People often think that web development and web design is an industry that is only for young people. Many start-ups and tech companies are run by people in their 20s and 30s, so this is a common belief. However, there will always be a need for web developers and designers by companies across a wide variety of industries. If you have the skills and determination, companies will give you a serious look—no matter how old you are. Companies often don’t care about what you have done in the past, so you can learn web development and show companies that you can help them meet their goals—even if you are switching from a completely different industry. If you are in your 40s, 50s or older and thinking about taking the plunge in learning web development or design, here are some tips to keep in mind during the process:
Identify Your “Why”
If you can identify why you want to learn web development or design skills, and have a goal in mind, you will be much more likely to be successful. Perhaps you are a lifelong learner and want to dive into a completely new field. Maybe you feel like learning web development or design will help you perform your current job better. Maybe your company has open positions for web developers and designers, and you feel like you would be a good fit if you had the skills. Or maybe you would like to begin freelancing for companies for side income and have realized that these are an in-demand skill companies are always seeking.
A web developer works on the structure of websites and is responsible for coding more of the back-end (server side) of the site. A web designer works more on the front-end (client side), creating the look and feel of the site and taking the client’s product or service to the web. Web developers are engineers and mechanics, while web designers are architects and storytellers.
There are a ton of resources available online for those interested in learning web development skills. Some online coding classes allow you to learn at your own pace, while others allow you to learn with an instructor alongside other students in a “bootcamp” model. If you learn better in an in-person setting, your local community college may offer courses either as part of a credit degree program or through their continuing education departments.
Some programs of study may encourage you to quit your current job to be able to attend the program. If this is the case, you may elect to take an online program that will give you more flexibility to learn at your own pace, anytime and anywhere.
When selecting a program, make sure you will earn an industry-recognized certification at the end of it. A simple course certificate doesn’t hold much weight, but a certification that is backed by industry professionals will be much more credible to companies seeking to hire developers and designers. And be careful of expensive bootcamps—some are worth it, while others are not. Put simply, you need to want to put in the work to become a developer or designer. If you just go through the motions of learning, you will not come across as skilled and confident when interviewing with companies. Accomplished developers and designers have a passion for coding and continuing to learn and hone their skills over their careers.
Find Help When Needed
If you enroll in a web development or design bootcamp or local community college class, you will have built-in support with a teacher and your colleagues. However, learning web development individually at your own pace can be difficult. Try to find people around you or online whom you can bounce questions off of and seek guidance from. This could be a family member or friend who is a software engineer, or it could be someone else who has completed the course you are enrolled in. Having a mentor can make the learning process much easier and spur you to continue on for the times when you are feeling defeated.
Ways to Stand Out
When you start as a web designer (and later think about web development), it is important to remember there are many who are also aspiring. How do you stand out in the field? One approach is to learn more about web accessibility (making web pages accessible for those who use assistive devices). Another area you could consider is learning how to make web pages more easily found and indexed by search engines. Perhaps you want to check out schools and curricula which focus on these topics?
You may also be asked to show a portfolio of your work. Obviously, you will have examples from the classes you take. However, you may also want to offer your help to not-for-profit organizations. While you may not be paid for your help, you will gain significant experience in working with actual clients. Also, you can always ask the organization for a letter of reference (once you have successfully completed your project). We encourage you to think about ways to differentiate yourself from others. What can you do better than most? Leverage that as you learn web design and development.
The world of web development and design is an exciting one. Developers and designers work to make the apps, websites and games we rely on every day function as they should. They often get to work on cool projects that are at the cutting-edge of how we work and play on the internet, and you can be a part of that.
There’s a reason web developers and designers get paid well—it isn’t always easy to learn and do well. However, with a willingness to learn, determination and support system, it’s never too late to dive in. Whatever path you take, developer or designer, our Web Professionals organization looks forward to welcoming you to our community.
“Remote workers make 8.3 percent more than non-remote workers with the same experience doing the same job.” (Payscale.com)
In partnership with CTeLearning.com, we are proud to announce the Career Transformation Series. Our first course with certification focuses on the Remote Working Professional. It combines mobile-friendly media-rich training with an embedded certification assessment allowing the learner to earn their international industry-recognized certification (IIRC) as they complete the course.
