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Transitioning to a Career in Web Design

Transitioning to a Career in Web Design

Are you interested in learning web design and earning an industry-recognized web design certification? Web design is a rapidly growing career pathway, and we at the Web Professionals Organization are proud to support many professional web designers in their career development. 

We teamed up with our curriculum partner CTeLearning in recent months to reimagine how we administer industry certifications. Instead of having to pass a big certification exam, students meet certification milestones as they complete lessons and projects throughout the course—and earn their embedded certifications upon completion of the course.

Our Executive Director, Mark DuBois, noted repeatedly that we need to move away from the test-centric approach so common in academia these days. No one in business and industry cares about a specific test (especially one where the student prepares for the exam); they care whether the individual can do the job they were hired for. It is because of this reality we are moving towards portfolio-based certifications rather than continuing to focus on an exam. We want individuals to be able to showcase their accomplishments (and have that work reviewed by competent professionals). This is one more way our professional organization is responding to what business and industry are asking for. Mark says, “We are not a testing company (never have been and never will be). We want to confirm those holding our credentials are able to prosper in the industry.”

One of our latest certification recipients, Milan, is a mom who wanted to build her web design skills and knowledge. She is one of the first to earn a certification under the new embedded certification model. Milan gained skills, knowledge and certification as well as developed real-world web design projects—all from the comfort of her own home while being a great mom.

Like so many families, COVID-19 affected Milan’s family significantly. Milan, her husband and their children live in California and dealt with strict lockdown restrictions. Milan’s husband was an essential worker, and with that came long hours during the pandemic. Milan’s work was also hit by restrictions, and she and her husband began talking about making some changes to ensure their family’s future. 

One of the topics they talked about is what it would mean to future-proof their family. Milan, a naturally curious type, had always had an interest in how websites worked. She told her husband that she had been watching YouTube videos, reading articles, and doing some activities on web design. Her husband had seen time and time again how his wife would take on new challenges and always give it her all. They both agreed that she would set her sights on becoming a web designer. Her kids were excited to know that this would mean their mom would be able to work from home in the future.

Milan reached out to her local workforce and met with a counselor. They looked at a number of programs, but Milan wanted a program with a certification that would mean something when applying for jobs in the web industry. The counselor suggested she take a course that would give her the opportunity to earn the Web Designer Certification from the Web Professionals Organization, which was a perfect fit. 

In addition to the Web Designer Certification, she also earned the Remote Working Professional Certification. This micro-credential taught her how to become a remote working professional. It also taught her how to interview for remote and hybrid working positions, and as a bonus how to get started as a freelancer.

career in web design

As Milan was working her way through the courses, she and her husband decided to start a side business with customized t-shirts for businesses, community events, family reunions and children’s parties. Her web design studies quickly became even more important as she and her husband began the process of launching their own business. She was no longer just a student, but the web designer for their family business. 

A few months later, everyone in the family got sick—including Milan, who had to take a break for a few weeks before she could continue with the curriculum. However, she persevered and continued to build her skills and her career-ready portfolio.

When she was having trouble getting motivated, her daughter said, “Don’t worry Mommy, you will keep working on it. I’m really proud of you.” Her son chimed in and said the same thing. 

Milan’s husband said, “I am so proud of my wife—I knew she would finish this course. My wife achieves whatever she puts in her mind. Our whole family is grateful she got this opportunity.”  

We caught up with Milan to hear more about her experience:

What was it like being a working mom with a family and earning your credentials? 

It wasn’t easy. I work and often come home late at night. When I got home I needed to spend some time with my family, make sure my kids were getting their homework done, and then I would work on my studies. When my son and daughter saw that I was doing homework, they tried harder on their own schoolwork.

How does it feel now that you have your certification? 

I am ecstatic to have three credentials from this course—the Web Designer Certification, Remote Working Professional Certification and Ethics in the Workplace microcredential. Now I will have a chance to spend more time with my family as well as obtain a better job for myself. Before earning these certifications, I didn’t realize the impact it would have on my kids. Both my son and daughter see that I studied and learned what I needed to in order to get ahead. They both have told me so often how proud they are. My husband has told me how proud he is of me and how I am a great role model for our children. 

What do you think about the courses and certifications?

I have already told seven of my friends they need to take this course—and just wait till they see the certifications. They will be so jealous!

As English is your second language, what was it like taking this course?

