Career Advice

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by bfresh, Apr 27, 2007.

  1. bfresh macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #1
    Ok, so I will be graduating from school this summer with a Business Degree in MIS and I am planning on getting into web design/development. I have been working in a totally different line of work up to this point(account management).

    What are some good stepping stone positions that I could look into. Please keep in mind that I am not interested in taking a big drop in pay.

    Any advice would be great!!!:)
     
  2. bmcgonag macrumors 65816

    bmcgonag

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #2
    Though I'm not in the field myself, many of my friends are, or have been, and the one thing I can tell you is that it is tough. With all the great WYSIWYG software out there, fewer and fewer people are willing to pay someone to make a website for them unless that person can offer them something really special.

    So make sure that you can offer them something Amazing. Be able to demonstrate this, and be able to make unique thiings on each client's site. Businesses want people to remember them, and if they become just another site with the same old same od...then not really getting the job done.

    Beyond that, some of these guys will have to chime in.

    Best of luck to you, and congrats on your degree.

    Brian
     
  3. johnee macrumors 6502a

    johnee

    #3
    Do you know how to use the tools of web design (javascript,ajax,html,flash,etc)?

    I assume your not going to be a designer that doesn't do the actual coding...

    I'll assume you don't know any of those tools and you will be doing the actual coding for your design.

    You will need to learn those tools, either through formal training or on your own. Then, you will have to make a lot of designs, build up a portfolio, and market yourself. there are sites out there where you can post your design, and people can buy it as is where they modify it themselves or you they can purchase a unique version of it from you for a lot more money.

    Once you build up a portfolio and sell your designs, you should get your own website to offer your services for sale.
     
  4. RojoLeo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #4
    First, are you planning on getting into design or development? Sometimes the lines blur for someone who is advanced in both, but they do remain two very distinct and separate jobs.

    Not to be a word nazi, but those are web development "tools" (actually languages) not design tools. Photoshop, Illustrator, and Flash are Design tools.

    The assumption here is that you'll be freelancing or building your own business. As a beginner, I highly recommend joining an established company to learn the ins and outs of the industry. Either move up with them or learn enough that you can branch out on your own, but this type of experience is invaluable.

    Having no knowledge of your creative ability and only what little information you gave us, I would assume you would be better suited for web development. Best of luck either way.
     
  5. bfresh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #5
    I know html, currently learning javascript, but haven't delved into the others.

    I think would probably want to go the route of learning with an established company first. As far as building a portfolio, I am guessing I would have to find server space and a webhost to do this, right?
    Job postings I've seen thus far, seem to integrate both design and development. Maybe I am searching with the wrong keywords. What would you suggest? What are the type of positions I can look for that would keep me around the 50K to 60K range?
     
  6. dornoforpyros macrumors 68040

    dornoforpyros

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #6
    Umm do correct me if I'm wrong here, but it sounds like you want to get into web design without any training or experience in the field? And you want to be making 50-60k off the start? To be blunt, you will not find an entry position in that range.

    Hmm I really don't want to discourage you, but if this is the case I think your setting the bar a little too high.

    Any job posting I've ever seen or applied for requires a portfolio/website review before they'll even consider you for an interview. In fact a strong portfolio carries even more weight then a resume in this field if your interested in design.

    Or if your focusing on development they'll want to know what languages your familiar with and have used.

    However having said that, depending on your management experience you may want to consider project manager positions as an "in" with the industry. Just be prepared to learn everything you can from the designers/developers your working with because the more you know about what they do the happier everyone will be.

    I'm not saying you can't get into the field because we all had to start somewhere, but I think you need to reassess what you expect to get be getting yourself into.
     
  7. bfresh thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 29, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #7
    What do you think is a realistic range for a newbie?
     
  8. RojoLeo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #8
    Here in Texas you could begin as a Junior Web Developer or Junior Designer at around 30k. If you can bring more to the table with other skills you may be able to increase this. CA is obviously going to be higher.

    To me though, if your resume came across my desk, I probably wouldn't call you in to interview, unless there's a lot more to your experience that you haven't told us in this thread. No real world experience and no real relationship in your schooling to this field. Even when I hire a junior developer I expect to see a little substance in his portfolio or for them to have at least a little time under their belt working in this industry.

    If it were me, I'd land a job doing something else with my degree while I spent my off-time learning a programming language and building some web applications for my portfolio. Then in 6 months to a year go back to searching for jobs.
     
  9. dornoforpyros macrumors 68040

    dornoforpyros

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #9
    I think DigitalAx's answer is pretty accurate, I know when I first started fresh out of college I was interview for positions with a salary range of 28-32/k. Keeping in mind that I went to college for web design and as DigitalAx also said, I had at least a basic portfolio to show that I had some footing with the tools/skills.

    This reminds me of a story I heard once, I suspect it's more fiction then actual fact, but it's relevant either way:

    My main point is you still have a lot to learn before anyone is going to offer you a job or even an interview at this point. "I know html, currently learning javascript..." isn't going to cut it I'm afraid.

    But not to discourage you, these things can be learned, and experience can be gained! I'd suggest getting a job in your field of schooling after graduation and learning web design in your spare time. Learn to code HTML/CSS by hand, learn about validation. Learn how to work with PHP and MySQL databases. Heck learn flash if it interest you. But the days of making 60/k a year for knowing a bit of HTML went out in 1999. Employers need so much more now.
     
