The WebMaster Course

Although I could read half a dozen books or go through a load of online HTML and CSS learning websites of dubious quality, I felt I needed something structured to make sure I do learn the basics from the ground up. So I enrolled with the Distance Learning Centre’s Webmaster Course (available from a few providers). Some online sites warned against the rigidity of many of the courses out there and to a degree they’re right. The course is delivered through a DVD containing 10 lessons of 4-8 hours each, which you can do in your own time. By the end of the 10 lessons, I had built a basic website. I started the course  in January, and intend to go on to the WebMaestro course afterwards which is a more advanced follow up.

It is clear from my reading  that web standards are constantly changing  and that the course is already a bit dated (dating before HTML5 and CSS3), but I’m aware that there are newer standards and newer ways of doing things, so I guess it’s not so bad. It’s important to be aware of this though and I certainly wouldn’t rely on the course alone. Back it up by reading some books from your local library or buy a couple of books on HTML5 or CSS3.

The course is a bit old-fashioned and in some ways I feel like I have learnt how things used to be done. I laid out  web page using tables (didtinctly not the done thing these days) and used Photoshop to create rollover buttons  (now more easily done using CSS if you are sticking to basics). Still, I’m glad I have completed the WebMaster course. I have designed a website – for an imagined seaside gift shop – and now know the basics. I’ve played a bit with DreamWeaver, Shopify an other bits if software and I have started to get to grips with JavaScript too, which is where the WebMaestro course kicks off.

Notepad++ and Paint.net

If you do the course, download Notepad++.  It’s a big improvement over the basic text editor, Notepad, which comes as standard with Windows, and which the WebMaster makes you use as a default. By using colours to display codes and attributes (e.g. the <P> tag is displayed in blue), it makes it a lot easier to see what you are doing. I’ve also downloaded, paint.net, again, an improvement over the standard Paint you get with Windows. I got to play a bit with DreamWeaver  in the course which was great but it’s best to try to work through the course  learning raw code to really get to know it – so avoid any fancy web software and stick to basics!

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4 thoughts on “The WebMaster Course

  1. Hey Longman! Good to see another person that has taken up the challenge of becoming a web designer for 2012. I myself started on a self directed distance learning course, through mindleaders.com. The content I have gone through is, like yours, slightly outdated, but doing the additional research has helped in inspiration, motivation and overall vision of what can be achieved with the given tools.
    I have read a few of your posts, and I am well impressed with how you have approached the whole blogging aspect. It might be an attribute of your librarian skills, but your goals and overall messages are nice and concise, opposed to my own endeavours in writing. Maybe you have a hint or two to share? Good work, thanks!

    • Thanks for your comments. It’s very encouraging to get some positive feedback as it can seem like it’s a long road I’m taking. The blogging does take time but I see it as a part of building my brand, and I like to think I can can write well. It also helps that I have so many questions to ask at the moment so am always looking things up. Thanks also for the JavaScript suggestions – that’s where my attentions need to turn to next!

      • I meant to also wish you all the best with the course . One reason I’ve been blogging so much is that I’ve been neglecting the course and also designing my own website.

      • Thanks, mate! Good to hear you’re getting into it and using your newly acquired powers! I have been doing the course way to much, and kind of neglected the practical part; only using the practice exercises. Eventually got a pissed of with the course, as some of the material is over a decade old, and almost irrelevant, if not invalid. Im changing the direction and jumping in to the practical now, with some up to date resources. All the best to you, too. I am following your blog to keep updated with your progress – conveniently documented.

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