How to develop the perfect web skillset
Understanding the true value of the work we do is one of the first lessons many of us learn. Turning away spec work, focusing on growing the skills that are important to us, and using those skills efficiently are among a few things we all go through early on. When it comes to valuing our expertise from person to person, there are so many variables that come into play that it’s extremely hard to give a good answer. Every situation is unique, and while one person may benefit immensely from learning a new language, many others may not. Despite this, I want to give you a general guide to understanding not only the value of your skills and how to sell them, but also how to properly expand your unique skill set to be more marketable.
A brief history of education in our industry
The tech industry as a whole is still quite young. At its boom in the early 2000s, there were little to no resources commonly available for people wanting to learn. People who wanted to keep up with web design trends and immerse themselves in design knowledge had nowhere to turn but a traditional art education for quite some time for a traditional degree. Consequently our industry is one of the few that counts self-taught individuals as not only equal, but often more desirable than those with traditional educations. Back then, before there were courses focusing on these skills, individuals striving to learn about these subjects had no choice but to go out in search of them on their own. This often meant having nowhere to turn but the Web itself; and they learned by hands-on tinkering and exploring. Nobody simply fell into an internet-related degree out of half-interest and being lazy because they literally didn’t exist in schools yet. Only those curious and/or passionate enough about the industry to begin with sought out these skills and improved upon them on their own. [pullquote][we’re] here because we’re passionate about what we do…if we weren’t, we wouldn’t have picked up the skills in the first place[/pullquote] Today, there are a plethora of educational resources out there both in terms of university degrees and solutions online. But due to the fast-paced nature of our industry, we’re also expected to learn a lot on the job and keep up with new trends in design and development. New languages, design ideologies, workflow ideas, and even skills in marketing or other semi-related areas end up being our bed-side reading. We’re an industry composed primarily of the get-it-done types who aren’t afraid to train ourselves when it comes to beginning or expanding an education. Because of this fast-paced, DIY education industry we also have a lot to contend with in terms of expectations. We have an industry where the vast majority of us are here because we’re passionate about what we do…if we weren’t, we wouldn’t have picked up the skills in the first place.
Impostor syndrome: acknowledging your worth
Understanding a focused skill set
Expand your skill set with a purpose