The path to become a WordPress web designer
I believe ourselves to be very lucky t have been born during these modern times, I don’t think there’s anything out there that can’t be learnt and ,as long as you have the drive for it , you will succeed. About 2 years ago I was unhappily working in the tourism industry, and keep in mind this was after spending 4 years in a university learning about hotels and management! Right now im a WordPress web designer, content marketing writer and digital marketing expert… Things do indeed change quickly in our dynamic world, and you have to accept it is in certain ways reassuring to know you can change paths in life and be successful in your new industry as long as you like it and put the right amount of time in it.
Learning is a complex process, it wasn’t until I finally graduated and started dipping my toes into the professional world that I realised nothing was like they taught us a school. It certainly was a change, and a big part of my ability to adapt to the circumstances was the real working experience I obtained through an internship, an experience I would certainly recommend to any one out there looking for some insight into their professional path in life.
Let me tell you the story of how I managed to completely change my profesional career path while discovering who I really was, and what I like doing. It all starts with an internship in Bangkok…
My internship at Web Courses Bangkok
One of the biggest parts of my professional forming was my learning stretch at Web Courses Bangkok , a small, energetic and innovative design school/agency specializing in web and graphic design. During my 6 months long internship, I was lucky to come across a wealth of knowledge and first hand experience in all things digital. It was truly a great learning experience, again, an experience that showed clearly what I really wanted to do as I grew up into a useful member of society.
I don’t think neither my parents nor my teachers ever warned me about the possibility of making the wrong decisions in my career, I mean, it always seemed easy enough to get good grades, but when it came to the work I often found myself stuck in things I really didn’t enjoy or wanted to do. It took time; I spent about a year and a half working in hotels (a very socially-accepted profession, but one that certainly did not bring me a lot of happiness) before realizing it wasn’t something for me, but what then? And how to even achieve a change that would secure me a job that I liked and that would provide me with a steady income?
I was always interested in computers, the Internet and web design, so it did seem logical to try and change my ways towards that objective (it did also help to notice that our lives ever-more-so revolve around these activities). About 1 hour and 2 Google searches later I had stumbled upon the perfect opportunity for my needs: A 6 month long internship at Web Courses Bangkok which promised to teach me everything I needed in web design, content writing and online marketing, an opportunity I happily took and that, soon enough, would prove to be one of the best decisions I ever made (well that and learning to scuba dive!)
Looking back at my 6 month long internship I can proudly say I learned a lot more than I had imagined I could. Within that time I managed to develop 4 websites on WordPress, wrote multiple articles for the blog, took 3 extra courses (Google Adwords, e-commerce start up and the graphic and logo design course) on top of gaining a lot of knowledge in content creation, video editing and digital marketing. I can even say I edited the video that won Carl the entrepreneur of the year award 2014 (not too bad for an intern eh?), here’s the video in question:
10 months down the road I find myself with a new job in Pattaya at Voova Digital, an SEO and online marketing agency, where I get to practice all the skill I love. Though still not developing as many web sites as I would like (factor which I’m working hard to change), I am extremely happy with my job as I get to do one of the things I love the most: I am officially a writer!
Again, I don’t think I can emphasize enough how crucial is to get hands on experience before you can truthfully make a career decision. Let’s not forget this particular choice will dictate the outcome of (a big portion) of the rest of your life, it certainly shouldn’t be a rushed decision (nor one taken based on monetary gain alone). If there’s any advice I could give you from this side of the looking glass; it would be to relax for a minute, consider those things that make you happy and try to adapt your career to that. It will all be a lot more worth-while as long as you try to keep within the boundaries of your passions.
Since I owe a lot of my retrospection to Mr. Carl Heaton, the managing director of Web Courses Bangkok, it seemed only appropriate that he get the chance to express some of his insightful ideas on this page. Thus, here’s a small email-based interview we made together, enjoy!
Interview with Carl from Web Courses Bangkok.
Would you kindly introduce yourself and what you do?
I am originally from Manchester England. I have been a web designer for about 18 years. I had loved writing from an early age and when my friend showed me HTML I fell in love right away. Now I live and work in Thailand and I founded my own web design school about 5 years ago in Bangkok. When I am not teaching I also work as a consultant for the United Nations and I love doing public speaking at local universities, chambers of commerce and networking events.
What made you decide to set up the first English web-design school in Bangkok?
I worked as a project manager for a small design company and we needed to hire some new staff. I started interviewing people and quickly realised how far behind Thailand was compared the international web design community. I had been teaching since I was 18 and I thought why not start teaching people how to do Web Design to the quality I was looking for. WCB was born and started in my dining room with a small white board and two mates I promised to teach for free.
How important is it for small and medium business to get online?
Nowadays if you do not have an online profile you do not exist. Being online can simply include being on the map, or having a fanpage and does not necessarily have to be a full website. There are many excellent business directories out there that are very sufficient for small businesses. If you grow into a medium sized company than you should have a website that is well designed and speaks well to your customers just like you would expect from a real life employee.
Are people and business adapting fast enough to the online markets?
It all depends on your market. If you are an IT company then every day matters. You need to learn every spare moment you have and I often dedicate at least 1 hour a day to learning something new. Sundays is a learning binge day so I always feel confident we are teaching the latest workflows, skills and facts. The problem I see time and time again is businesses doing “build and forget”. They pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for a website and then not updating it. Would you hire a member of staff and have them sit in a corner for the rest of their employment? Keep learning ever day and update your website as much as you would talk to your staff.
What would you suggest to people in Pattaya who would like to learn about web design and online marketing?
We will be coming soon! We are opening courses in Phuket, Chiang Mai and even Koh Phangan. We have already found a great place to host the courses so we hope to come down and start teaching everything from Web Design to Graphic Design and hopefully Online Marketing as well. Alternatively we have had a LOT of people come up from Pattaya to our courses. They start 6pm and finish at 9pm, perfect timing for the buses that regularly run from Pattaya to Bangkok and back.
In general, how long will it take for someone to be able to set up and run their own website?
If you are using a system like WordPress you can learn it in a matter of weeks. There are lots of websites out there that promise you can learn WordPress in a day but a website is not WordPress it is what you do with it that counts. Learning how to plan a website effectively, learn some HTML so you can update the content properly and then optimise the website takes at least a week. We have a course called “Build it With Us” that takes 3 lessons of 3 hours. In 12 hours you can learn to build a fantastic website that is SEO and mobile optimised. This is working along side the teacher so he/she does all the heavy lifting while you add in your content and learn how to build a site from scratch.
Any predictions regarding the path web design in Thailand should take before reaching international standards?
You need to read websites like Smashing Magazine, NetTuts, SitePoint and wpmanager.org, these are websites that are always at the forefront of what is hot in the industry and worth knowing. The most important thing is to enjoy what you do and then create a website that you feel proud of.