Hobby, Free and Paid experience, what counts?

Hey all,

When you let people know how long you’ve been “doing” web development/design/whatever for, do you count the days of hobby? working on your own website, whatever it maybe. Do you count the free jobs you did for friends and family or that guy that said he’d pay you but didn’t? Do you count your paid for work, or do you resent your job so much you refuse to admit to people and life that you still work there?

Personally, yeah I do count some of my hobby experience, not all of it though. Definitely not from day one, lol oh hell no remembers his first homestead page :goof: I only count the “professional looking” hobby stuff :wink:

I’ve been “doing” web development since 2000 so, 10 years sounds great but I don’t feel as if I can count all of those 10 years. 5 years of it has been a profession (I’ve been paid for) though.

I find that reading what authors of tech books put is alwas interesting.

Well I’m an author of a tech book (web design specifically) and yes I count the time I acted as a hobbyist in my experience. Experience is just that, anything you’ve done which gives you knowledge or abilities in a subject, therefore it makes sense to include whatever you’ve done, even if it was for free or just for fun… it all counts for something. After all, without the time I spent as a hobbyist, I could never have become a professional! :slight_smile:

I agree with Alex, anything that contributes to your abilities over a continuous timespan counts as experience.

But you can always indicate what period of time you did it as a hobby and what professionally, if you want to be totally honest. Especially if you feel that it did affect your skill set significantly.

I agree with both Alex & Saul too - there are so many transferable skills you have especially in web development - 10 years is a long time and we all learn somewhere, some of us are even alot faster at learning too depending on the subject matter, some may well have mastered say Flash in say a month but because you were still learning in other areas it would be discounted! - I would definitely say it counts - free or paid, I still sort of view my web design business as being a hobby, it’s something I enjoy doing but happen to get paid for it aswell - all experience counts in my opinion and should never be discounted regardless of your level or fees. As Saul said you can of course state what you’re comfortable telling people but there’s nothing to feel guilty about if at the end of the day you can produce a high quality website//program etc for your client :agree:

And don’t be ashamed of your previous work, most professionals look back on their early stuff with distaste because they didn’t know what they currently do. Everything you create is an example of how you’ve progressed through the years and it’s certainly worth taking into account. Heck as an example you could take something from the “old days” in the future and show a re-design of it based on what you now know (showcasing your skill level). :slight_smile:

That’s a pretty good idea especially for designers, a little bit more difficult for a programmer to show unless you added features / increased usability.

Okay so here is the next question, what would you count as a year of experience? In a full time job sense it means 5 days a week for 50-52 weeks a year. If you developed a website in 2005 every week for 9 months, then 3 websites in 2006 and 1 a month in 2007. Do you have 3 years experience or 2 years experience?

Or am I just taking it too far now? :blush:

I think you’re taking it a bit far now :stuck_out_tongue: As long as your keeping your skills current, the amount of time you can put into it doesn’t really matter :smiley:

If you started developing sites in 2005 that means you have 5 years experience, don’t worry about odd monts or days :wink: