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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Hi, I have been working on websites off and on for about 6 years now and I am about to turn 17 in September. In the beginning was the old school AOL hometown (or whatever it was called at the time) web wizards. Then Geocities page builders where I began to dabble in HTML. Final over the past two years I have began strait HTML and programs such as Microsoft Frontpage. I like to begin my pages with Frontpage until I have the layout I am looking for then fine tune it with HTML. Of the strait HTML and Frontpage sites I have done, I have never had a domain due to lack of cash. But now that you know my background, maybe I can get some help with some problems.

    I have been wanting to put my web designing skills to the test and use them to make some money. I know I should start a portfolio first but the question hangs in the air, "Is a teenage web designer going to be taken seriously?". I know some people from school who teach adults simple computer use for pocket change but I am not one to teach, I am one to sit down and design and work for hours. Is there a way for me to make any money Web Designing at my age?

    A friend of mine heard from somewhere that some companies will have high school student work as web designers and help them pick up clients for a share. Some companies even offer scholarships and jobs after college. Is this just a lie someone spread to my friend or is there some truth behind it?

    What other computer languages and programs should I learn along with HTML? I have experience in Adobe Photoshop and Image Ready.

    Can someone help me out with what I need to know before getting a job? Along the lines of pricing, finding clients, how much income to expect, if I have to pay for the domain (I am guessing not).

    Finally, are there any real disadvantages to using the website programs like Frontpage? I have found none so far in the 5 months I have used it.

    Well, thank you for your time and any and all advice would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

    Donny

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  3. #2
    Senior Member splufdaddy's Avatar
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    Some people will recommend otherwise, but I'd recommend going to college and specializing in Computer Science, Network Administration, or something along those lines that interests you. You'll learn alot in college, both in and out of the classroom (me and my roommates teach each other more than our professors do).

    Frontpage is not a recommended HTML editor. Dreamweaver or GoLive are better editors, and they do more than just HTML. Also, plan on learning a few more languages. CSS, PHP and/or ASP would be a good idea.

    If you want to make some money while you're still young, get the word out to your friends and family that you can build a website, and eventually someone may contact you about doing a site for them.

  4. #3
    Junior Member
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    Thanks! But as fare as HTML editors go, are they just as good (if not better) than coding in Word or note pad?

  5. #4
    Senior Member splufdaddy's Avatar
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    Nope. Word is NOT an editor, it will produce AWFUL code. Frontpage has also been known to produce bloated code as well. In the industry, Frontpage is not very respected.

  6. #5
    Senior Member
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    Well, as for the will you be taken seriously - I am 14. I have a brother who is 23 and he found a project for this company. Now I have met with the client (with my brother) and he has seen me and still says he is perfectly happy for me to work on the site - we are even thinking about using my layout for the site.

    So it is quite likely that you will be taken seriously. As long as you show them some of your work, then they will see that you are good - age is irrelevant. You probably won't even meet the client, so unless they ask, don't tell them - unless you want to ofcourse...
    Rednerve
    Creative Freelance Design

  7. #6
    Senior Member mixu's Avatar
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    Getting your own domain/commercial server is very useful - I just can't stress it enought. In programming and web design, you'll learn most of the trade while doing projects -> the theory behind everything is important but all in all it boils down on how innovative and efficient you are in making your desings.

    I suggest you try out a couple of editors, both WYSIWYG (ex. DreamWeaver) and text-based (syntax highlighting is a MUST if you are serious about your work - ConText is my favourite), and buy a book on PHP or Perl. Both are quite frequently used in smaller designs, and are good starters into programming (probably if you already know HTML then PHP will prove easier to learn). Oh, and JavaScript of course, at least the basics.

    Here's a couple of URLs worth checking:
    www.w3schools.com
    www.deviantart.com
    www.php.net

  8. #7
    Senior Member
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    Agree completely with mixu. Dreamweaver is great as a multiuse web design program. You've got the coding side of things (with highlighting) and the design view. Plus, when you hand-code, you can check in design view to check it's going OK.

