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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 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.

 

Students at Brooklyn Boys and Girls High School First in NYC to Earn Certifications through New Program

Students at Brooklyn Boys and Girls High School First in NYC to Earn Certifications through New Program

Students at the Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn, NY recently completed the Web Design for Business and Marketing course and Remote Working Professional course and certifications through a brand-new program offered by the Web Professionals Organization and CTeLearning. The students are the first in NYC to complete the courses, earning integrated industry-recognized certifications and association membership. The students were led by their teacher, Tanya Wardally, who sought out the curriculum and delivered these valuable opportunities for her students. She will be proudly presenting her students their new industry credentials just in time as they leave for a well-deserved summer break.  

Future-Proofing Students 

Tanya worked with the Web Professionals Organization and CTeLearning to bring in this courseware to offer to her career and technical education students. She enabled her students to future-proof their professional paths, equipping themselves with the skills needed to succeed in the professional world—no matter how it continues to change. Having technical training skills combined with industry-recognized certifications sets these students up with the hard and soft skills to excel in whatever career path they pursue. 

It is fitting that the Boys and Girls High School, the oldest public high school in Brooklyn, is the first in the nation to offer a new way for students to learn and earn career-building industry credentials. Under this new grant program, students earned their certifications as they completed the project-based courses. The certifications were fully integrated into the courses to reduce test anxiety and equip students with the skills needed to succeed, and the certifications were offered at no charge to the school or students.

Through the two courses, students learned coding, design, industry concepts and soft skills as they completed real-world projects and built up their college- and career-ready portfolios. The short-form Remote Working Professional course is mobile-friendly, just four hours long, and features interviews with 30 remote working professionals in a variety of industries who teach students how to be effective workers in the new world of remote work. Having these skills and credentials prepares them well for their futures, no matter what path each of them takes. 

Teachers and Students Praise the Courses

Tanya spoke about how important it is to prepare students for their futures: “Today, more than ever, we educators must prepare our students for a dramatically different world of work than when we were in high school. Let’s face it: technology and the pandemic have forever changed the world of work. We have to future-proof them and make them resilient so that they can succeed in any environment. I appreciate how these courses taught both hard skills and transferable soft skills. My students loved being able to progress through the courses from any internet-connected device, including their smartphones. I would recommend these courses to any teachers and students who are looking for curriculum that will prepare students to thrive in their post-secondary and professional careers. I am so proud that they are earning not one but two international industry-recognized certifications this year—even in the midst of a pandemic.” 

Alexander W., who completed the Web Designer and Remote Working Professional courses and earned the course certifications, discussed what he learned: The Remote Working Professional course made me realize that I should definitely find my own space to have more room. I really like having a desk and everything. So I want to make sure I have that setup as well as a glass of water or whatever else I need to be successful when working on schoolwork or learning virtually at home. It also taught me the importance of maintaining a schedule, waking up at a certain time for class and making sure I get my work done. The school should definitely try to get this for all the future students. It most definitely helps prepare you.”

Another student, Christina C., talked about what she learned in the Remote Working Professional course: “The course taught me what it’s like to be in the workforce, such as how to be reliable, trustworthy and work well with other people. I think it is important to be cooperative with other people because in school we have to work in groups when learning online. And with remote working, you have to work with people.”

The Remote Working Professional Course includes an interview preparation module that teaches students how to answer the trickiest questions in job interviews and impress hiring managers. Cheyenne, another student, said one part of the module was especially helpful: “The part that stood out to me the most was learning how to answer the question, ‘Can you tell me about yourself?’ When I tried to answer this in a previous interview, I just shut down. I got the job, but it was a bad part of the interview. I now know how I would answer that question in the future.” 

Stephen Hudson, Work-Based Learning Coordinator and Career and Technical Education Teacher for Brooklyn Boys and Girls High School, had this to say about the program: I‘m not surprised that we are the originators and not the imitators. That is something that we’re very proud of, and I’m proud of Ms. Wardally for spearheading this activity to teach our students in-demand skills. We recognize that while employers are looking for technical skills, there are also soft skills and abilities that our students need to demonstrate. I like to refer to our students as diamonds in the rough. These courses and certifications take them through a process to refine them and prepare them for what they will need in a real-world situation. I’m ecstatic that we’re involved in this certification grant program. In fact, we’re going to have Ms. Wardally talk about this in our upcoming meeting with career and technical education central staff. We are so excited to announce that we are the first school in all of New York City to offer this course and certification program.”