“At first it was a little scary. My Spanish is still much better than my English. However, the way the course explains everything with text and videos made it easy to understand. When I did have a question, my instructor Steve was always very helpful. He would often make a video to help me through what was confusing. I think I told you already that I recommended the course to seven friends. They are all like me—immigrants from Puerto Rico and Mexico—and I told them they could do this just like me.”

What is next for you?

I have already started on my next certificate with the Web Professionals Organization! I want to dive deeper into digital marketing—and with our side business being in t-shirt graphics, I decided my next step will be taking the Web Animation for Digital Marketing course and earning my Web Animator credentials. I’m excited to be able to create the social media animations we want to use to market our business as well as animated logos, banners and ads that my web design clients want. This is another way I can make myself stand out from the rest of the web design crowd—either as  a freelancer or as a potential employee.

A New Approach to Web Design and ESL

Dr. Mauricio Castillo, a professor with California State University, Los Angeles, works with the Web Professionals Organization in their participation in SkillsUSA competitions. He is an expert in career and technical education and consults with companies on curriculum design and adapting courses to support English as a second language for learners in workforce development. He joined Steve and Milan on their Zoom meeting chat. 

career in web design

“I met Milan in the very beginning of her journey to get these credentials, and I have watched her progress closely. First, on a personal level  I want to congratulate her on getting these certifications—she makes us all proud. As a professional,  I will say that even though the course is in English,  the way the course is designed and delivered does help support an ESL learner. I have been working with the curriculum developer CTeLearning since 2006 and I have deployed their courses at secondary and post-secondary levels with great success. We have even done some special projects at the middle school level in East Los Angeles. Although I do work internationally, my focus has always been in the Los Angeles area. Being bilingual, I often work with first-generation immigrants and programs to upskill and prepare them for high-demand and high-paying jobs. The content and delivery style coupled with an industry-relevant model for earning the micro-credentials and international industry-recognized certifications is ideal. Web Professionals Organization and CTeLearning have really, in my opinion, created something unique, special and impactful. So, congratulations to them as well.” 

Interested in Learning More?

We are proud of Milan and all the members of our organization around the world. Check out the certifications we offer and contact us today to find out about a career in web design and how we can help you reach your professional development goals. 

 

Q&A with a Mom Balancing Her Career and Home Life

Q&A with a Mom Balancing Her Career and Home Life

What do you do when you want to retool for a new career?  As an adult, you have more responsibilities and time pressures. Add to that the chance that at any moment you can get a call from school saying that your kids will be learning from home for the week or month or more, and it can be difficult to manage being a working professional.

Today we are highlighting one of our success stories here at the Web Professionals Organization. Eliza H. is a mother of school-age children who had to transition to working remotely because her children were home more due to frequent COVID-19 school closings. Over the years she has taken courses at her local community college to keep her skills sharp and continue to develop her career, and she is working with the Web Professionals Organization to continue that development and maintain flexibility to balance her personal life and professional life.

Eliza earned her Web Design certification and Remote Working Professional certification all from the comfort of her own home by taking the courses from the curriculum partner of the Web Professionals Organization, CTeLearning. She recently used those credentials to land a remote job as a web community developer and is now working on meaningful projects in the job of her dreams. In her interviews for the job, she was able to talk about the industry certifications she earned. She started on a Monday, knocked out four separate interviews all within a week and she was offered the job that Friday.

As a mom with two young children, these courses and certifications gave her the skills and knowledge to enter the tech field while maintaining her status as an involved mother. She still picks her children up from school, helps them with homework, and stays with them when they are home sick.

Eliza is very thankful to her local community college that set her up with this opportunity and gave her the chance to become certified web designer through the web design curriculum. With all the chatter today about the high cost of college, she shows how quickly you can upskill. No high-dollar boot camp. No expensive four-year school with big loans. And these certifications are built and backed by industry, not professional testing companies. Instead of having to take a high-stakes exam at the end of the courses, she completed project work through the courses to build her career-ready portfolio. Her training paid off when she realized on day one of the job that she already had the skills to succeed.

Right before she landed her job, we caught up with Eliza to learn more about her journey and dedication to professional development in the age of remote work.

What attracted you to web design and development?

Web design and development allow me to combine my passions—being creative and helping people. I love being creative and bringing ideas to light while helping people expand their businesses to reach other places and countries. I am currently focusing on the coding or backend side of websites so I will be able to provide customized website designs to each client.

What did you enjoy about your experience at the community college?

