Today we are taking a moment to remember Molly Holzschlag, an early pioneer of the web, who died in early September at age 60. Molly was a board member and instrumental in helping the World Organization of Webmasters (now Web Professionals Global) grow over the past decades, and she was a recipient of our Web Professional of the Year award in recognition for her passion for the web and forward thinking.
Our Executive Director, Mark DuBois, first met Molly in 2005 at a talk she gave at Joliet Junior College in Joliet, IL. Nicknamed “the fairy godmother of the web,” Molly was passionate about promoting web standards and accessibility long before others took up the cause. She traveled around the world to web conferences, always seeking opportunities to discuss the web and teach the next generation of web designers and developers.
She was a prolific author, writing over 30 books about the web. Her career included serving as Project Leader from 2004-2006 for the Web Standards Project (WaSP), a coalition that pushed browser makers such as Netscape and Opera to support modern web standards. Molly was an “invited expert” on the CSS Working Group of the World Wide Web Consortium, which is the body that determines the standards that run the web. Additionally, she served on the W3C HTML and GEO working groups and performed consulting services for multiple companies including Microsoft.
Molly never stopped fighting for her vision of a more egalitarian web and was once quoted as saying, “Anybody who creates a software product for the Web that is not usable and accessible by as many browsers as possible, by as many people as possible—we have failed the greater idea of the Internet.” Along with Dave Shea, she launched CSS Zen Garden in May 2003, which was “built to demonstrate what can be accomplished visually through CSS-based design.”
At Web Professionals Global, we will continue working toward web standards and accessibility, the causes that were so close to Molly during her life. Molly will be missed by our entire community of web professionals, and we offer our sincere condolences to all of her family and loved ones.
Microsoft recently announced that it will be retiring a number of its technology certifications, leaving a gap for the schools and students that rely on them. We here at the Web Professionals Organization can fill this gap with our industry-recognized certifications that align with the Microsoft certifications that are being retired. As Microsoft leaves behind certifications that may not fit their product directions, the Web Professionals Organization holds no loyalty or focus to any product or company. Since our founding in 1997, our focus has been on the industry and the best practices that create successful whole professionals.
We are not new to providing certifications for current and aspiring web professionals. For decades, our leadership team and members around the world have contributed to establishing certification standards for various companies and defining job descriptions for technology careers for the U.S. Department of Labor. We can offer schools certification options to seamlessly replace their Microsoft certification programs.
The following Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certifications are being retired:
- MTA: Database Fundamentals
- MTA: Windows Server Administration Fundamentals
- MTA: Security Fundamentals
- MTA: Windows Operating System Fundamentals
- MTA: Introduction to Programming Using Java
- MTA: Software Development Fundamentals
- MTA: HTML5 Application Development Fundamentals
- MTA: Introduction to Programming Using Python
- MTA: Networking Fundamentals
- MTA: Introduction to Programming Using HTML and CSS
- MTA: Mobility and Device Fundamentals
Click the above image to enlarge the Quick Reference Chart – Retired MTA Alignments
We have two paths to certification for schools and individuals. The first and traditional path is the proctored exam. Once a student is ready to get certified, they or their institution orders the exam, and then the student sits for the proctored exam. Most of the time the exam is taken at the institution where they are studying, or it may be taken at a designated site. Upon passing the exam, they are rewarded with their credentials. Cost for the exams ranges from $70-$100.
The second path is what we refer to as our industry-relevant certification model. In this model, we combine the interactive training with the certification. This allows the learner to earn their certification incrementally as they progress through the course. At the end of the course—based on their grades, completion of the projects, and building their career-ready portfolio—the learner is rewarded with their certification without needing to sit for an exam.
Click the above image to enlarge the Quick Reference Chart – Web Professionals Global Organization Paths to Certification
How Did We Do This?
We partnered with curriculum provider CTeLearning to supply schools with engaging STEM curriculum and certification bundles. The certifications we offer are more valuable than those offered by testing companies, as they measure knowledge and demonstration of skills—they do not gauge how well the student can memorize a list of questions.
