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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Pressure of working in isolation

    There are lots of posts about education and training here, and reading them has prompted me to post today.

    I work in a very small team where everyone's job is specialised with very little overlap between roles. As an unofficial part of my job I am the 'I.T.' person. As another parts of my job I look after a website, doing bits of web design, adding functionality when requested. I'm completely self-trained in HTML and CSS as of 2 years ago thanks to working through some Sitepoint books and there's no-one else in my organisation with web skills.

    I feel very isolated. What would be great would be to have someone knowledgeable (beyond posting on forums) to talk to regularly about web design, to ask about things - someone I can learn from and who would effectively be a mentor. I've even thought about asking to spend time with a web design firm, but a) I doubt such firms would be amenable and b) I can't see me getting time away from work to do this.

    How on earth do I go about finding such a person?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Evangelist WebMachine's Avatar
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    If there are any groups in your area, why don't you join a meetup group ( www.meetup.com ). They have groups for just about any area of interest you would want and casually meet, usually monthly and often in a nearby hall or pub, to network and talk about common interests. I joined several months ago, and haven't had the time to go to any of the meetings, but it might just be what you need.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebMachine View Post
    If there are any groups in your area, why don't you join a meetup group ( www.meetup.com ). They have groups for just about any area of interest you would want and casually meet, usually monthly and often in a nearby hall or pub, to network and talk about common interests. I joined several months ago, and haven't had the time to go to any of the meetings, but it might just be what you need.
    Thanks for this suggestion - unfortunately, there aren't any groups local to me to do with web design listed on that site, however.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    I too would like this face-to-face communication with someone who is at least on a similar skill level to myself or preferably higher so I can learn from them rather than just discuss things. The closest to this I have is my college tutors, but you probably don't want to go back to education to talk to tutors about Web Design .

    I feel the closest feeling you're going to get to this discussion with others if you can't do face-to-face is over an instant messaging application such as MSN Live. I sometimes do so and it's really good, although you aren't speaking face-to-face you have a live conversation that is instant and it's a really good experience too as well as having a bit of banter.

    Hope thats been helpful.

    Andrew Cooper

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCooper View Post
    I too would like this face-to-face communication with someone who is at least on a similar skill level to myself or preferably higher so I can learn from them rather than just discuss things. The closest to this I have is my college tutors, but you probably don't want to go back to education to talk to tutors about Web Design .

    I feel the closest feeling you're going to get to this discussion with others if you can't do face-to-face is over an instant messaging application such as MSN Live. I sometimes do so and it's really good, although you aren't speaking face-to-face you have a live conversation that is instant and it's a really good experience too as well as having a bit of banter.

    Hope thats been helpful.

    Andrew Cooper
    All ideas are helpful, Andrew - thank you. And yes, I'm a lot of years out of college!

    MSN would be an interesting addition to posting on a forum, though it's not really a substitute for the level of interaction I'd hope to have with a mentor. I can see MSN as a useful tool that a mentor might use to supplement face-to-face discussions, though.

    Must admit, I'm at a loss to see how I can find regular, developmental support of the kind I need, yet it would be so helpful to have it. Just to be able to pick someone's brains about whether I'm doing the right things, what the 'best' way is to do certain things, to ask how they achieved particular layouts and effects etc. It would be the best way over time for me to learn, plus not to feel so cut off would be reassuring. It's really starting to get to me just how on my own I am.

    So at least I know what I need; how to find it - that's the problem, I think.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frisbee View Post
    MSN would be an interesting addition to posting on a forum, though it's not really a substitute for the level of interaction I'd hope to have with a mentor. I can see MSN as a useful tool that a mentor might use to supplement face-to-face discussions, though.
    Webcam-to-Webcam Hehe, although I'm just being ticky there. I know what you mean. Communication is a really important thing, whether it be over the phone, e-mail, forums or face-to-face.

    Where abouts are you located? Are you in the UK?

    Andrew Cooper

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCooper View Post
    Webcam-to-Webcam Hehe, although I'm just being ticky there. I know what you mean. Communication is a really important thing, whether it be over the phone, e-mail, forums or face-to-face.

    Where abouts are you located? Are you in the UK?

    Andrew Cooper
    Indeed I am. Maybe I should put a little advert in the Post Office window in between the dog-walking service and the 'piano for sale - buyer collects' ads, saying "HELP!"

    Seriously, others must have faced this problem before and found various solutions - or even found themselves a mentor. I hope they read this post and share how they did it, because there must be lots of us in the same position.


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