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  1. #1
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    Hi,

    I am currently at University studying a relevant course and very interested in websites and developing them and am hoping to one day have a career in this field. It is early days now and I will no doubt find out what my strengths and weaknesses are, but what would the pros on here suggest are skills I should look to ensure I am pretty strong at in order to have a good chance of a career, as I know it is quite a competitive industry.

    CSS, Javascript, Ajax, PHP, Flash etc.??

    Many thanks.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member filburt1's Avatar
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    All of the above are very useful, although not all are necessarily required. For example, if you're going to work for a company that uses ASP.NET, you don't need to know PHP. I work for a company that uses PHP and I don't need to know Flash--we have people who do know it, though.

    XHTML and CSS are essential, though, and I'd argue that even a designer who just deals with Photoshop should still know XHTML and CSS so they are aware of its limitations when creating designs.
    filburt1, Web Design Forums.net founder
    Site of the Month contest: submit your site or vote for the winner!

  4. #3
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    Yeah, it depends on what company you go work for. On the other hand, the more langauges you know, the wider your options are. So I'd dabble in PHP, which is insanely popular, J2EE or ASP.NET, which are popular in the business world, and Ruby on Rails (in Ruby) or Django (in Python), which seem to be popular in the hobbyist community, and somewhat so outside of it.

  5. #4
    Senior Member Steax's Avatar
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    By standards and a must, you have to get XHTML and CSS, absolutely. They are very, very important. Next on the line would be Javascript, along with its big brother AJAX. However, it's usually not required to have them, and I personally suggest you wait till later on that. Flash can also wait, because most sites either use a lot of flash, or use no flash at all (flash doesn't communicate well with the rest of HTML).

    As for server-side, if you're new, take PHP. Theres a huge community (including here on WDF) that can support you... And as said above, some companies will already be using another language - thus why I constrain myself to new sites, not remakes.

    But as I've said several times, it's often the small things that make a big difference in your abilities. Learn User Psychology, which is about how people's intuition and logical thinking works, and can help you create a much more friendly site, with fewer people being confused by your interface. Learn Information Architecture, which is about how you structure your pages and database, saving your visitors the trouble of finding a page they want and also saving you one day when you want to expand your site! There are many more of these topics, which are very rarely taught or spoken of...
    Note on code: If I give code, please note that it is simply sample code to demonstrate an effect. It is not meant to be used as-is; that is the programmer's job. I am not responsible to give you support or be held liable for anything that happens when using my code.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Shani's Avatar
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    You have to learn the concepts of design and coding.

    General programming is very useful because basic concepts like loops, arrays, objects, etc. apply to many languages, the biggest difference is the syntax.

    Basic Photoshop is a must.

    Steax mentioned Information Architecture... great specialization to have. So is Search Engine Optimization.

    Never under-estimate general skills like customer service, communication, and creativity!
    Shani

    I have an eye for detail like you'd never believe.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Eddy Bones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCScene
    Never under-estimate general skills like customer service, communication, and creativity!
    I was just about to say something to that effect. People skills are a must for just about any profession unless you're a telemarketer.

  8. #7
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    Does anybody know of a good book on PHP that would be worth having? A photoshop book as well? Ideally I can get it on Amazon. Thanks.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddy Bones
    I was just about to say something to that effect. People skills are a must for just about any profession unless you're a telemarketer.
    I am in a part time job at a major busy supermarket and have been for a fair few years now and customer service is very high on the agenda, so providing good customer service certainly isn't something I am alien to.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Shani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob B
    Does anybody know of a good book on PHP that would be worth having? A photoshop book as well? Ideally I can get it on Amazon. Thanks.
    I bought "PHP for the World Wide Web" by Larry Ullman. It's part of the "visual quickstart guide" things. It's SUPER-BASIC, but, it gave me a solid start. One of the things I like about it is you don't have to start by installing Apache and MySQL, so you can get a better understanding of the code in a more simple form. The bad part about it is that, by itself, it's of very little value in the real world. After getting through it, I progressed/am progressing with php.net and the help of a developer friend.

    As far as Photoshop. I did it a LONG time ago (on version 5.5). I'm pretty sure I used the "Classroom in a Book" series published by the Photoshop people. I know it came w/ a CD that is used throughout. I remember it being very thorough, but again, you really learn once you take it further on your own.
    Shani

    I have an eye for detail like you'd never believe.


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