Ready to "Go Pro"? Leaving the 9-to-5 Routine

Copyright - Cyber-Aspect.com

Although the title may lead you to believe that this article only
discusses issues involved with leaving your "other job" to
become a free-lance Web builder, don't be mistaken - A Web
builder's job is hardly ever finished, and the normal work-hours
of "9-to-5" will soon become a thing of the past, if you're ready
to take that big step. Web builders can frequently be found in
their offices at odd hours of the morning, and often on
weekends, so don't be too surprised if, once you're full-time in
this profession, you get a call at 2:00 a.m., asking you where you
put such-and-such a file, or what the password for some odd
FTP site is. Computer professionals in general are well-known
for their rather free working styles and hours, as well as often
times not seeing the light of day, for weeks on end. This
becomes especially true, when you have clients in foreign
countries, who operate on time zones different than your own.

Many of you out there are not yet employed full-time in a Web
professional capacity, but are more likely starting out, either as
freelancers, or part-timers for organizations that have
limited Web development needs. But, as time goes on, the urge
to develop bigger, better, and more sophisticated sites will take
its toll, and you may be called upon to make a decision as to
whether to try your hand at Web building full-time or not. In
most cases, builders want to give it a go, and make a full-time
career out of the Web industry. One thing in particular that will
be a challenge, is convincing prospective employers that you
have enough experience, and skill to fill the position being

So, how should you prepare for this, and when is the correct
time to make your move into the Web industry, as a permanent
career switch? To say, "Seven months, two days, and 14 minutes
after you build your first site is the correct timing" would be an
impossible thing to do. Bringing it down to specifics is not a
science, but more like an art, and you'll have to rely a lot on your
own instinct, as well as the self-confidence you have in your
own abilities. Look at the position you're applying for, in regard
to the skills you possess. If you find yourself consistently not
possessing the skill-set sought, then you need to spend more
time honing your knowledge in these subjects. At some point,
you'll see that certain advertisement and say "Hey! I fit all of
those requirements!". Bingo! You've just realized that
the time has arrived.

While you're waiting though, there are several key things that
need to be prepared. First and foremost, get yourself together a
good resume, in HTML format PLUS a text-only format. No
Web development company is going to take a potential job
candidate seriously, when they haven't even taken the time to
prepare their resume in an online accessible format. Likewise,
Web companies have a tendency to request resumes be
submitted via e-mail, and that means having a resume ready in
text-only form. When creating that HTML resume page, make
sure that it is one of the cleanest pieces of code you're created in
your entire development history. Make sure that every browser
can access it, without error messages, that layers don't show up
in 3.0 browsers placed on top of each other at every turn, and
that it downloads quickly and efficiently. Creating dynamically
dHTML pages, with hi-resolution graphics that take
10 minutes to download is a sure way to NOT impress a
prospective employer, and a bad reflection on your design style
and judgment.

But your work is not finished there. Aesthetics aren't everything
and your content will need to back up, what your page design
infers. Pick up a copy of a book, such as "The Damn Good
Resume Guide" (
Yana Parker / 1996) and Harvey Mackay's all-
time great "Swim With The Sharks: Without Being Eaten Alive"
Mackay/ 1996). Read them, study them, and memorize
them. Learn what sells you and your job skills. When the time
comes to present yourself, you'll be glad you did.

Onward with the preparation... Every developer who possesses a
personal portfolio will have a much better chance of getting the
job position they seek. If you've built any type of site, be it a
personal site, or something built on a freelance basis, make sure
that it is available for viewing by potential employers. If the site
was built as a temporary or time-limited site, make sure that you
retain a copy of it, and it is available somewhere, online. A note
though, if you do include personal sites in your portfolio, make
sure that they represent an image of yourself that is both
professional and desirable to prospective employers. In these
cases, it may be better to suppress references to your hobby of
collecting sharp weapons, or your on-going campaign to
convince authorities you WERE actually abducted by an alien.

In closing - The final thing to take into consideration is to be
sure that you are getting your real worth, when being offered a
position of employment as a Web developer. Do your
homework; research the job market, pay scales, and comparable
items that are specific to your geographical location. Don't just
accept any position offered, without first considering what your
OWN requirements of the employer are. The industry is highly
competitive and the right skill-set can mean a huge difference in
the compensation and benefits packages offered.

"Wait!" you're saying, "I don't want to be a full-time employee. I
want to be a freelancer!" Well, in this case, we have one
important piece of advice for those of you wanting to become
full time
freelancers... Stock up on instant noodles. You may
need them in the early days. But, that's another article, and
another month!

Another quality article from the Cyber Aspect & Web Builder
Bulletin team, subscribe to our newsletter by visiting

"IMS Web Tips" ISSN 1488-7088
© Copyright 2000 Virtual Mechanics

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