Use any internet connected device of your choice to earn your Remote Working Professional Certification
The focused nature of each course in the series means that in just one afternoon the learner can learn and earn career building credentials, and download the certification to prove it. The certification indicates the recipient has met standards agreed upon by industry and is ready to work as a remote worker anywhere in the world, making it a credential in high demand among employers seeking to hire remote professionals.
These courses and their certifications are not focused on technical careers or technical skills, but give the learner the skills and knowledge to make them marketable in the global workplace. Whether you are in customer service, sales, design, management, services, product support, development, web design, or any career you can do remotely, the skills you learn in this course transcend all industries, careers and levels.
This course also includes an interview preparation chapter, which features videos explaining how to ace the interview and land a job as a remote worker. The videos cover how to prepare for interviews as well as some of the most common questions that hiring managers ask candidates when interviewing for remote work positions.
Three Career Pathways
The core course is the Remote Working Professional (RWP) Pathway, which covers how to work remotely, how to communicate with others, how to work smarter and more productively, new dynamics of remote work, ethics of remote work, and bonus features packed with information that all remote workers should be aware of. Upon completion, students will receive a Remote Working Professional IIRC.
The Remote Professional Freelancer (RPF) Pathway (coming early March 2021) includes the core RWP course plus an advanced chapter on how to work and excel as a freelancer in the remote work world. The chapter includes information on how to develop skills to be a freelancer, selling those skills, managing clients, considerations as a freelancer versus working for a company, sticking to a work schedule and much more. Upon completion, students will receive a Remote Professional Freelancer IIRC Endorsement (in addition to the core Remote Working Professional IIRC earned after completing the core course).
The Remote Professional Manager (RPM) Pathway (coming mid-late March 2021) also includes the core RWP course and builds on it with an advanced chapter on how to be a manager as a remote worker. The chapter includes information on project management, dealing with difficult employees, communicating with employees in other time zones, ensuring accountability among team members and much more. Like the Freelancer Pathway, students who complete this course will receive the Remote Professional Manager IIRC Endorsement (in addition to the core Remote Working Professional IIRC earned after completing the core course).
We (Web Professionals) back this IIRC. However, you don’t have to be a web designer or developer to complete one of the course pathways. Whatever your profession—insurance agent, customer service representative, language translator, book editor, or just a student who wants to learn more about how to excel at home—this course is for you.
Get Started Today
No matter what industry you work in, or even if you are a high school or college student beginning to think about your career, this course can help you jump start your career. COVID-19 has forever changed the ways we learn and work, and the shift from traditional office spaces to remote work settings will continue in the coming years. Prepare yourself for the new world of remote work by arming yourself with the knowledge, skills and industry certification that will enable you to thrive.
Individuals ready to take charge of their futures should get started today.
Are you a workforce center development board, career and tech center, community college, university, school district or other career/employment organization? We offer a special institutional discount program.
WebProfessionals.org Announces Certification Grants to Support Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19
WebProfessionals.org, a not for profit association for the global web design, development and web community, is proud to announce certification grants for web students and teachers in the U.S.
In this unprecedented time that has caused economic and educational uncertainty, WebProfessionals.org, along with industry and member support, is making these certifications available to meet high job demand for web professionals. The goal of this effort is to help the U.S. economy and small business especially pressing now during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“WebProfessionals.org certifications established with the support of the U.S. Department of Education provide competent and ethical employees and contractors. We’re proud to be a supporter of this important initiative,” said Steve Waddell, Director of Education and Training of WebProfessionals.org and Founder and Lead Developer of curriculum development partner CTELearning.com.
How will small businesses benefit?
Small businesses adjusting to the economic disruptions resulting from COVID-19 will need to improve their online presence to continue meeting customer and client needs. To do so they will need skilled web professionals who also know how to reach target markets. A group of members in the Web Professionals Organization is making these certifications available to meet this high job demand with competent employees and contractors who can ensure businesses stay competitive through a robust web presence.
Qualifying schools in all of the 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico will receive grant certifications for select schools, districts and students.
How to participate
Eligible middle and high school students who complete eligible web professional training courses such as Web Development and Design; Coding Internet Games, Apps and Sites; and Web and Mobile Application Coding and Design can apply.
Webprofessionals.org certifications have been created with the backing of industry and small business hiring managers making them extremely valuable portfolio additions for students who may wish to pursue high-demand STEM fields and the digital arts as career pathways.
