Silver Dragon Studios: What Now?
Posted on: 21 Jun 2013
"So what are you going to do now?"
This question has been haunting me for some time now. For almost over a year now, I've been relearning everything I've known about web design since earning my NOCN certificate last year. The motive behind it at the time was because I was way, way behind with updating the Realm of Eternal Rain, and I wanted to at least polish up my server-side scripting skills when (and if) I got back to it. That was the initial idea. Later, I expanded upon it and decided I wanted to further my learning in web design in general, picking up a few more books about PHP, E-Commerce, HTML5 and CSS3. I thought at the time that, since I don't have that many qualifications, maybe if I built up a portfolio and offered to build some websites for clients, I -might- be able to get that web design job I've always wanted.
Pretty clever of me to think that, right?
Well, sadly, no.
After showing some friends my websites and asking for advice on how much my rates should be, I was told by a few that my work had no basis for comparison, and that I would be better off working for a web design consultancy agency instead. I was a little shocked and surprised at hearing this, but looking back at my antics now, I have to agree - I have only built two personal websites for myself, both in what little spare time I could muster, and I have zero, as in, absolutely no real-world skills in building a site for a client.
It's a little frustrating coming to terms with the truth like this, though hopefully not as frustrating as what this guy has to go through:
So where does this lead me to now? Well, I've got two options.
Option 1: Continue to build up a portfolio. This is the easier option for me, as I can continue to build sites and improve my skills in my spare time, fitting it around my already hectic schedule. What's more, I won't have to worry too much about meeting any deadlines or specific targets. I've already got two more websites I'd like to make for myself; an E-commerce site with user ratings and feedback - most likely an updated version of PetsOvernight.com - and a fansite dedicated to Applejack from the current iteration of My Little Pony.
Option 2: Look into doing some volunteer work in web design. This option seems better than option one, because it will allow me to work with clients (hurrah!) and build up a list of contacts and references, which will look good on both my resumé and my portfolio (double hurrah!). This also means having to deal with deadlines and meeting client targets - two more things I'm not normally used to, but hey, I'm always on the lookout for a challenge, so there's no harm in stepping outside my comfort zone for a bit, right?
I've not ruled out going back into college/university, as I do not like to pay obscenely high tuition fees, nor do I want to live in debt for the next ten years or so. And even if I did go back and earn yet another degree, the job market is still terrible and my chances of finding a goob job in the field of web design are as high as finding a landmine in my bathroom cabinet. I'm sorry, but this is my choice on the matter, and as stubborn as it sounds, I would much rather go about this my way rather than being told which "correct" route I should go with my life.
So there you have it - my somewhat crazy, possibly unrealistic vision for the future. I still plan on becoming freelance, that is my biggest goal in life, but as I've mentioned before, it's not going to happen for the next two or three years. Not unless I take action now and start planning for it, at least.
Can I make it work? I sure hope so. A lot of it will depend on how much support and patience I can get from my friends and family, especially my uncle who also happens to work in the IT field himself, so that's a good source of possible contacts/clients at least. As long as he doesn't "encourage" me to quit my current job and work in an office before I'm able to put my plan into action, I'm fairly confident that I can make my dream job into a reality.
I just hope that it comes true sooner than later.
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