What is a Web Professional

We are about to start the Spring, 2012 semester where I teach. Our college [Illinois Central College] has been recognized as a Web Professional Academy since 2006 (when the Web Professional Program began). Before we start the semester, I though I would reflect on what it means to me to be a web professional. I look forward to your comments (please place them below). Note that I must approve all comments due to the vast amount of spam comments received.

So, what are the characteristics of a Web Professional?

  1. They make a concerted effort to constantly learn. Anyone who has worked with web technologies for any length of time recognizes that our field changes daily. There is always some new technology which can be employed to better address client problems. Part of this learning is that we must also unlearn and relearn. This is something I try to convey to students every semester. If you think that you already know the answer to a problem, stop and do a little research. Chances are that something has changed which will impact how you help solve a client’s problems.
  2. They stay in contact with other professionals. Whether this is through the use of social media (like Twitter, Google+ or the like) or via participation in conferences or some other means. Our field is rapidly expanding and it is impossible for any one person to stay on top of all the changes. Being in contact with other professionals often helps me decide where to focus my efforts at continual learning.
  3. They give back to their community. Yes, I spend a lot of hours serving as Director of Education for WebProfessionals.org and as an Adobe Education Leader and user group manager. However, I have found that it is through these interactions I often meet incredible people and establish lasting friendships with people throughout the world. I also find that these contacts help me learn where to focus my efforts (ok, this is also covered in my second point). From a selfish perspective, I have found that I always get back so much more than I can contribute when I help others in the community.
  4. They understand their short comings and make a concerted effort to improve. We all have faults and blind spots. We need to recognize that and actively work at improving. If a deadline is missed, fess up to it and apologize (if necessary). Make a concerted effort to never make the same mistake twice. Always strive to improve (every day).
  5. They give credit where it is due. We can not be masters of everything, but we can identify best practices and recognize those who have helped us.

What are your thoughts on what it means to be a web professional? I look forward to your comments.

8 thoughts on “What is a Web Professional”

  1. This is a great insight to what a typical web professional is.

    I spend about equal time learning and researching as I do actually doing work. Rolling in community and giving credit, social media has made it incredibly easy to network with, and mingling with others in your field. Social media has also created a rich venue to share your own work, as well as find new techniques and projects others are working on.

    Perhaps a subset of learning, could be tinkering. I do enjoy just making little things to play with expanding my knowledge and trying to poke the box in my field.

    Another part of being a web professional is anticipating failure, and determining how to overcome various problems that you run into.

  2. Great insights about tinkering and anticipating failure. I probably also should have added – test your work before saying it is ready.

    Best,
    Mark

  3. I think it would be possible to generalize this and remove “Web” from the title – “What is a Professional”.

  4. Great points Mark! One additional attribute that can be found in a true web professional is an understanding that it’s ok not to have all of the answers, all of the time. In our rapidly changing field, it’s impossible to keep abreast of every new trick or even all of the best practices in a given area. There is some credibility automatically assigned to an instructor or to a consultant who isn’t always 100% certain. This characteristic can be a catalyst for students to self-learn. Parker Palmer wrote a great book on this subject called “The Courage to Teach” which I highly recommend.

  5. Bob – Excellent points. I seem to recall reading that book at some point. Will need to review it again (middle aged memory).

    Best,
    Mark

  6. In my opinion this post should be titled What is good professional but to say I am professional one should be recognized as professional or he must be able to live, on other words to earn money from his professional skills.

  7. Hi Bojan:

    Excellent points. We should also always strive to do our best and showcase our work. Many thanks for your comments.

    Best,
    Mark

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