Not so long ago I had a prospective client ask me what my web design qualifications were. I thought about it for a moment and replied “Err none actually”.
I rattled off all the years of experience I had. How I got into the internet in 1996 and went on to work with some of the big names in New Zealand’s internet industry. I explained how myself and a couple of friends revolutionized the web hosting model in New Zealand with the launch of iSERVE limited back in 2001 and how I ended up doing a stint of teaching at a tertiary institution and, more recently, was involved in starting a small web and interactive design company.
All of this accounted for absolutely nothing in the eyes of this prospective client. He wanted to see a piece of paper that said “Mark Shingleton has completed web design 101 and now knows how to build web sites”.
Try as I might, I couldn’t understand his logic. I explained that, back in 1996 no-one had any clue what web design was and that courses just simply didn’t exist.
Which got me to thinking … do actual specialized web design courses exist today?
I know that there are design specific courses and there are multimedia courses (because I taught one of them), but they didn’t have a huge web design component. Instead the web design component seemed to focus on how to learn dreamweaver and then throw in a bit of theory here and there.
Web design is a very specialised field and one that changes every day. Technology changes extremely quickly and it’s certainly a race to keep up. I suppose that I could become Adobe Certified but that doesn’t mean that I know how to build web sites. I could become design certified (I did actually do a design course way back in the early 90’s) but that doesn’t mean I know how to build web sites either. Personally I think that it largely comes down to experience … and Google.
What are your thoughts on the subject? I’d be very interested to know.