This blog is about my studies in Web Design. I’ll write about my journey to a new skill. Enjoy your stay.
Today is the day when I can happily say, I passed the final exam of my web design education 🙂 I wasn’t sure if my presentation would have been good enough. It wasn’t as bad as I thought at first. The evaluators were really easy-going and they gave me good advice. I would have been satisfied with just getting the preparatory training certificate but the qualification one is even better. It makes me feel I have achieved something. Even if I had difficulties, I still managed to get through them. But there’s no use of all these certificates if you can’t get a job.
That’s the next step I have to take again. I already applied to a few but I don’t think I’m qualified for those jobs. There’s no harm in applying though. It just shows you’re not being lazy. Finding a place as a web designer near your hometown is like searching for a needle in a haystack. Both of those jobs I applied for are in Helsinki area. The other option to get a job is self-employment but that’s not for everyone. I have considered that too but it’s a lot of work. It does tempt me because then I can do things at home. It’s the other stuff that I don’t want to go through. It’s riskier than working for someone else. I really liked the time when we had on the job learning thing. I learned to think on my own. I felt freer and I didn’t have to work from 9 am to 5 pm. I could do the work from 3 pm to something else. I could do everything in my own time. There was a deadline when to get the work done so I couldn’t really be lazy whenever I wanted. Now it’s a little different because now I have to know what to charge the future clients.
Another thing could be self-employed or freelancer, if you like, is to find clients. That’s where the work is and also you have to sell your soul. I mean your skills. It’s difficult if you’re just starting out. What I like the least is networking. Online it’s easier but you also need to meet people in real life. At least that’s what I read about. For an introvert it’s hell. I handled all my clients through emails and it took a while before I got a reply but yet I got it done. It could be the same for real too. There’s also a chance to become a light entrepreneur where you don’t need to have a business. All the paperwork are done for you. That could be a good way to try your wings on freelancing. The easiest way would be trying to get a job somewhere but if that’s not gonna happen, then it’s their loss. One thing is for sure and that’s not having a job at all. Going to school is not an option either.
This is the first time in my life that I can actually say what I do. I’m a web designer, yes I am. What is left is to get a job where I can make a living out of it. It’s time to put these new skills to action.
First of all, sorry for not updating this blog but I’ve been busy with school work. There isn’t much time left of this education. Next week (maybe) I’ll know if I passed the exam. On the job learning ended and I made a couple of websites for clients. The hardest part was the report writing about the projects and filling the personal competence demonstration form. There’s no exact word for it in English (in Google it says display plan) but in Finnish it’s called ‘Näyttösuunnitelma’. Don’t ask me how to say it because I wouldn’t know how to write it. But the form got a lot of dots where is says what kind of skills you need to have and how you prove them. What made it difficult was to understand what it meant and since Swedish is my mother tongue, Finnish is difficult to write. I can’t find the words and then all these commas between words. I’ve probably gonna fail the final test because of that. I’m not gonna think that negative because if you do, you definitely will fail. It’s not the end of my world if I don’t pass. Though, It would be nice to have a vocational examination after all the hard work I’ve done.
It’s easy to become bitter if you still won’t get a job no matter how many examinations you have. Sometimes I do feel no one wants to hire me. I can do things but I don’t know what I could do to make a living out of it. It’s not like I’m gonna operate on someone. I don’t have that kind of responsibility. The only thing that could die, is a website that gets hacked. During the web design education I’ve had doubts about my abilities to be a web designer. Especially after the on the job learning time. There’s so many things I forgot to do and I got my thoughts all over the place. My weakness is both coding and project management. I can have stuff in order. But when it comes to web design, I get all confused. It feels like nothing stays in my head. I’m not a person who can solve people’s problems. If a client says what kind of websites they want, it can be possible that I can’t help them. I try to search the solution online but it takes a lot of time. Maybe it’s just unexperienced talking but I feel really uncertain if I can do things right. I’m worried I’ll fail as a web designer and I have to start to think what to do all over again.
