6 month window to learn, what do you recommend?

just layed off, 40 yrs old, already was enrolled in webmaster program at community college.
Just finishing 2 courses 1)HTML, CSS and 2)Photoshop course. Have 6 months severance package.
(and could last about another 6 months after that with no income)
Would love to start freelance from home webdesign business.
Am currently spending about 8-9 hours /day learning as much as I can about
design,developing and the business of website design/freelancing.
Based on your experience, can some of ‘average’ intelligence learn enough
about website design to start his own business ??(with no prior experience in this
ANY comments very appreciated.

I don’t want to be a klll joy, but: http://www.sitepoint.com/student-to-freelancer-don’t-do-it/

If you are still insistent on doing it, you’ll need to learn graphic design, HTML 4 and some 5, CSS 2 and 3, Javascript, and a server side language (I recommend PHP).

Learning PHP necessitates learning basic computer science theory (if you want to be good at it). Graphic Design also necessitates a lot.

I’d also recommend you learn at least 1 CMS or framework pretty well as it’d help speed up development of sites.

Also, just so you know, I’ve never meet a person that was both an excellent developer and designer… they just use two different parts of the brain and there are very few people that can do both.

Good luck.

You might aswell realize it right away, being a freelancer or home business owner is a 24/7 job and requires much more than technical skills. With that being said, I agree with samanime that you will need to know some server side scriptlanguages, and most of all you should get some experience creating sites on different frameworks (they don’t neccessarily need to be real working sites, or commercial projects) so you get a brief overview (very brief) of what the different languages/frameworks are used for.

About graphic design, surely there are people that are great at both developing and designing, but only a handful I think :stuck_out_tongue:
Personally I focus on development, but I have aquired some skills in Photoshop / Illustrator and followed some courses in Media Design and Webdesign, but creating a full unique design worthy of my clients is not something I claim to be able to deliver - I guess it also comes down to what you enjoy doing! For this, it’s perfect to have a network of designers that you can outsource the more advanced design tasks to (not just anyone, people that you trust and know can deliver).

My advice is:

Master HTML / CSS in those months, and look at scripting languages that can add dynamic functionality to your site. An obvious choice being PHP and SQL, on which the majority of the open source solutions run. Javascript / jQuery are crucial tools too, and a lot of fun to explore / use.

Finally, build your network! As a freelancer theres nothing better than knowing someone that has worked with things that you are not personally too sure of. If the project is big enough, you can then outsource parts of it to these reliable peers - or of course ask them for help. It of course goes both ways :slight_smile:

Good luck!

thanks samanime, I had read that article as well.
appreciate your advice.

thx behati, I know that there is A LOT yet to learn, but I am enjoying it so far. I just wish
I had started earlier.

I have pretty much mastered Photoshop and Illustrator… that doesn’t make me a good designer though. Just a good user of Photoshop and Illustrator (and Fireworks) :wink:


any other comments from anyone ??

If you haven’t already, then read this thread, which is a bit more encouraging. :slight_smile:

Where you live may make a difference to the kind of work you’re likely to get and the skills you’ll need for it. I happen to live in an area with mainly very small businesses which don’t want/need anything complicated (and a few huge multi-nationals with in-house IT teams hundreds/thousands of miles away). So that’s what I concentrate on - simple, usable sites that work on everything from a fairly basic phone to a PC. You need to think about the kind of clients you’re likely to attract, and what their needs will be, then decide on the kind of skills you’ll need to acquire.

Hope that helps. :slight_smile:

Sorry to hear about your problems.

Freelancing is like a box of chocolates…it messes with your head until you start writing dumb cliches.

Sorry. I don’t know why I typed that. Anyways, you can learn a lot about web design and development in 6 months at 8-9 hours per day. That’ll get you a good start.

I would recommend learning HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP. That should start you off nicely. After that, make a site! Find someone who doesn’t have a website and make a website for them. As my first job, I offered to make a website for my church in exchange for having them pay for my personal website. Try that. That’ll give you experience that you need.

See what works and see what doesn’t.