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  1. #1
    Senior Member Brak's Avatar
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    I've seen a few people mentioning this kind of topic lately, so I decided to share my experiences. First off, I am a Web Producer (Implementation of Web Sites) at Web Associates. Our client list includes companies like: Apple, ESPN, Disney, Hewlitt-Packard, Rambus, Philips, The Tennis Channel, and most recently Quicksilver. How did I land this job? Did I wait years in queues of resumes? No, I was simply asked to join.

    Granted, I was lucky with my job. I happened to come across the benefit of living in San Luis Obsipo, a very small town - that just happened to have one of the largest Interactive Agencies in the US. I didn't know they existed until they contacted me.

    Now, in order to get jobs like this you need to influence Art Directors. An Art Director is the person in charge of the creative department at any interactive agency. Here's a great article on making friends and influencing Art Directors.

    The bottom line is: Your portfolio is your job. Spend more time on it than anything else in the world. If you're looking for a job, you should never stop working on your portfolio. Constantly update it, add detailed analysis of your works, and make sure it looks amazing. Art Directors don't read resume's, they look at portfolios - then read your resume to learn more.

    When writing a resume, be sure to include results, not education. Don't say things like "Took this class in XML" say things like "Can create XML powered applications (see example here)" An example is worth a million words. Scratch that, a million words are nothing in the web business. Remember, it's about results - not education.

    I come from a background of absolutely no formal training in any sort of computers. I have taught myself everything, and I feel I'm up there able to compete with the big dogs. You have to get to this point before you look for a job... and how to get there? Make sites. Don't stop, just make sites until you're at the level you want.

    This is where freelance is a great thing. You can build up a portfolio, learn new technologies and make a few bucks while you're at it. The problem is getting clients - it's not easy. The best way to get clients in freelance is... wait for it. Ask. That's right, call up businesses, talk to your dad's business friend and see if he wants a website. Eventually you'll get someone that wants a site - and there you have it. Also, make business cards and hand them out everywhere. Employing these two techniques alone will give you all the business you'd ever need as a part time job.

    Also look into internships, look around for professional services firms, interactive agencies, web design firms in your town and just ask the art director if they offer internships (paid or not). If they don't offer you a paid position, ask if you could come in for a little while and ghost some of the employees. Remember once your'e in the door...

    So... there you have it. My opinion, my experiences... just how I've gotten to where I am. I like where I am so much I sometimes wonder why I am still in school (for Civil Engineering). So, maybe I got lucky. Maybe you can too.
    Kyle Neath: Rockstar extraordinare
    The blog | The poetry site | The Spore site

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Eddy Bones's Avatar
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    Excellent! Thanks for that post, been waiting for it.

    One question: Since I'm 17 and people probably wouldn't take me seriously until I'm a bit older (I'm speculating, I don't actually know this), what exactly would I build up a portfolio with? I wont be getting any customers soon, so would it be a good idea to make some working layouts of my current site or develop a few brilliant sites on topics I'm familiar with? I could do a csszengarden-esque type thing, but that only shows off CSS. What about PHP and such?

  4. #3
    Senior Member Brak's Avatar
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    If you get a site accepted into the zen garden, that's a great portfolio piece.

    You know, nothing wrong with putting personal sites in the portfolio. Or doing some for friends. Examples of mine: www.drumreport.com, www.warpspire.com, bob.warpspire.com. None of these were done for any money, but a good addition to my portfolio nonetheless. Make 'em up, do whatever. Again, remember this business is about results. It doesn't matter if you didn't get paid to make a site, or if it's completely useless - if the code and design are up to par, that's all that matters. You're not applying for a marketing position
    Kyle Neath: Rockstar extraordinare
    The blog | The poetry site | The Spore site

  5. #4
    WDF Staff smoseley's Avatar
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    Great post. I remember a couple years ago when you were just starting out in web design as a hobby. Now I'd venture to say you're better than me in many ways. Everything that Kyle says is true about getting the job of your dreams. Of course, you have to put 100% of yourself into self-improvement and education. Learn the latest and newest things. Constantly try new tricks and make new designs - even when you're not getting paid for it. You have to thoroughly love what you're doing. And, of course, you have to be smart, motivated, and inspired. Kyle's done all that and it shows. That's why he's got the job of his dreams.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Eddy Bones's Avatar
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    I assume they split up a design job into different parts for different people in a company. How does that work? Does it depend on the size of the job and the requirements that need to be met? Of course there is more room for error when you're shuffling pieces of the puzzle around to different people at different times.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Brak's Avatar
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    We have so many jobs that everything is split. There's 4 top level departments: Creative, Engineering, Information Architchture, and Project Management. Out of Creative, there's two sections: Design and Web Production.

    Although, every once in a while I (used to) do some design, although for now Web Production is very heavy as we've got a large number of sites for one company on a very tight schedule for the next 2 months. More or less, IA comes up with blueprints and wireframes - Design comes up with photoshop mockups. Engineering sets up the CMS, and Web Production comes in and combines all three into a website.
    Kyle Neath: Rockstar extraordinare
    The blog | The poetry site | The Spore site

  8. #7
    WDF Staff smoseley's Avatar
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    Kyle,

    That's really interesting. How many architects / designers / engineers / producers are there?

  9. #8
    WDF Staff Wired's Avatar
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    VERY interesting!
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  10. #9
    Senior Member Brak's Avatar
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    Don't know about architechts or engineers... I know we've got roughly 60 employees overall. There's 5 people in Web Production, and about 5 in design, plus our art director.
    Kyle Neath: Rockstar extraordinare
    The blog | The poetry site | The Spore site

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brak
    We have so many jobs that everything is split. There's 4 top level departments: Creative, Engineering, Information Architchture, and Project Management. Out of Creative, there's two sections: Design and Web Production.

    Although, every once in a while I (used to) do some design, although for now Web Production is very heavy as we've got a large number of sites for one company on a very tight schedule for the next 2 months. More or less, IA comes up with blueprints and wireframes - Design comes up with photoshop mockups. Engineering sets up the CMS, and Web Production comes in and combines all three into a website.
    Yes it's very interesting, but what does the Information Arch. dept. does?


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