I really didn't know enough. Then I learned that it's what you learn after you "know it all" that counts

    I had to quit college in my first year. After that I've had dozens of jobs, but nothing was ever as fulfilling as working for myself, which I did on and off until I was in my early 40's, mostly working for myself, and mostly failing But... that's when you really learn stuff. Often I was a consultant to people with degrees, even PhD's. Many were pretty smart and knowledgeable, but for most of them, their degrees had only served to show that they can “make it through” the 4 or 6 years of college! Some were downright idiots! You know, like too many politicians, lawyers, etc.; and too many fall into the “If you can... do. If you can’t... teach” category

    Then, when I was living in Denver and working on and off as a consultant for a small company in California, they hired me as their general manager. I told the owner that I was only going to work there for a couple of years. 16 years later I got married again, then "retired" early, without a pension, and moved to Hawaii. My wife just had a birthday. She’s finally half my age

    I work for myself online. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s great, but for the past year or two it’s been bad to very bad due to the economy, and since google and yahoo and most 3rd party monetizers became much more aggressively “creative” with their payouts. It got down to where I was making less than 10% of what I was making 2 years ago!! So, I’ve been working at re-inventing what I’ve been doing and how to make money with my many domain names. It’s all coming together now, and the future is beginning to look much brighter. Even when it was the worst... and maybe it still is... it’s been MUCH better than working for someone!

    To me, the most important things are to keep an open mind, don’t keep doing the same thing, unless of course you’re raking in money, and even so, that will most likely slow down or stop someday, so always be thinking of new and better ways to do even the “same thing”. ALWAYS keep a positive attitude, and ALWAYS speak in the positive. BELIEVE you can do it... then DO IT! The first thing I’d recommend is to change your ID in this and any other forum from “mrlost”, to “mrsuccessful”, or something else very positive, or just something that makes you feel good. Calling yourself “mrlost” is branding yourself a loser... especially to yourself, and you certainly don’t seem like one. Think about it... people who say things like, “I always get a cold every winter”... and they always do! As you say, and as you think... so it will be. I used to get the flu and other things way too often. Since I started thinking positive all the time, I haven’t been “sick” since like the mid ‘90’s!

    Just keep asking and LISTENING, and stop being negative, and you’ll find what’s right for you... or more likely... it will FIND YOU Just be ready for it so that you’ll recognize it, and be ready to make the most of it.

    Good luck!

  13. #13
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    Hey Mitchell and Steve!

    Yeah, I'm not a buzzard... except perhaps to employers. I feel much better than I did in my teens and twenties. Of course, that was because I lived like an idiot during the 60's and 70's. Most companies are looking for young talent. Not because they're fresh and more knowledgeable about current trends. They're a lot cheaper!

    Mitchell, like you, I went to college for a little over a year, and dropped out when my loan was rejected, and my only car became junkyard material... the engine blew on my $200, rusted out Impala. I was an English major, and everyone would say "Oh, going to teach?". Not a chance. That would be my very last choice. No, I actually liked writing. So, I really wouldn't be interested in a certificate. That is a great idea, though, for other people who might read this post.

    Hawaii Steve, I entered that name (mrlost) when I was trying to learn CSS or PHP, can't remember which. I had forgotten my old username, and quickly created a new account which was mrlost... exactly where I was at the time. I don't see where I can change the username, which would make sense. Guess I'll have to create another one. At any rate, yes, I would like to be my own boss, just doing my own thing and not working with customers. I like to work alone. I can easily work with a team, but alone is even better. Everyone here has great advice, even though I can't use it all. I've actually just gotten a call for an interview from a company needing an Adsense specialist. I looked at their site and noticed that they have the same title on every page, no description or keyword metatags, poor structure, keyword-laden text in Flash at the top of every page. Yikes! On the cover letter I wrote, "Why are you looking for better Adsense results when you're site(s) aren't even optimized for natural rankings?" I told them they should be looking to get the free top rankings first, and then look for paid keywords and phrases. That got them to call me. We'll see where it goes and what it pays. In the meantime, I'll keep learning new things, creating new sites, looking for better jobs, and creating a sample site that displays my skills. Mostly, I'm a jack of all trades, master of none. If I don't get this job, I'll work at becoming a master at a few more things instead of a "jack", whatever that is.


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