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Web Developers Union
aeramas

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4039974 posted 9:03 am on Dec 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Is there a union, guild or alliance of web developers? Mainly for freelancers of course, but actors have SAG, AFTRA, AEA, CSA, DGA, etc. These unions provide health insurance since there is a larger group of people to chip in, as well as other benefits (401k, standardized working conditions, legal help, etc. ). Is this something that is feasible?

 

piatkow

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4039974 posted 11:26 am on Dec 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

No idea but it would be country specific. It would help if you said where you were then somebody might suggest a suitable organisation.

aeramas

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4039974 posted 6:54 pm on Dec 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

I am in the United States.

rocknbil

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rocknbil us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4039974 posted 8:45 pm on Dec 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

This is a great question, and I wish there were. There are many self proclaimed "validation organizations" (for lack of better words) and the only qualification to join: show me the money. Some of them don't even require any sort of testing.

I think there will continue to be problems in effecting any sort of union or validation standards for the web because the standards by which skills are measured are always changing. The W3C doesn't "govern" anything, it's still all just recommendations.

And by the time you get "trained" as an "expert" in a thing, it changes. But some sort of solid certification should be organized, though I've no idea how it would come into being.

aeramas

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4039974 posted 8:48 am on Dec 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

well, if we were to organize something like this, we take someone who has passed some sort of test or cert in a given area, such as the php+ cert or maybe an ASP class, that fully understands the language. Have them develop an exam that encompasses over all knowledge and mastery of the language they are testing for. If the individual were to apply, they would need to make a certain grade on three different languages in the field and submit verifiable proof of their basic mastery skills in their chosen field, (i.e. have them take an exam in php, xhtml/css, and submit a website of their choosing that they developed). In the test, have them draw up a specific site off the top of their head that shows they have a good knowledge of hte constructs of the language. And of course, pay the required dues. (SAG, requires first six months of dues up front, which they base on your total gross acting income, but not your part time job or your real world job as they call it.)

If we get enough people involved in the group, insurance would cheaper, we could offer credit union, 401k etc. I know Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is better than BCBS of Texas. Coporate McDonald's gives BCBS of Illinois, regardless of what state you live in, I also worked for the state of Texas.

In order to get enough people involved we may have to incorporate other groups such as video game developers or even the programming community as a whole.

rocknbil

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rocknbil us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4039974 posted 8:08 pm on Dec 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

take an exam in php, xhtml/css, and submit a website of their choosing that they developed...

Just a few ideas to explore. I've given this a little thought since the first post. :-)

And who would "set these standards?" By which benchmarks? Using the quote as an example - let's say I ace the test for an XHTML class.

But none of my pages use XHTML to it's advantage. All my pages are vanilla HTML (save for the funny extra />'s on empty elements.)

Fast forward to 2012 (lol . . . if we're all still here by then . . .). HTML5 is the new "standard", which really isn't a standard, as there's no enforcement in the first place, it's still a recommendation. So what good is my XHTML cert?

I've been down this road in other technologies, I used to be a certified Novell Network Administrator. Which does what good now? Very little, except in the small niches where it's so deeply ingrained in a system it's more expensive to change to something else. Very few are still using Novell (to my knowledge.)

Second place I've "been here," there are specific freelance sites where "skills tests" are offered for various fields. I've taken some of these and it's like a "javascript trivia test", for example, where some of the questions are so obscure you would never use that knowledge in daily work. It's no indicator of how well you know the technology, not at all, it's only a testament to how good you are at taking tests.

I'm not knocking down the idea, I'm just saying I don't think testing is the answer because you're going to get a wide variety of opinion on what would make a good benchmark for "testing." And it changes so fast, those benchmarks move on you.

I think a better approach might be an internship of sorts. Providers and client companies alike are invited to join the internship program, regardless of how many years they've been doing it. The client companies are motivated to participate by the one thing everyone cares about - rebates or monetary awards on their projects.

So an intern brings a client project into the program, and the project is developed and published. A "governing board" is provided access to the project live environment, and the live project is reviewed on a series of checkpoints. These checkpoints will vary from project to project, that is, a five page static web site will be reviewed for one set of checkpoints while an ecommerce site has a whole different set of checkpoints.

The project has, say, an overall possible value of 100 points which are distributed among the checkpoints of the project. In the above examples, the five page web site might have ten checkpoints, allowing ten points for each checkpoint, the ecommerce site might have 20, allowing for 5 for each checkpoint. Each checkpoint is scored and totaled.

To move to the next level, intern->master - or even, intern->professional->master - the intern must score 1000 points in a given period (or maybe, no time period, it will just take them longer if they have a slower work load.) a page is issued, and the statistics are displayed - "achieved professional status over five projects in 3 months, average score per project: 82 points - B class." This could give prospective clients an idea of comparisons, this provider pulled their 1000 points in 3 months, it took this one twice as many projects and 8 months. Provider A has an average of 82 points per project, class B, but although provider B took longer has an A class with 92 points - slower but better overall.

