schooling for web design/development advice needed

  • section8ff
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  • section8ff
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I am wanting to get started on schooling for web design/development, and am seeking advice from folks who have already pursued this route.

My questions are as follows:

Which is the better path, certifications or degree program?

What are some quality schools to look into, online or in person, in the Texas area?

Any additional information, that I may be overlooking, will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Section 8
  • graphixboy
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Post 3+ Months Ago

It really depends on what you want to learn. Design and development are two very different things.

You can learn a lot of development, especially front-end (html, css, javascript), techniques online via tutorials or blogs. If that's the route your going, I would probably avoid formal schooling altogether since very few formal schools have been able to get their act together to really teach anything useful for front end dev. There also aren't very many certifications in this area that are worth very much in the long run. They just want your money to give you a cert for something that's as easy to prove with a good portfolio.

I don't have a background in heavy duty development so someone else will have to answer for me in that aspect, but to me it seems like anything that you can learn on your own. Ask yourself about the value of schooling. Are you a person who's driven to learn on your own or do you need assignments to keep on track? Do you want to specialize in some area like cryptology or game theory? Can you lean those things on your own or would it help to have someone very knowledgeable in that area to provide help?

While I believe that its a great idea to understand development techniques, esp front end dev to be a good web designer, I don't believe that you'll ever find a good program to teach you both. I also believe that its very difficult to become good at both. Joshua Davis is one of the very very few people who seems to be both a strong talented designer and also a great developer. Usually your good at one and mediocre at the other. That said if you want to focus more as a designer, I would seriously recommend some formal schooling. Good web design is very much more theory based than something like front end dev (there are lots of ways that while not elegant can solve a problem).

Since there's so much theory involved in design its very difficult just pick it up from online sources/books/etc. A good art program can teach you how to combine colors, pick type faces, and generally communicate visually. These basics (generally called visual literacy) open the door into a vast number of creative fields; everything from web design, to furniture, to way-finding are based on the same visual communication theories. There are a lot of good visual literacy programs in your local community colleges, trade schools, universities and art schools. If you choose this route look for a school that focuses on the "why" more than the "how" as that basis will serve you very well.

Hope that helps your question is something I hear pretty frequently but a good answer is very specific to you and your goals/learning styles. I have a degree in graphic design, I'm a decent front-end dev and I teach design. All of those skills took their own path to develop and I'm sure that path was very different from anyone else's path. Feel free to PM me if you want to pick my brain about this a little bit more.

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