7 Things About Web Developing I Wish I Learned in College

7 Things About Web Developing I Wish I Learned in CollegeSo you want to be a web designer? While building and designing for the web is a hot skill now, when I was in college, there were NO web classes. The closest class you could take taught you what the Internet was or how to program software for computers.

If I’d been able to take some web classes in college, here are a few things I’d wish they’d taught:

  1. Templates are not the way to go.
    True enough, they're quick and easy. But you'll have a better product if you start with frameworks or style boilerplates, not pre-built themes/templates. The point is not to reinvent the wheel, but also not to let “modify” be the name of your game. Always build!
  2. Pixels, CMS, Media Queries and Cross Browser Testing are Greek to everyone but you.
    It’d be simple to explain that you need to add some code into the media query and tweak the Javascript, but a client has no idea what you're talking about. Learn how to use analogies to explain things. Don’t mansplain it or dumb it down; be educational!
  3. Your education never stops.
    The Internet changes every day. E.v.e.r.y. D.a.y. Keep up by following leading designers and developers through blogs and social media; look for conferences to attend and be ready to constantly broaden your skill set.
  4. “Mobile First” isn’t an idea; it’s a standard.
    You have to think about tablets and mobile phones as well as desktop and laptop computers. If trends continue, soon 60 percent of the population will be accessing the Internet via mobile device, while only 40 percent will be accessing it by a desktop or laptop. Simply put, just because it works on a big screen doesn’t mean it will work on a small screen.
  5. Internet Explorer works in mysterious ways. Normally the opposite of what you want it to do.
    It will be the bane of your existence, and it’s not going away anytime soon. So while friends don't let friends use Internet Explorer, you still have to make sites work for those who just like to see the world burn. One of the biggest things I've discovered? A site doesn’t have to look EXACTLY the same in every browser.
  6. Fixes, changes and corrections aren’t personal.
    Especially if you have a creative bone in your body, you'll find yourself fighting urges to take offense at changes. The good news is, it's nothing personal. Pick your fights and negotiate for a solution that makes you both happy. Remember, in the end, youre a team working together to produce the best product.
  7. Communicate well to save time, but don’t rush through anything.
    Don’t wait on a problem; take care of it or bring it up to be discussed. This ensures you stay on budget and keep account executives happy. But don’t move so fast that you fail to think something through or get all the information. Always be informed, and always make sure the team is informed.

Man looking at screen and smiling

Like this? Read the rest of our beyond college series:

Blog Author: Josh Wright, Former B teamer

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