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  1. #1
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    Education recommendations?

    I have been interested in web development as a career for some time now, and am only now looking into it seriously. I really enjoy the problem solving aspect of coding for the web, and have since I was young. Over the years I've become proficient in HTML and CSS, dabbled here and there in things like javascript, and have begun to teach myself PHP. It's coming along, but I feel that a structured curriculum would be the best way for me to learn. I need deadlines to finish projects. And beyond that, I also think that there is still lots that I need to learn, and wouldn't feel comfortable entering the work force without more complete/advanced knowledge of the industry.

    That said, finding schools is a headache, and I was wondering if any of you kind folks would be able to share with me your recommendations? Perhaps from past experiences or schools that are generally respected in the industry (or alternatively, schools to keep away from)? I would love to find something within the province of Manitoba, or even just in Canada. But if there is nothing, then I would be more than willing to take online courses. In fact, I might prefer online courses.

    There is a CDI college located nearby, but I've heard terrible things about CDI. :/

  2. #2
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    I don't think having a degree will really get you much notice - at least as far as web development goes. The most important thing is having a portfolio.. anything, even a personal blog that you designed or wrote the code for and can provide code samples for will carry more weight than a degree.

    Now thats not to say that if you're still in the learning process, working towards a degree wont help you build experience. It will, just don't expect it to land you a job, at least not on that alone. I would (and my current or previous employers) be much more likely to hire someone with a good design or code portfolio and no post-high school education over someone with a degree and a weak or no portfolio any day.

    Also HTML, CSS and some JavaScript - its expected that you know those at near expert level. Rarely will you find a gig just writing markup. You'll need to specialize in at least one server side language. You mentioned php - a fine choice Easy learning curve, large support community, and a plethora of documentation. I think it's also a good "gateway" language.

    That's been my experience anyway...
    Last edited by g0dzuki99; 05-25-2012 at 09:07 PM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by g0dzuki99 View Post
    I don't think having a degree will really get you much notice - at least as far as web development goes. The most important thing is having a portfolio.. anything, even a personal blog that you designed or wrote the code for and can provide code samples for will carry more weight than a degree.
    I completely agree and was going to post the same.

    I've only been doing a degree because I could do so cheaply and because if I want to migrate, it gives me more points.

    Even in other areas of IT such as hardware, a degree is completely useless. Completely! Don't even consider it. I'm not learning a single thing about IT I didn't already know. In fact sometimes it's frustrating finding errors in the course material and having to state incorrect knowledge just to get a better mark.

    When it comes to development, which is more to do with aesthetics, a degree does nothing at all. In fact, I would always AVOID hiring any web developer with a degree. A degree shows you can regurgitate whatever rubbish you're told to. That is NOT what one wants from a designer. You want fresh ideas and something creative.

    You are an artist and as the previous poster said, a portfolio will carry the most weight. Show off your designs. If I were to hire a developer as a client, I would always ask, or look for their work, see what they could do, etc.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by wh666-666 View Post
    Even in other areas of IT such as hardware, a degree is completely useless. Completely! Don't even consider it.
    Isn't that more engineering? And these days, to work in electronic engineering, you are most certainly better off with a degree than without it. Certainly, in the past, you could get away with entering in at the bottom and the company would bring you along, but nowadays, if you want to work in electronic/computer engineering (and I sort of think IT stops at the hardware, no?) you need a degree.

    I also like NogDog's recommendation. While it's certainly possible to learn precisely the same thing without a degree, a degree proves it. It also gives you plenty of projects, and time to build projects on your own for a portfolio etc.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Declan1991 View Post
    Isn't that more engineering? And these days, to work in electronic engineering, you are most certainly better off with a degree than without it. Certainly, in the past, you could get away with entering in at the bottom and the company would bring you along, but nowadays, if you want to work in electronic/computer engineering (and I sort of think IT stops at the hardware, no?) you need a degree.
    I would disagree. I work as an IT contractor on various projects and have worked for BT, cisco, etc etc.

