Our organization was proud to help facilitate the web design contest at the national SkillsUSA competition in Atlanta, GA from June 19-24, 2022. Our team arrived on Sunday, set up Monday and Tuesday, and ran the high school competition on Wednesday and post-secondary competition on Thursday. We also organized a Thursday evening debrief and meet and greet with industry professionals and participated in the overall awards ceremony on Friday evening. We would like to thank all our team members for using their vacation time to support SkillsUSA and the web design contest.
This year, the web design contest teams were greeted with messages in Spanish, German, Chinese, French and Arabic from our international members. One of the benefits of our organization is that our community is made up of members from all over the world, and our international experience and membership helps to craft the real-world challenges that our competition delivers. We are about helping to create and support whole professionals ready to work both domestically and internationally—especially in this age of remote work.
The competition was held at the Georgia World Congress Center, and the competitors were teams of two from different states in the country. The teams were tasked with creating websites for clients, all while completing specific tasks in the process to demonstrate web design proficiency.
We were able to utilize the online technologies we developed in 2020 and 2021 when we ran the contest fully online due to COVID-19. This design allowed all competitors on-site to participate—whether they had a laptop, PC, Mac, or Chromebook. All tools were available online and were the same for each of the teams. This meant the teams could focus on listening to and meeting the client’s needs, fundamentals and creativity to win the day. Our new system allowed us to judge all the competitors’ work online, which improved the efficiency of judging the final products that the teams designed.
It should be pointed out that this competition is far more than just a competitive challenge. We at Web Professionals Global, which started the competition in 2004, brought our mission of “Community, Education and Certification” to the competition. Our community of professionals developed the competition challenges and judged the work of each team. We also provided training before the event to help give the competitors the chance to learn about trends in the industry and more about what it takes to be competitive in this in-demand and high-paying career pathway.
Just like in the real-world, each team met with the client whom they were building the website for. This provided the competitors with a real-world environment to get a taste of what it is like to work as a web design professional. After the event, we held a Q&A event with the web design professionals who had been part of the judging team. This was an opportunity for the teams to hear from professional web designers about personal experiences, how to get started, the ups and downs of the career pathway, day-to-day experiences on the job, and how to set themselves apart and on the path of success.
To learn more about Web Professionals Global or the SkillsUSA competition, contact us today. We would love to chat with you.
Jonathan, the client, holding a meeting with all of the competitors Wednesday morning at the beginning of the event.
David Jackson and Bryce Hickson, web designers and lead judges, speaking to the high school and post-secondary competitors in the competition debrief on Thursday.
The competitors chatting with David and Bryce after the debrief.
Mark DuBois, Executive Director, Web Professionals Global, handing out awards at the ceremony on Friday night.
Gold Medal Winners of the 2020 Web Design and Development Competition Announced
WebProfessionals.org is pleased to announce the Gold medal winners of the 2020 “Virtual” Web Design Challenge
This year’s innovative and totally online event invited and challenged
Challengers documented their progress as they demonstrated their skills in Web Programming (HTML, XHTML and CSS), Web graphics, Web site design, Web accessibility and usability, Web site management, project management, Web multimedia and equally important, professionalism.
