Is it Too Late to Get Started as a Web Designer or Developer?

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Making the leap towards a new career path can be a scary time. Whether it will be your first career or you’re changing careers later in life, there’s always a sense of uncertainty about the future that can put a dampener on what should be (and is!) a very exciting period in your life.

As you peek over the precipice and glimpse what your new career entails and the rewards it can bring, it’s important not to get overwhelmed with the feeling of imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome being the idea that everybody else knows exactly what they’re doing and you’ve somehow ended up in a job by chance, or luck, and it can only be a matter of time before everybody around you realises you’re not up to task.

Here’s a secret – everybody feels this way at one point or another. Even top developers who are masters of their craft will need to resort to a trusty Google search when their mind goes blank and they can’t remember a simple command. Even award-winning designers find their inspiration well running dry on occasion. It happens everybody, it’s just easier to feel vulnerable when you’re first starting out.

In today’s post we’re going to be answering the question we asked in this post title: is it too late to get started as a web designer or developer?

It’s a simple answer: No!

If you’ve read thinkpieces online that say your chosen industry is oversaturated or that a certain profession is a ‘young person’s game, cast them out of your mind and instead focus on your own career goals.

It’s never too late to learn new skills, even seasoned developers and designers will regularly find themselves having to get used to new programmes, legislation and trends. With that said, if you are still a newcomer to the world of design and development then you may be greeted with a steep learning curve, so here are five of our top tips to help bring you up to speed:

Read, Read, Read

First thing’s first, you need to read about your chosen topic, whether it’s design or development. It’s easy to think that a job working with the web is too modern and fast-paced for the printed word but there’s a wealth of informative books and staple texts out there that every new designer or developer should become familiar with.

Even if you don’t read each title cover to cover, it’s worth dipping into them to learn the basics and get inspired. To get you started we put together a reading list for web designers and developers.

Specialise

There’s a whole world out there! From languages to design styles, design programmes and dev environments, if you try to do everything you’ll end up with nothing. Dip your toe into a number of pools at the beginning but then start to streamline what you study and which services you offer. Specialise early on and you’ll soon find yourself becoming a force to be reckoned with in your chosen speciality.

Never Stop Learning

Even if you’re reading this post as a developer with 10+ years of experience under your belt, this one still applies to you. Never stop learning, always be on the lookout for new trends, new programmes to study, new courses to enrol on. The more you immerse yourself in your new career path, the sooner you’ll grow in confidence and skills.

Looking for a course? Earlier this year we recommended ten online courses for web design and development.

Take Risks

It’s easy to stick to the status quo, that’s why so many people do it. However, as soon as you step outside of your comfort zone you’ll start to shine. Instead of always sticking with the simplest solution or design, take a look at your brief from all angles and see if there’s another way of looking at things. Is there some new functionality you can implement to go over and above the client’s request? Is there a new design element you’ve been desperate to try that will help to bring the page to life? Never be afraid to take risks and showcase your individual style.

Stay Hungry

If you find your motivation or inspiration failing you when the hard times hit (and there will be hard times, however much you love your job) just remember why you started. Remember the excitement you felt when you were commissioned to create your first site, and the pride you felt when your first designs were approved by a client.

Don’t forget to keep challenging yourself to ensure you always keep growing and evolving.

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Finally, coming back to our point that it’s never too late to take the plunge into a new career, don’t forget that Vera Wang didn’t consider bridal design until she was forty, and (Colonel) Harland Sanders didn’t launch KFC until he was sixty two!

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