1. Did you, at any point, consider not going to school for web design/development? If so, what factors caused you to take the plunge? Was the cost of attendance a big issue?
"I always considered going to school for development, Computer Science in particular. I saw the University as a way to bolster the fledgling development and design skills that I had, but also as a way to enrich myself in other studies that were never taught in primary education. A major factor is that piece of paper that they give you when you successfully graduate. While a portfolio is of utmost importance in finding employment, be it with a firm or as a freelancer, I find that the diploma and going to University helps perk up the ears of those that may know nothing about our field."
"The cost of attendance was a big issue. I knew this when searching for the right place to go, and so chose what was within my means. I'm not sure how it works in foreign countries, but in the States, we have residency rates for public schools. I can consider myself lucky that I had a great University, at a very cost-effective rate, right down the road from me."
"Web design and development have always been areas of focus for most of my life; so at no point did I consider not going to school to further my knowledge of the subject. At no time was attendance cost an issue."
"I really didn't have plans to get into web development. I had taken programming courses in high school and knew I wanted to do something with Computer Science. As I progressed in Computer Science studies, I realized that the college curriculum had not kept up with the real world needs of programmers. The future is obviously in web development, as more and more applications move to the cloud. Universities are struggling to keep up with this shift, and continue to teach traditional desktop application development. Of course, the fundamentals apply across both areas, and for those teachings I am thankful. I never considered not going to school. However, I didn't finish :)."
"I attended university on the Gold Coast, Australia. There were no web design related courses, so I studied for a degree majoring in graphic design. I always planned to go to University. Unfortunately, I found that, at the end of my degree, I did not learn as much as I would have hoped -and believe the price of the degree was not worth the cost."
"Still to this day, I feel I can quit web school at any time. I have always felt strongly, believing clients choose a designer without even thinking about his degree. If you have a killer portfolio, and no degree, you have a much better chance over the person with a degree and a portfolio that's garbage. With that in mind, I chose to do both - have a good portfolio and a two year degree."
"Back when I first decided to study, there wasn't any doubt in my mind that I did not want to study a form of web design/development. The first factor was having a degree under my belt - I enjoy learning. The cost for the degree was a little daunting, but I knew that with a degree behind my back and the passion I have for this industry, I would be okay when I graduated."
"I went to University to study Mechanical Engineering with the dream of designing roller coasters. After a year, I wasn't getting along with the course, so I changed to Computer Science. That seemed like the logical choice as I already had a grounding in programming from learning PHP to write a pretty heavy personal website (about roller coasters). I wasn't sure at the time where this new course would take me, but the answer was certainly not a career in web development."
"Actually when I started my first job, I had no drive to go to school as I had self-taught myself so much already. I was also told by my boss that some of his best employees had been self-taught. About a year at this job prompted me to finally look at going to school to further my current knowledge. The business was going downhill, and I figured there was so much more I wanted to learn. It was tough finding my own time to learn stuff after my full-time job, and knew that dedicating a year to learning would only benefit me in the years to come."
"Cost of attendance was definitely a factor in deciding where I was going to go. Funny enough though, I picked the most expensive route. I did this because it earned me a University level diploma over one year, as compared to a college certificate which doesn’t have as much weight to it. The one year time-frame also appealed to me, because of how technology changes rapidly. Taking a two-year course could mean that the first year stuff might be outdated by the time you graduate."
"I graduated in 1999 from RIT. When I was about to enter school, the web hadn't really taken off yet. I went for Computer Science, then eventually switched to Information Technology. By 1996, the web had exploded. I think I learned more on my co-op at the time on web development then I learned in the class room. Only the concepts were relevant in the classroom - the languages and the techniques weren't."
"Fast forward to today and I am in charge of hiring interns from RIT for 6 month rotations in our company. I see a lot of resumes. They all look the same. The ones that stand out are the ones that do outside work on their own."
2. Many students have personally emailed me stating that their web dev classes do not cover the latest technologies. Have you found this to be true?
"I find this statement to, unfortunately, be very true. Encounters with current/recent students, along with my own experiences, demonstrate that the education received is not up to date or even on par with the last decade. Changes and standards introduced in the last few years are relatively nonexistent from the curriculum which often leads graduates to either discover current practices on their own or find work where current developments are a radical way of thinking."
"An example is a student who came to me for advice on design and development. When asked about tableless design, accessibility or valid code, this student informed me they had never even heard of such topics let alone covered their basics. Overall it was a disappointing experience to listen to - and unfortunately not a unique experience."
"I feel that the Art Institute of Dallas covers a variety of topics and provides the foundation to learn about the latest technologies. Let's face it, in this career field of web development and design, the information given to you at THAT VERY PRECISE MOMENT is old within a matter of minutes. It helps you to actually develop a PLE and research information on Web Standards as well as what one can expect from the program! I learned to develop my Personal Learning Enviroment and gain RSS Feeds from important areas - as a matter of fact, I found Nettuts+ through researching on my PLE. I am not like most students, I keep my eyes peeled and sharp to current technology! I hope to make many advances in the world wide web in a few years."