DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Competencies Gained

 

There were many situations during my time as a freelance web consultant that I have had to perform new tasks or learn new skills. The term web consultant is such a broad and generic definition that encompasses so many activities that few people would already have prior knowledge of everything they had to do. I have learned HTML, CSS, Javascript, JQuery, server maintenance, graphic design, content management, and the importance of business communication.

There were many situations where a client would request something that I had no prior experience with. For example, I was asked to create print and web advertisements for the New Britain City Journal. This meant I had to learn how to use Adobe Indesign CS5 quickly. I used resources on the web and learned about the differences between DPI for print and screens and how the files needed to be specific resolutions. I learned about the difference between CMYK color for print and RGB color for display graphics. I found that learning out of necessity for a specific job is quite powerful.

Another example of new skills I have learned is a project that I am currently working on. A legal advocacy group had a very large website that they use as a resource for cases and a communication tool for clients and peers. They were using a very dated technique for updating and maintaining the content of the website. An employee would use Adobe Dreamweaver to update pages in a WYSIWYG environment. This process resulted in a lot of formatting problems and wasted time. Also, the lawyers and workers had difficulty finding the documents and information that they were searching for. I suggested implementing a content management system into a new design that would make creating and organizing their hundreds of pages of content simpler. Unfortunately, my experience with wordpress installations and PHP scripts is limited; I had to learn how wordpress uses PHP to track and generate HTML. I also had to learn how to create custom wordpress templates so the design would be tailored to our specific needs. I was lucky that wordpress.org maintains a robust developer community that makes tons of plug-ins and tutorials.

I feel that the future of the web is bright and we will see less native applications and more HTML5 web apps that can run seamlessly across all of our new devices that are being fitted with increasingly more powerful browsers. I am working towards a career in HTML5/CSS3 web development and feel that the skills that I have learned as a freelancer will create a solid foundation for the future. I hope to improve these skills as well as my knowledge of javascript, PHP, VB.net, and mySQL.

The tasks and activities that create challenges for myself all revolve around the collaborative process. I have little to no experience in developing as a team. I can admit that most of my projects had poor planning or were done off the top of my head. I do not feel like I am a poor business communicator, but I do see the need for improvement. I always tried to maintain productive, professional relationships with clients, but did have situations where poor communication on my part resulted in delays and excessive questioning. If I had planned better during consultations, much of these problems could’ve been avoided. On a brighter note, I have absolutely no concerns about my ability to learn and acquire these skills in the future.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.