Our embedded model has students earn their certifications as they work through the courseware and complete real-world technical projects. This approach removes test anxiety and results in certification recipients who know what it is like to build real projects and have a deep technical understanding of the technology.
Our certifications are not about any company’s software. They are about what a learner needs to be successful in the tech industry. This means schools do not have to worry about what software tools they are using, as the tools are all included with the curriculum for free. This allows course facilitators to focus on supporting students as well as focusing on creativity, problem solving and projects—not worrying about a software version. In industry, software is simply a tool. Tools are constantly changing, but design, development and creative problem solving are core to individual success. Our certs are about preparing students to be the “whole professional”—not someone who just knows how a piece of software operates.
Our curriculum bundle options can be a big money saver for schools and institutions. Thanks to a partnership between the Web Professionals Organization, CTeLearning and additional Web Professionals Organization members, the cost of the certifications are being underwritten for your students. This means that programs get the course and certifications for less than they paid for the Microsoft test vouchers alone.
Connect With Us Today
We are a community of professionals helping to drive the future of community, education and certification for web careers. Our certifications recipients and members span the U.S. as well as countries around the world in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and more. If you are a student or representative of a school who is seeking a certification program to replace your Microsoft program, we would love to talk with you. Our certifications can be deployed for your students immediately to keep them engaged and achieving.
Mark DuBois, Executive Director of the Web Professionals Organization, shares his reflections on the 25th anniversary of the organization. Mark was asked to take over the organization in April 2016 and has been running it ever since as Executive Director.
The Web Professionals Organization was originally founded as the World Organization of Webmasters (WOW), which was established in April of 1997. The founding Executive Director, Bill Cullifer, was a webmaster who was early to the scene of web design. Bill saw a need for the burgeoning wave of webmasters, content creators, and new internet businesses to come together in a community to share, collaborate and propel the web profession forward. Bill pitched his idea to many companies, and three of the largest gave WOW their start-up grants. We are still thankful to Adobe, Microsoft and Macromedia for our initial funding. The organization was registered as a 501(c)(6) organization, and the early years were full of growth. Bill Cullifer was deeply involved in growing the organization as Executive Director until 2015. He bowed out due to illness, but his legacy lives on.
The mid-1990s was kind of the wild wild west of the web, if you will. In 1992 I built my first web page, which no longer exists. I first came across the World Organization of Webmasters in 2001 in Chicago. I had been working in web technologies for a while at that point and created many websites including one for a multibillion-dollar utility company in 1995. Four years later, I felt a need to do more. It was then that I decided to give something back to the community. Like so many others who feel the call, I decided to teach the next generation. So in 1999 I started teaching at the local community college, and met some folks from the World Organization of Webmasters at a conference a few years later.
Coming from industry, I liked what the organization was doing. I began to seek ways to get more involved, so I took some certification exams and established a local chapter at the community college I taught at. I guess I made a name for myself and my program because a few years later, in 2006, I was offered and accepted the role of Director of Education for the organization. Remember that this was still early in the industry—I became an officer of the association the same year Steve Jobs announced the iPhone.
Under Bill’s leadership in the early years, we participated in many meetings of the World Wide Web Consortium (WC3) at various venues around the world from Edinburgh through Beijing. It was at these meetings that we gave presentations and had the opportunity to meet with a number of luminaries such as Sir Tim Berners-Lee, known as the inventor of the world wide web. These events were key in expanding the reach and influence of the organization—especially internationally.
Around 2006, I took my students to a web design competition in Springfield, Illinois that was held under the auspices of SkillsUSA. That was a state competition, as there was no national web design competition. I felt that the competition was not run as well as it could have been, opened my mouth, and the conference organizers invited our organization to run it ourselves. So that’s what we did. In 2002, we had a much-improved web design and development competition, where students actually had to compete at the state level. The Illinois SkillsUSA chapter loved what we had done, which got the National SkillsUSA executive team to take notice of our organization.
