How I Got Into Web Design

My love of web design really started when I got my first car – a bright yellow Mini. Aged 17, and still at Secondary School I bought the domain and created a simple, frame based website.

Then a competition was launched by Channel 4 called ‘Webit’ aimed at 13-19 year olds. I heard about the competition from my School, and I thought about redesigning paulsmini to enter the competition, but in the end, I decided to just submit the site as it was, and was shocked to be a runner up for the whole competition.

This spurred me on to further a career in web design, and before I finished my A-Levels I asked around for work experience in the industry, which was eventually unsuccessful after contacting a number of them.

My first job was as an IT Administrator at a local manufacturing company, where I managed to redesign their existing site. I was also enrolled in a 3 year Foundation Degree course in Computing and Internet Technology. The course consisted of networking, programming, databases and internet technologies. The Internet for me was my primary focus at the time, although I have continued to learn both databases and programming since; but my primary love is designing.

The more I designed the more I enjoyed it. I liked the fact that every project was different and that no two designs were ever the same. It also made me further myself in design and the design fundamentals, learning about grid based design, the rule of thirds and typography.

I knew eventually that I would have to look for a job doing web design full time if I wanted to continue this, so after seeing an advert in the local paper, I got my CV up to date, made sure that the works site and paulsmini were all live and sent an application. About a week later I got a phone call just after finishing work on the Friday offering an interview, and 24 hours later I was offered the job.

I stayed at the web design company for 18 months, and it gave me a solid foundation into the business of designing websites, having the opportunity to work on 20+ during that time. In the time, I had learnt about ASP and MS SQL Server databases. It gave me a great basis to look for my next job.

Around May 2008 I moved again to my current job, and in the last 9 months I have been working increasingly more in PHP and MySQL, whilst also utilising JavaScript more, with the jQuery library.

My passion for websites continues, and designing them is still what I most enjoy, but I do see the benefits of working on both design and development at the same time, so would never want to just to one of the two.

2 thoughts on “How I Got Into Web Design

  1. Ollie

    Very interesting!
    I’d like to take a similar kind-of path than you – IT Admin and what not.
    I’m personally more confident programming back-end and leaving the design to somebody else, however I have been told I have a good eye for design.

    Just a quick question – putting bias aside, what do you personally prefer?
    Microsoft products (ASP and MS SQL Server) or Open-Source (PHP and MySQL)?
    I haven’t had a chance to work with Microsoft products, I’m a more open-source guy – simply because it’s free and supposedly more reliable. ;-)


  2. Paul Post author

    I have personally found PHP to be able to do the same thing ASP does, but in much less lines. That said, I was using MS products when I first got into web development, but colleagues have noticed similar things.

    The difference with MS SQL and MySQL, I couldn’t really say. I have worked on databases a lot more in mySQL, and now use a lot more functions built in to mySQL.

    I haven’t found any reliability problems with the MS products, and have found the open-source communities to be fantastic. There are lots of people with good tips and tricks to share.

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