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Getting a Web Development Job For Dummies Paperback – January 20, 2015
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From the Back Cover
- Secure the best job opportunity for your skillset
- Build a resume and impress interviewers
- Research employers and interpret job listings
Chart your path for a career in web development
If your pet peeves include malfunctioning forms, flashing banners, and sites that take way too long to load, the web development world needs you. But with so many possible goals and no one right way to get there, it can be confusing starting out. Luckily, this hands-on, friendly guide serves as your roadmap to starting a career in web development.
- Welcome to the world of web dev — find out how web development got to be such a big thing, why companies care so much about their web development efforts, and how you can make yourself a valuable employee
- Get into position — discover helpful tips for positioning yourself for the job you want, whether your core abilities are technical or graphical and artistic
- Find your niche — get to know the web development needs of small companies, big companies, educational institutions, governments, and non-profits—and how that affects your employment prospects
- Whichever way the wind blows — find guidance on choosing from among full-time employment for a traditional organization, full-time employment for a web development organization, and self-employment
Open the book and find:
- The major categories of web development jobs
- Why a web portfolio matters so much
- The key concepts of web design jobs
- How to use online job boards and LinkedIn
- Tips for writing a resume and acing an interview
- How to create a portfolio site that will help you get the job you want
- Advice to keep and grow within your ideal job once you land it
About the Author
Kathleen Taylor is a Silicon Valley-based recruiter and principal of Taylor Executive Search. Her work focuses on finding and recruiting talent for software-as-a-service, digital media, and other tech companies, including startups.
Bud E. Smith has written all editions of Creating Web Pages For Dummies.
Top customer reviews
As other reviewers have noted, this book uses the most liberal definition of "Web Developer" possible, to include basically anyone, from designers, to content writers, to project managers, to programmers and engineers, who does work that ends up on the Web in some way, shape, or form. This breadth isn't in and of itself a bad thing, because it gives engineers a greater appreciation for the contributions of their non-technical team members, it ideally gets non-technical workers conversant in the technology underlying their work, and everyone gets a better understanding of the big picture. However, since the book is written as much for non-technical job roles as for engineers, that means that a solid third of the book is devoted to explaining the history and technology of the Web. This section is utterly terrible and has no business being in print in its current form.
If this book's technology overview is meant to get non-technical workers conversant in Web technology, it completely fails in its intent because most of the information presented is either wrong, outdated, poorly presented, or promotes bad practice. If a future content writer or image designer goes into a job interview repeating some of what they read in this book, they may well not get the job. For example, on numerous occasions, the authors pooh-pooh as impractical the idea that HTML is for document structure and content semantics, instead explaining HTML as a set of tags which define how your content looks on page. This is utterly, terribly wrong and was recognized as bad practice 20 years ago; they even discuss deprecated, much-maligned tags like <font> as useful tools! By the same token, CSS is described as a layout language first and foremost, and its absolutely vital role in producing consistent, easily maintained presentation styles is downplayed, again in favor of using the presentational aspects of HTML. Likewise, their discussion of CSS includes an example of class usage that not only misses the main point but also has bizarre, incorrect syntax that would neither validate nor be understood by a browser. Every chapter within the technical section includes at least a few forehead-smacking errors like those above: evidently, according to the authors, Perl and Flash are in-demand, growth skills!
Fortunately, the last third or so of the book has some useful information on the soft-skills of job hunting as applied to this particular field. The two portfolio site case studies are excellent, the tips on networking and resume writing valuable, and the emphasis on employer research and follow-up spot-on. That at least saves this book from a one-star review.
If you know the technical side of web development and want some specific job search advice, this book might be worth a skim, but if you're a non-technical worker who wants to be able to converse intelligently about the technology underlying the web, stay far, far away. If you repeat the technical content of this book you're apt to look foolish and will probably miss out on a job offer!
I work on the technical side and to be clear - there's not enough in this book to prepare someone for a developer interview who doesn't already bring relevant skills and experience to the table.
Just as important as technical skills, in my opinion, is having a sense of the development lifecycle - the context in which much web development work is done. The methodology discussed in the book is closer to what's generally known as `waterfall' than to what's known as `Agile' - the latter being more prevalent among younger organizations.
However the basic ideas concerning matching requirements to implementation, prototyping, deployment and maintenance are sound. The truth is, in my experience, few so-called Agile shops are pure and many are actually a hybrid of old and new approaches.
If coding's not your thing, a key premise of the book is that not all web development jobs involve coding and there are many tangential roles besides the front end web developer who moves buttons, fields and images around.
Discussions of these creative and content side positions cover the design mindset and illustrations of website usability. There's a lot here about graphical content presentation, look and feel, images and cultural sensitivities.
`Creatives' may not have to code but they have their own tools to master and the book presents overviews of GIMP and Photoshop, Dreamweaver and WordPress. Again, you're not going to learn any of these in any depth, but you'll get some sense of their capabilities and what it takes on your part to use them effectively.
There's a chapter on portfolio sites where you show off your design abilities to potential employers. I have a sense they're not as important as they have been in the past. Perhaps my cynicism is showing but, like so much on the web, it's just too easy to beg, borrow or steal someone else's work and pass it off as your own - and the people interviewing you know this.
Unlike other Dummies technical job search titles there's relatively little in `Getting a Web Development Job for Dummies' on resume prep but the interview and networking sections make up for that.
There's also quite a lot about education for those looking for options to fill skills and knowledge gaps. The good news is it's not just formal 4-year college programs; certificate programs, online training, advanced degrees to augment existing ones - not to mention just grabbing some good books - is covered.
All in all `Getting a Web Development Job for Dummies' is an economical way to test the waters and does a good job of laying out the geography. It's not enough to get you hired, in my opinion, but if it piques your interest in the field it can point you in the right direction.
That said, the book takes you through a series of informative chapters to let you know what kinds of jobs might be available in web design, and what skills that person might need to possess. It discusses what education and tools you might need in your skill set, how to build a portfolio. Then it discusses strategy for locating openings outside of just surfing the web looking for job listings, covers the bare bones basics on how to polish your (already existing) resume to make it stand out, and offers other useful tips and information—nothing in-depth.
This book is “for Dummies”. It is not an in depth how-to primer, but covers the basics for the otherwise uninformed. If you are thinking about heading in the direction of web design, but do not really know the field, this could be a useful book. If you are an expert in the field and just want to find a job, this is probably not the book for you.