In 2004, the organization collaborated on our first national demonstration competition for web design and development. And we had a number of teams that competed in that initial competition— it was something like 12 or 15 teams of secondary schools that competed. At this point it was no longer a demonstration contest—it was official. And we’ve been doing the national web competitions for SkillsUSA ever since. I was responsible for competitions through 2008, when I passed it to a former student of mine named Jonathan. He has been doing it ever since for the state of Illinois. We have never missed a year and even continued to run the competitions, albeit virtually, through the COVID-19 pandemic. We are committed to giving students access to competitions run by industry professionals.
As an organization, we decided early on to get involved in web competitions to highlight industry best practices. Our experience with all the workshops, teacher training, and seeing what student competitors produced showed us that many schools don’t teach the business fundamentals that are so important in addition to technical skills. Because of this, we decided that the best way to drive professional standards is to have students compete at both the state and national levels. In our competitions, the students’ code has to adhere to international web development standards for them to have a chance to win.
Prior to the national competitions, all competitors participate in mandatory training so they are exposed to new concepts. We enjoy seeing the competitors discover that they don’t know as much as they think. This has helped us drive our message of professionalism and expand our influence as the competitor-students go back to their schools and encourage their teachers to teach industry best practices. We know this works as more teachers ask us about industry standards every year. Little by little we are helping secondary schools prepare future professionals, which is a big part of our mission.
In 2009, we were invited to be a part of the Web Standards Project, which unfortunately has been archived and is no longer active. We were thrilled to participate, as web accessibility and security has always been a focus of the organization. That year the meeting was held in Chattanooga, Tennessee with a number of people who were responsible for web standards. As you may remember, back then there were a number of different browsers emerging like Internet Explorer and Netscape. In the early 2000s, each browser came up with their own browser codes— there was the blink tag from Netscape, the marquee tag from Internet Explorer, and so forth. And the Web Standards Project was created to establish that all browsers implement similar code so that web designers could create websites that would work on any browser. This was something I felt strongly about, and I was delighted when I was chosen to be co-chair of the Education Task Force for the Web Standards Project.
Working with Adobe and a number of other companies, we established the criteria for what curriculum should contain. And this became the career cluster for things like digital media that are out there today. If you look it up, you’ll find there’s a digital media career cluster. This provided the impetus for us to work with the Department of Labor around 2011. We also worked with professors and universities around the U.S., including John Gunderson of the University of Illinois, to do seminars and events about web accessibility. We also worked with the WordPress team on their accessibility task force.
One of the biggest pushes for the Web Professionals Organization has been certifications. As we are made up of industry professionals, we had plenty of contacts to help us develop what would become our international industry-recognized certifications. With the blessing of our whole certification team we started to issue industry credentials in 2001. Back then, everything was paper-based. When I later became Director of Education, one of the first things I did was eliminate paper and make it all online. We thought this was a big step forward to modernize the organization and make it easier for more people to earn certifications. From 2006-2008, we had meetings in Las Vegas, with people representing businesses, workforce, secondary and post-secondary schools to define what should be taught in the way of curriculum as a general outline, and what should be covered in terms of certifications, technical skills, soft skills, and more.
As a professional organization, we take credentialing seriously. The first certifications we offered were designer, developer, and webmaster. Today, we are proud to offer far more. What constitutes a web professional is far more diverse and demanding than back then. We do not teach to the test—you cannot find a sample test out there that you can practice with. For our professional levels, we ask to see examples of his or her work. For secondary and post-secondary students, we asked the teacher to assemble a portfolio of their work. To us, certifications signal that someone has the ability to produce and pull their weight in the industry—it does not mean that they are capable of cramming for an exam.
As an aside, I have been in the industry and education for decades. I have seen it all and understand what does and does not help the web profession. Testing companies will give you samples of their exam, and often will sell you a book to use to prepare for the exam. These exams usually have little to no basis in industry standards. We are proud to have higher standards than just scoring well on an exam that you can study for from a book. We are not so much about the number of professionals we welcome into our organization, but the quality of those professionals.
We have continued to make our certifications good for two years. Some have asked why they are not good for longer. It is for the simple reason that the world of the web changes so often that we must always be learning new skills. We are always focusing on the fundamentals. Frameworks come and go—we could make a list of those that have come and gone in just the last couple years. All that said, we focus on giving people a professional foundation that allows them to continue growing and adapting. We are about building true professionals.