Community colleges offer fantastic value. It was an easy choice for me to first look at Washtenaw Community College to retool and get ready for the new reality of work. It wasn’t just the convenience—Washtenaw is part of our local economy, understands our community, has great teachers and is affordable. I really do love Washtenaw. I started taking classes back in 2006 when I was transitioning from one college to another. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I took some general education classes that would transfer. I love the small class sizes, and the teachers are excellent. I have gone back several times to take classes and have never had a bad experience. 

How has your experience at the community college shown you how important it is to continue to develop your skills as a professional?

I previously worked in an office and took classes at my local community college that taught me the skills I needed to be good at my job. Now that I have my Web Design certification, I am taking even more courses. The information that I am learning is up-to-date and valuable in the job market.

How has taking the Remote Working Professional course and earning the certification empowered you as a working professional?

The Remote Working Professional course provided guidance on how to set up my day-to-day operations while working from home. Now that many jobs have moved to being remote, we need to learn how to make home the new workplace and also be able to separate work life from home life. I have worked from home in the past doing tech support, and this course has provided me with further knowledge and an industry-recognized certification on how to work remotely and be successful. I like that this was something I could do during the kids’ nap time or when they were at school. The information was easy to digest and I could easily pick up where I left off. 

How has the course and certification changed your view of global connectivity and people being able to learn and work remotely from anywhere?

I think we are digitally connected more than ever. The Remote Working Professional course shows others that I have the skills to work from my home office and excel in a variety of roles. 

What skills did you learn in the course about working remotely that you would share with a hiring manager in a job interview?

I would tell them about my home office that is secluded from the rest of the house, which ensures I have limited distractions during the day. I would also tell them about how I am more productive working at home since I don’t have a commute.

What does the term future-proof mean to you now? 

Future-proof means being able to have an in-demand flexible career and business that I can work on when I want to. 

What have you learned about how to balance being a mom with school-aged kids with being a working professional in the remote economy?

I love working remotely because I have time to get tasks for work and home done. I can take a quick break and go change laundry loads or take the dogs out for a walk. I can pick up my kids from school if I need to. Being able to get home tasks completed allows me to focus more on work. I end up getting more done than if I had to commute. 

What have you learned that you would pass onto your kids to help them excel in the classroom as well as in their future professional lives?

It is important to make a schedule and follow it. Set times to focus on work and times to take breaks. Great time management can make you stand out and be more productive. With the pandemic, it is more important than ever to be able to learn and work productively from home.

What would you tell other parents who are considering career changes?

Don’t be afraid! You have to come up with a plan of attack to get where you want to go and then follow it. Don’t let doubt get to you. Find something that you are passionate about so that work becomes more like play. Get paid to do what you love. 

Reach Out To Us Today

We are proud of Eliza and all of our students who strive to further their professional development, no matter what stage of life they are in. Contact us today to find out more about us and how we can work with you to help you achieve your goals.

Discussing Certifications with a New Web Professionals Organization Member

Discussing Certifications with a New Web Professionals Organization Member

Today we are highlighting Amy F., one of our most recent Web Professionals Organization certification recipients. She earned her Certified Web Designer (CWD) and Certified Remote Working Professional (CRWP) certifications as well as an Ethics in the Workplace microcredential, all from the comfort of her own home. She can use these credentials and her robust portfolio of web design projects in future interviews with potential employers or as a base to launch her own business as a freelancer.

MyCAA—also referred to as the My Career Advancement Account— is a program that provides tuition assistance for courses and certifications to military spouses. Amy was able to utilize the MyCAA program, and we are proud to be associated with this program that helps military spouses succeed. We have worked with countless military members and spouses over the years to help them earn certifications, and they are always among our most driven and hard-working students. As a military spouse, Amy is a great example of why we offer online certification programs.

We caught up with Amy to ask about her experience taking courses and earning certifications as a working professional.

What initially attracted you to web design and development?
Coding reminds me of math in a way! The beauty of math is that it’s either right or wrong. I love that! As I learned about coding, I realized it has operations of its own, a set of rules that need to be followed. I find that relaxing.

web design certifications

As a military spouse, what did you enjoy about being able to complete the courses and certifications fully online?
I really appreciate that this class was fully online! I also liked the schedule flexibility as well as the ability to work on the certifications at my own pace and from wherever my husband and I were stationed at the time. We underwent a permanent change of station (PCS) move while I was in the middle of the courses, and I was able to continue working seamlessly.

How has taking the Remote Working Professional course and earning the certification empowered you as a working professional?
I’m fortunate that this course also offered a Remote Working Professional (RWP) Certificate. I’m excited about the future and the jobs I will be able to get now that I have a RWP certificate. I plan on working remotely so that I don’t have to look for work each time my husband and I change locations.

