This is the 5th part of the Web Coding Series. If you are looking forward to become a web developer, either a freelancer or employee and missed earlier articles of the web coding series, please read here.
Part 1: Web Coding- Introduction
Part 5: “How I Became a Web Developer”- 10 Successful web developers around the world reveal their story (This article)
Part 6: “What to do to become a Web Developer”- Advice from 10 successful web developers
Building a web developing career is a tougher task because schools don’t teach you how to start your freelancing web designing career, basics of smart money management for building a start up and not even web programming languages in depth (do they?) which would help you to design a website. There is no best way to learn something than learning it from someone who has been there, so I have contacted some successful web designers around the world, who have built successful business online either by freelancing or by starting their own company or by being an employee of a firm and I asked them all 2 questions that bothers web designing/developing aspirants, the questions are: i) how do you become a web designer, ii) What advice you will give to those who want to be a web designer. I wish these 10 different answers can be taken as a case study who aspire to become a web designer.
How I Became a Web Designer/ Developer
1. Rahul Bansal, Founder and CEO of rtCamp
During college days, I was interested in system programming (device drivers, assembly-language programming & more)
Apart from that I was into activities most people (mis)label as “hacking”. Out of interest, I joined Hackthissite.org and started digging dipper into the world of machines…Towards end of my college life, I started a blog “Devils Workshop” – http://devilsworkshop.org/, primarily to keep track of my finding. It turned out to be a good medium to share knowledge.
Soon I found myself spending more time in blogging. Apart from blogging, I developed many scripts/tools for then famous social network Orkut. They were received very well accelerating growth of my blog.As my blog grew, I got curious about web-technologies and ended-up becoming web-developer myself. My initial web-development was mostly to solve my own problems! Problems related to customizing my own blog
2. Paul Maloney, freelance web designer from Liverpool, England.
Accidentally! I started my design career almost 11 years ago now, initially I was a graphic designer and worked at a magazine creating advertisements and posters. One day the owner asked if anyone could create web sites and as I had made a few sites in college so I reluctantly volunteered.
The site turned out well and I went back to college whilst still working at the magazine and then began creating websites for clients of the company. By this point I was hooked and spent every free minute learning more about development whilst attending college and working at the magazine.
I then moved to an actually web agency where I worked with a great team for a few more years before finally becoming a full time freelancer around 8 years ago.
3. Harish Chouhan, Founder of Dreams Media
I always wanted to do business ever since I was child and I love design(art) in general. I was also interested in Architecture. I never had planned to get into web design field until I used Internet for the first time in my life in the year 2001 and few weeks later found my brother reading a book “Teach yourself HTML in 24 hours”. Ever since just reading the title of that book, I knew I wanted to get into this field. I went ahead and read the book and started making basic websites since then by writing HTML codes in my notebook during lectures and then going to a Cyber Cafe and trying if it works.
In 2002 I joined Architecture as until then I never thought Web Design as a career and had planned to finish Architecture and then do something in Web Design. But destiny had something else planned for me. I had no computer during first year of my Architecture, and since I hardly visited an Internet Café I thought I lost interest in Web design. But once I had a computer in 2nd year, I could not stop myself from getting into that field again. By end of 2004, I decided to take a year off from college to start a freelancing business and see if I could find clients. And I did. But then after a year I just could not get the interest to study Architecture again and decided to take a drop later on.
From 2006 onwards I have been working full time in this field and even today have the same level of interest I had 11 years ago when I first used the Internet. I learned web design the hard way by trial and error method and mostly on my own with little or no help. Creating website is one thing, however making money out of it requires business sense and is one area I am trying to learn desperately.
4. Phil Thompson, freelance web designer from Manchester, England
I went to university (Manchester Metropolitan University) and studied Computing. I always wanted to be a web developer so I thought that the course would help. But actually it didn’t helped me because what they are teaching was quite out of date. However, during my year out I worked at the local council Education department as a web developer. Thus I learnt what I employer’s were looking for and I set about learning those things in my spare time. This was quite learning curve, I had presumed that my university course was teaching me everything I needed to be commercially employable but I quickly learnt at job interviews that my skills were really lacking.
Towards the end of my course, I saw a job posting for an in-house web developer at a large company. I applied, got the job and start to work a week after my final exam.
5. Amber Weinberg, freelance web developer based in London, England
I became a self taught web developer in middle school when I starting making websites for some of my hobbies. I did go to design school but after I graduated, I realised I that design wasn’t for me. I picked up a couple of jobs as a junior developer before I decided to go out and start my own business.
6. Michael Martin from Pro Blog Design
I never purposefully set out to be come one. Instead, I started out designing simple banner images to use as signatures in forums, and then moved onto other things as well, one step at a time. Eventually, I tried designing a website, and then coding it (badly). I loved it though, and I’ve never looked back since then.
7. Katharine Bairstow, Front-end Developer/Designer
I’ve always worked within the technology sector, and started building hobby sites for fun in my spare time. The early sites were dreadful, but I learned form my mistakes and from what other people were doing, and slowly improved. One of the later hobby sites was noticed by the CEO of our hosting company, and they asked if I’d be interested in doing some work for them. That lead to another project, and to word of mouth recommendations, and so a freelance career was born. Now, four years later, we’re a three person team; time goes by so quickly.
8. Matt Hodder, freelance web designer from Prince Edward Island, Canada
As long as I can remember I’ve always been interested in anything related to computers- from hardware to software to the web. My first real web project was designing and developing my high school’s home page. By today’s standards, it was pretty bad but nonetheless I was proud of my work and loved the freedom that came with developing it. I worked small web jobs and studied interactive multimedia through college until I had enough experience to quit my tech support job and become a full time freelancer.
9. Arthur Kay, currently working as Solutions Engineer for Sencha Inc.
Follow Arthur on @arthurakay
The above web designers/ developers who shared their story have years of experience. If you are looking forward to build a career as a web designer/developer their suggestion will definitely help you. Their mistakes are your lesson
Wait for my next post tomorrow. Part 6: “What should you do in RIGHT WAY to become a Web Developer”- Advice from 10 successful web developers (published now)