A panel of experts from the Web professional community based their winning selection on the following criteria developed by Webprofessionals.org:
• Design and Layout: Navigation • Programming: Compatibility • Programming Code Structure & Design • Scaffolding of Process – Diagram/Flowchart • Video production and presentation • Professionalism
Winners at the Secondary/High School: Gold:
• Kevin Downing, Whitinsville, MA • Daniel Cardone, Blackstone, MA
Winners at the College/Postsecondary Gold:
• Matthew Connors, Massachusetts • Joey Higuera, Massachusetts
“On behalf of the WebProfessionals.org organization, the Technical Committee and challenge judges, I want to say thanks to all the teams for putting forward all the great efforts. So much in the world has changed since last year in Louisville. But one thing has not changed, and it is the quality of our Web Design challenge participants. In chatting with the judges, each team excelled in different areas, and they enjoyed seeing all the creativity in all the submissions. If these winners stay on this trajectory, keep practicing, growing their career portfolios, and adding international industry-recognized certifications to their resumes, I have no doubt they will get snatched up by industry when they start looking for that first career move. I am proud to say this is my seventh year as part of the WebProfessionals.org Web Design challenge support team, and even though I didn’t get to see everybody in Louisville, I had a terrific time.”Lead Judge – Steve Waddell Founder CTeLearning.com
The Web Design Contest provides quality education experiences for students in leadership, teamwork, citizenship and character development. It builds and reinforces self-confidence, work attitudes and communications skills. It emphasizes total quality at work, high ethical standards, superior work skills, life-long education and pride in the dignity of work. For additional information visit www.webdesigncontest.org
SkillsUSA is a United States career and technical student organization serving more than 395,000 high school, college and middle school students and professional members enrolled in training programs in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including health occupations. For additional information visit www.skillsusa.org
We believe 2019 saw our most successful web design and development competition ever. We held this in Louisville, KY, during the last week of June. Our competition is one of 103 individual competitions at SkillsUSA Nationals. Competitors must win first place in their respective states for the opportunity to compete nationally. We also choose one winner from these competitions to represent the US at WorldSkills. That competition is held every two years (and the next will happen this August in Kazan, Russia).
Our on site team
We are so appreciative of the massive efforts by so many members of Web Professionals to make this competition a reality. We have our team on site for almost an entire week. They conduct the interviews of competitors (and these mimic real interviews as many of the individuals conducting the interviews hire web professionals as part o their daily jobs. They also review the process each team follows as they provide solutions to the business problems posed in our competition work order. They also make certain the server and network environment is running smoothly and that all tams can access their individual server, cloud storage, and editor. This can be a particular challenge when some teams bring school computers which have been so locked down one can not even access the Windows Control Panel. Our team also develops the competition project/ work order and configures the environment before the competition. We are so thankful for all the help and could not do it without you.
We run two separate competitions (Wednesday is for high school students). We had 52 individuals competing this year. Our Thursday competition is for college students. We had 20 individuals competing this year. When the competition ends each day, we transfer all the work by each team to a secure location on one of our web servers. Judges from other states can then review the work of each team. Our judges are practicing web professionals and we have more than one judge review the work of each team. Each judge focuses on a specific area (such as accessibility). All scores are collected and finalized by the following morning. We could not achieve all this without our off site judges. If you are reading this and would like to help (or would like more information), please contact us. We can always use more judges.
An overview of the network environment covers the fundamentals of how competitors access the local resources. Given the logistics of where the event is held, it is simply not feasible (nor cost effective) to offer actual Internet access to competitors.
Before the competition begins, we offer training to competitors and their advisors the day before (Tuesday). This is our opportunity to make certain everyone has a solid understanding of current industry best practices as they relate to web design and development. It also gives competitors and their advisors the opportunity to ask questions and develop a better understanding of what the competition is all about. In the photo below, Jonathan is discussing process best practices.
We also had our WorldSkills Web Design and Development competitor (Matt Vreman) speak to competitors and their advisors before the competition began. He discussed his background (he won gold at one of our prior competitions). Matt reviewed his progress as he prepares to compete in Kazan, Russia in August, 2019. I will be accompanying him as his advisor in that competition (each country is allowed to bring in one expert to help their competitor). There will be roughly 50 countries competing in Russia in web design and development.
This was our 16th year running a national web design and development competition. A lot has changed in our industry over that time. We like to think that our competition has kept pace with changes in our industry. Over these years, we have had the chance to speak with roughly 2,000 competitors and their advisors/ teachers. We believe that we are making a difference in that competitors and their teachers see what current best practices are and many have adjusted their curriculum accordingly. We see these trends continuing based on the feedback received this year (particularly from advisors). We could not do this without the help of our members; they serve in many roles (including judges and on site team). However, members also provide the funding (through their annual membership dues) to help us achieve our goal of insuring that the next generation of web professionals is following current industry best practices. We couldn’t do this without your support. If you are reading this and have not yet become a member, we encourage you to support us in this endeavor.
