138. Freeform

In this week’s show the entire boagworld production team answer listener questions.

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We were really excited to have all of the boagworld production team in one place. This included…

They came to visit myself and Marcus at the Headscape office, so we thought we should record a show at the same time.

Obviously, the normal format was not going to work with 5 people, so we decided to do something different. This week’s show is a panel based question and answer session. All the questions were submitted by listeners and thanks so much to those of you who took the time to send them in. Sorry we didn’t manage to do them all.

The show was recorded live and so is a little rough around the edges. I apologise if the audio is not up to our normal standard.

Also, because of the somewhat chaotic nature of this week’s show there are no show notes. Apologies to those of you who follow the show in written format. Normal service will resume next week.

Head Conference

For those of you waiting for the boagworld discount to the Head conference, your wait is over (almost!). On Friday 10th October for one day only the price is going to be slashed by 20%. You don’t need a discount code. Just visit the site on that day and buy a ticket.

  • http://www.pistachiomonkey.com Nicholas Morss

    I do think that a University Degree can create a solid foundation for Web designer / Developer, but only with the right kind of Degree. My choice was e-Commerce and Digital Business at Nottingham. It gave me the foundations of Object Orientated programming and new media business. It may have been over kill for what I write on a day to day basis, but it allows me to easily work in large teams and complex projects with ease, unlike some of my peers. Likewise Graphic Design would have been another suitable avenue. Porting either a Computer Science or Design Degree to the current Web is easy enough if you understand the basics as universities focus on process and development rather than current trends and technologies. Of course at the end of the day University is great fun, get involved!

  • http://www.andykinsey.com andyk

    ok firstly i think uni is a valuable step and means you can at least get some job from some company on the web, be that a tiny little agency or not. its alot harder without this kind of qualification to get a job other than freelance.
    personally im still at uni but am starting a new company (well merging my freelance with other freelancers) and also bringing a new generation of design and developers into state and employment, helping those who need it more than others. more about this in a few weeks! in the forum!
    finally @boagworld im andy not andrew :P

  • http://www.sanchothefat.com Robert O’Rourke

    School, College and Uni – whatever it is you study doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s what you end up doing. Education is about learning how to learn. My uni background is virology and immunology but by some cruel twist of fate I’m currently making websites.
    If you’re intelligent enough and find something interesting you apply yourself to it and learn more about it, gain experience, ????, and finally profit.

  • http://www.sanchothefat.com Robert O’Rourke

    School, College and Uni – whatever it is you study doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s what you end up doing. Education is about learning how to learn. My uni background is virology and immunology but by some cruel twist of fate I’m currently making websites.
    If you’re intelligent enough and find something interesting you apply yourself to it and learn more about it, gain experience, ????, and finally profit.

  • http://www.sanchothefat.com Robert O’Rourke

    School, College and Uni – whatever it is you study doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s what you end up doing. Education is about learning how to learn. My uni background is virology and immunology but by some cruel twist of fate I’m currently making websites.
    If you’re intelligent enough and find something interesting you apply yourself to it and learn more about it, gain experience, ????, and finally profit.

  • http://www.philadesigns.com Carl Franke

    This was an amazingly refreshing episode. Although the freeform format can be a meandering disaster, you (Paul) were a great moderator in keeping the ball bouncing equally between each person on your team. The answers that everyone gave were all equally revealing as well. It’s nice to drop the instructionals and news, and to bring in simple discussion with your laptops, seemingly, aside.

  • http://www.boxcarstudio.com Boxcar Studio

    Going to college for a graphics design degree or computer science degree can be very beneficial for a job in web design. But like Robert said, if one is intelligent and interested enough, that person will be able to learn how to create websites as well, even if his/her major was in something like economics. There are so many websites out there where you can glean any information you might need, and definitely, if you were applied enough to building a website, it would get done.

  • http://www.waako.com Tom Bamford

    I completely agree with Paul’s comment how Web Design courses at University are a waste of time. Most of short courses run by Universities, that are meant to be more advanced, are a joke.
    However, if you want to do web design and study something relevant you can study a skill that will enhance your web design skills.
    In my case I studied Graphic Design, as I wanted to build up those skills to improve the quality of my web designs. Otherwise you could do an IT course, chosing the more programming orientated modules as they are quite set. It’s just a question of doing web design projects on the side, and applying your course skills to that.

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  • Marc

    I liked the roundtable format. You should do it more often :)
    With regards to going to university, it’s slightly different for me since I am a developer, but I can safely say I learnt lots on the planning/design and process side of things. Yes we were taught Pascal and Java, and in my job right now I don’t program any of these. I do however use the skills I learnt about how to plan and design reusable components, how to get good requirements down, and how to manage my time. Uni is more about equipping you for whatever you might face in your line of work, so you can pick up new skills easily, rather than teaching a specific set of skills that will be dated quickly.
    I still prefer Java to as a language because I don’t just know how to code it, I know how it works on a low level. Stuff like that has stuck with me.

  • http://www.sellotapeandstring.com Felicity

    A couple of points about why a degree of course is a good idea (I must justify that expense somehow!):
    1. The environment: Whilst it’s true that almost everything can be learned from a book or a website some of us needed the added impetus of a due-date or mark to actually get on with the learning.
    2. The people: Great introduction to a collaborative workplace.
    3. Sometimes whilst the practices may be quickly out-dated the theory and foundation (especially with more technical degrees) is valuable to learn.

  • http://www.seeitdesignstudio.com.au Grant

    I was interested in the comments about courses still teaching table based design. When I began my multimedia course in 2005, we were learning CSS based design only and that tables were not for layout . The college also taught a unit in development for mobile devices, and is teaching units on Flex and AIR development. They are certainly up with technology, and I hope that the places still teaching table design and other old fashioned ideas soon catch up.
    So this is my big plug for Qantm College in Brisbane, Australia (with campuses in Melbourne, Sydney, London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Singapore, Vienna and Zurich) Check them out. :-)

  • Emile

    I am with the University crowd, not just because i am currently persuing an advanced degree in Computer science, but because university is about learning how to learn (O’Rourke 2008). Any person capable of completing a university degree can acheive anything, not to say that those without degrees are useless,on the contrary, some of the best developers i know didn’t even attend community college. But the environment, the stress, the people all these things teach you invaluable lessons that are appicable in any area you choose to work, be it web-design or masonary.
    Personally, i think its about the individual, univeristy or not, its about the persons willingness to learn and apply learnt knowledge.

  • Graham Mccissac

    I was interested by your career advice in this weeks show. In defence of education, I personally would flatly not employ anyone in my studio who has not undertaken at least a design degree. Design is not about learning adobe applications, these are merely tools and can be learnt easily over the 3 years study.
    Design education will teach you visual language and so many cultural references that will place you well above anybody who has not studied. I have worked in the design industry for 15 years, 12 of which in interactive design and the most noticeable difference for me between web design and other design fields is the general lack of visual understanding.

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