How has the Remote Working Professional course and certification changed your view of global connectivity and people being able to learn and work remotely from anywhere?
I love the fact that I can work for a company based anywhere in the world.

What skills did you learn in the Remote Working Professional course that you would share with a hiring manager in a job interview?
I learned a number of skills. To name just a few:

  • Communication: well-mannered verbal and non-verbal communication as well as sending post-meeting recaps to avoid miscommunication are important.
  • Organization: using a planner and setting a timeline.
  • Ethics: adhering to commitments, showing empathy, and being respectful, honest, transparent, and accountable.
  • Initiative: doing the job right and on time.
  • Preparation: being ready for technology failures.
  • Cultural sensitivity: understanding different cultural norms by researching before engaging.
  • Cybersecurity: how to maintain safety and privacy.

How has your experience earning these certifications improved your confidence in being able to work from anywhere as a military spouse?
My mom and dad always tell me they’re proud of me…but that’s their job. I took the course so I could be proud of myself.

What advice would you give to others who are considering earning certifications to future-proof their careers?
The same advice my mom gave me: “The time is going to go by anyway!”

The internet, business, and marketing are all closely intertwined together—how do you think the courses and your new certifications will fit into your future plans as you go on to finish your business degree?
I will be graduating with my BBA this summer (woo-hoo)! Through my education I have earned experience, skills and qualifications that show I am capable of learning. After this summer, I plan to use my degree and certifications to land a nice job!

You have taken a number of courses online—what stands out about these courses?
I really enjoyed both courses! I like how well CTeLearning organized the courses, as each lesson helped and prepared me for the next lesson. I also liked how during each lesson I was able to apply the information I learned. In the Web Design course I was first shown how to write the code, then I did it myself. Thank you for teaching in a way that I can have ownership of my knowledge! And thanks to the Web Professionals Organization for the integrated certifications I now have!

Mark DuBois, Executive Director of the Web Professionals Organization, said, “Amy is another great example of a MyCAA success story. I am proud of our military leadership for thinking about the whole military experience—not just for the service person, but for their spouses and families as well. I think it is a brilliant idea that we, as a country, invest in educational opportunities for military spouses. Our servicemen and servicewomen and their families sacrifice to maintain the security of our nation. Helping spouses gain marketable web technology skills so that they can move as duty requires helps make the family unit stronger and more resilient. MyCAA is money well spent. Everyone who has been a part of this program who has gone through the education and received certifications from us has been exactly the type of person employers want to hire. Congratulations again to Amy. We thank Amy and her husband for all they are doing to contribute to the safety and security of our country.”

If you would like to earn certifications and learn skills that can make you a more marketable professional, check out our certifications list and contact us today. We would love to chat with you.

Q&A with Web Professionals Organization Certification Recipient and SkillsUSA Award Winner

Q&A with Web Professionals Organization Certification Recipient and SkillsUSA Award Winner

This past summer, the Web Professionals Organization helped run the SkillsUSA web design and development competition. Open to contestants nationwide, 2021 marked the first year that the full competition was run entirely online. The competition’s goal was to “evaluate each contestant’s preparation for employment and to recognize outstanding students for excellence and professionalism in the field of web design and development.” The competition was open to teams of two who were interested in pursuing web design and development as a potential career.

Megan B., along with her teammate Ariana M., won the silver medal in the competition. Upon being awarded their medals, the two were offered internship opportunities with CTeLearning, a STEM curriculum development company in Kansas that serves secondary, post-secondary and adult learners. Other event medalists landed internships with industry members on the SkillsUSA events committee. Megan began her internship in July and worked on various projects to support CTeLearning courses involving animation, web games, web design and development and more.

Megan worked fully remotely as an intern, collaborating with team members in the midwest and northeast US as well as in the United Kingdom. The internship helped Megan understand how powerful the idea of “living locally, working globally” truly is in the new remote economy.

Megan also earned certifications through the Web Professionals Organization to develop her skills and bolster her resume.

We caught up with Megan to hear more about her experience participating in the competition and her internship.

What did you learn from your experience competing and earning an award at the SkillsUSA web design competition? 

I learned how to minimize work to make it sleek and effective in a crunched time frame. I also learned I was capable of making a great website in a small amount of time.

What was the experience like doing the entire competition online?

It was fun as I enjoyed having my partner and I in a room by ourselves, even though there were eyes watching. Honestly, I think ours was the easiest to do online, because that is where we work anyway.

What attracted you to web design?

