Web and Graphic Design – How I Learnt Everything for Free With One Word

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Most people are intimidated by the idea of learning something new such as web-design or programming, like everything, people take one look at the complexity of what is involved and are generally immediately deterred.

I started learning web-design 10-11 years ago when I was thirteen when “MySpace” of all things had me interested in how HTML works, since I played with many custom pages like I’m sure a lot of other people have. My approach was different, I was young; I didn’t have money for a proper education in web design/graphic design and the such. This is when I found the true power of Google and the word “tutorial”. I remember the very first webpage I ever made was a Pokemon Gameboy Cheats Page on some ad congested free host from way back. I even modified the site counter to a high number so I could show my parents and feel cool haha, that was just a whole lot of copy paste, absolute rubbish when I look back on it now.

I began to look at numerous HTML tutorials covering things such as: Basic Markup, Forms, Tables. They were the three things I knew for quite some time, I knew something, it worked, so why improve? I could have slapped myself when I discovered the power of DIVs and CSS, I made templates in Photoshop sliced them up and even used the HTML file that it would output that was just one giant table with way more pictures than anyone with the appropriate experience would require, I later discovered that tables are practically obsolete and that “I should’ve been embarrassed for using them” as said by an unnamed person in IRC, which he was right. Only ever use tables for data display.

After I had a good grasp of HTML & CSS as well as graphic and template design in Photoshop I began wanting to learn more, looking at all these curious extensions on page names in the url such as.php and?p=products etc, the curiousity of what these were and/or did was overwhelming, I immediately dove into PHP Tutorials the first PHP code I ever created was a website hit counter that wrote to a text file and after playing around with the file functions I was then turned on to MySQL Databases, which was none-the-less exceptional at the time and still is to-date. I had ALOT of trial and error, referring back and forth between the online manual, tutorial and such, most of my problems were bad encapsulation some of which took me hours to figure out that all it was, was missing a simple semi-colon (;) at the end of a variable or a function. A couple years later of learning PHP+MySQL I am now practically capable of creating nearly anything web related.

Along the road I learnt simple Javascript which again was from tutorials, I’m still a bit rough here an there and mainly stick to the jQuery plugin for most of what I need.

Anyway, I was probably about 16 or 17 when I started feeling quite knowledgable in the web development field, I looked absolutely everywhere to try and get a job in the industry but to no avail, I would’ve sent in hundreds of resumes, cover letters and made hundreds of phone calls but no one would give me an opportunity to prove that I could actually get the work done, all they cared about was the shiny certificate saying I could do what I said I could do, In which being self-taught all these years I had no certificate as I never attended college/TAFE or Uni, after half a dozen years of being in and out of employment with labouring jobs, I was finally approached by QLD Trade Corporation to begin work on the websites of their many small business branches, in which I then landed the job “Design Manager of Urban Printing Pty Ltd” in July 2012.

As you can see, even though my road was long, tedious, a bit bumpy and a struggle, “Where there is will, There is a way”, Don’t give up and don’t ever deter from something because it looks difficult, because its not. Don’t look at things as a “whole” look closer, look at things individually and you see that complex things tend to appear more simple.