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Thread: Where to start in this business....

  1. #1
    Senior Member Zboost's Avatar
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    I am sorry if this is the wrong section for this, I thought it may be appropriate, and also my apologies if this discussion has been asked (I am sure it has) too many times before.

    The question simply is, where do you start to get into this industry? I have no knowledge of how it actually works in the real world, and as much as I wish I could get any type of job doing any type of web development work, I do not ever see it happening. So I ask to those who have worked in the business, and are currently still in it, what does it take to break into this field.

    Some notes, I live in Houston, Texas which I would see as a pretty big place to find this type of career. I am currently in school for Bachelors in Information Systems (Core: web Development), though I am on pause do to me and my wife having a little girl.

    Thanks for any help guys.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    If you enjoy this kind of work, there are many ways to "break" into it.

    Assuming you know enough to create a decent looking and functioning site, one way would be volunteer to work on sites for non-profits, organizations that have little funds to pay someone. You would get experience, they would get help and you would also get a resume/portfolio item.

    Friends and family with business ventures, offer to help them with a site , logo or graphic work, etc... Again, more portfolio items and you get experience.

    If you don't know of any organizations that could use help, volunteermatch.com is a good place to start looking.

    Once you have a portfolio of work on your own site, then you can start networking and marketing yourself. The more diverse your skills, and the more proessional you present yourself, the greater your chances of finding clients that want you to work for them.

    Check out Odesk as well, if your skills warrant you doing work like this then it's a opportunity to build your portfolio while making some money too.

    I started out many years ago by approaching the company I worked for at the time and offering to build out an Intranet for them, offering the opportunity to reduce their need to print and distribute massive amounts of information across the company. It has since become thier backbone for internal communications.

  4. #3
    Senior Member Zboost's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info, my big thing is should I spend all the money and start back up with school. I am just weighting my options cause school for me starts back in April, and I am debating weather it is going to really benefit me in the long run.

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    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    A degree will help you get much farther, faster.

    I know of several individuals that graduated with degrees and some that moved into the industry with just some certificates for specialized fields.

    The people with degrees have not only been offered more jobs, but better paying and higher responsibility positions ( talk about jump starting a career )

    The people without degrees are doing well, and some are building a very lucrative business.

    Here's he deal, if the one with the degree decide to go out on thier own, they are more likely to

    a. Attract investors for their venture
    b. Able to get business loans ( if needed )
    c. Go back into what they were doing with little efort ( if things don't work out ).

    The ones without degrees have to build it from the ground up, have little or no chance of business financing or attracting investors ( unless they put up the majority share ), and they have no where to go if things don't work out.

    A degree gives you more options in this or any other industry, and who says you can't go to school and work on building up your brand or business at the same time ? Actually, more and more are opting for that right now.

    Just my opinion.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Zboost's Avatar
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    That is exactly the kind of info I was looking for. I really don't want to get all the way through and find out that school does nothing compared to a good portfolio, and some knowledge. I have been taking two classes per term but I am thinking about taking more, but I don't want to spend all that money and find out it was some what of a waste. Thanks so much.

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    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    I've never bought the theory that a degree will get you further faster, although I come from a country with a third-rate education system that is marketed as a top-tier education system.

    It's all about proving that you have the ability to do something. If you have the ability to do something and you can prove it, it wouldn't matter whether you couldn't get out of the fifth grade or you graduated from Harvard with a 4.0 GPA. In order to prove you have that ability, you're probably going to eat some bad client deals to build your portfolio.

    The other thing you could do to demonstrate your skill is to launch a blog or some other "personal/tutorial" style site where you show applied knowledge.
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    Senior Member Zboost's Avatar
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    Right now I have been with a company for 5 years I know that's not much, and I have a family now and it is not cutting it. I want to move to an IT field making close to my pay atleast where I can grow and still show I'm with my schooling I can prove I can grow. Problem is everyone wants like 3+ years of experiences, and 4 year degree. Which leads me to wonder there has to be openings to entry level stuff, or it positions where you are acquiring your degree. I can't prove I have any knowledge even though I have a wide degree of computer skills. I have thought about doing odesk stuff on the side, I just have to know where to limit myself in what I can do, while I am learning a lot. I don't want to spend a clients time learning it all. Hope any of that makes sense.

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    What kind of "web Development" work are you interested in? What market do you want to serve?

    There are a great many variables, each having different requirements. My schooling was interrupted by "life happenings".

    The small community college I attended at the time was preparing students to enter the corporate world where the major requirement was the ability to work with Dreamweaver. That is probably the low end of the scale.

    Most likely, the majority of your local small businesses need a good website, but they need more than just design. Too many are nothing more than useless brochure sites. They need quality content that will convert visitors to new business leads.

    The corporate world has a need for even better and more extensive "web development" strategies.

    You have to choose the niche you want to target before you can devise a true strategy.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Zboost's Avatar
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    Id like to be part of a good company, but I guess I'm not sure of all the different possibilities. Freelance does sound a lot less stressful, I could be wrong about that though because the possibility of having no work lined up. Heh.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    Get your degree, do some freelance, build a personal portfolio...

    All of the above will put you share you want to be and give you the most options moving forward.

    A lot of larger companies promote from within, regardless of what flavor degree you have, you have a degree, and that means something.

    I know guys with IT degrees that are plant managers, business degrees as marketing managers, finance degrees as engineering managers. A degree opens doors ( even if the degree doesnt apply ).


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