I have always wanted to figure out how websites and games were built on the computer. Ever since I was little, playing on a Windows 98, showing my grandma how to play solitaire on it. Then, watching shows like NCIS and Criminal Minds, I was always drawn to the ‘computer geek’ character. When I heard I didn’t need to move to somewhere like California to become a coder, I jumped on the chance to learn. I also believe being a woman in this field helps show girls and other women they can do this too.

What has your experience been like working remotely with team members in other states and countries?

I was at first concerned about communication being hard remotely, but my experience with CTeLearning has been amazing. Communication issues are rare, and I enjoy being able to make my own schedule. It really is a great way of working.

How has earning certifications changed your view of global connectivity and people being able to learn and work remotely from anywhere?

Earning certifications in this field has shown me anyone at any age and with any knowledge of coding can learn it easily. I started learning code at the age of 24, after going back to college for the second time. If you have the willingness to learn, you can do anything with the right help.

How has earning certifications and the internship experience empowered you as a web design professional?

This experience has helped me tremendously with my confidence in what I can achieve. I now know I am capable of being effective and efficient in the web design field. 

What would you tell a hiring manager in a job interview about your experience in the SkillsUSA competition? What transferable skills did you gain that make you a more desirable hire? 

I would give them a description of what I did and how the competition works and what we were scored on, making sure to let them know it is a national competition. SkillsUSA definitely helped me learn how to work in a team environment with coding, being able to get a project as a whole and break it down into smaller parts to code, and gave me experience working with a client.

The Web Professionals Organization is proud to support professionals like Megan who are continuing to grow in their web development careers. Contact us today to find out how we can help you grow as a professional, no matter where in the world you live.

 

Q&A With Web Professionals Certification Recipient in Albania

Q&A With Web Professionals Certification Recipient in Albania

The Web Professionals Organization would like to congratulate Edra T., the first person in Albania to earn a certification from Web Professionals. Edra earned her Web Developer Associate certification to further her career in web development. Edra’s success shows that you can take advantage of remote learning and working to develop your career, no matter where in the world you live.

We talked to Edra to find out more about how she earned her certification, the importance of certifications in her home country, and the world of global remote work.  

What did you like about your experience earning the certification?

The thought of having my skills and knowledge certified is really appealing, but the part that I enjoyed the most was the entire process of studying for the exam. Despite having some prior knowledge, I consulted the materials mentioned in the WebProfessionals self-study section and read the referenced books. That helped me understand that no matter how well I thought I understood things worked, there was always something I didn’t know and something new to learn.

What attracted you to web development?

Growing up in a post-communist country came with its own set of constraints and obstacles. I initially chose computer science as my major because I’ve always wanted to develop systems and programs that make life easier. I also wanted to fight the perception that the field is masculine, as it has long been a male-dominated field. I eventually became an intern at the company where I now work as a .NET developer. My company assisted and contributed to the certification of my skills, and I’m grateful and pleased to see their involvement in employee professional development. 

How are industry certifications viewed in Albania? Do employers value them?

Although the Albanian technology market has yet to expand, the demand for web developers and software engineers has been steadily increasing and will most likely continue to do so in the coming years. While certification isn’t required throughout the hiring process, it is seen as a major plus by most employers. The number of employers interested in hiring certified workers is rapidly increasing.

How has earning the certification changed your view of global connectivity and people being able to learn and work remotely from any country?

Remote work is the biggest trend in development right now. It is not only adaptable but also incredibly efficient for employees. The idea of being in Albania and taking a certification exam that is acknowledged in many prominent institutions and other countries was very appealing to me. Earning the certification made me realize that web development allows people like me to work remotely freely and efficiently, which is especially important now that the globe is gripped by a global pandemic and traveling to work or study is more difficult.

How has earning the certification empowered you to take the next step in your career?

Most significantly, the certification helped me gain confidence in my skills. This was something I lacked as a young web developer and struggled with, as other young developers do. I believe that confidence is a big bonus when looking for a job, and being able to confirm your skills and knowledge helps a lot in gaining that confidence.

How was your experience working with the Web Professionals Organization?

I’ve had a great time working with the Web Professionals Organization so far. Everyone on the Web Professionals team has been very helpful and attentive. They have expressed interest in my journey frequently and worked hard to make the experience easy and enjoyable. I’m very thankful and would like to keep working with the Web Professionals Organization in the future.

Be the Next Certification Recipient

The Web Professionals Organization is proud of Edra and all of its certification recipients around the globe. If you are interested in furthering your career in web technologies, contact us today. No matter what country you live in, we would love to work with you.