Want to get into web design. Should I go to school?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by alia828, May 28, 2008.

  1. alia828 macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2008
    I currently have a Bachelor's of Arts in Anthropology but have always been interested in computers, and recently, web design. I taught myself HTML and CSS and Photoshop and made my own website (pocketfullofgold.com) and I really enjoyed it. I would love to get a job in web design but I know i don't know enough right now. Should I try to learn more on my own or just go to school and get a second bachelors? I was thinking of the Art Institute of Dallas but don't know much about it. Any advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks!
  2. angelwatt Moderator emeritus


    Aug 16, 2005
    I'd say go to school if you want to turn it into a career. You dramatically increase your chances of being hired (competition has been growing a lot here) and it also increases the salary you'll be able to get. Without school you'd be lucky to make more than the people at McDonalds. School will also teach you quicker than what you can teach yourself and you'll get a better foundation and understanding of the area as you'll be forced to take classes you never thought about (depending on the school).
  3. rogersmj macrumors 68020


    Sep 10, 2006
    Indianapolis, IN
    Gotta be careful about the school though. Where I went to college, I stuck with my computer science degree because the computer-tech level stuff (which included web site design) was woefully out of date -- and we were supposed to be a top-tier school for that sort of thing! Even just a couple years ago when I was there last, they were still teaching people to use frames in the primary web course, to use HTML styling most of the time (rather than CSS), use tables for layout, and many more bad practices to boot.

    So I got my computer science degree and did a lot of web design work/self-teaching on the side during my time at the university, and then I was hired immediately as web designer once I got out, near the top end of the local salary range -- even though I did not go to school for this career (although I can't deny the principles taught in computer science come in handy at times). Several of the talented designers/developers I work with have no schooling in web design -- it's just something they've picked up because they enjoy it, are passionate about it, and have spent a lot of time learning and teaching themselves. We're good at it because we buy into it and get passionate about it -- not because we went to school for it.
  4. uMac macrumors 6502

    Mar 27, 2007
    Depends on how you want to make money.

    If you want to make money doing webdesign then yeah, school is good.

    If you want to make money running a website, then no. You'll learn more from trail & error than classroom. Plus school takes too long and the net moves fast.

    I only know a bit of CSS, Java, and HTML but could make several sites (see sig for main one) and start to make money off it (although that is not the primary goal). I have a day job, but my sites bring in a bit of money each month.

    ** On a note you'll find that most people who made it big on the web simply took a good idea and ran with it. Rather than stay in college for another 2-3 years.
  5. werther macrumors regular

    May 15, 2006
    I would say no school. I hear what mrogers is saying. The sad fact is is that I have not seen one university curriculum that is up to date. One can't really fault the university for this deficiency as the technology advances so quickly. Moreover, all the information you require is on the interwebs.....for free. If you (not you but the royal you, you know the editorial) require the university environment to motivate or push you to learn, perhaps you should reconsider your career path.
  6. NT1440 macrumors G4


    May 18, 2008
    Even if you already know all you need to, a degree really helps your chances of getting hired.
  7. werther macrumors regular

    May 15, 2006
    @ NT1440

    I hear you but he already has a degree

    retort: but it is not in web design

    If he got a degree in web design it wouldn't much have to to with web design either.

    Life is too short to waste on a piece of ****ing paper. You say you had fun designing that website, stop wading your feet in the pool and dive in.
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I'd say the urpose of a university is NOT to teach the "technology of the day". They should not be teaching CSS and HTML. That kind of stuff belongs in a comunity collage, trade school or the like. Universits try and teach subjects that don't so out of date For example one might go to a university to learn art history, graphic arts and design. Then you have a broad set of skills that could be applied to web design, marketing or "whatever". If they do tech HTML in a cllass the purpose it would be just a means to another end whereas the trade school would teach HTML just for it's own sake.

    The four year BA degree will be more useful after 20 years while a class in HTML coding will not be usefull at all in 20 years. The reason you get another four year degree is not so you can get a job quickly and earn money,

    in 20 years no one will think about "designing web pages". They will think about "design and layout" in a converved game/movie/web/tv world. Today's technology wil be gone in 20 years but art, and graphic design will be around forever.
  9. macsrules macrumors regular

    Feb 26, 2008
    I would say that school for this is a, waste of money and time, UNLESS! your brain is a sponge and can absorb everything the teacher says and do all the homework assignments.(you would probably be the exception)

    Technology is moving so fast you would have to take so many core classes just to get the basics, then you would have to load yourself up on the current technologies just to get caught up to where most of the top designers are. Not to mention that most of the teachers are not out in the real world in day to day work trying to apply their skills that they teach.

    I myself have two degrees, one in Printing Production and Imaging Technology. That one paid for itself because I worked for a major mail order catalog company for 5 years retouching models. So I had a graphics background when I got started.(does help) I also have a four year degree in business leadership.(not really useful when building and doing web development) It did help me become more well rounded though.

    Why am I telling you this, because college is good for social development and if your carrier is more main stream stuff. Web Development is more of a specialized skill and there are much better ways to learn this skill than college and WAY, WAY, WAY more cost effective ways to learn what you need.

    1. About a year and a half ago I signed up at http://www.vtc.com/ VTC Online. Spent six months learning as much as I could. Then I found the King of all learning sites and have not looked back.

    2. That is http://www.lynda.com/ The training you will get at Lynda and for the price, you WILL NOT finder better or more cost effective, in my opionion. They are the best and are very current on most of the new web technologies. Most of the teachers they get are people that have made it in the industry or are recognized as being very good at what they do. Wow, I sound like a walking advertisement for lynda.com :)

    3. When I started, I could not write html, did not know what CSS was, neither PHP, CGI, Javascript, Ruby on Rails, AJAX, XML, Java. Basically when I started, I was a clean slate. Still have a very long ways to go but am much further down the road.

    4. The teaching at lynda is AWESOME! You will learn so much. And the great part about it, it is at your OWN PACE. You can watch the video/video's over and over again until it sinks in. You will not get that in a college environment, you know, that one on one special attention. You get all the teaching you can handle for only $250 a year! I would say that is the cost of just ONE class at a community college!

    Anyway these are just my thoughts, hope they help.

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