Courseware offered by WebProfessionals.org curriculum development partners gives students the chance to continue learning from home during COVID-19. Courses can be taught and learned 100% online, so students can continue to grow and work toward these certifications from their own kitchen or dining room table.
Established in 1997, WebProfessionals.org is a non-profit professional association dedicated to advocacy and supporting individuals and organizations who create, manage and market websites, apps and web technologies. The organization provides education, training resources and certifications for those who work and teach in web technologies as well as those aspiring to enter this growing career field. WebProfessionals.org also manages and heads up the Web Design National Competition with a team of industry experts with SkillsUSA, the largest student to work organization in the U.S.
Sponsored by WebProfessionals.org the School of web provides web design, web development and web business training and education.www.schoolofweb.org
How and where we work is changing. The nature of modern businesses and lifestyles means working from home is more popular than ever. Going to the same office eight hours a day, five days a week is no longer the norm.
While working from home can sound like a dream, anyone who’s actually done knows how unproductive or unsociable it can make you feel. If you frequently work from home here are some ways to make it a happier and more productive environment.
Make sure you can work when you want
A home workspace needs to be somewhere you can actually complete tasks. Whether you’re an early riser or a night owl, you need to make sure your workspace is suitable for the hours you’re most productive in. If you want to work remotely make sure your home doesn’t have partners, roommates or children roaming around distracting you. The more you can keep your focus on your work the better it will be. Work when they’re out of the house or make it clear when you need some time alone.
Make sure you aren’t confined to a bedroom either. Muddling the wires in your brain with what room is for sleeping and what room is for working will only make it harder to keep a good life schedule. Designate one room for working from home and design it around your habits and needs.
Tech out your work station
A difference you’ll likely notice working from home in comparison to an office is the drop off in quality of equipment. It’s unlikely your home office has a workstation as well designed as the one at your desk at work.
StarTech’s guide to the perfect docking station highlights how we now find ourselves moving around and jumping between tasks more than ever, even at home. Having technology that allows you to do that is just as essential at home as in the office or on the move.
If you do your best work with two monitors and a particular desk size then try and replicate that feeling when working from home. For a lot of people working from home is about comfort, but trying to do a full day of work with your laptop on your lap isn’t ideal.
Have an office structure
If you’re new to working from home it can be tempting to be a bit liberal with your work schedule. With no one watching over your shoulder and the lack of a productive office atmosphere it’s a lot easier to take an extra break to stare at your phone for half an hour. To make sure your productivity levels stay high and your guilt levels low you should try and stick to the same schedule that made you a success in the office.
Limit the number of breaks you take and don’t be tempted to elongate your lunch with an extra episode of something on Netflix. Mindset is a big part of what makes working from home successful. If you can carry over the same schedule you kept in the office it’ll be a more seamless transition.
Working from home can be lonely. You need people out of the house to keep yourself focused, but you miss out on the buzz of an office environment. There’s no need to feel disconnected though. There are a number of tools for staying in touch with your team remotely without having to spend all day on the phone. You can also keep an eye on what people are doing so you don’t lose step with the rest of the team and get a bigger picture of the business operation.
If you frequently speak to clients make a point of scheduling regular meetings with them over phone or video chat. This can help break up your day and act as a replacement for the contact you’d usually get from colleagues. Suddenly previously boring client meetings become a highlight of the day.
Treat your space like an office
A happy workspace is a productive workspace. When working from home keep the house as if all your colleagues were there too. Don’t just keep your workspace clean, make sure the house is somewhere you enjoy being and has an ambiance you enjoy. Businesses have noticed the benefits in recent years in having lots of plants, plenty of natural light and pleasant scents. Modern workplaces are often a nice place to be, so replicate that in your home.
Maybe work in your PJ’s if it makes you feel more at ease, but try and avoid sitting around in your underwear. Working as if someone else is in the room with you is about keeping yourself productive and retaining a professional state of mind for the full workday.
Keep to-do lists
Everyone working from home has the same thoughts. Maybe I should just clean those dishes quickly. The house could probably use a vacuum. Chores have never been as appealing as they are when you’re working from home, but you need to resist the urge and stay on track. Making a daily to-do list before you go to bed every night is a great way to achieve this. It leaves you with no illusion about what needs to get done that day and gives you direction, which is what remote workers need more than anything.
