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. 

 

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