  10. bfresh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #10
    I appreciate everybody's input. I am not discouraged by your words. Everybody has to start somewhere. I don't think I am going to step into a Senior Web Developer's chair anytime soon, but I have enough confidence in myself as a quick learner to know I could get there eventually.:)

    As far as building a portfolio, how did you guys start?
     
  11. RojoLeo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #11
    Young. Seriously though, I've been doing web services in some fashion or another for 12 years. By the time I was ready to do it in on a large scale I had a pretty solid portfolio.

    But now sitting in the other chair, what impresses me the most when we interview a potential developer is a wide ranging portfolio. The candidate who shows abilities in multiple languages and strengths in one or two are always my favorite developers. It shows a broad understanding of programming in general but a decisiveness to delve into a specific branch.

    A designer is a bit different. The designers I tend to gravitate towards have a raw ability, plain and simple. An large portfolio is nice, but it's definitely quality, not quantity we're interested in.

    The single hardest position to hire for is a developer who has a good eye for design. Most developers think they have a good eye for design, which makes it difficult to tell them they should just stick to coding.
     
  12. bfresh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #12
    DigitalAx I am actually planning on potentially moving to Austin by next year. It's a great city. Do you find a lot of these positions out there?
     
  13. RojoLeo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #13
    I can't begin to describe how much I love this town. I'm really picky about where I live, and Austin just has it all.

    The tech industry is booming out here. It's recovered nicely from the dot com bust. Tech jobs are everywhere; you've got Dell, AMD, IBM, soon Blizzard too, and the list goes on and on.

    Do a quick job search on http://austin.craigslist.org and you'll see how many jobs there are.

    Let me know when you're closer to moving if you need advice on what part of town to live in and stuff.
     
  14. radiantm3 macrumors 65816

    radiantm3

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    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #14
    We have the original Blizzard HQ in my city. :D
     
  15. ChicoWeb macrumors 65816

    ChicoWeb

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2004
    Location:
    California
    #15
    Well, I myself have a Business MIS Degree, graduated in 2002 and started a web design/development firm in January of 2004.

    Let me be the first one to tell you that MIS has not much to do with Web Design :)

    On the other hand, my degree has been a HUGE help in understanding dynamic web development; developing flow charts, requirements gathering, understanding business processes, and many other things.

    You have to create your own opportunities in this world :)
     
  16. Aranince macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2007
    Location:
    California
    #16
    Wow...lotta people from south California here. After High School I also will probably be entering the web development field. Hopefully this field doesn't get flooded with developers...which is my feeling of this industry.
     
  17. radiantm3 macrumors 65816

    radiantm3

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    Oct 16, 2005
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #17
    Being flooded won't matter if you are passionate about your work. The market s are always flooded with mediocre developers (and designers for that matter) that aren't really passionate about it, but rather thought it would make a good paying, future-proof job. Just love what you do and strive to be the best and finding a good paying job won't be that hard.
     
  18. RojoLeo macrumors 6502

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    Mar 11, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #18
    Bingo. A market being flooded just means your job won't be easy, not impossible.
     
  19. jng macrumors 65816

    jng

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    #19
    Check out http://www.salary.com for a good estimate based on location. They also have like Web Designer, I, II, III and read the descriptions to figure out which one you are based on your skils.
     
  20. bfresh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #20
    Yeah, I visited last August and I really loved it. The only downfall to me is the lack of mountains. I'm sure I could get over that.
    We were looking in the pflugerville area. My understanding is that the westside is the best side to be on.
    I am hoping to get my new career path going there.
     
  21. RojoLeo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #21
    True, there are no mountains. However, you can get into some really hilly and rocky scenery about twenty minutes west or southwest.

    The city is pretty divided, but there is a lot of gentrification going on in the east. Generally, it's middle to upper-middle class west and northwest, college kids slightly north near campus, elitists southwest, hippies south, poor east though with gentrification you've got high dollar lofts being built east, and then the lofts and condos immediately downtown are pretty expensive.

    I work downtown just about ten blocks from the capitol building and I prefer to live just south of downtown. My rent is about $700 for a 2bdrm apartment with hardwood floors, and I can be downtown in 4 minutes, and to the office in 8 minutes. Most people in this industry tend to live a little northwest to avoid high house prices. Pflugerville is northeast, but generally a good place, especially if you have a family and/or don't need to go downtown much.
     
  22. jng macrumors 65816

    jng

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    #22
    Damn! I can't even get a single bedroom in an apt for that much in Boston (at least not in the nice areas)!

    Another reason to ask for a larger starting salary!
     
  23. RojoLeo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #23
    We got a screaming deal, that's actually not typical. Usually this apartment would go for $1,000-$1,200.... That being said, if you look around long enough you can always find a good deal. We're looking at renting a house just north of downtown near campus for around $1,300 a month - for a two bedroom.
     
  24. bfresh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #24
    Yeah, I just want to stay away from that Trans Texas Corridor. I don't feel like purchasing a house in that vicinity and then getting it torn down within a few years.
     
  25. RojoLeo macrumors 6502

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    Mar 11, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #25
    I don't know why you'd want to live way out there anyways, that'd be a hell of a commute into Austin.
     

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