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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.