Twentysix Twelve

A blog by Ollie Wells about web, design, work and stuff.

A little bit of help for some students


“How do you make money?” Just one of questions posed beforehand and hopefully answered at a little talk to some keen students at the Atrium in Cardiff.

My day job is working for an awesome web agency in Cardiff. I’m lucky. I work in an industry that is exciting, changing, and I love my job.

Students don’t know what actually goes on in an agency… not really. So today was a little inside look at how we work.

Our brilliant intern had shown a passion from day 1 to encourage his fellow students to understand that University is safe, protected (plug blog post) but they need to understand what actually goes on in the business side of web design / development if they are looking to progress in the world of work.

No preaching

So that was today. We had a load of questions sent via Facebook, on the kind of stuff they wanted to know. This was awesome, as it meant we weren’t just babbling on selling the company, but actually using it as an opportunity to inform and educate.

Turn out was great. Better than expected.

I kicked off with my bit, and guided them through a journey of what the company I work for actually does, how we get clients, how we keep clients, how we make money and some of the things that aren’t obvious to an outsider that we have to consider on a daily basis.

The hard truth

Then I lifted the lid on the can of worms that was “What you need to know (but probably aren’t being taught)” – note: the parenthesised part was kept from the lecturers present.

Ranging from cross browser testing (and yes, at least look at your site in IE6) to being aware of new trends, technologies and people, it was a quick overview of the kind of things I would personally ask or mention in an interview.

To me, the key message was an amalgamation:

Get or improve a web presence

You say you “love the web” but if you dont exist when I Google you, then I don’t really believe you.

Get “social”

Tweet, blog, add stuff to LinkedIn, rant, rage, express yourself… as long as it’s considered and informative, it shows a passion.

Get a site (better – make one)

In my eyes, you should always have a little bit of the web that is yours. It doesn’t *really* matter what is on there, but shows you’re investing in the web.

Learn, practice, fail: repeat

You won’t get it first time. No one ever has. BUT ITS OK. It’s what you do when you fail that counts. Mark Boulton did an amazing presentation at the Future of Web Design on Learning to Fail. Check it out and you’ll see what I’m on about.

“And over to Dex…”

And so our soon-to-leave-but-far-too-talented intern Sam “Dex” Hoult took centre stage. Amazing job, he spoke of his experience working with us, and what he has learned. He’s blogged about it here so be sure to check it out.

So, all in all a very productive day. Thanks to everyone who attended, and special thanks to Ian Fitzell for organising it, and to Dex for doing his bit.

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