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Web Design and Development course

(10 Posts)
giddyauntdora Thu 03-Jan-13 21:19:03

I currently work in Higher Education administration- I sort of fell in to it after finishing my masters and then I had my son (who is now 17 months) and my colleagues have been brilliant and so I have stayed there longer than I intended to.
This year I am determined to increase my earning capacity and I'm looking at courses to take. I have found a post graduate certificate in web design and development that I think I might enjoy doing, but I feel like I can't invest time and money into it without being relatively sure that I could make a fairly decent living from it.
As my BA and MA were both in English Literature and were taken for pleasure, I feel like I know need to be more sensible with my choices and more career- minded. I have also become the main earner in my family so money is definitely an issue. Can anyone give me a round about salary for someone working in this field?
Thank you in advance

giddyauntdora Thu 03-Jan-13 23:02:21

anyone work in this field? I'd really appreciate some info from someone who actually does this job smile

slightlysoupstainedbabygrows Sun 06-Jan-13 01:17:45

Not a web developer here, but hope some of this'll be useful: is quite handy for IT salaries, try a few job titles - web design, web development etc and see what comes up. Browsing some of the job ads it shows is also useful. Salaries in tech vary hugely across the country, worth drilling down and looking at different areas.

Also saw this today - obviously not very useful if you're not in London but on the off-chance you are...

Have you done any playing around with web design/development yourself yet? There are a lot of great resources out there to get your feet wet with, that would let you dabble a bit without having to make a big investment straight off. Happy to provide suggestions if you want?

GuinevereOfTheRoyalCourt Sun 06-Jan-13 12:16:13

I have a tech background and have developed web-based applications, although I'm not a web developer/designer.

In terms of salary, as pp has already mentioned, it can vary enormously. You see jobs advertised for little more than £20-25k/yr, whilst a highly competent web developer can get contracts of £5-600/day.

The first questions you need to ask yourself is why you want to do web development and what skills/interests you have that could be relevant. Web developers typically approach it from one of two competencies. They're either graphic designers or software developers. So you need to be either artistic or technically-minded. With your background in English, it's possible that there is a market for people who are able to write the content of a website. However, I don't know what the route to such a job would be.

It might be worth asking the university/institution offering the course what the background of their students are and what they have done following it.

And definitely have a little play around with trying to create your own website. There's loads of free software available that you can download to get you started.

housesalehelp Sun 06-Jan-13 14:46:04

it might worth exploring what options there are in your institution - there are often ways of developing your carreer in HE -maybe doing a course there or looking at other roles - your HR department or your manager might be able to help

giddyauntdora Sun 27-Jan-13 20:21:29

Oh thank you so much for your replies! Sorry not to have replied sooner, I'd given up!
Slightly soup thanks for your suggestion, I think I'll have a play around at building a website on my own first and see if I enjoy it/have some aptitude for it. Housesalehelp, thank you too, I'm having an appraisal soon so I'll use it to explore my options within HE.
Thanks all again!

slightlysoupstainedbabygrows Sun 27-Jan-13 21:18:18

Good luck! The good thing about web dev is that there are absolutely tons of good resources out there if you want to learn a bit before you do a course to see if you enjoy it. And even if you decide not to pursue it as a career, you might find that what you've learned comes in handy in other jobs.

I'd suggest taking a look at for some of the basics (once you've finished that, take a look around at the other tracks). Might be worth seeing if you can track down the web development team at your uni too and see if they're friendly.

scoobywoo Sun 27-Jan-13 23:03:52


If you think you'll have the knack for it then definitely have a crack. Before signing up for the course, you would be crazy not to invest a few evenings seeing if it was for you, by playing about with HTML. Then play with a bit of CSS to change some colours, spacing, make a table pretty, make some rounded box corners etc. Then try to do recreate some of the graphics you see on a simple web page you like. Starting from scratch you're going to find you hit the buffers every now and again with stuff simply not working. BUT put these times aside and judge from the rest whether you have aptitude for it. If you see the potential for the building blocks the online course introduces you, start to problem solve the margin/border/padding to get the layout you want etc and feel excited by the possibilities then great. If you don't have aptitude then forget it, since there are plenty of geeky 16 year olds who do, and it's not nice to compete.

Ok, now look at the course. To be useful in a team developing a site you really need to have a good basic grasp of not just HTML and CSS, but something a step up: Javascript and probably standard components like those from JQuery. If you can get objects to fade, react to mouse clicks and use and customise say a tree or pagination, you're useful. If your course doesn't cover javascript to this sort of level then I think you'd be struggling to be of use. More than likely basic PHP is necessary too. I'd guess these jobs are the ones around £20k previously mentioned, although I'm not familiar with this end of the market.

Of course the mid-level web developer, at perhaps £30-35k, with maybe 3-5 years experience, will be versed in a bit of linux administration to get say apache and varnish working. They'd probably know how to administer a web framework like Wordpress and write lots of PHP to customise pages, if not write a Drupal or Django app. And they'd have a reasonable knowledge of interfacing with other server things, like bash scripting, AJAX, XML/JSON - this could be a long list and really only comes with experience. And be good enough at Javascript to hack badly written components to get them to work.

You shouldn't need to worry about these latter things, but I want to persuade you that a beginners course in just HTML and CSS is not really enough to get you work or even design your friend's personal website for them, unless they want it to be incredibly basic, static, 1998 style.

You could usefully go to meet developers on a 'hack day', which occur in big cities occasionally, to see if you can get on with them.

Once you're in the industry, then I would have thought your relative maturity and skills you've already honed will be of great advantage. There are English grads in the industry who add a lot that the through-and-through geeks miss. And eye for detail, managing people, projects, clients, even sales, is in short supply in this field. If you can do these sorts of things whilst having a good grasp of technical issues then you can look at £40-£50k. Or if you genuinely to the technical side well and become in demand, then in 6-7 years good progress and wide experience, you could be on that too.

I hope this is of help, and wish you all the best.

giddyauntdora Sun 27-Jan-13 23:18:42

So helpful, you have no ideasmile thank you for such thoughtful advice. Printing out to read thoroughly tomorrow, feeling inspired now, Scooby, and slightly soup, I get on very well with the website manager at my uni, and work with her as I update the webpages related to my area of work. Have been a bit shy about asking her about her work, but will research some more and speak to her. Thanks again x

SunnyLeon Mon 28-Apr-14 06:20:19

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