My name is Dale Nicholson I am a new web developer located in Sydney, Australia.
I gave up 10 years of working full time in a dud job to follow my dream. Which is, from I what I have learnt over the last 12 months, to design and develop web sites.
I came into this industry with a bit of a naivety, but after 12 months of studying web development full time I can say that I have learnt so much.
I am about to embark on a Diploma in Web Development which I am sure will help me gain even more experience.
However, the reason for this post is to ask those more experienced designers out there, where to go from here? What paths did you take to get where you are today?
I know that deep down I have the potential to design, develop and even advance in back-end development, though I think my passion is front-end development.
I see websites by designers like Kathryn Cornelius , Gage Salzano and Shelly Cooper and just marvel in their brilliance. I ask myself "What was their inspiration? How did their concept develop? How do I learn to grasp these skills in myself?"...
I am not a very good drawer/artist by any means, but I feel I have got a very good designing brain. So, I guess what I really want to ask is, does anybody recommend studying any sort of design course at university? or any other course for that matter?
I thank you for reading this if you got this far and I look forward to reading some of your advice.
I think it is a point where you should try to produce some "your" web-sites to make your "portfolio" or to get employed at some small company to gain "industrial experience". It is crucial enough, I think.
And by the way you did not explain what technologies you've mastered.
I too stick with the front end side of development.
Beyond knowing HTML and CSS you should learn the following:
You really need to know Photoshop and illustrator this are a must know for front end designers. This is a must have in our field as these programs help us create the visual aspects of our designs.
I would also recommend learning to use WordPress or another CMS system. These are widely used by even some of the biggest companies. In WordPress learn how to make your own Child Themes so that you can create a more custom look for your clients or your employer.
I work in house for a company that has nothing to do with the IT field at all. This means I must make my job relevant to their needs. This means in addition to the items I mentioned above I also keep current on all aspects of web design. I learned enough SEO to be able to talk with SEO professionals and know what they were talking about and enough to be able to apply concepts into my designs. In addition, I also learned Social Networking and Marketing skills to be able to help promote the company. This meant learning to do HTML emails (which is old school HTML), blogging and creating ads both for the web and print. This is just some of the things I do daily. Basically I fill all their web needs even if it isn't in the design field.