Working from home is both a blessing and a curse. It can be relaxing to skip the commute and have an extra half hour in bed, but home can become somewhere you become stressed and unproductive. Follow these tips to keep your performance levels up wherever you work.
Editor’s Note: This article was contributed by Rodney Laws. Here is additional information he provided about himself.
Rodney Laws is an eCommerce platform specialist and online business consultant. He’s worked in the eCommerce industry for nearly two decades, helping brands big and small to achieve their business goals. You can get his advice for free by visiting EcommercePlatforms.io and reading his detailed reviews. For more tips and advice, reach out to Rodney on Twitter @EcomPlatformsio.
What do recruiters find when they google you?
More likely than not, the first thing that people come across when conducting a simple search over search engines for you are your social media profiles – your twitter feed, your Facebook pages, and your LinkedIn profile.
With more and more recruiters leveraging search engines in their background check, it is more important than ever to take ownership of your personal brand.
What is a personal brand and why does it matter?
Your personal brand is your online persona. It is how the world sees you and people perceive you. It is the unique combination of your skills, personality, and experience that comes together to form your online persona and sets you apart from your peers and competitors.
Let’s get real though. Coding is where your passion lies.
Marketing yourself online and honing your virtual image is probably something you are least interested in. You would much rather immerse yourself in the code.
“Good people put their heads down and get caught up in their job and forget they have a whole career to manage.” – Pamela Rucker, chairwoman of CIO executive council’s executive women in IT.
While marketing may not be the thing you have a natural affinity for, it is definitely something you should work on to differentiate yourself in the ultra-competitive tech world and open up a myriad of opportunities as well.
As a web developer, you cannot underestimate the importance of having a strong online presence.
Jeff Atwood, the co-founder of Stack Overflow and Discourse said in his blog post, “Mere competence in a technical discipline is not enough. That’s the minimum required to keep your head above water.”
A strong online presence and a distinguishable personal brand is a tool that every developer needs in his/her arsenal that can open up a box full of possibilities.
Getting on the recruiters’ radars and getting job offers is just the tip of the iceberg of opportunities. When done right, personal branding has reportedly led developers to land lucrative jobs with developer salaries towards the developer salaries towards the higher end of the spectrum, just based on their online presence.
It has even helped developers establish themselves as entrepreneurs through their personal brand. Most importantly, it has empowered web designers and developers with control over their own online reputation.
How to create a compelling personal brand?
A large number of software developers have taken to personal branding in one form or the other. Everybody left, right and center is busy making a blog, tweeting about it on Twitter, posting on LinkedIn and sharing across Facebook.
How do you make your voice heard over the din?
Here’s the strategy you need to follow to make sure that your personal brand sends out from the rest, builds your reputation and ensures that you land in a goldmine of opportunities.
1. Find your brand before you start building it
What value can you add to the existing ton of information already out there?
It is easy to feel overwhelmed looking at the knowledgeable resources being published every day. The imposter syndrome is very real and figuring out your unique selling point (USP) is important for you to be able to overcome it.
You don’t have to be a subject matter expert to share something value-adding. Even if the knowledge you share is not something you, your unique angle or perspective has the potential to make it useful for someone reading it.
The personal brand you aim to build should reflect that. It is supposed to be “personal”. This doesn’t mean that you talk about your vacation plans or food preferences.
Have a passion project? Talk about it.
Learning a new language? Share your experience
Your personal brand needs to reflect who you are, what challenges you face and the steps you take to finally overcome them.
2. Focus on creating content and taking a strategic approach
How wonderful it would be if you only had to hit the publish button and readers would come pouring in. The reality, however, is that unless you take a strategic approach, the content you create is never going to see the light of the day, despite being amazing in quality.
Even publishing content on Medium doesn’t guarantee you traffic (even though it is the primary reason why developers blog on Medium). Social media is tricky unless you already have garnered a significant following.
Step 1: Build your own website
As a web developer, you can choose to code from scratch and your website can also double up as a project within your portfolio. If coding your website isn’t something you fancy or don’t have time for, a simple WordPress hosted website will also do.
Your website doesn’t have to be fancy, it just needs to have a decent UI/UX and feel professional.