    Well worth the 350 it costs for MX 2004.
    Rednerve
    Creative Freelance Design

  9. #8
    Senior Member justlivyalife's Avatar
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    If you are a student, please note that you should be able to buy a student license of MX 2004 for around 150?
    justlivyalife - The future depends on what we do in the present. (Mahatma Gandhi)
    WDF Resources: WDF Rules
    Non-WDF: JavascriptSource | Dynamic Drive | phpBB | HTML-Kit | Winamp | Download Firefox | Morguefile

  10. #9
    Senior Member glyakk's Avatar
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    The problem with student software though is generally your licence will state that you are not allowed to use it for commerical purposes. So if you plan on doing work for clients you are required to upgrade.

    You can make money in this field no matter what age you are, the catch though is you need to be good at selling yourself, or convincing others that you are the best man for the job. That may sound like you have to convince them that you are the best web designer in the world, but talent is only part of it. They will be judging you from the monent they make contact from the speedyness of your answers to the clothes you were to the amount you charge. For example, lets say I am your client and we schedualed a meeting at my office at 10 in the morning. You showed up at 10:10 wearting a t-shirt and blue jeans. You seemed a bit shakey and nervous, and when I went to shake your hand it was cold and clamy and your grip was not firm.(BTW the handshake is the single most important thing you can do to get a meeting started off right. And it is so simple to master. Once you have shook thousand of hands you will understand, in fact now I think about it I am going to write a tutorial on the subject.. but anyway I degress..) You also made no effort to control the meeting and forced me to have to ask questions and reach for information. You could not give me a streight answer on anything and seemed very uneasy and seemed to stall everytime I asked a question by asking me to repeat it or phrase it differently. But at one point, you found enough spunk to run though your list of programs(and version numbers) like you had it memorized. But in the end you made no referece to anything meaningful to me except that you know certin software... But I already expected that. I wanted to know if you had project managment skills, and almost everything you did said you didnt have any. You were not even able to handle the meeting!! Of course I know nothing about you so this is just an example but is one many new webdesigners find themselvs in. Always have soemthing to say, and learn how to control a meeting especially if you are making a perposial on why somebody should hire you!! Befor your meeting get run though all topics you want to go over, who will be in charge for content? How will media be transfered? Who is invonved in the approval process? You get the idea? Please do not try to impress people with what software, skills you have, they do not care. They expect you to already have the tools and knowledge avaliable to do whatever they want you to do. If they need somebody who has knowledge of certin software they will ask. Look at it like this.. you expect a contractor would know how to operate a jackhammer if you hired him/her to fix your driveway right? All you want to know is how long he/she will take, if there is any important information you need to know, how much do they charge, etc. Clients want to know how you are going to handle their project. And almost every aspect of yourself has to radiate confidence especialy when you are starting out because that is almost all you have to go by!! Remember that when you talk/meet with clients and It will pay off, trust me. Also one more tip.. do not hide behind email. Many times new designers want to use the computer as their only means of contact, and honestly it can be the most effective means of communication in most situations, but a simple phone call or even personal meeting(initatied by you) will help build confidence in you for your clients.

    By the way the previous example was probably typical of me years ago when I was starting out so I speak from experiance..

    As far as the consern about companies who hire high school web designers and send them to collage and collect commision on your work.. I have never run across a company that exclusivly does that. Something like would probably be done on a case by case basis if they knew of a really talented designer. However you must know It will always be in the best interest of the company and if they feel will make alot of money from it. There are not alot of 'fariy godmother' companies out there willing to help new budding designers out of the goodness of their hearts unless there is a profit to be made somehow. I imagine if you were in that position would be required to sign agreements stating things like you will work with the company for 'X' amount of years/months, and/or you must give up all copyrights on anything you create, etc.. They basicly own your work at that point and you become dependent on the company. However, it might also be exactly what you need to get started and learn the buisness without having to spend your own time and money, but it all depends on the agreement so look over it, and over it, and over it, until you are blue in the face and know what you are getting into. If you have a problem with the agreement ask for it to be revised to meet your needs. Only you have the power to screw up, so be careful!!



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