advice on school for graphic design or web design/dev

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by skatementle, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. skatementle macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    #1
    planning to go to a local school to learn web design for a year and not get a degree.


    Im just wondering if any of you could start over from scratch what decisions would you have made( did graphic design instead or learned more web development stuff or w.e) and if you have any advice. thanks:apple:
     
  2. NathanCH macrumors 65816

    NathanCH

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    Stockholm, Sweden
    #2
    You could probably learn just as much for less money by using just the internet and participating in communities. School isn't a bad option if money isn't a problem though.
     
  3. AFPoster macrumors 65816

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    Charlotte, NC
    #3
    I think this is hit or miss for some folks. I know for me I need to be in a class otherwise self teaching isn't always easy because no one on the web might have my exact issue, and talking with peers or a teacher is always useful.

    My suggestion to you is Web Development. I can't tell you how many of these guys we hire and how in-need they are. Whereas if you just simply do Graphic Design you among the millions of others doing the same thing and it's hard to separate yourself, just my opinion.
     
  4. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

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    Wellington, New Zealand
    #4
    A good front-end "web designer" today needs to have a good mix of the following skills:

    1. a deep understanding of user experience
    2. a corresponding understanding of UI best practices (how to turn experience into interface)
    3. A sensitivity to visual form (color, composition, and typography)
    4. a strong grasp of HTML/CSS and javascript to implement the design

    #4 is, frankly, the easiest one to master. As nathanCH states, a great deal of this can be learned on the internet. This also means that there are lots and lots of people wandering around with this types of experience. Note that I do not define HTML/CSS/JS as development skills... these are simply the techniques that designers need to implement the work they do.

    #3 comes from practice. School can help tremendously here as it provides a type of critique and feedback that is hard to find in the "real world". Understand that design is usually taught traditionally and not in a "web design" context.

    #1 and 2 mostly come from experience... I have found very few schools that teach this in a fundamental way. I have also seen that these two skills are, in many ways, the ones with the most value... meaning that people will pay far more for them. These two skills are what separate a low-level "pixel pusher" from a project/product lead.

    People with all four of the above skills are very high in demand and can charge accordingly. Only having #3 or #4 alone and you will have a lot of competition when looking for work.
     
  5. fig macrumors 6502a

    fig

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    Jun 13, 2012
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #5
    I wouldn't study "web development" specifically simply because I've never seen anyone teach it well. Most college programs in anything web related are well behind the times.

    I think a lot of the original question comes down to what you want to do. Being a designer is very different than being a developer, the individuals that take on those roles are usually very different sorts of people.

    If the coding/web development aspect is your thing then I'd look into programming/computer science type courses, learning to code is the important part while the specific web languages are just syntax. If you can learn functions in C++ and other languages you can easily apply that knowledge to javascript and Jquery.

    If, on the other hand, you want to be a designer then be a designer. Study graphic design at it's principles (i.e. don't just learn software) and that knowledge is applicable across the board whether you're designing identities, brochures, or websites. I agree with lucidmedia that you can learn the HTML and CSS on your own if you go the design route.
     
  6. skatementle thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 25, 2010
    #6
    thanks a lot everyone I truly appreciate it. and will definitely keep what you've said in mind:apple:
     
  7. jji7skyline macrumors 6502

    jji7skyline

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    Aug 10, 2011
    #7
    Check out w3schools.com

    They have the best tutorials around for HTML, PHP, JS that kind of thing.
     
  8. NathanCH macrumors 65816

    NathanCH

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    Oct 5, 2007
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    #8
    It is definitely hit or miss. In fact, I've been thinking about attending some courses myself to get over some bumps I haven't been able to figure out myself. Having someone you can ask questions, like a teacher, would be very valuable.

    Another downside of learning yourself is some companies look for people with a degree in something. I've seen countless job offers that require "bachelors" in something. That being said, if you have a bunch of hands-on experience to show them, I doubt they'll mind you being self taught
     
  9. AFPoster macrumors 65816

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    Jul 14, 2008
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    Charlotte, NC
    #9
    To piggy back off of the self-taught comment he's right. If you have an incredible portfolio or you can show samples of some work that you've done that the company you are looking at getting hired by does college degrees no longer matter. Facebook, Microsoft, ExxonMobil don't even care if you have a degree mainly because they hire you while you're in your Jr. year of college and you don't graduate b/c you're starting at 6figures +. Needless to say self-taught is great if you can learn that way, if not connect with a community college to learn these skills or an actually college or a teacher/friend and build off of it.
     
  10. bpaluzzi macrumors 6502a

    bpaluzzi

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    London
    #10
    w3schools is awful. It's full of incorrect information.
     
  11. driftless macrumors demi-god

    driftless

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    Location:
    Chicago-area
    #11
    I would recommend that you get a degree, life is long and it takes many turns. That said, a lot of "city schools" in major cities have good programs. Getting the first job with a firm that you can learn from is the ultimate key unless you are good enough to set up your own biz.
     
  12. mikelegacy macrumors 65816

    mikelegacy

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    Dec 5, 2010
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    #12
    I went to school for Graphic Design and learned the development myself. It takes a while, but understanding the concepts is something that just comes with time, especially with JavaScript or back-end technologies.

    I am currently at an ad agency working as a web designer/developer and I love every second of it. If you have a sense of design and the ability to understand development logic then knowing development but being a strong designer makes you an asset to a company that most people could never be.

