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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Member #
    Hey everyone, I'm new to the forums and this is my first post.

    I've been desiring to become involved with web design/development on a freelance level and perhaps corporate if my skills flourish enough.

    My main question is, what are the knowledge/skills necessary to be a well-rounded designer/developer? I mean, I know basic XHTML/CSS, as well as rudimentary Javascript and PHP, however, I barely know anything about running an FTP program or anything at all about hosting an actual website, or SEO for that matter. I understand that there's a huge business side to web design as well, which I'm not too keen on.

    tl;dr What are the skills I'll require to be a proficient and well-rounded web designer/developer capable of building sites from start to finish?


  3. #2
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Cottage Grove, Minnesota
    Member #
    757 times
    There have been rather heated and interesting discussions about design/development.
    In my opinion, very few people are good at both. Either you're a designer with graphic
    skills and artistic creativity, or you're a developer, with programming skills (PHP, MySQL,
    JQuery, AJAX, HTML5, CSS, Credit Card handling, etc).

    You can search on this forum for those topics, or just take my word on it that you
    will not be proficient at both design and development ... nor will you have the time
    or energy to get proficient at both.

    If you have graphic art skills, with photoshop and every other graphic design software,
    you may want to go down that road and partner with someone who has programming

    No matter how you decide to do it, I would say you're not going to do it yourself.

    If you somehow are expert at both design and development, please tell us what
    your secret is. Or, how you handle your life as a prodigy.

  4. #3
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    South Carolina Coast
    Member #
    770 times
    If you are proficient with CSS and HTML and JavaScript, you're already ahead of many that jump headfirst into this industry. Many starting out focus on "static" sites, which can be accomplished with just those skills.

    Web design and web development are two distinct disciplines in this industry, very rarely do you find someone who possesses both skill sets and can use them effectively and in a way that they can build a business around it.

    Web design is mostly about the visual and graphical aspects of design, where development is more about the functionality and interoperability of many technologies like server sided scripting languages like PHP or ASP and databases, Ajax, jquery etc...

    As for servers and setups, I would have to venture a guess that less than 5% of web designers have any real working knowledge of servers. Many know how to setup a website in a shared and vps server environment, but in all honesty, anyone with half a brain and can read and understand and follow simple instructions can do that ( my 9 year old granddaughter just setup her first website on one of my servers the other day ), actual server management is a completely different animal and should really not be a focus for you at this time.

    As for corporate stuff ( I know way too much about this than I care to admit ), but when I'm looking for a designer or developer for a project, my requirements are simple, the basics of HTML, CSS, asp ( that's the server side scripting I use for all my corporate clients ), you should know enough about all of the above that I can give you a page of code, and with nothing but notepad, be able to fix the bugs I placed in it. Straightforward, simple basic troubleshooting skills. Everything else can be learned.

    Starting out in corporate, you usually end up on a team of some sort, or get the privledges of doing simple layouts and or templates based on corporate guidelines. Content updates, perhaps some sime troubleshooting.

    If you like learning and challenges, this is a great industry to be in. Everyone learns this stuff differently, some learn better from books, some learn better from classrooms. Find out what works best for you, and do it.

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