CIW training programme

  JohnnyAlucarD 21:55 28 Jun 2003

I am an IT supportworker for my local council at present. I have been considering changing jobs for a while now. I contacted several IT trainers and a company called Scheidegger got in touch with a lot of material for a CIW website design manager course. It lasts 14 months and leaves enough for a Mars Bar out of £3000. Could anyone tell me their opinions on doing something like this, please. I think £3000 is a lot of money, but if it leads to the jobs they say it will - it would be well worth it. I would really, really appreciate if anyone - particularly IN the industry already - had any advice on a yea or nay.
Thanks in advance...

  Taran 23:37 28 Jun 2003

1. The course is good, quite comprehensive, certainly worth doing but in my opinion, not worth the money it costs.

2. If you want to earn a good living, you almost have to be self employed and not working for someone else.

3. No matter what your qualifications are, unless you have the ability to advise and interact with your clients on a commmercial level, offering sound business and marketing practice advice as well as being able to deliver and maintain web content, you're goosed.

4. Making big bucks from the web is harder now than it has ever been and so-called webmasters are fast becoming a thing of the past in terms of the vast salaries they used to command. This is a generalisation but is broadly true nevertheless, at least on this side of the pond.

5. Qualifications are no substitue for experience and vice versa. Ideally you need to have a balance of both to be able to do the kinds of jobs the course would have you believe will be the end result of passing it.

Personally, I don't think that it is worth the asking price unless a parent company is paying it for you. Self-funding through it will not guarantee a startlingly huge salary at the end of the course, but this goes for any qualification.

Think of it like this; how many webmasters/site maintainers are already out there doing variations on a theme ? Some are good, some are bad, but they all have one immediate advantage; they are already in the game. Breaking into this field is harder on an almost daily basis and those who are currently involved in providing web services generally find that they have had to diversify to one extent or another over the last few years. You certainly can't command the prices that people were prepared to pay just a few short years ago for web design or mastering.

If you are happy about tackling the nuts and bolts of at least two programming languages and internet, intranet, general networking, design, implementation and so on go for it. You can do all of that without taking this particular course though.

Keep one thing in mind; the web is built by specialists who work through site designers who can either find the work or who enjoy a position where the work finds them. I call on the services of some very capable freelance programmers for certain projects - especially very large and complex database projects. They charge a healthy premium and so they should given the level of their skills, but they are not full time employees and their services are not often needed. This is despite the fact that I am a software developer and teach software engineering. Quite simply, I can find the projects to work on but sometimes need skills far more advanced or specialised than my own - using languages with which I am not as familiar for example. This is the way of the web and I don't see it changing much.

Sorry if this sounds doom and gloom, but there are no guarantees of the super jobs you could get after doing any course.

I agree with one of your comments in particular; "I think £3000 is a lot of money". It certainly is, with no guarantees at the end in an increasingly competitive markplace.

I'm not saying it's not worth doing, but it is worlds away from what you currently do and no matter whether you are MCSE, MCP, CISCO qualified or whatever, you will have a very steep learning curve ahead of you.

Best of luck no matter which way you go with it.



  bigdamouk 04:44 29 Jun 2003

I was the same situation, I was always interested in doing a web design course and was recommended Scheidegger, The course advisor came round and spent a lengthy 90 minutes consuming several coffees and biscuits!

The course was a Java programming course, entitled 'Webmaster course'.

It was to last any length of time between 7 months and 14 months. The complete cost was £1600 which could be paid in full or split over 6 months which is what I opted for.

I was told that after completion they would find a suitable position, but was explained that those starting out could only expect to earn around £16,000 per annum on average(North west area average!). Then after 2 years that figure would increase (as Taran says, experience is the name of the game!).

The course seemed quite indepth (which is good) but like yourself I thought the amount was quite high. I'd previously imagined around the £700 mark!

I have undertaken the course, but not yet started, due to current work commitments. But Scheidegger have kindly extended my course so I can start anytime now up until May 2005.

I am eager to start and am keen to see if it's actually as good as it looks in the brochures!


  Forum Editor 19:43 29 Jun 2003

but I must.

No course organiser can possibly guarantee you a job as a result of completing a programme, and there are thousands of people who have been profoundly disillusioned after spending a great deal of money and finding that months later they do not have the promised (or half-promised) highly paid job.

read what Taran has said - he makes good sense. I probably receive an email a day from a web designer or a would-be web designer wanting me to give them a job - the market is overloaded at present, and only the best will survive.