    I knew HTML and CSS with a little JavaScript and jquery knowledge going into this job and I'm 6 months in and now have strong knowledge of ASP.NET, MVC 3 razor and multiple other technologies I didn't hope to understand before.

    So my advice is to make sure that you at least have fluent knowledge of HTML and CSS, then have a strong sense of design to go with it. You will learn a lot of the more complicated stuff on the job. Companies care more about experience than a good college resume when it comes to design and development, just have a strong portfolio and be able to at least make it seem like you know what the hell you are talking about (without overshooting your abilities) and you're in.

    Trust me, I work at a top 50 US ad agency and the main desire for our company right now are folks who are strong designers, but have front end development experience as well.

    ----------

    It's a good reference point. I wouldn't tell anyone to learn from there though.

    Pay for http://lynda.com, it's an invaluable resource.
     
  13. bpaluzzi macrumors 6502a

    bpaluzzi

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    Sep 2, 2010
    Location:
    London
    #13
    I wouldn't even use it as a reference, as a lot of the information on there is flat-out wrong. http://w3fools.com/

    For better reference, I'd second the recommendation for lynda, as well as stackoverflow and MDN (https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/learn/)
     
  14. jji7skyline macrumors 6502

    jji7skyline

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    Aug 10, 2011
    #14
    Actually, it isn't.
     
  15. bpaluzzi macrumors 6502a

    bpaluzzi

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    London
    #15
    Wow, amazing argument you've made. :rolleyes:

    Did you even look at any of the links I posted? Any counterarguments to them?
     
  16. jji7skyline macrumors 6502

    jji7skyline

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    Aug 10, 2011
    #16
    w3c is web standards.

    w3schools is where you learn web standards. They have great info and tutorials.
     
  17. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 13, 2008
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #17
    Members of the W3C have asked W3Schools to explicitly disavow any connection to the W3C, and W3Schools have refused to do so as they make money selling "certifications". W3Schools rose to prominence from a misleading name and vigorous search indexing, not accurate information.

    Take a look at:
    http://w3fools.com/

    If you recognize some of those twitter handles, you will see that not only is it members of the W3C, but many of the most prominent web designers, developers and web educators in the world today.

    There are lots of good learning resources on this page as well.
     
  18. jji7skyline macrumors 6502

    jji7skyline

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    Aug 10, 2011
    #18
    You've been trolled.
     
  19. bpaluzzi macrumors 6502a

    bpaluzzi

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    Sep 2, 2010
    Location:
    London
    #19
    Ever notice how that's the standard response from someone who was speaking out of their posterior, and has now been explicitly called out on the err of their ways? Yeah, I've noticed that too.
     
  20. jji7skyline macrumors 6502

    jji7skyline

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    #20
    I'm sorry, but no. Just no.
     
  21. bpaluzzi macrumors 6502a

    bpaluzzi

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    London
    #21
    Whatever you say :rolleyes:

    Some people just don't know when to stop digging...
     
  22. charlesbonnet, Sep 7, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2012

    charlesbonnet macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2012
    #22
  23. NathanCH macrumors 65816

    NathanCH

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2007
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    #23
    Saying a beginner shouldn't use w3schools is a bit silly in my opinion. Is all the information there accurate? No. Does it need to be? No.

    w3schools definitely over simplifies a lot and attempts to make things as easy to understand for a beginner as they can. By doing this they are spreading a lot of misinformation. But it's a good place for beginners to learn basic concepts.
     
  24. bpaluzzi macrumors 6502a

    bpaluzzi

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2010
    Location:
    London
    #24
    You think it's silly to tell people to not use an inaccurate reference when there are plenty of accurate resources available?

    Uh. Ok. Whatever works for you, I guess. I tend to point people to accurate things, but feel free to send people to places that are wrong.
     
  25. crackbookpro macrumors 65816

    crackbookpro

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    Feb 25, 2009
    Location:
    Om nom nom nom
    #25
    Hey SkateMentle,

    A lot of these posts before gave great help... Mike Legacy & Lucid Media are spot on with their advice.

    The basics/fundamentals are learning HTML. Then getting the understanding of how CSS can save you time & complement your site within HTML. You then, can learn javascript which in my opinion is a "phase 2" of WebDev, especially utilizing jQuery which is everywhere for WebDevs.

    Next step, would be to gain some knowledge into 'back-end' coding... No matter what, learning to code/use syntax is essential. I would consider back-end to be a "phase 3" of WebDev, but one of the biggest requirements to be a WebDev in my opinion.

    Before all of this, you should definitely have a foundation of how to harness your skills to the "real world" through a strong sense of design, art... basically some marketing skills nonetheless.

    I would buy some books, read up on the web, then take some courses for what you need to take courses for in the latter. I'm mostly self-taught, but did indeed do some seminars and even took a couple classes at my local art-institute - but I only took courses for what I KNEW I NEEDED to take... I first gave myself 3 years to learn some foundational knowledge of anything dealing with print & web design. I don't consider myself a professional nonetheless, because I utilize a lot of the CMS's available for the sites we run.

    Being a designer & being a developer for the web can mean 2 entirely different things to some. I would work on web design first, then work on aspects of being a WebDev.

    I found this site to be one of the best for HTML/CSS - www.w3schools.com/
     

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