Interviewee

Dan Mall

What skills and technologies should colleges and universities teach students who want to be web designers and/or developers? Why?

I think this answer is summed up in some of the other questions, so, if you don’t mind, I’d like to leave this one blank.

Should students be educated in both web design and development or just one? Why?

Students should absolutely be educated in both design and development. While I think it’s very important to specialize, an education of all disciplines will allow a student to become well rounded. It also allows a student to learn how to work with others with that have different skill sets. For instance, a designer with training in development is less likely to create a design that is particularly troublesome to program.

If you could create your dream curriculum for web design and development, what courses and information would you include? Why? What courses and information now in such programs would you eliminate? Why?

A well developed web curriculum would include instruction of every discipline in the life-cycle of a project. Obviously, that would include extensive training in design and development. In terms of design, there should be fundamental graphic design training as well as digital design classes. Development training should include fundamental programming skills, ignorant of language, as well as specific language-based classes.

However, it would also include knowledge of ancillary skills, such as project management, information architecture, and explanatory writing.

What type of projects do you want to see in a recent graduate’s web design and/or development portfolio?

A graduate’s portfolio should show skill in a particular discipline (or a number of them). It should show mastery of tools: for instance, Photoshop or Illustrator for a designer, or clean coding skills for a developer.

It’s also important for a graduate to be able to communicate about his work and skills, so well written abstracts around the work is a must.

How can colleges and universities keep web design and/or development curriculum current and relevant?

I think it’s important to have faculty that not only teaches, but still currently works in the field, or at least has some way to stay current.. With the fast-changing pace of web field , it’s very easy to become outdated. A teacher that isn’t up to date with the latest standard can very easily be teaching old techniques without even being aware of it.