Step 2: Make the website discoverable
The key to ensuring that people organically discover your personal brand lies in formulating an effective content strategy.
While you might not be a marketing pro, understanding the basics of search engine optimization (SEO) and how the search algorithms work is critical to ensuring that the content you create reaches its full potential.
Step 3: Target the right audience
The homepage of your website should communicate exactly what is it that you specialize in. For example, if you are a Python developer, when a recruiter is searching for the same, your website should turn up in the search results.
How do you do that?
Identify the bottom of the funnel keywords. These are the phrases that people looking to hire someone with a skill you possess are actively searching the internet for. When you are writing blog posts, make sure those address the how-to queries regarding the area of your specialization.
Step 4: Build your blog’s authority
If you have just started your website, the domain authority is likely going to be low. Backlinks from high authority publications pass on the link equity to your website which is important for getting your content to rank.
There are several developer-focused publications you can write for. This way you can share your knowledge, contribute to the developer community and build backlinks to your own website at the same time.
If readers find your content valuable, they will likely follow the trail of links back to your own blog resulting in referral traffic at the same time.
3. Make sure your content doesn’t sit idle on your website
Blogging about something and then forgetting all about it is something that happens all too often. Don’t let the content you publish collect dust on your website.
Keep updating your content
The thing about technology as an industry is that it is highly dynamic. It is constantly changing and the stuff that is valid and relevant right now would likely become outdated or obsolete.
Keep going through the older posts, add or remove relevant data to keep your blog up-to-date.
Once your website grows, conducting periodic content audits can be a good idea as well. This removes the stuff that isn’t relevant anymore and also gives a boost to your SEO rankings.
Share it across the social channels
If you want to take full ownership of your personal brand, you have to make sure that your content reaches far and wide. This is where the power of social media comes into play. You don’t have to be an expert at social media to promote your content on it.
Choose your channel and interact with people there. The philosophy behind this should be value addition rather than self-promotion. Social media can be a great avenue for fostering relationships and engaging with the developer community at large.
Certain platforms such as Reddit have highly engaged communities where you can contribute and grow at the same time. Github and Stack overflow are also excellent avenues for engaging with the developer community and if you aren’t utilizing these channels already, you definitely should.
Repurpose your content to drive more value out of it
The value of the content you produce doesn’t end once you click on the publish button. The time is ripe to be experimenting with different formats. Video content is all the rage right now. Podcasts are also hugely popular among the developer community.
So the tutorial you just published on your blog can be converted into a YouTube video or a podcast and shared. It makes you accessible to your peers who may prefer watching or listening over reading about something.
4. Patience and consistency is the key to success
All good things take time, so don’t jump into establishing your personal brand expecting overnight miracles. Be consistent in your strategy and have the patience for the results to show and if the strategy is right, rewards would definitely flow through.
The quest to build your personal brand needs to continue right alongside your journey as a software developer. It might be a lot of effort in the initial stages but once you get started, the results will only get compounded over time.
Whether it is being recognized within the developer community, showcasing your skills, building your reputation or getting lucrative job offers, personal branding can help you accomplish all this and more.
Remember, achieving a balance between working and simultaneously talking about it is the true hustle. So, be a hustler!
Remote work is the trend that is here to stay!
This is no longer just an attention-grabbing business model trend. Remote work has become a valid and feasible work model for employees and companies. Remote work now encompasses employees working out of the office, with a flexible and mobile schedule, and companies hiring professionals that are working remotely.
Companies have expanded services towards outsourcing services, and that they hire remote workers for, such as operational processes and product and software development services. For example, companies and employers can use this link to learn more about software engineering services for their custom software development services needs.
But why remote work? How has it impacted the workforce and employment movement?
Remote Work: Popular and Viable
Remote work has grown 44% over the last 5 years, and between 2016 and 2017 found a 7.9% increase globally. The top fields with the greatest number of remote workers are Computer and IT, Health and Medical, Sales, Education and Training, and Customer Service.
Multi-million dollar companies such as Toggl, Automatic, Buffer, Meet Edgar, Zapier, and Appen have been built and supported by remote work. Other companies like Dell, Invision, Git Lab, and Todoist have also found success with the outsourcing software development services and other organizational processes.
