need career advice
Hi all --
I don't really want to go back to school to get a computer science degree, so I figure a certificate is the way to go for me. However, there's a mind-boggling amount of training options out there. I was wondering if anyone could tell me what certification would give me the best foundation and is most recognized or regarded in the field?
Note that 'web developer' is one of the most saturated careers out there, with plenty of qualified and unqualified people claiming to be the next best thing.
It is worth mentioning that when companies look to hire web developers, they usually want someone who can code (php, js, xhtml), create/modify graphics and photos, do video encoding, know SEO best practices, create powerpoint presentations (really), write copy, etc etc. In a sense, they expect a web developer to be an expert at everything and this is no joke.
Hi there. Well .. I already have some qualifications. I have a background in editing, I was trained on the job in SEO, I know how to use powerpoint (though it's not my favorite thing), and I'm working on getting the programming skills. Not so great at graphics, I have to admit. (I thought that was the "designer's" or "graphic artist's" job.)
I'm more stuck on figuring out what kind of certification would best validate my skills for an entry level position. Am I at a real disadvantage without a CS degree?
I would say: NO.
Am I at a real disadvantage without a CS degree?
From the companies I have worked at, and from the hiring practices I've seen in place, most employers focus and what you can actually do, and not necessarily on what degree you have from what institution.
Of course, the best way to demonstrate what you can do is by actually showing samples of your work.. ideally, content that is currently live (company/individual/band site) and relevant (business cards in use by X or Y company with logo you designed, etc.
My advice is.. build a simple but appealing site to advertise yourself. Don't go overboard with your qualifications or 'bling' on the site. Then build pages, graphics or full sites for non-profits, individuals, small business owners, etc and get into the habit of adding a discreet link at the very bottom of the pages/sites you create for them. Something like "Design by YOURNAME/ID/Pseudo-COMPANY" and link back to your site.
Open a blog on your site, offer advice, tips on what you learn, free graphics/scripts.. stay relevant and on topic.
IMPORTANT: learn about CMS systems. Pick one of the big ones and stick with it. Learn how to customize it. In fact, I would say learn all about Wordpress and Joomla. Go as far as developing themes/skins for them.
In fact, if you can customize, design a theme in a graphic application and apply it to one of these content management systems, select and install plugins, troubleshoot and optimize installations.. then you are pretty much ready for primetime. Most organizations run CMS systems, and once you know one, is easy to translate the concepts into another one.
I would say... it depends on where you plan to apply to. If you plan to work at a large corporation, then you may be filtered out if you don't have a degree. But if you plan to work for a small-to-medium sized agency, then the degree doesn't matter nearly as much, if at all.
Originally Posted by newbie2
Edit: Also, just to clarify, to avoid being filtered out when applying to large corporations, your degree doesn't need to be in computer science. A degree in any field is enough to avoid that problem. Your work experience and salesmanship will carry you the rest of the way.
Last edited by Jeff Mott; 01-09-2012 at 11:31 PM.
And to answer the original question, there unfortunately is no certification that is respected in this field.
Originally Posted by newbie2
I already have experience working with content management systems -- several of them. Of course, as of yet I've only used existing templates to create pages -- the really easy stuff. I'd like to learn more about creating templates and customizing, as you said.
Would I have to go as far as you described just to get an entry level position? Say, as a front-end designer/developer? I thought maybe the work I've done for classes could serve as a portfolio...
Is there a position even lower than that to work up from?
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