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How to get started? CDIA?

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  • How to get started? CDIA?

    Long story short - I've had a bit of exposure to web design / development and love it, and am very serious about taking the next steps to pursue a career in this field. I have a degree in communications, which relates to the job I've had for the past six years.

    My first thought was to go back to school in the DC area. I've been looking at two certificate programs; one is at BU's CDIA program in DC. But now, I've started to hear some really negative things about CDIA, and feel like I'm back at square one in terms of how to get started in this career. Do I move forward with another school? Do I self teach?

    What I liked about the CDIA program is that it was an intensive 8 months, and seemed so comprehensive, with a focus on everything from mobile development to WordPress to Java to MySQL. All of the other programs I've found so far seem to just touch the surface of what CDIA promises, but from other students I've heard the instructors aren't great and it's not all that is promised in the fancy brochure or website.

    So my questions to you:
    -Have you heard anything about CDIA?
    -Can you recommend any schools in the DC area - or online - that you know of to have good programs or one-off courses?
    -Any thoughts on self taught v. going to school - I know there are a lot of posts in here on good books that I plan to browse through.

    I don't necessarily care about having a degree (and frankly would rather not be in school for the next two years), but I do like the idea of a program where I can meet others starting out, get feedback and help from instructors, and have some kind of structure to follow.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    I can't speak for someone with CDIA's experience, but I can speak of my own personal experience doing a certification program in Cali (still completing...)

    pros:
    - Meet other people pursuing same goals; network
    - Collaborative environment with feedback and support
    - More stimulation and for many people, a structured environment helps

    With that said, I come from an entirely unrelated background. So the classes I've taken (fundamentals) have been useful...up to a point.

    Cons:
    - I don't think its as rigorous as a degree...teachers seem 'meh' about the quality of student work. But I think its the case in any art school, it seems. This sucks because for the price you pay for each class, you'd expect the teachers to be whipping your ass...but no.
    - Expensive
    - Certificate doesn't mean you'll land a internship/job

    In my experience, I do think employers like that you're working towards something...but its the portfolio they look at first. Always. I've been self-teaching myself for the past few months now, and its hard getting the motivation to keep pushing yourself without the stimulation you find in the classroom. But being in a classroom doesn't mean you'll produce great work. So you need to ask yourself: do I have the discipline to sit myself down and read through books/browse through forums, or do I need a structured environment?

    The teacher teaches you the BASICS (which you can find online).
    YOU have to figure out how to take the basics and make it AMAZING, in your own time.

    You could always take 1-2 courses to feel it out at first.

    Also, this forum is FILLED with useful information. USE it.

    If you have money, sure, why not. A certificate program won't hurt.
    If you don't, its totally doable to be self-taught in design. Discipline is key.
    Last edited by jujumui; 11-15-2011, 01:04 PM.

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