Before the panel ‘Careers in Web Development’ at Mass Comm Week I never realistically considered Web Development as a viable career choice for me. Until this class I had zero experience and it was always an intimidating subject to me. I’ve always been attracted to design, though and part of me regrets not having majored or taking more classes in things like advertising and media design in undergrad. But this panel kind of opened my eyes in that the same was true for everyone that spoke; in fact Glynn Jordan was an English/Literature major before he made the career choice of Web Development. In a sense, the panel may not have fully inspired me to completely switch gears into a career in Web Design/Development, but what it did do was open my eyes a little more into how important at least having usable experience in the field is to the ever changing media, advertising and marketing landscape.
So, for me a lot of what I personally focused on during this panel was how the speakers not only decided on their career choices but also how they got into their current positions. Josue Plaza, who works for a startup that helps fundraisers and non-profits gather funds for projects was the most convincing in the notion to just commit to something and jump off. Plaza went on about how web design and development is a mass communication tool and that you “…don’t need to have a love of computer or math to be a web developer.” He made it clear that knowing how to communicate and looking at web development from a communication stand point is much more important to being a web developer than technical skills – because the technical skills can be learned where as being a good communicator is much more of an intangible skill. When he explained how backend web developers need communicators like us to make their design flow, it made me feel as though there really may be a place for someone with my skill set in the web development and User Experience field.
Ashley Hebler – a former graduate student in our Online Media Design class – had a very interesting account, in my opinion, of getting her job because it was so bland. Which may be an oxymoron, but it is true. She found her job at a Career Fair, which I feel like is very uncommon in the communications field in the sense that usually the more interesting “cutting-edge” jobs are one that you either stumble into our get introduced through networking or something of the likes. Hebler also commented on how her employers taught her a lot of skills that she previously did not know, which again is something that I thought was pretty uncommon in our cut-throat, competitive field. I wouldn’t go as far as to say as Hebler was “lucky” in landing her job – she’s obviously very talented and has earned it -but the way she landed it was, from what I’ve experienced and seen in my job hunt, uncommon.
But perhaps the most uncommon of the three was Glynn Jordan who, like I mentioned earlier, was actually an English/Literature major before making his way into web development. I really related with what Jordan said when talking about how web development is problem solving career and that his process of problem solving has become easier and more intuitive the more he works and the better he gets. It put things into perspective as someone like me who again never even considered this field as a career path. Jordan seemed to the most enthusiastic about his career and the most convincing that if you work hard enough, you can be great at whatever you want.