I was asked recently about the position currently vacant at CITT. In particular, I was asked which skills would be most desirable for a person looking to land a job as an entry leverl web designer or eLearning developer. I put together a quick list of my thoughts.
- XHTML and CSS. These are the basic building tools of web content. Try to avoid developing bad habits such as using tables for layout or using spacer gifâ€™s. Learn how to read and manipulate the code. Relying on Dreamweaver all of the time is a bad habit.
- Know your browsers. Know how to use and test on Internet Explorer 5, 5.5, 6, and the upcoming release of 7. Know how to use Safari, Firefox, and the AOL browser. Test on all of these platforms. They are very inconsistent.
- Study basic visual design principles: color theory, typography, balance, rhythm, proportion, dominance, unity.
- Know how to create graphics using a vector-based tool (Illustrator, Freehand, or Fireworks) AND a bitmap editor (Photoshop or Fireworks).
- I wouldnâ€™t worry very much about Flash. Flash is a very specialized tool that requires a lot of time to become proficient. I think your time is better spent elsewhere.
- Develop a good list of weblogs and read them regularly. I think manky web design books become outdated shortly after hitting the shelves. There are a lot of great web designers sharing techniques that easily apply to eLearning. I recommend using an RSS feed reader to manage all of your weblogs.
- Know how to talk about server-side code, but leave the PHP/ASP/.NET stuff to the professionals. While I think it is good to have a basic understanding of how they work, becoming proficient in them takes a lot of work.
Actually, we are looking for one good person. CITT, a.k.a. my day job, is in the process of hiring a web/eLearning designer to fill a recent vacancy. We have an official job description, but essentially it boils down to this:
- Can you code valid HTML and CSS
- Do you understand the basic priciples of visual design?
- Can you apply these priciples to create usable online materials?
- Are you able to work with some server-side code? (Don’t worry, we’re aren’t looking for a developer
- Can you bring something else to the table? (Flash, Video, etc.)
- Most importantly: Are you passionate about the work you do?
If you are interested, drop me a line.
A few quickies. I seem to be falling behind.
The bad news is, I’m not finished hacking my website back together. The good news is that when I am finished, not only will the site be upgraded to XHTML and wordpress 1.5, but it will also have a visual redesign. In the mean time, here are some more links:
- What is Line Height? In case you were wondering, here is a great explanation
- How to style a definition list I still think navigation should be an unordered list, but this is an interesting approach.
- Usability testing without a budget See? Even you can prevent confused users.
- WordPress Theme Browser Since deciding to upgrade to version 1.5, this site has helped quite a bit.
- CSS Organization Tip This is a great idea. I look forward to more tips from Doug Bowman.