I need some advice for finding work.

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by thinkpatience, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. thinkpatience macrumors member

    Jun 28, 2009
    I'm a frequent lurker on MacRumors and rarely (maybe never) post to the forums, but I need some advice. I've been studying, following, developing (front-end), and designing website templates for years now (I'm currently 23, and almost all of the stuff I create is for personal development/improvement). I attended college for 2 years as a Graphic Design major but dropped out due to a slue of deaths in the family that distracted me from my studies. Now 2 years later (after dropping out) I work everyday in the construction field & Starbucks dreading every minute of work and wishing I just stuck it out in school.

    //okay end of back story// :rolleyes:

    So here it goes (I'm not asking for work, just advice) I want to make money in the Web Design field as either a Designer or Front-end developer (or both) and I have no idea where to start. I would prefer working for a firm with a group of like-minded creative people. A couple years back these jobs never asked for 4 year degrees, and now it seems everyone wants to see one. Is it even worth applying to a Design Firm that has a BFA as a requirement when I don't have one? I know going back to school would be smart (which is the ultimate plan in the fall of 2011) but I need to find some web related work ASAP before I lose it (my motivation for web work is hanging by a thread). Freelance is another option, but I must be doing something wrong when marketing myself, because I can't snag a job. Does anyone have any suggestions or advice that could help lead me in the right direction?

    ...oh I guess I'll throw this in, my current routine for finding work...
    - Visiting local business websites and e-mailing the people who created those sites to see if they are hiring.
    - I've created my own website with my own work (but purchased and customized a template to save time)... I guess thats a no no when your promoting yourself as a designer, but I really wanted to get my portfolio out there fast.
    - I'm thinking about approaching local businesses door-to-door in an attempt to sell my services by convincing them they need a website.
    - and finally.... craigslist, ebay, odesk, meh and all of those other classifieds/sales websites which deliver more spam than I can imagine. Not to mention that bidding on a job on oDesk is ridiculous when people are willing to work for $10 logos or $50 websites.

    But once again, my main question is: Is it worth applying to firms when in their requirements its says 4 year degree and I don't have one?

    Thanks in advance,
  2. Ride9650, Nov 23, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2010

    Ride9650 macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2007
    If your designs are good, I would definitely apply regardless. For example(and I know its not exactly your same situation but reasonably similar)one of my college professors had a degree in philosophy, but because he really developed his skills, he was able to start working for the Barbarian Group.

    Some notes:

    - I'd look into at least familiarizing yourself with back-end development as well. Ultimately, while design is a big aspect of it, for the most part, anyone can do front end stuff with little to no training, as its mostly just learning about markup. If you happen to be a complete genius at javascript and canvas, then thats a different story, but if not, I would try to pick up a few new skills while you apply. Since there are plenty of talented designers out there, you should try to differentiate yourself from the herd a little more.

    - yes, buying a template is a not well regarded, but as long as the reviewer can't tell, I wouldn't worry(though I would seriously find the time to re-do it from scratch, maybe use one of your own templates which you probably should have done in the first place).

    - In addition to job boards, etc.. I'd just simply write to a company seeing if they want an intern or have a entry level position, even if there isn't anything advertised. I'm the same age as you and actually just graduated, don't know if it was because of the degree or not, but asking directly landed me some interviews.

    If at first you don't succeed, try again!
  3. ChicoWeb macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2004
    As a design firm owner, I would say to go for it. A 4 year degree is not necessary in the design world. Does it help and give you a leg up... maybe, but I will pick the person with the best work and portfolio any day over a 4 year education. I would focus on completing your portfolio and making it the best you can because it's sure a big catch 21 trying to get those first few sites.
    You have to have experience to get jobs, but without jobs, you have no experience.

    Been there done that, Craigslist is your friend. You won't be making a ton of money, but you'll be building your portfolio until you don't need CL anymore. If you're good, and determined, 1 year from now you should be actually making a living :)
  4. pelsar macrumors regular

    Apr 29, 2008
    I own a small firm.....(well used to, i decided to return to a office of 2-me and my part time assistant).

    At any rate, i always noticed a quality of design difference between those who had 4 years of study vs no degree, however that was not the only criteria. I was far more interested in talent and intelligence, graphic program knowledge and the holy grail of them all-one who actually knew how to program.

    my advice?..get you own original website site up that "speaks to the cliental you want, so that they can identify with it (hi tech has a different character from your local business).

    then target specifically those who businesses you want and start pounding the pavement and specific telephone calls, where you already know who you should be speaking with...

    oh yea, learn programming, it will give you a huge advantage when looking for a website design job..most of those hot shot 4 yr degree artist types don't know **** about programming.....
  5. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Perhaps making your own website so you got some examples of work to show?

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