Software Development Services and Remote Work
In 2015, around 8% of
all the full-time computer programmers in the US worked from home. This
percentage has been growing steadily over the past couple of years. In the IT
and software development industry, many programmers find the benefits of
working from home are better than working in the office the entire day.
According to the State of Software Development in 2019, the major challenges encountered in software development are limited capacity and knowledge sharing. To address these challenges, the majority of companies allow their employees to do remote work. This then opened up the opportunity for outsourcing projects and business processes.
Advantages of Remote Work
Why is remote work so preferred by both companies and employees? Interviews with executives have shed some light on some of the advantages of the business model. And studies and market statistics have shown why remote work for software developers is the way forward with many a software development services company. Below are the major drivers we found as to why webmasters will find remote work as a business model beneficial, either as an employee or as an employer.
As an Employee
- Increased work productivity. Studies have shown that working remotely leads to increased productivity for employees. Remote employees or those working on remote jobs are empowered to find the space and mindset that enables them to work optimally. Remote workers leveraging this freedom to choose when and where to work to work are more productive and able to accomplish more tasks, participate and collaborate better, and have a better disposition at work.
- Increased mobility. Remote employees can work from anywhere. Remote jobs provide employees the benefit of being able to work anywhere that they are most comfortable at. The most popular place to work at, for remote employees, are at home in their home office, followed by working out of cafes or coffee places. Working remotely enables employees to be more mobile and spaces where they are most comfortable and most productive.
- Improved work-life balance. Having a flexible timetable is the benefit that remote workers are most appreciative of. Remote work enables employees to spread out their time between work, time with friends and family, and hobbies, leading to a more positive work-life balance.
Individuals in the workforce that value experiences and personal growth over possessions find this highly favorable, especially in their work environment. This improved balance between work and non-work activities lead to less stress and more productivity for workers.
- Reduced employee expenses. Because of its impact on their daily spending, employees are further encouraged to do remote work. Remote employees or workers that telecommute spend less on commuting, fuel, food, and car maintenance. An average worker usually spends around $10 a day just going to a from work, which accumulates to around $2,600 annually. Remote employees and those that work from home save on this expense and spend this money on better things.
As a Company
- Improved employee retention. Remote work empowers employees to be more productive at home, in their own space, and enjoy the benefits of employment. Remote employees that are more than satisfied with their working environment engender appreciation and positivity towards their bosses and company.
Because employees are more satisfied with their remote work situation, they are more likely to stay with the company. With a company able to adapt to remote workers and provide their needed benefits, employees have more reason to stay and keep working for the company.
- Increased workforce diversity. Employing remote workers opens a company to the opportunity to hire skilled professionals from all over the world. This approach enables the company to improve the diversity in their workforce by onboard remote employees that come from across different gender, ethnicity, and location, and abilities.
Take for example a software development services company, they can employ remote expert software engineers and software developers to build solutions for their clients. Or the company itself is remote and collaborates with other companies.
- Reduced operational costs. Companies engaging remote employees in their workforce incur fewer expenses in setting up their office needs. Instead of physical offices and utilities, costs go to setting up tools and processes that would make remote jobs all the more efficient and effective. These costs are a lot cheaper to establish and maintain in the long run.
In the case of our software development services company example, in engaging the services of remote software engineers and software developers, this company can focus their operational costs in purchasing and maintaining communication, project management, and task tracking tools and software.
No business model is perfect. Remote jobs also have pitfalls:
- Communication and collaboration can be a challenge to establish and maintain.
- There can be difficulty distancing oneself from work and unplugging.
- Employees may feel disconnected from work and life and experience loneliness.
- Distractions from home or non-work environments can be a hindrance to productivity and remote employee time tracking and management.
But the challenges and pitfalls that may be encountered with remote work can be solved and improved. It makes for an effective working model and this is what is important. It has revolutionized work and the quality of work-life balance that employees can achieve. It has also provided companies and employers a viable and reliable means of increasing their workforce.
Remote work is not perfect, but, when done correctly, it is highly effective.
Editor’s note: This guest post was provided by Kateryna Boiko. She is a Marketing Manager at Mobilunity, Provider of Dedicated Development Teams with 9 years of hands-on experience in digital marketing. Kateryna managed to work with diverse industries and markets and now is keen on sharing unique cases with the world and coach on topics relevant to Web Analytics and Search Engine Optimization.