This could have awesome implications for the "quality of the web." The governing board could issue recommendations for each of the scored checkpoints. At the approval if the client, the provider could make corrections, re-submit the project, and be re-scored. Of course the requirement here for clients would be that they are willing to pay for these updates as part of the program participation, but they would also understand why this is an important step.

Obviously this would require a lot of resources, man/woman power, and at some point someone is going to have to be elected to make critical decisions, which is maybe why nothing like this was ever assembled. If you've ever dug through any of the mailing lists for the various HTML drafts, you will see what a power struggle it is just getting anyone to agree on a minor point. :-)

aeramas

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4039974 posted 4:11 am on Dec 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Definitely a lot of merit there. How many people would be interested in the group? That is the question. All of this is under the assumption we will have at least a hundred people up front.

httpwebwitch

WebmasterWorld Administrator httpwebwitch us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4039974 posted 4:38 am on Dec 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

>> nothing like this was ever assembled

Actually several so-called certification organizations have existed for webmastery, but none ever caught on with the ubiquity of a certifying body. Some were training courses, so what they offered - though they called it a certification - it was actually just a diploma.

Microsoft has certification programs, and their designations do carry weight in the industry, especially if you're in IT working with high-end Microsoft products. If any organization were able to create a simlar program for the WWW, it would be the W3C.

I was a member of the "HTML Writer's Guild" once upon a time. That was so fake, it was a kind of joke. I had the certificate framed and hung it in my cubicle for many years.

Come to think of it, I know one other "organization" with the clout and authority to offer certification. It's WebmasterWorld. I could imagine a grass-roots certifying body could emerge from this forum and its members, if interest and demand were sufficient.

rocknbil

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rocknbil us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4039974 posted 6:52 pm on Dec 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

"HTML Writer's Guild"

LOL . . . but it felt great to be one of the glitterati, didn't it? Until you realized it was nothing more than a label . . . I'm not admitting to ever being a member. Honest. Really. I mean it. :-)

Yeah Microsoft can do that because those programming their servers have a set of standards that MS can issue because it's their software, their technology . . . there is a control of sorts which, oddly enough, hasn't eliminated many of the problems. But it's something, a standard to follow set by a governing body.

But there's no governing body for "everything else."

httpwebwitch

WebmasterWorld Administrator httpwebwitch us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4039974 posted 7:04 pm on Dec 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

steering back to to aeramas' original question:

>> These unions provide health insurance

Contact your local Chamber of Commerce, they'll set you up right

arieng

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4039974 posted 7:22 pm on Dec 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

The Web Analytics Association has taken on some real authority on the analytics world. It even partners with a certification program.

Fortune Hunter

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4039974 posted 3:13 pm on Dec 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

And by the time you get "trained" as an "expert" in a thing, it changes. But some sort of solid certification should be organized, though I've no idea how it would come into being.

I doubt this will ever change. This same question has crept up many times in the consulting arena as there is no certification to call yourself a "consultant" either. I do recall there used to be a Certified Webmaster cert you could get a while back if you completed a bunch of exams, but I am not sure whatever happened to that. I am guessing it never caught on as I haven't really heard much about it in the last several years.

Regarding the original question, I would agree with a suggestion above about contacting a local Chamber of Commerce, mine offers insurance as well as many other benefits. Also aeramas asked in regards to freelancers. There are two organizations for freelancers and self employed individuals, just do a Google search and they should pop up. They both offer insurance buying opportunities as well as other benefits.

phranque

WebmasterWorld Administrator phranque us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4039974 posted 3:17 am on Dec 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

there is a "freelancers union" which you should be able to easily find and does group insurance among other things. assuming us-only...

rocknbil

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rocknbil us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4039974 posted 8:10 pm on Dec 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

That's awesome! But where were you on December 9th? :-P

Checking this out, never looked at it before . . . but it doesn't appear to provide any sort of certification, which I guess is really a separate issue than the O.P. Good thing, too, looking at the site. :-)

aeramas

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4039974 posted 10:32 pm on Dec 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

what about w3schools? Do they have any merit? Or does the disclaimer at the bottom count them out as a viable option? Has anyone taken any of their certification tests? I use them for reference points, I definitely do not want to endorse them in however.

[edited by: aeramas at 11:08 pm (utc) on Dec. 17, 2009]

aeramas

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4039974 posted 11:04 pm on Dec 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

I just checked out freelancer and they offer insurance and 401k, but it is for all industries, nothing in the IT field specific.

Fortune Hunter

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4039974 posted 11:51 pm on Dec 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

but it is for all industries, nothing in the IT field specific.

I am not sure this really matters. A 401(k) plan is pretty much the same no matter where you go, it is who manages it and selects the investments as well as the overall market that determines how good it is. Health insurance won't be better simply because it is for IT freelancers vs. all freelancers.

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