Following the success of the students, the career and technical education team at the Boys and Girls High School met with Mark DuBois, Executive Director of the Web Professionals Organization, and Steve Waddell, lead developer of CTeLearning, to discuss the trends in web design and remote work that the students will now be able to take advantage of. Mark also took a moment to congratulate Tanya and her team for being the first in the country to take part in an innovative program of integrated certifications that can be built on each other.  

The mission of the Web Professionals Organization is to support the whole professional. By teaching students valuable skills and not boxing them into a single career pathway, the association prepares professionals to change and adapt as industries and opportunities ebb and flow. The Web Professionals Organization and CTeLearning have been working together since 2013 on innovative courseware aligned to state and national standards that incorporates industry training that is crucial to create the next generation of professionals. 

For more information on courses offered by CTeLearning, visit here and here.

Students Earn Animation Certifications from the Web Professionals Organization

Students Earn Animation Certifications from the Web Professionals Organization

The Web Professionals Organization has certified six students of Lakeview Leadership Academy High School in Victorville, CA, who recently completed their Web Animator Apprentice certifications. These students have taken a step toward building their college and career-ready portfolios in one of the most exciting and rapidly growing STEM fields. 

Lakeview Leadership Academy High School Animation Instructor Nikki Jarvis utilized the Web and Computer Animation course from CTeLearning to jumpstart her students’ interest in animation. The media-rich course guided students through the course, and culminated in them earning international industry-recognized certifications (IIRC) that get learners excited about the world of animation and open their eyes to potential career paths. 

Congratulations to Ms. Jarvis and her newly credentialed web animators: 

Trinity B.

Jorge E.

Adalit M.

Diana H.

Jenna G.

Kimberly C.

The certification course delivers the training using a virtual internship model, which immerses the students in interactive story-based projects that look and feel like a career simulation. This provides students with a taste of what working in the real world is like. As the students live this experience, they learn the technical and soft skills necessary to be career-ready. Each student at Lakeview Leadership Academy High School was tasked with building their portfolios to prepare for their futures. 

This immersion in the design process gives each student a personal story of success they can tell as well as insights and best practices they take with them to help ensure they are truly college and career-ready. In the 2021-2022 school year, a special industry partnership spearheaded by the Web Professionals Organization will be underwriting the expense of these certifications for all students who complete the required course and project work at schools across the United States.

The fact that professional industry association certifications carry far more weight than those from testing companies was one of the primary drivers behind Lakeview Leadership Academy High School deciding to offer certifications backed by the Web Professionals Organization. A job applicant with an IIRC lets the interviewer know immediately that he or she has the hard and soft skills required to succeed in the job, which will save employers who hire these students time and money spent on training. 

Praise for Lakeview Leadership Academy

Mark DuBois, Executive Director of the Web Professionals Organization, said, “A few years ago, Ms. Jarvis’ students were the first in the U.S. to receive our Web Animator Certification. Since then, she has added to the ranks of learners who have received the stackable international industry-recognized certification from CTeLearning. This means that they can stack certification levels and continue to grow in their skills. The Web Professionals Organization has always delivered the message that being a successful professional takes more than just technical skills. To back this up, our Animation certification focuses not only on the technical skills of animation, but brings together ethics, creativity, problem-solving, marketing, and storytelling. Professionals in industry recognize how important and powerful an interactive message is to their client’s products and narratives. As professional web animators, designers, and technologists, we are always striving to do the best for our clients. On a personal note, I just love seeing the next generation of professionals getting started with their first set of credentials from us.” 