    The biggest benefit, if one isn't going in to a creative field like development, graphic design/animation and instead going in to a networking role for example is certification. CCNA, MCSE, etc etc.

    Even certification doesn't prove you are competent though, which is why many employers have interviews lasting half a day or more, to test the candidates knowledge and screen out those embellishing their CV's.

  6. #6
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    I think that you should think about this seriously. It is true that IT has a future, because it is always trendy and the technology is always one of the major industries that makes the world go round. To check for a possible school or university, you should check the school background, its facilities expecially the teachers who will teach in the school. Good luck with your career.

    Mark Sanders
    Webmasters@<a href="http://www.cabletiesandmore.com/wireloom.php">Wire Loom</a>

  7. #7
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    My recommendation as far as schooling would be to look for a well-rounded computer science major, not a program that specializes in "web development". If you get a good grounding in general programming concepts, database design, and so forth, picking up whatever is the hot web tech trend du jour will be relatively simple. If you learn Java, Pacal, and C++ during your classes along with object-oriented design, learning PHP or Ruby (for example) will not be any real challenge. On the other hand, if you learn all the syntax and built-in functions of PHP but have no idea how to build a maintainable, large-scale application, your worth in the marketplace will be limited to relatively small projects, probably churning out the same sort of web sites over and over.
    "Please give us a simple answer, so that we don't have to think, because if we think, we might find answers that don't fit the way we want the world to be."
    ~ Terry Pratchett in Nation

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  8. #8
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    Note that while pursuing a degree, there is nothing stopping you from working on personal web projects, freelance web sites for whatever pay you can get, attending user group meetings and other personal networking events, and so forth; and if they result in getting an attractive job offer, you can take it and forget about finishing the degree (or continuing in your spare time). OK, the only thing stopping you is if you get caught up in college side-shows like beer and girl/boy friends.

    At my current dot.com job, I think all the developers in our group have at least a bachelor's degree, though maybe only half to 2/3 are in a related field. (One was an art major, I was a music ed. major, and our senior developer/architect was a music composition major.) No, degrees are not necessary, but they can open doors that otherwise might not let you past the HR filters -- thus a need to work more on your personal networking if you do not have a degree, at least to get the first good job or two in the field (once you have a job history, the degree is much less important -- though some jobs will still give bonus points for it).

    In any case, any learning is good. If you learn best by taking structured classes (hopefully from good teachers) and doing so is within your means, then by all means do so. Other people prefer to learn by doing, Googling, and trial and error; and there's nothing wrong with that if it works for them. The important thing is to learn and keep learning and making yourself a better developer.
    "Please give us a simple answer, so that we don't have to think, because if we think, we might find answers that don't fit the way we want the world to be."
    ~ Terry Pratchett in Nation

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  9. #9
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    However, degree is very important while coming to the various IT sectors. Now a days many IT companies including major one's microsoft, ibm, cisco etc all are looking for a degree and relevant experience. So, both the IT knowledge and academic qualification (Degree) are must to sustain well in the IT field.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by NogDog View Post
    In any case, any learning is good. If you learn best by taking structured classes (hopefully from good teachers) and doing so is within your means, then by all means do so. Other people prefer to learn by doing, Googling, and trial and error; and there's nothing wrong with that if it works for them. The important thing is to learn and keep learning and making yourself a better developer.
    Agree fully.

    I would disagree. I work as an IT contractor on various projects and have worked for BT, cisco, etc etc.
    Interesting. The IT people I know working in those sorts of programming are generally doing technical support and some programming, but I do know I've a very limited knowledge of the IT world.

    But as I say, for most of the hardware jobs that I know, you wouldn't even be looked at without an engineering degree. A degree and knowledge don't always correlate (which is why there are interviews!), but most HR people I know will presume that no degree means no knowledge, even though there are exceptions to that just as much as there are exceptions to the degree and knowledge rule.

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