Looking for some advice on a career in web development

I am a british student studying Civil Engineering at a good university in England and expect to graduate this June with a 2.1 degree (I hope:D).

I have decided that I do not want to pursue a career in Engineering but would rather work in web development.

I have done a lot of ‘small’ work in web development and have taught myself a lot over the years. I would consider myself to be very proficient in the following skills:

PHP5 (Object Orientated), Zend Framework, JQuery, AJAX, Application Design, MVC, Server Setup, (Java, C++… tho not really relavent to web design)

Proficient in: SQL, Sever Management, Database Management, CSS for style, HTML, Javascript, XML

Competent: CSS for layouts, complex database setup, template generation, image manipulation

This summer I will be looking to work for a small company based in London, doing web development work. Although I have experience working on my own designs, and producing websites for friends (although paid), I do not have nearly enough experience to go down a freelance root.

I have started searching for work but it seems that most of the job listings on the internet tend to be for large companies.

I would welcome any advice on how and where to look for these types of jobs.



Look everywhere. With the skills you supposedly have, you’re an asset to almost any web agency as long as you have a good personality to go along with it. I get offers every week from recruiters for development jobs.

Anyway, if you cannot find a job at a small agency, you can always work for a big one and keep searching for a smaller one while getting more experience. Or why not do some freelance work while looking for the perfect small agency work place you want? I do think you have enough knowledge to go freelance while seeking your job and if you need advice, you always have SitePoint. What is it in particular you believe you are lacking? I’m all for “just do it”.

What I did to find a small agency developer job was to send emails to practically every single agency I could find in Amsterdam, while I was working for an unrelated company in the UK. I ended up with being hired over the phone from the UK—my first web job—and enjoyed 2 years in a great working experience before starting my own business. So that is one approach.

If you’re emailing agencies, send a personal letter always and make sure you have a very good pitch and not too long. And most importantly, send a CV that is designed in an appealing and attractive way. You may even ask for a meeting to see the workplace right away to meet the people. Another idea is to send hand-written snail mail with good-looking letter-heads which will increase your chances further.

I can also recommend registering with as many recruitment agencies as possible, and monster.com for example, though these offer mostly big company jobs or in-house jobs, which are not that appealing but could be worth it for a while.

Anyway, I think it’s absolutely brilliant that you’re going for a small firm. They tend to be much more personal, friendly and comfortable. You’ve got the skills, the right thinking—it’s just a matter of time. Keep looking. I wish you the best of luck even though I don’t believe you’ll need it. You’ll find your job, you’ll get more experience and you’ll end up doing your dream.

EDIT: Website such as this one are good resources: http://www.authenticjobs.com/

Thanks Daniel, you have been really helpful.

The website you posted looks really interesting, I haven’t come across it before. I have also just signed up to Monster.co.uk and had a look through the site. There seem to be a few web developer openings so I will see what comes of it.

Thanks for the help


I don’t really like Monster, it’s too much of a “generic job’s site” to really have much in the way of decent web positions (beyond the usual entry level corporate maintenance stuff), perhaps some of these links will also help you find what you’re after (their niche web market jobs alike what has been posted earlier)…


i do
PHP5 (Object Orientated), Zend Framework, JQuery, AJAX, Application Design, MVC

Okay in: SQL,CSS for style, HTML, Javascript, XML

Competent: CSS for layouts,template generation, image manipulation
and some more language like flex,dot net and some others
but sad thing is it took me 6-7 years for all that…:D:D

and i am still learning…:slight_smile:

I guess the question really is, do you want to swim in the pond or in the ocean? Web development is very fun field to be in. There’s many projects that can be done in 1 person and some with 50 people.

Even in the web development, you probably want to find your niche that you want to excel. I hear a lot of “I’m a web developer. I know HTML, JavaScript, CSS, PHP, and MySQL. Let’s conquer the world!”. While this is true for making small applications aka pond, but in the bigger project…you’ll be overwhelmed and know what “real” web development is. Web development is not just about User Interfaces with database backend. In any case, I’m glad you found a field that you like to do! I love my job and getting paid to do it is eve better! Just my 2 cents, try to swim in the ocean instead… it’s more rewarding…especially $$$

my advice here…
learn swimming in pond (starting with one language …one at a time…) then only think of going to ocean…

If you just directly go to swim in the ocean either sharks of that ocean wont leave you or you will be drowned( :smiley: out of market)

and most important thing to remember ,it will not happen overnight like in movies ,it can take years to learn a single langauge…