A quick story: there was a high school that had a number of students earn apprentice-level certifications, and they did well. That teacher retired and they were replaced by somebody from a different department. The following year, 100% of their students took the exam. All 30 students failed miserably. The teacher called me and was apologetic. And we discovered in a very short order that the teacher was not teaching what the students needed to know. The teacher had just grabbed a book and focused on just coding and nothing else. However, the next year they turned it around by focusing on the appropriate things in the following year, and the majority of students passed the certification exam. Educators seek to develop whole learners, and we want to grow whole professionals. Our expectation is that the certification represents the fact that students have the knowledge and portfolio to demonstrate proficiency.
In-person meetings have also been important for us. We haven’t been doing as many in recent years because of COVID-19, but fortunately we understand how to use the internet to stay connected. Our members are webmasters, developers, and technologists from schools and companies of all sizes all over the world. Just as the internet is international, so is our organization. We work with schools and professionals in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, South America, and Asia. In addition to helping schools, we also help workforce partners train and re-engage adults in high-demand web careers. We are constantly working with industry and education partners to understand how we can better serve the web professional community, and it’s why we are industry-driven and industry-recognized.
Around 2010, we started the School of Web. We included a lot of the course materials that I had put together at the community college level, as well as courses from professors at other schools. We started the School of Web because in conversations with industry people we realized there was a hunger to develop their skills and knowledge. This started our efforts to offer micro-credentials.
This year, we have begun to expand to doing more state competitions within SkillsUSA. We have seen early success so far. We’re trying to bring the state competitions to a new level of excellence, so that those who participate are better prepared before arriving at the national competition. For the national competition, each state can enter just one team at the secondary level and one team at the post-secondary level. By getting involved with these state competitions, we are now impacting many schools around the country.
We continue to go out of our way to build community and get people involved—everything from Slack channels to local chapters that meet. We strive to make sure our members have a solid understanding not only of web technologies but also best business best practices. We also have expanded our international presence— we have participated in the international WorldSkills competition, starting in 2013 in Leipzig, and we have had international members on our advisory board. Our mantra continues to be “Community, Education, Certification.”
It has been a wonderful 25 years for the Web Professionals Organization. When we started out, the web was in its infant stages. Today, the internet is more integral than ever to people around the globe in industries ranging from manufacturing to education and healthcare to energy. People work, learn, and play on the internet every day, making our mission more relevant and important than ever.
Stay tuned for a future article on where the Web Professionals Organization would like to go in the next 25 years. And if you would like to get connected, please contact us today. We are always seeking to expand our ranks both nationwide and worldwide and look forward to connecting with you.
We know it is early to think about rebuilding. However, our hearts are with all Ukrainians. We know they will be triumphant in defending their country, and we call on all freedom-loving people to support them to this end. We are not trying to be political—we believe the internet is a place of free speech and freedom. We believe that wherever people live should be a place of free speech and freedom.
We are a professional association with international members who are also speaking out in their communities against the aggression and devastation of this war.
We have personally made financial donations to support Ukraine. Many of us fly Ukrainian flags on our homes. Now, as an organization, we want to help in other ways. When the time is right, we want to help schools rebuild and prepare their students for careers. We want to give schools the ability to use our training, educator support, and provide our international industry-recognized certifications for free. It is our way to share our talents when our talents will matter. We are skilled in helping people move into and maintain their professional status in career pathways all things web.
We know this is early. We will continue to give to support the needs of the Ukrainians and continue to pressure our country’s leadership to do more to support President Zelensky and all the courageous people who are fighting to protect Ukraine.
We know Ukraine, with the continued support of the free world, will win its fight. Ukraine is fighting for all of Europe. Our words of support and our gift to help rebuild may feel hollow right now, but when the time is right we hope to be able to help Ukraine in a way that will be meaningful for them and cast a bright light on their future.
We appreciate one of our corporate members loaning us one of their Ukrainian team members to help us create this video. She is still in Ukraine, and we hope for her and her family’s continued safety.
Glory to Ukraine.
“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