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  1. #1
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    web design qualifacation

    Hi everybody,

    i am new on this site and new to web design iv'e started learning it as i want to go for it as a job.

    can anyone point me in the right direction as to what books i should read and wether i should go for a profeessional qualifacation and if so what qualifacation.?

    any ideas and advice would be appreciated.

    thanks

    welsh warrior

  2. #2
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Firstly, what did you want to get into? I am guessing by your post you don't really have much experience in terms of code or the relevant aspects of design and development. There are loads of different fields which encompass producing a website, there is (as you stated) web design (usually HTML, CSS and JavaScript), web development (server-side scripting), content writing, copywriting, SEO and marketing, graphic design, accessibility, usability engineering... loads. Having a job in this industry means knowing what you want to be a specialist or targeted at, it's not like a lot of jobs where you just learn a few things, and then get a qualification saying you can do everything. You also need to say whether you want to work for someone else or work for yourself, many people work in web design organizations but many others work as freelancers so they own their own businesses, there are pro's and con's to both so again, another consideration.

    As you are a beginner I will assume you don't have much knowledge on the various languages I've mentioned like HTML, CSS and JavaScript, those would be a good starting point (Yep sorry, there's more than one language to learn!) and you will need to ensure you keep your skills up to date (so don't think of this career as something where learning stops at the classroom). In respect to books there are lots of great ones out there, if you really don't know any HTML or CSS I would go for "Head First HTML and CSS" as it's a good starting point though as you advance your skills you will want to move onto more advanced titles and depending on what you want to specialize in you will need appropriate books for that field. You will also need a working knowledge of the various web browsers, a high-end image editor (like Photoshop / GIMP) - if you want to produce images for your website, an FTP program and a couple of other tools.

    I know this is a lot to take onboard but it's not a job someone with no experience will be ready for in a short period of time, there's lots of different bits to learn and it'll probably take you a few years before your good enough to be able to hold your own (so be able to take care of your clients needs). Don't take it as a bad thing though, it's a great environment to work and if you like learning stuff you will never get bored, it's just important you know what's involved as its not the job for everyone (and it's nowhere near as easy as you may have been lead to believe). In terms of a qualification... if you want to work for other people you probably want to aim at a computer science degree or some other relevant degree (at the bare minimum), however if you want to work for yourself (or for other people depending on their requirements) you can get away with a good solid portfolio of previous work or examples of stuff you have produced (so get used to making designs from the offset) and you can make a good living without the degree. While many people have computer science degrees I would seriously advise against a web design degree (or other qualification which has web design in the title), because the industry is so fast paced it's impossible at the moment for educational institutions to keep up-to-date with the recent advances (like being a doctor, out of date techniques won't hold up to scrutiny!) but a general computer science degree can be useful for most computer related careers. Let me know what your trying to get into (professionally), your current level of experience and what direction you want to take and we can offer you more direct career advice. Hope this is useful

  3. #3
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    Hi Alex ,

    this is dean thanks for the reply you sent much appreciated.

    i would like to go for a web designer than anything else really i am still at the beginner stage, so ill take your advice and start learning HTML, XHTML CSS JAVA, FTP, AND PHOTOSHOP and anything else that i need to learn is there any good material out there to learn this stuff and what do you reccomend.

    as for as working on my own or for someone else i am not sure (does sound good to work on your own though) i think i might need some experience working as a web designer in an organisation, before i go out on my own.

    apart from the things you have listed is there anything i would need to learn for web designing.

    cheers

    dean

  4. #4
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    The kind of software you need to learn is one web / text editor (Notepad / Notepad++ / Dreamweaver / ExpressionWeb / NVU / something along those lines), one FTP editor (SmartFTP / FileZilla or something similar) for uploading your files to the web and an image editor (Photoshop / GIMP / PaintShop Pro or something similar) for creating web graphics. The languages you should start with are HTML, CSS and JavaScript (in that order). Good places to begin learning would be the SitePoint references (hit the reference button in the main website menu), the Opera web standards curriculum (http://www.opera.com/company/education/curriculum/) and reading the W3C specifications (which are pretty complicated but their the meat and bones of all web languages - their basically the official guidebooks).

    As for books I can recommend the following...
    • Head first HTML and CSS (great guide to start from)
    • Designing with Web Standards (a solid book on best practices)
    • Bulletproof Web Design & Handcrafted CSS (two excellent intermediate guides)
    • The Zen of CSS Design (a great book on general design principles)
    • Don't make me think! (introduces you to usability and how to keep things easy to use)

    and when you really start getting the hang of HTML and CSS (and want to learn JavaScript)... HTML Mastery, CSS Mastery and DOM Scripting (one book for each subject, more technical and slightly more advanced but very usable advice and self explanatory), you don't need to get all of those books if you don't want and there's plenty of other good ones out there but I can say for sure if you manage to get through the books mentioned you would be as equipped as anyone with a degree to cope with the concepts of coding for the web (and it's cheaper than the three year education too!).

    You will need to have gained a fair bit of experience before you start working for an organization so that's something to consider, generally web design businesses won't hire someone who doesn't already have a solid portfolio of work (so you could skip working for others and just work for yourself if you feel up to it). Though you can always ask questions here on anything you find confusing!

    PS: Just to clarify, it's JavaScript, not Java (Java is a programming language, JavaScript is what's used on the web)

  5. #5
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    Alex

    thanks for the info and advice, i am to go and have a look at those books now, by the way iv'e just ordered a sitepoint book (build your own website the right way using HTML and CSS by Ian Lloyd) hope this is good book.

    cheers

    dean

  6. #6
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    good tips and guideline given by AlexDawson
    i appreciate it and it is useful to all looking for it.


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