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What does it take to be a webmaster?

Are we ready for MS in the WWW?

   
1:07 pm on May 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lorax is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Back when I first started in this business 16 years ago, a webmaster could easily do it all. That was before Google came out and Javascript really took hold - heck Netscape blew up when the wind blew west. Anyone that was in the business back then probably remembers how easy it was to play with rankings. Remember the site Google Dances? That was fun.

But now the skills required are far more numerous and each takes significant more effort to learn and master. There are dozens of new script languages, development platforms ways to manipulate what someone sees online, how we track them, and what else we may be doing.

So many different touch points and ways monitoring, creating, hacking, deleting, recording, and abusing data and the delivery structures that I now look at webmastering as I do doctoring. There are general practitioners and then there are specialists. But you need to get the general practical knowledge before you can become a specialist. Too many jump right into a specialty and miss getting a solid understanding of the rest of the skills.

IMHO - if you're going to get into this business you need a solid understanding of the basics of how the web works - really works including the tech structure, black hat/white hat, basics of HTML, HTTP/S, FTP, SMTP, POP, DNS, VoIP, etc.. Both as a user/developer and as a security enforcer. It's taken me 16 years to get to a point where I feel I can at least talk somewhat intelligible about a narrow slice of all of the skills required. I'm on the edge of my knowledge with the rest.

I have to wonder if universities will ever get to the point where they can actually provide relevant instruction on the skills needed. The courses I've reviewed and the students I've spoken in front of were less than what I was expecting. Maybe I expect too much from the up and coming but I don't think so. There's a lot to learn in this field and an SEO/SEM course is nice but it isn't the magic ticket to a career in this business that some colleges would have you believe. It's just too easy to shoot yourself in the foot and many do - often without the slightest clue they did.

SO I propose if colleges and universities really want to get in on the education of our future webmasters, then develop curriculum for graduate levels instead of a hodgepodge of courses under a computer science degree. The first step in moving the web forward and ultimately wielding the power of the web for good is a proper education.
2:06 pm on May 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



IMHO - if you're going to get into this business you need a solid understanding of the basics of how the web works - really works including the tech structure, black hat/white hat, basics of HTML, HTTP/S, FTP, SMTP, POP, DNS, VoIP, etc.. Both as a user/developer and as a security enforcer. It's taken me 16 years to get to a point where I feel I can at least talk somewhat intelligible about a narrow slice of all of the skills required. I'm on the edge of my knowledge with the rest.


Not really. Take FTP...you don't need to know how it works under the surface, just how to use an FTP application or FTP functions. A basic understanding is all you need and if you have trouble with an issue, THEN you can delve into the problem and learn more about it.


SO I propose if colleges and universities really want to get in on the education of our future webmasters, then develop curriculum for graduate levels instead of a hodgepodge of courses under a computer science degree.


The hodgepodge of courses is to develop problem solving, so you aren't a one trick pony who's a great webmaster but not great at other things. What if the future of the becomes completely application driven? Now I've got all these webmaster skills that don't really apply to building apps for the new web portals. College CS classes teach you enough so that it's relatively easy to pick up new skills on the backbone you acquire there...it's not up to the colleges to teach you everything, there's just too much to learn. It's up to YOU to keep learning after college.
2:27 pm on May 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



What if the future of the web becomes completely application driven?

Someone still needs to write those apps. And there's chaos when badly designed stuff becomes commonplace.
4:37 pm on May 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Learning webmastering is like learning to cook. Anyone can be taught the fundamentals and shown how to follow directions, but only the truly intuitive understand the nuances and how to adjust to create a work of art.

Marshall
12:13 pm on May 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lorax is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



All good points.

@StoutFiles - to be clear, I'm not saying you need to understand the technical details of how bits and bytes are transferred per se (though I have found it helpful) but I do think it necessary to understand the concept of the protocols and how they fit into the master schema that is the web today. Just like it's helpful to know some of the server codes and what they mean - even the fact that there are server codes and how a webserver replies to GET and POST commands.
12:32 pm on May 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



I'm not saying you need to understand the technical details of how bits and bytes are transferred per se (though I have found it helpful) but I do think it necessary to understand the concept of the protocols and how they fit into the master schema that is the web today. Just like it's helpful to know some of the server codes and what they mean - even the fact that there are server codes and how a webserver replies to GET and POST commands.


Certain details like bits and bytes are covered in the normal CS curriculum, but yes, perhaps they could offer a more specific curriculum for people who just want to go into web programming/design. I personally enjoy the flexibility of learning the basics of a lot of different things and then being able to choose which topics to delve into on my own time.

I won't argue with you though about college in general is generally a waste of time and money, especially given that a years worth of general classes are forced upon you for "a well rounded education". However, until businesses stop segregating based on who has a piece of paper and who doesn't, this is how it's going to stay.
12:37 pm on May 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lorax is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



@StoutFiles - no arguments here - just exploring the topic. :)
5:54 pm on Jun 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



I would disagree that it's a bigger learning curve. I think overall it's actually LESS complicated than it used to be thanks to online services and all of the Open Source stuff currently available.

The only skills you really need are FTP. On many shared servers with control panels, you don't even need FTP skills as installing WordPress or Joomla is as easy as clicking a checkbox.

Buy a shared server hosting account, upload Open Source software, apply some free or paid template.

Done.

Remember the site Google Dances?

I remember going to actual Google Dances at the 'plex, those were a blast.

But now the skills required are far more numerous and each takes significant more effort to learn and master.

Really?

Linux is still my OS, Apache is still my web server, just 2.x vs. 1.x

HTML is still HTML, just HTML 5 instead of HTML 2

OK, CSS is a big change, but other than that isn't still just HTML and HTML 2 still renders in the browser in case you just want to be retro ;)

Even CSS isn't too daunting when you can grab something like Twitter Bootstrap and cobble together a completely responsive site that runs on anything from desktop to smart phone in less time than it would take to build a web page back in '96.

You just need to know you need Twitter Bootstrap is all LOL.

There are dozens of new script languages

Nobody cares except a few oddballs trying to show off how cool they are by using the latest and greatest crud that nobody has pre-installed on their server so any potential customers can't use it out-of-the-box anyway.

Javascript and PHP seem to dominate regardless of all that other noise.

All these years later LAMP still pretty much rules the web unless you're some corporate developer that likes giving money away to Microsoft for no particular reason.
1:51 pm on Jun 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



So Twitter Bootstrap is the new devastation for web developers?

I'm just curious, since I am now unemployed, and it's time to compile all of my skills into a sellable package and hit the streets. Over the years it's been difficult to land and retain any amount of business being a part timer, but now my time has arrived and it seems like this web thing is a skill that start-ups, small business and entrepreneurs now just absorb as part of the entrepreneur skill set.
7:31 am on Jan 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



hi,
one question is pinching me
twitter bootstrap is good for responsive technology.
but when we check the html 5 validator there is shown 500 to 700 error massages?
if we use this technology then how can we manage these errors?
also these errors effect our SEO effort and Ranking?
what google will consider these errors/ranking etc.?
 

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