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.