[thelist] HTML is not enough [WAS: A Beginner Freelance Question]

Tom Dell'Aringa pixelmech at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 21 14:22:51 CDT 2004

--- Casey Crookston <casey at thecrookstons.com> wrote:

> Burhan's example is perfect: he needs PHP developers, not simple HTML
> editors.

I'll add my .29 cents to Casey's as well, he is absolutely correct. When I started "back in the
day" (man how overused is that phrase?) I learned HTML, then CSS (what there was of it in 1995,
not much) then JavaScript. But even that wasn't enough to get on ahead. When I began learning
server-side scripting and SQL/DB I became 10x more employable (and got the best job of my career
at that point.)

If you want to make a living as a "web person" I'd say your *minimum* skillset needs to be:

HIGHLY Competent in: Server side scripting - more the merrier (php, asp, jsp), JavaScript
Able to get around (or better) in: SQL, Relational Databases

Depending on what you are going after, you need to know more. If you are going towards the front
end of the spectrum (where I am) you need to know basic Information Architecture principles, sound
UI principles, user experience principles and user testing. You should know how to write and
communicate well. You better know how to *hand-code* to perfection. You better be able to work on
3 projects at the same time - and deliver them all on time. You need to be a problem solver and be
able to improvise and even sometimes innnovate. 

If you want to be more on the engineer side, it's worse :) (Glad I ain't there).

Sound like a lot? It is. Too many people think knowing HTML gets them a cush job somewhere, and
that it's all they need to know (and a smattering of CSS). The reality is the dot com fall brought
about a spreading of responsibility to us web folks. You are no longer in a narrow, tightly
focused position. You now have to be able to hit to all fields.

For people who can do that, there are jobs out there, full time and contract for you. You can make
a living. For those who can't, be ready for a stream of $20/hour (or less) contract jobs and
$21,000 a year job offers and bidding on "freelance" web sites for jobs that will make you

Sorry if this might have sounded like a rant - not intentional :) But it's good to get a reality
check sometimes. I got one early on in my career and it saved me, allowed me to continue working.
You *can't* stop learning! You have to know more than just HTML and even CSS. I'm sure I've left a
lot out. 

For some people this will scare you away - and for some people this will spur you on - I hope your
the latter :)


http://www.Pixelmech.com/ - read my latest blog posting!

John 3:16

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