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Thread: On being self-taught

  1. #1
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    On being self-taught

    I was wondering, out of all the successful web developers out there, how many have an actual formal education? Is it at least partially true that there's not that many established degree programs on the subject given that it's such a new field? Me... I majored in biology and sorta stumbled into web development. As far as I know, the field was practically non-existant when I started college.

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    An Inconvenient Serving Size hurricaneone's Avatar
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    Re: On being self-taught

    Originally posted by Lifeforce
    As far as I know, the field was practically non-existant when I started college.
    I know how that is.

    I started in on Windows 3.1 in 1993, taught by a generous friend at my first job out of university, hitting the in-ter-net for the first time using a company with the bizarre sounding name of Comp-u-serve over a (raging!) 14.4 mo-dem.

    Other than that, I have never sat in a computer-related class. Everything I know I have figured out for myself (with the help of my friends here at the big FK) and I am quite proud of the mountain of crap I have stored away in my skull, all about computers and such.

    Although the journalism degree was good, I would have been better served if I had had the opportunity to do a computer-related degree (I guess), but there just wasn't that option at the time.
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    Senior Member dlowe93's Avatar
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    Re: On being self-taught

    Originally posted by Lifeforce
    I was wondering, out of all the successful web developers out there, how many have an actual formal education? Is it at least partially true that there's not that many established degree programs on the subject given that it's such a new field? Me... I majored in biology and sorta stumbled into web development. As far as I know, the field was practically non-existant when I started college.
    My degree was in History, with a minor in Journalism. I'm not saying i was old, but having an aol email address meant you were on the "Internet" when i was in college.

    I think there's a lot to be learned by taking classes in the field, especially now since there are so many opportunities. Based on my past, i wouldn't overlook someone who is self-taught, but i think that having some formal education is a good thing.

    Still, i don't know of any profession where you won't learn more in your first three months on the job than you did in all your years of school.

    d.
    Last edited by dlowe93; 09-05-2003 at 02:29 PM.
    dlowe93

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    Lunch is for wimps. erova's Avatar
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    also remember that a lot of the skills you pick up that aren't related directly to movie clips and motion tweens are taught in college, probably most important being writing skills.

    count me in with another liberal arts degree: english

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    I've got an Economics degree and three years experience in corporate account management as a single point of contact for large companies mobile phone accounts.

    Web work is something I did in my spare time, luckily my housemate is a whizz and taught me lots

    I'm just in the final week of doing an MSc in creative technology but in all honesty it's taught me bugger all and has simply drained thousands of pounds from my bank account.

    Learn on the job, don't forget however that there's a lot more to it than just being able to code or design. Those clients don't always look after themselves or indeed throw work at you
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    FK M.D. pheck's Avatar
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    i'm now in my 9th year of post-high school education. i'm almost done (this coming june). only 1 class out of all of these has been computer related: java. that is what got me into all of this. i've been to a number of conferences, tho, and i do believe you learn more in one day of conference than you do in a month at school in terms of directly applicable material.

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    also remember that a lot of the skills you pick up that aren't related directly to movie clips and motion tweens are taught in college, probably most important being writing skills.
    Good point.

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    I find that I learn better teaching myself than in a formal class. The only formal training I have is a design certificate (not a degree) from a technical college. I didn't take the computer graphics portion of the course because I realized that for the same amount of money, I could buy my own computer and software and teach myself. I was able to land a good job this way.

    I took a beginning and advanced Flash course once, but promptly forgot everything I learned. Later I bought a good book a found that I retained more of what I learned even after not touching Flash for a few months. The trick is to discipline yourself to sit down regularly with the book in front of the computer to do the lesons, just as if you were in class.

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    Yeah. I always had a hard time paying attention in class. I'd always find myself doodling and thinking about some project I got going on at home--all while pretending like im paying attention out of respect for the professor. I guess that's multitasking. When it comes to picking up a new skill, I tend to learn the basics and then develop my own technique.

  10. #10
    Senior Member dlowe93's Avatar
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    Originally posted by erova
    also remember that a lot of the skills you pick up that aren't related directly to movie clips and motion tweens are taught in college, probably most important being writing skills.

    count me in with another liberal arts degree: english
    That's a great point. Studying History taught me how to do diligent research (a must for any design project), how to organize my thoughts, and how to communicate them clearly in writing. Comes in handy when i'm writing proposals and creative briefs.

    Also, i swear 90% of my client management skills came from waiting tables and bartending while putting myself through college.

    d.
    dlowe93

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    Senior Member MG315's Avatar
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    i'm self taught but took a few courses in design on the side. Most is learned from experience though. also one thing many people forget is that (in freelancing) most of the time your design and coding skills mean nothing to the client, all that matters is your selling skills. if you can convince the client that you are the best then you have the job. design is subjective, therefore no one can be considered the "best". who was better, salvador dali or da vinci? also clients won't understand a thing about coding so don't bother using that as a selling point. If you spend more time teaching the client how databases supply information to a site for dynamic sites instead of the text being part of the original code for a static site, rather than just telling them you are an expert in developing and can get the job done, you will lose the client's attention and project.

    =>design and coding skills will let you complete the job but will not win you the job. learn to sell yourself. even if you don't freelance you will need to sell yourself to an employer
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