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February 26th

I mean that the concept of needing a college education to succeed is overrated. I was thinking about that when Barack Obama was talking about making college affordable for all in his State of the Economy speech.

Take my field for instance. I’m just as barely employed as millions of other college graduates. I realized that…

Being a web developer does not require a college education.

Here in Jersey, the entry level wage for web development is $50-60k (though thanks to the recession that has dropped to $40k). These are skills I picked up during my free time in college and the year after that. Looking back, if I knew I wanted to do web development first, I would have create a curriculum that pays itself and finish it under four years. Look, college was 4 of the best years in my life. But did I learn how to be a web developer with my education. If you want to be a web developer (in this case, front-end), follow this plan.

Year One: HTML/CSS (project: build your portfolio and blog. Work on your writing while doing the blog.)
Year Two: Javascript (project: build a jQuery or some other JS library plugin)
Year Three: A templating language. I pick PHP, but ASP, .NET, Ruby on Rails. Your pick. (project: build a web app)
Year Four: Flash/Actionscript (project: build a flash game or site)

You will need the following.

Laptop, Adobe Web Premium pack, a Kindle (with all the books you will need to devour), an iPhone. Hell, go purchase yourself a fake ID and go start a kegger at your “place”. For non-Asian, that would be your rented apartment. For Asians, hope your mom is cool with it.

During these four years, you will be working to pay for all your expenses.

Year One: Work on your own projects.
Year Two: Work for free.
Year Three: Work for peanuts.
Year Four: Work for real money.

By the time you “graduate”, hopefully you will know the “big four” of front-end development, portfolio full of projects, and a bit of work experience. A degree in Computer Science is great if your goal is to become a Computer Scientist, but web developer only requires the actual tangible skill sets.

This is just me speculating how to do my own job. I’m certain there many other fields where one can educate themselves instead of taking a traditional route. If millions of people go out of their way to afford a $10000/year education, I don’t see why more people take this path. It will be like Good Will Hunting but without the psychological issues.

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