  Forum Editor 20:00 29 Jun 2003

and realise that my response may have fallen a bit short of the mark, so here's a little more:

One of the problems facing the UK web design business is that other countries - predominantly the Indian sub-continent - have been flooding the market with offers of inexpensive design. I have been to India twice in the past two years, and I've seen some of these companies at work. The standard is high, and they will produce sites very rapidly to a design brief. The work is done on the basis of 'no satisfaction-no fee'and if you don't like the results you don't pay.

This is bound to impact on the UK market - we can't produce top-quality work at anything like the price. What happens is that UK web designers outsource the work to India, and mark up the results to the client. The client's happy, the UK web design company gets a markup and the Indian company gets the work. The losers are the people who are not being given a job by design companies.

It's a tough world, and it will get tougher. To succeed you need an edge, something you can offer that others dont't have. If you have a particular design flair, or (even better) some pre-existing corporate commercial experience, you're going to fare better, but of course you have to get your name in front of the client in the first place.

To do this you need a showcase - a site that you have lovingly crafted and put together to show what you can do. My advice? forget the course and spend money on software/hardware. Work at night and weekends to gain the skills you need - you can teach yourself pretty well everything you need to know technically. Design sense isn't so easy - either you have it or you don't, but to a degree you can acquire it. Look at hundreds of other sites and absorb knowledge - see what others have done and try to improve on it.

If you can do all that you stand as good a chance as anyone.

  Taran 12:20 30 Jun 2003

I was thinking about this thread yesterday evening since we have had very similar questions before on the forums at one stage or another.

Although it may not seem as attractive a proposition, there is a very budget conscious way of covering everything that many of the so-called high end courses offer. The disadvantage to this method is that the onus is entirely down to you to research your subjects, practice them and develop some kind of working business model in your own time, building up a client base from which to expand on later.

What you do is this;

1. Go to Google and type in the subject of your choice followed by the word tutorial, like this;


"visual basic"+tutorial





You get the idea I'm sure. This will turn up more information than you could possibly hope to cope with in a lifetime and much of it is excellent learning material. There are also subject specific forums online where you can get driect help on any web topic or language of your choice.

2. You practice your skills and learn more about them using the vast and in many cases free online resources that the internet kindly provides for the cost of a dial up connection. As you get better, you can offer a broader range of services.

3. You begin to network with professionals in related IT fields to expand your contact base and meet and get to know relevant specialists - database specialists in particular are worth their weight in gold since most corporate and business sites will require either e-commerce or dynamic content of one form or another with secure channels.

4. Once you begin building your website contracts with clients you make absolutely certain that all the T's are crossed and all the I's are dotted. Early on you can do this by asking friends and family to proof read everything you do (a very good habit to get into), ask them (and us) for constructive feedback on your sites since your earlier efforts will probably need a few nudges in certain directions and listen to everything anyone says about your work, whether you agree with it or not. It's up to you whether or not you want to take anything positive from a comment.

5. Once you have a small base of specialists you can call on whose work you can guarantee (in terms of quality of output within acceptable time frames at a bearable price) you can, as long as you know enough about their subjects, begin to talk the talk and offer the things they can bring to your business, even though you do not directly do the coding yourself. All I'm getting at here is that you have to know enough about the various common alternative web solutions to be able to offer a convincing (and accurate) evaluation of a clients needs and why certain technologies are preferred over others. Why might a PHP/MySQL solution be more appropriate to ne client than ASP/Access or MS-SQL and so on. You need to be able to answer questions in plain English and make sure your answers are right.

Finally, you could do a lot worse than approach the likes of Business Link click here to discuss your ideas and requirements. To find your local branch, go to Google again and type in the following search field:

"business link"+your county name

The advice you get is mostly free from this and several similar organisations. They will discuss all aspects of small business startup with you including grants for equipment, premises and so on as well as your business plan and model and whether or not you are even barking up the right tree or just barking mad.

I wish there had been half as much help available years ago. If there had, I'd have taken a good stab at taking over the world by now...


Hope this helps a bit.

Good luck.


  The Paul 23:32 30 Jun 2003

The tips from FE and Taran (no surprise of course) are excellent.

I've printed off this thread and pinned it to my notice board.

Cheers one and all.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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