One of the recipients of the Web Animator Apprentice Certification, Trinity Bolt, discussed how earning the certification has changed her future outlook:

“Thank you so much! I feel blessed for the opportunity, and I still cannot believe this is real. I was so excited when I heard I had earned my certification, and I instantly jumped up and told all of my family, even though they were sleeping. My brother wished me good luck, and when I told my mom, she was so proud that she ended up crying. All of my household knows I want to push myself in school and get as much credit as I can. Since college is really expensive I have been working to make my record look impressive so I could possibly get a scholarship. I wouldn’t have been able to get this good grade and privilege without Mrs. Jarvis helping other classmates and me with our schoolwork! I’m very happy that I passed the test, considering I was nervous during the entirety of it. Before I even joined this class, I had no idea how to animate and the skills it requires. With just a little dedication and practice, I have made it this far. I am so humbly proud of myself and look forward to how this will help me in my future. Hopefully I can work with Mrs. Jarvis and the others who have helped me, even after I graduate. Everyone around me has really helped push me to go for my dreams, and move onward. Thank you to everyone who helped me get here!”

Animation instructor Nikki Jarvis was able to double her program size when word got out that an exciting Animation course was being offered. She is continuing her mission to bring relevant credentials to her students. Nikki discussed her experience administering the course to her students: “My Lakeview Leadership students shined through what was a tough year between the pandemic and lockdown. I am blessed with great students that I am proud of. This year’s group of certification recipients now have industry-recognized credentials—international no less—as part of their portfolios. When these students apply to college, they can proudly list this certification. When they apply for a job, they will list this credential. This is just one more thing that makes them unique and helps them to stand out from the competition. I must thank our administration for all their support. To Dr. Chamberlain and Dr. Collins, thank you so much for all your stellar support. Our program would not be here without you. I also want to thank all the parents who have been so supportive of all our young Spartans. On behalf of my students and our whole teaching team, I want to thank the Web Professionals Organization and CTeLearning for the grant that paid for our students to take the credential exams. This was a tough year for all of us, and the grant did make it better. Thank you.” 

Dr. Mauricio Castillo, STEAM Researcher at California State University, Los Angeles, said, “We hope to see these students here at CSULA. The Lakeview Leadership students completed a true STEAM project-based learning experience, and they even earned international industry-recognized certifications. Each of Ms. Jarvis’ students have a standing invite to come and check out our university—you are the students we love to have.”  

 

WebProfessionals.org Announces Director of Education and Training

WebProfessionals.org Announces Director of Education and Training

Steve Waddell to lead the Web Professional Association’s education and training efforts into a bold new future, increasing access to education and training around the globe

WebProfessionals.org, a nonprofit professional organization dedicated to encouraging and supporting the development of innovative, affordable and high quality web jobs and career training, has named Steve Waddell as Director of Education and Training.

Steve Waddell the office dog

In this new role, Waddell will use his 30 years of curriculum development, entrepreneurial and market experience to strategically expand the organization’s education initiatives and global influence. Building on the success of the WebProfessionals.org “SchoolofWeb.org” training program Waddell will seek out and cultivate strategic alliances and partnerships that acknowledge the tremendous contribution WebProfessionals.org has on advancing access to quality education and training on behalf of the millions of aspiring and practicing web workers everywhere.

“We are delighted to welcome Steve,” said Mark DuBois, Executive Director of the Web Professionals Association. “His experience and skills match up perfectly with our goals for the next phase of WebProfessionals.org work. Beyond a track record of building global coalitions and championing innovative solutions that improve lives, Steve brings an authentic and inspiring leadership style. His infectious energy, sense of humor and passion for making a positive social impact will propel us while creating a global movement that recognizes, supports, and promotes the vital and complementary role of individually-owned social enterprises.”

Waddell’s entire career has been dedicated to creating innovative solutions and building authentic relationships that result in positive outcomes for all. 

“Over the past decade, I have come to know the WebProfessionals.org team and their total commitment to their mission of supporting Web professionals and those that teach. It is hard not to be attracted to working with such a fantastic group of professionals. It is an honor to be joining the WebProfessionals.org team and championing the work of engaging and upskilling the next generation,” said Waddell. “I would not have accepted this opportunity if I had not already seen how WebProfessionals.org has always done the right thing to help existing professionals and professionals on a global scale. They are the international organization with an inclusive vision for all.

About WebProfessionals.org

Established in 1997, WebProfessionals.org is a non-profit professional association dedicated to the support of individuals and organizations who create, manage and market websites, apps and web technologies. The organization provides education and training resources as well as certifications for those who work and teach in web technologies as well as those aspiring to enter this growing career field.