Career options in web designing

I have learnt basic computer languages in my school time. I have got some basic knowledge of C ++ and visual basics also. While surfing internet came across various websites, I became curious to know how this all is created and hence got interest to do more in it. How can I do it?
Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Do you want to do design or do you want to learn how to build websites? I can’t help you with the design part, since I’m useless at it, but building websites is fairly easy, especially if you’ve got some experience with programming.

There are tons of tutorials and references online (in fact, the best references are online), but I’ve always found old fashioned books to be useful when approaching a new subject. O’Reilly books are generally good, so you may want to check out HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide (6th Edition). I’d really recommend you get that or a similar good book, since the web (and the book stores) are overflowing with really bad and out-dated examples so it’ll help if you have at least some baseline with which to judge other new ideas.

If you want to build a site that does more than just show pages, you’ll want to investigate JavaScript (for browser scripting) and some server-side language like PHP, or Visual Basic/ASP, but the server side of the web is huge and you get loads of options. PHP & VB are probably among the easiest to get up and running, though.

Learn Drupal, learn to theme Drupal. This requires a knowledge of HTML and CSS.

Oh, and one more thing: if you’re testing your pages, use Firefox with the Firebug extension. Firebug makes it very easy to see what’s going on in your page, and Firefox has pretty decent standard compliance. IE should only be used to test that your pages actually work with IE. Pretty soon you’ll join the league of Internet Explorer haters.

How customizable is Drupal (or Joomla, etc.)? Customizable as in look-n-feel. A small but growing part of our consultancy is in Web design/programming, and a lot of customers are having us redo their Web site. Since they initially came to us via the print design side of things, the level of visual customization is pretty important.

Will Drupal et al limit us? That is, if we can build it in Dreamweaver, can we build it in Drupal?

Don’t know about Drupal, but stay away from Joomla. It both hard to customize exactly right (since the HTML is a bunch of crap, and you can’t rip it all out) and the back end is a bunch of badly implemented inconsistent crap.

Right now probably isn’t the best time to try to pursue a career in web design if you have no prior enterprise level experience. Jobs are posting all kinds of crazy qualifications with minimal pay (like 15 years experience at a plethora of languages, but 10 dollars an hour!). You might get lucky, but I have a Bachelors of Science in a computer science field with 3 years part time experience programming in php using oracle as a backend and I have had 2 interviews in 6 months- and I’ve been looking pretty aggressively).

Drupal is a content management system. e107 is another excellent system. Mediawiki and other wikis are also examples of content management systems.

I do simple websites but few people want that anymore. They want complex interactive things. This means you’re going to come across more people demanding things they don’t understand.

Drupal and e107 are powerful and are useful. The best thing to do is learn strict XHTML. Then make sure your pages verify with the

The next step is to become an expert at CSS and learn to do it right.

The next step is to become familiar with Search Engine Optimization techniques, so as you build the site, it meets the needs of those people searching for content.

The last part is compatablity. Every page must look good in IE5.5 (this is the last version of IE that works with WIN95 and yes people still use it), to Firefox (a Mozilla based browswer) as well as Chrome and Opera. And it must look good in all versions as well.

A great place to learn is a place called DynamicDrive (Dot) Com, you can read the forums and see how to properly render XHTML, JavaScript and if you have questions they are very helpful

Theming for Wordpress is easy and cleaner than Joomla, but not as flexible as Drupal - although it is pretty amazing some of the full sites you can use WP for, whether they include a blog or not.

I would recommend learning HTML 4.01 over XHTML unless you’re planning to make use of other ML languages (ie. MathML) - also, IE5/6 don’t support the required MIME type, so you won’t be able to make use of XHTML’s benefits on those browsers anyway.

It’s getting harder to find jobs where you just do HTML/CSS. People either want someone who can design and code the layout, or hardcore programmers.

I am much interested in learning how websites are developed, so I would probably look into this field.

Hold it, is it the backend or frontend you’re talking about?

Frontend skills usually involve photoshop, design skills, HTML/CSS. Backend is usually Python, JSP, ASP, PHP and many others, plus SQL.

Agree with what a fellow poster says about Joomla. It’s bloated. I personally use WordPress, not Drupal though. Most of the time, the design would not limit you. Both CMS uses themes for the visual, and for WordPress, you can have page templates to override the default layout for any specific purposes. As long as you get a handle on how to filter which ‘post’ to show and how to display them using custom CSS, you can pretty much create any site.

I’m a CS student majoring in web and networks, so I’m familiar with PHP, JSP, MySQL, XHTML, CSS and Javascript, as well as C, C++, Perl, Python, Java (and servlets).

Are there any major gaps in my knowledge in terms of popular backend tech? I’m guessing ASP, but is there anything else?

ASP.NET for one. Does your JS knowledge includes AJAX?

I have also began to notice that employers are looking for more than a language; some are stating a preference for knowledge of WordPress/Drupal/Joomla, or framework such as Zend, CodeIgniter, jQuery, Dojo etc.

If you want to round up your languages knowledge, knowing how to set up Apache and play with it various settings (a popular one is rewrite mod) could be good too.

I have good Wordpress experience, but everything else you mentioned, I am sorely lacking in.

So thanks for that advice. It really does help.

How to move ahead? Do I need to have some web development degree in hand or any other option which you feel and in your opinion would be better?

I’m probably the only person that does this, but I judge a website (especially when used as a “cite”) quite harshly when it is done in some wordpress or other blog format. This trend is getting sickening IMO. Hardly any “real” websites anymore, just blogs.

Like I said, I have 3 years experience with hand coded HTML/CSS, OOP PHP, codeigniter/symfony, MySQL, and Oracle (with minimal PeopleSoft experience), and while it was part time it was experience, and while I was in school for a degree in that area. I still don’t even have a job and I live in the Seattle area, which is full of techy industries.

There are a lot of experienced people out of work taking any job that comes along, and getting into it right now would be very difficult if you don’t get very, very lucky.

That said, you don’t technically need a degree. It isn’t like web development is hard to learn at the basic level. Getting experience could be important.

I would recommend just building a personal site and practice practice practice. Get books and read up (though you can find anything free online too), and take on charity “pro-bono” work to build up a portfolio.

For a self learner it isn’t likely you will be able to find a place that has Tomcat and allows you to build websites using jsp, or even .net/asp or C++. PHP is probably your best bet. Learn it, Perl and maybe Python (or Ruby) to round yourself out. Learn MySQL or PostgreSQL or some other open source database and you will be golden… once the recession ends.

It is not a good option to start earning online degree and practicing web development on my own by creating websites and taking online help. What would you suggest?