Inexpensive certificate classes in web design
July 19, 2010 12:45 PM   Subscribe

I need to learn web design - more likely coding - where in the Berkeley Bay Area can I do this cheaply? Are community colleges my best bet?
posted by parmanparman to Education (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
It's free to get started at
posted by jeffamaphone at 12:55 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Previously on AskMeFi. You don't need to take a class to learn the basics; I taught myself using online tutorials and TextEdit in 1995, and eventually parlayed those basics into a full-time HTML monkey job, which I eventually parlayed into a programming job.

(Unless you need a certificate for job hunting/interview purposes, in which case I am not much help.)

Either way, I can't stress enough that you will be very well served by learning XHTML/CSS from the ground up... that is, be able to open up a plain text editor and start typing raw HTML markup. It's astonishing how few people there are (based on my experience interviewing job candidates in 1999, and again in 2005) who can do this, or even understand why it might be a valuable skill to have.

There's always been an unfortunate tendency by companies and developers alike to make an artificial distinction between design and implementation of web pages; good web design is a little of both worlds: Visual design (obviously) and the ability to translate that design into the underlying markup that gets displayed in a browser.
posted by usonian at 1:31 PM on July 19, 2010

Yes, what usonian said. If you really want to take a class, take a graphic design class.
posted by jeffamaphone at 1:32 PM on July 19, 2010

To pick up on usonian's excellent suggestion, you can learn the basics by yourself for free - and it's hugely important to know them, even if you end up using something like Dreamweaver.

If you do well in a classroom environment and want a bit more, though, there's also AcademyX in SF. I've done the community college route, and there's nothing wrong with that, but I did like AcademyX when I took an advanced CSS course from them a few years ago. (I'm not affiliated with them - just a happy customer). It was great (small class, not too expensive, smart trainers, good machines) and I've recommended them to clients etc. Good reviews on Yelp etc., and the courses were very hands on, 'have you practice in the classroom' type stuff, which is awesome for someone who doesn't code all the time.
posted by rmm at 4:01 PM on July 19, 2010

It's very difficult to find an HTML class that doesn't completely suck. Luckily it's pretty easy to teach yourself.
posted by dagnyscott at 4:46 PM on July 19, 2010

Going a step further, teaching yourself has other benefits. Namely, the skills you develop in finding information that is actually useful for teaching you things will come in major use down the line when you have a nagging coding issue that has stumped you for hours and you need to research an answer to it.

People seem to want an easy answer for things but one of the best skills you can have these days is the skill of being able to effectively search for and locate the information you need online. Start with learning that.

And no I won't tell you how to do this...Google it ;)
posted by Elminster24 at 4:58 PM on July 19, 2010

Right Click --> View Page Source.

Get that and a few net tutorials and you're good to go. It is not hard, the fundamentals are VERY simple and everything after that is just neat tricks and research.
posted by GilloD at 6:01 PM on July 19, 2010

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