Education in the web industry, is it good enough?
Recently through both my experience and after reading an article in the newspaper from the recent new adventures conference I started thinking more about what education does for people who want to get into this industry and where it’s falling short. So is it time the web industry educated educational institutions?
It’s not good enough is it!
So basically what I’m trying to say is I feel my education didn’t prepare me very well for the real world. Isn’t that what they’re supposed to do? I went into the industry having not used a CMS, didn’t know much about fonts (didn’t really even know the web fonts properly) and any idea of learning actual design at Uni was left to recommended reading…is that really good enough?
And from speaking to my current employer (and I would like to hear opinions from other companies and industry leaders) a degree is not exactly the first thing on the shopping list of requirements in a job applicant any more.
So what can be done about this? I think the answer is for the web industry to get involved more with education and help to improve the current curriculum to help students who want to learn web design and development, learn it to a point where the businesses will be able to more readily consider them a serious applicant.
What do we do from here then?
There are a few ways that this could be solved, the web industry could work closer with Universities and attempt to improve the curriculum, companies could offer placements for work experience and gap years for students. And what about education outside of Universities and colleges? I know internships are fairly commonplace in our industry but another idea I had thought of was what about a web industry apprenticeships?
Well I’m happy to say that recently that idea has been taken on by someone who spoke at a conference I recently attended, enter Mr Mark Boulton. While sat on twitter sometime last week I noticed a tweet from Mark saying
and instantly I was intrigued to see what was going on.
Mark posted a link to a blog post a day or so later explaining his reasons for taking on a web design apprentice, saying
“Internships are the norm in our industry. I did it, and it was mostly great. But the thing is; it didn’t pay well and I was only there for a few months.”
“An Apprentice is something completely different. It’s a commitment to teach and nurture you over a given period of time.”
All I can say is that I wholeheartedly agree with what Mark is doing and can only wish him the best in doing so. I also hope that this might start off a new way of educating people in the ways of our industry as it’s not only a great way of doing so but also has the potential to happen quickly. Which lets be honest is the best thing about how our industry works!
I think now more than ever it’s important that we look to improve how people come in to our industry as what I’ve seen recently is it maturing and finally starting to be taken more seriously as a profession, we can’t continue to do this with people being poorly educated at the first level. Otherwise we’re going to be heading into that inevitable situation where companies only look for people experience and students are completely unable to get that experience.