Can Veteran Web Designers Pick Up New Skill?

Posted on October 2, 2012 by
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As a web designer, there are only a few skills that come to you naturally, Often the learning experience is enjoyable enough that you picked up new talents in an unexpectedly brief time span. For others, acquiring skills can prove to be much harder. Sometimes we feel like our brain simply can’t absorb more information as if this old dog no longer be able to learn new tricks. Fully progressive web designers should overcome mental block and force themselves to learn anything they’ve been wanting to pick up.

Many freelancers have impressive HTML and CSS chops but can’t write equally impressive JavaScript code to enhance their works. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, it is difficult for them to learn new things. What’s wrong? Have they slowly become educationally incompetent? Why is learning so difficult now, when it was so easy early at their career?

It turns out the problem isn’t so much about the education method as factors surrounding the learning process. Busy freelance web designers may need to juggle between three or four projects at any given time. They manage to be highly productive because they leverage on stress level to meet deadlines. If we remove stress from the equation, these professionals are no longer the same people. They are prone to procrastination, distraction and all sorts of mental avoidances that lead to unfinished projects. Without proper stress level, it becomes more difficult to pick up something new and self-guided education attempts can further be disrupted by irrelevant work-related stress.

But sometimes, relevant work-related stress can still help your learning process. Somewhere in the middle of the project, your client may demand minor implementations of JavaScript in the design. If you don’t know jack about JavaScript, you may feel that you’re screwed and as a result, your stress indicators lit up like Christmas tree. You realize that finally there’s no room for getting distracted or slacking off. The situation you client has imposed to you is strictly sink or swim. You are staking your reputation with a long-time client and your only options is to work your butt off.

With proper stress level imposed, you may immediately create a learning outline and do a ton of research. The process could be brutal, but because you have proper background in web development, you should be able to do it. After a lot of work, the fruits of your labor become clear as day and this little victory encourages you to press on. You’ll be relieved to realize that future requests on JavaScript implementations feel much easier. After that, things become much smoother and you really hit your stride.

The moral of this possible story is crystal clear; if you want to learn something, there’s should be something strong that can motivate you, preferably something positively stressful. If you look back, literally all of your notable skills and expertise had evolved along similar lines. You might finally land a great web design gig a few months after graduation from college and found that your college-taught knowledge is insufficient or even outdated, so you had to compensate quickly by researching for latest trends and techniques. So you did.

The trick is simple; find someone who will hire you when you want to learn something new. Nothing pushes you towards greatness quite like fear of embarrassment and failure. Perhaps, this is the more intense learning method you can apply; but there would be an immense amount of pride once you pull it off. Obviously, it is not possible to paint all creative individuals in the web design industry with such a broad stroke. There are also people who quickly fold up like wet origami under the slightest stress.

Even so, no matter what your professions is, most of the time you can find value in the above scenario. Always perform analysis on your skills set and see whether they can still allow you to compete effectively in the web design industry. Something that worked well in the past is very likely to work again as long as you can replicate the same situation. Your goal is to determine the best learning style for your situation, although this doesn’t necessarily mean you should adopt short, furious learning style. If stress-free and much more relaxed setting is much better for you then you should stick to it.

Author :

  • Adam Scott