Best always, Mark DuBois Executive Director and Lead Community Evangelist
In a couple of weeks, we will be holding our 15th national web design competition in Louisville, KY. This involves competitors from many states at both the high school and post-secondary level. We spend a significant amount of time and money every year making certain this competition happens. Why do we do it? Sure, this is an opportunity for competitors to showcase their best work. It is also our opportunity to reinforce industry “best practices” in a field which is constantly changing. The main reason we do this is that we are influencing (and improving) the careers of these competitors.
Many changes made to our 15th annual competition
We have made a number of changes in our web design contest this year. For example, we will be bringing a server and network to Louisville. Competitors will each have their own container on the server (a sandbox where they can showcase their work, but other competitors can not see their work). Judges will be reviewing competitors work on Wednesday and Thursday evening. We have outlined both our server environment and network on our Web Design Contest site.
We are helping students prepare for jobs in our field
No, really, why do we do this? To paraphrase the old question “how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.” Over many years, we have observed that many students struggle to identify and learn what is important in web design and development. Many do not have the opportunity to take formal classes (this is especially true in nigh schools). In some cases, when formal classes are offered, the materials covered are outdated. By participating in this competition, students learn what is expected in today’s business environment (with respect to web design and development). Practice is important along with the need to test your knowledge and skills against others. Competition brings out the best. Students are exposed to a formal interview (by practicing web professionals). We provide hours of training before the competition on many aspects of web design and development. In many cases, this is one opportunity that students have to interact with web professionals and learn what will be expected of them. While our time with competitors is brief, we do help them better understand what is happening in the industry today. Sure, technical knowledge is important, but process, teamwork, communication and related “soft skills” can make all the difference when dealing with clients. this is why we stress these aspects as well.
We are what we do. And how often we do it. And how we respond to feedback and suggestions for improvement on our work. These students have decided they want to pursue a career in web design and development. By focusing on current practices with web design and development, we are reinforcing knowledge and skills that students need to succeed in our industry. Students also have an opportunity to test what they think they know and see how it stacks up against others throughout our nation. This is why we do this competition every year. It is our opportunity to affect the lives of aspiring web professionals and get them started properly. Sure, there can only be one winning team at the high school level and another winning team at the post-secondary level. But every team participating is exposed to rigor and concepts they may not receive elsewhere. Every participant gets the opportunity to showcase their skills and knowledge.We often receive feedback after the competition that it was a lot of fun and a great learning experience.
International competitor also being chosen
We are also selecting a competitor to represent the U.S. in the next international web design and development competition (to be held in Kazan, Russia in 2019). In order to be considered for this honor, these competitors had to first win our national competition and were involved in a lengthy selection process. Two finalists will be competing in Louisville. One will be selected to represent the U.S. at WorldSkills 2019.
We bring a number of web professionals from different parts of the U.S. to Louisville to help run the two day competition (and provide an additional day of training). We also have judges reviewing competitor work remotely. All projects are uploaded to a web server and judges review aspects of this work with an emphasis on their expertise. For example, we have judges who specialize in UX/UI focus on those aspects on projects submitted by competitors. We have judges focus on graphics, type and related aspects and so forth. Competitors receive general feedback as to what they did well and those areas where they need to improve. In many cases, this is the only feedback they have received on their work.
Good, fast, cheap – pick any two
During our competition, we ask competitors to focus on getting things done quickly. We also ask they spend time creatively solving the problems presented. While we are not always successful, we try to focus on doing things the correct way (including comments in your code and properly naming variables, for example). Sure, it will take a little more time up front, but competitors will be able to submit work which is easier to maintain. Rather than spending money, competitors spend a more valuable resource – time – to complete the work orders they receive.
Comments and observations will be posted on our Web Design Contest site soon after the competition concludes later this month. We will be posting via social media channels during the event.
Are you willing to help our profession?
For those reading this, we are always in need of additional judges. It only requires a few hours of your time. You get the opportunity to see directly what high school and post-secondary competitors are capable of producing these days. You also have the opportunity to provide general feedback to these competitors (and many others reading your summary comments). If you are able to devote a few hours of your time on the evenings of June 27 and 28, please contact us. You will be amazed at how greatly a little of your valuable time helps aspiring web professionals become more successful.
Community Evangelist and Executive Director