Now when this journey is coming to an end, its time for job search again. I’m not looking forward to the next step because I know I have to contact the unemployment center again. At this moment it looks like I end up there anyway. I’ve thought about making it on my own but it has its risks. My father has an own business but it’s very uncertain. You have to do everything yourself and not forgetting paying the taxes. It won’t be easy to get yourself out there when there’s so many who wants the same thing. Web designers also need marketing skills and a good network. You also need to find clients which is another challenge. I’m not courageous and I give up easily. It’s the money that worries me the most. I have bills to pay, you know. When you start a business, it doesn’t take over night to make a profit out of it. The money must come somewhere.
The good side of self-employment is being your own boss. You don’t have to go anywhere. Working in web design and other creative jobs, you don’t necessarily need an office. As long as you have the equipment, it’s all that matters. The freedom is the one that attracts but the other stuff that comes with it, I’m not that keen.
The other solution is work for someone else but that’s the hard part that hasn’t worked for me. I’ve looked through open jobs online but there’s not many of them. When there is, they want skills that I don’t have. The other thing is, the jobs are in another city and I rather not move. I also don’t have driver’s license so it’s more difficult to get there.
In a company, a web designer doesn’t have to do all the work. There are other employees that you work with. You know you’ll get a paycheck every month. There’s less responsibilities than being self-employed. A part of me wants to try my wings on making on my own but it’s the uncertainty that I don’t want to feel. But if I can’t find a job I can apply for, then maybe I should take the bumpy road.
What’s certain is this blog. I will continue to post in it. I have the link in my Finnish portfolio (http://www.miasalminen.com) but since it has a different address and all that, it might not be part of the site. It’s just there temporarily for now. Web design is still a new skill I’m learning so the site descriptions stays. If only I would get paid to have this blog and my dilemma would be over.
First the good news. I’ve got 3 clients for the on the job learning. I couldn’t handle more since I also have to do a lot of others assignments besides client work. I’m meeting the teacher next week for a recap. Every day designers get rejections from possible clients for different reasons and it’s nothing personal. Fortunately, there’s always someone who needs something to be designed. In my case, web design. When you lose some, you gain some. The passport to a better web designer is practice. If you can’t find clients, you never become better. It’s the same with everything is life. Practice makes perfect. It’s a cliché but so true.
People think web design is done under a week and it’s easy but that’s not the case. It takes a lot of planning and it also depends on how much of work there is to be done. If you want a decent website for your business, it should be made by a professional. Website builders are usually made for people who doesn’t know coding and who wants to have it done quickly. But there are no free meals. Even using CMS have paid features. You can go quite far if you use a free template but it does have its limitations. You shouldn’t believe in commercials that say it doesn’t take long to build a website because that’s not exactly true. You can set up one but when it comes to designing, you need to know what you’re doing.
Before I started to study web design, I thought is would be easy. It wasn’t a drag and drop thing. You have to think how a site is built and understand coding. I’ve used WordPress platform for blogging and learned how to use it. But designing a website is a totally different challenge. Using WP in blogging has been a big help, though. Without that, it would have been harder to understand it. Finding a good theme takes a lot of time and when you do, you have to examine it how much you’re allowed to edit it. It takes a lot of time to explore different themes and to learn how everything works. If you make a site from scratch, it takes even longer since you have to think about code. That’s a different world and I really admire those who bother to learn it and like it. Luckily a web designer doesn’t have to learn all the codes in the world. As long as you understand them, that what matters. Making a good site takes a lot of time and effort.
There are as many different kinds of designers as there are photographers. Both professions seem to look easy and people wonder why they cost so much. It’s not only about a click of a button or dragging a mouse across the screen. They plan, meet clients, photo editing, some need to travel, pay different taxes and so on. Running a business is not cheap. Being creative is tough and you can’t do a job for free. As a beginner, you also have to market your skills and that doesn’t happen over night. It’s not only about designing things, you also need to communicate, manage a project, stay updated for new trends and you also need to update your portfolio from time to time. So before judging how much it costs, think about how much work there is to be done. Designers make a living off their skills and a good one deserves all they get. If I decide to continue on this web design road, I hope my passport is good enough for the journey.