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Getting into web design

Hello, I'm looking into getting into web design I'm currently looking at moving from product to web design. I am thinking about doing an online course for Adobe dreamweaver and flash. I know its a 300 hour course and is Level 3. It will give me adobe certified certificates in cs5 of both programme. while doing projects on the course I will also built up a portfolio.

People already in web design! would this be suitable for me to get my foot in the door and get an intern/junior position?

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Well you can either do it with a guiding hand through college/uni/online course or you can go it on your own.

If you plan to go it on your own, I can tell you now that you will need to be very determined, self motivated and good at setting personal goals and achieving them - some of the many skills you will need to work for your self as opposed to working within a company.

If you plan to work for a company who will most likely require a number of qualifications or skills disproportionate to the offered salary, then it will be a case of who has more qualifications, who has demonstrated their skills the most appropriately and what is the minimum we can get away with paying them? So in that situation, the more pieces of paper you have, the better the chance of you getting a job. Obviously there are exceptions, but you shouldn't rely on that.

Based on your original post I assume you want to work as an employee. I would want to know what they propose to teach you on the course. Dreamweaver is a program and as such all you have to learn is the UI which shouldn't take very long to understand what button does what and the features it supports. Unless they/you plan to skip learning HTML/CSS/PHP/JavaScript etc and simply use the GUI/drag and drop mode of Dreamweaver - which is highly unprofessional. As for Flash, are they going to teach you Action Script? What version?

Also, you say you want to get into web design, well that is the focus on aesthetic design of a website and not how it is built - which is web development. Which do you want to do? As learning the above won't help with getting a job in graphic design, other than being seen as bonus points.
I don't think I could go in on my own so to speak. So I'm going to do an online course; It's split into sections, you gain the following qualifications:
CIW Web Foundations
Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) Dreamweaver CS5
Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) Flash CS5
CIW Web Design Specialist
Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) Photoshop CS5
CIW E-Comerce Specialist

They do teach me HTML and CSS which are two things employers always seem to be asking for.

I definately want to be doing web design working with clients and briefs and designing the aesthetics of a site and so on and definately not web development.

Through doing these qualifications I should also build up a strong portfolio as design consultancies know its not all about qualifications.

What do you think of the course?


Personally, if you want to make a career out of this, I think it would take a lot more work than this short course can provide. I have doubts on how much they can teach you in such a limited amount of time.

It's a difficult thing to advise on - I think it would really require an in depth conversation on the matter to come to a solid conclusion.

The course appears to cover a lot of ground for only 12 and a half days of work, so I can't imagine they will go into as much detail as you would need to make it in a professional environment. The topics they've chosen appears to give students a general grounding in both web design and development. At the professional level you will have people that focus on the coding/maintenance of the website and other people, who I'd imagine are usually external to the company, that work with the design of the site. I think anyone would struggle to maintain a high level of expertise in both fields.

As for holding those certifications, I've never taken them or in fact heard of them until now so I'd not know if what they require you to know to pass would be worthy of the title "Certified Expert". To me that sounds like the best of the best and I wouldn't hold my breath that this course will make you that.

This is the kind of profession that takes years to learn and many more to master.
sorry where I said 300 hours that was the first course i found that was online for adobe certified associate level in dreamweaver and flash. My second comment I was taking about a more thorough course.

The course I am now looking as is as follows in terms of study time:
CIW Web Foundations 225hours
Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) Dreamweaver CS5 125hours
Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) Flash CS5 250hours
CIW Web Design Specialist 200hours
Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) Photoshop CS5 125hours
CIW E-Comerce Specialist 200hours

So doing a bit each day around work, it's probably going to take me about a year to do.
I agree with what your saying about being a " Certified Expert" when I'll actually be looking at an Intern/Junior position.
I also respect that any design career takes years to form and there is no quick fix to get there. I am somewhat sceptical because I have done a degree in product and furniture design and that is considered not enough to get me a job as a product designer. Also understanding how product design industry works, it is very much about how good your portfolio is and how much experience you have. I am just hoping this course will get me into a company so I can start gaining that valuable experience!


Ahh I see, apologies if I misread what you wrote.

That does seem a little more substantial and if that's all part of one course then I would recommend it based on the module titles. You might want to ask them specifically what they cover as some places of education have a habit of teaching you irrelevant and/or outdated information.

There are only two that I wouldn't personally bother with in your situation is the flash and E-Commerce modules, more so the E-Commerce than flash because as a designer you won't be setting up e-commerce packages. You may find a use for Flash in demonstrating a certain product but apart from that it's almost obsolete in every other aspect - as far as web design goes.

You could also look around for other organisations offering similar courses and compare the two, after all it is a year of your life you will be dedicating to it.

Can I ask why you took a degree in product design if you now want to get into web design? Was it a sudden change of heart?
Product Design seems to be one of those things tutors and lecturers avoid telling you the truths about jobs and so on. I finished June/July and have been trying very hard to find a job. I contacted over 160 design consultancies, only 11 could be bothered replying to me to tell me they don't have anything, and they don't employ juniors, they only employ middle weight designers with 5-6+ years of experience. I have a few friends that consider themselves lucky to get on a year unpaid internship! It may pick up after the recession but that could take a couple of years, but then i'd be competing with 2 years of graduates that haven't forgot as much as I have.

Whenever I searched on job websites for "product designer" i get either product engineer or web designer. I began to think what would I do if I was doing uni again and i'd still do design ofcourse but I think i'd do graphic or web design, I thought oh that's a shame I can't do uni again... until I came across these home learning courses and realised maybe it's not to late to switch. But instead of starting something blind again, finishing, and having no luck. I thought I better ask some questions. I'd like to thank you for your feedback it's been very informative.
I'm going to ask some local web design agency's what they think, would they employ someone with those qualifications etc. and providing I feel I can get work from completing this course I think I'm going to go ahead with it.

I did compare other courses and the other ones all seem a bit thin,very quick to complete and I don't think they would leave me with much knowledge/confidence in my search for a job. This one looks a lot better, it also has some classroom training days, exam and software included, tutor support by phone and email, and exams you can take when ever your ready.


It's very unfortunate how things have turned out for you. I myself have noticed a rather large gap between the educational environment and the real world, it's a shame they don't better prepare you for such things.

The situation you describe, the lack of jobs and the only ones remaining being for experienced professionals only, is happening to pretty much every industry due to the economic crises at the moment. (I believe we were out of the recession a long while ago, in the UK at least, now it's just trying to recover from that and it's not going very well.)

I'm pretty sure that the number of companies, organisations and people who require websites and maintenance far exceeds the number of people who require the services of a product designer, so it should be some what easier, if only a little, (increased competition) to find some work in that field.

I hope everything goes to plan for you :)
Personally I think you should stick to design if that's what you want to do. On the other hand, if you prefer development, avoid design. I get resumes all the time from designers who try to be everything. I'm looking for great designers and solid developers -- not hybrids. If you're doing contract work, I would partner up with someone who does what you can't.