Hear me now and believe me later

This blog post is about advice I'd give to aspiring webmasters. I'm going to try to lay down my honest thoughts here. If you are an aspiring webmaster, you might find some useful nuggets. If you are in a position to give advice to others, you might also find this interesting, if only to spark of discussion or actively and violently disagree with me.

I'm sometimes asked what advice I give to aspiring webmasters as they learn how to code and design. I always try to make up a new answer on the spot so that I can look smart, but the truth is that I don't really remember what I say from one time to the next. When I lecture and/or teach, I tend to fall into a stream-of-consciousness speaking style, and I don't really have a set script I follow. But today I had a unique opportunity to really gauge myself, and listen to what I said; today I started instructing the next cohort of Toronto webmasters in the art of code-fu...

The first day is always an interesting time, because what I invariably see are 15 or 16 highly gifted people, but they're clean slate in the sense of prior experience and expectations. They don't know who the W3C is, but they also don't use the <font> tag. They don't know about the Web Accessibility Initiative, but they also don't layout their pages in a soup of <td> elements. In short, they are starting their education without the baggage of years of bad habits and mis-information.

So today I made a concerted effort to not censor myself, and keep track of what I said. I wasn't totally successful, but I made a series of notes at the end of the day, which I present here for reference, review and general interest.

So there you have it. A few gems, straight from my stream-of-consciousness to yours. Oh yeah, one more thing... the title of this blog post? It was an homage to Hans and Franz ("We're going to PUMP - YOU UP!"). What advice would you give?

This entry was made on and filed into Education.


Frank wrote on


Cliff Persaud wrote on

The only other thing I would suggest it to become active in the webdevelopment community; contribute to forums and online discussions.  They’re a great way to stay on top of current trends and can be a useful networking tool.

Derek wrote on

Great point Cliff.  I thought of one more that I feel compelled to add to the list.  Its a technical one: "learn about, and take advantage of, the "cascade" in <abbr title=“Cascading Style Sheets”>CSS</abbr>.

Michael Wilson wrote on

Derek was my webmaster teacher and it is a pleasure to read this blog because I am always endeavouring to learn more.  I like his idea about redesigning my personal site again and I think that is going to go to the top of my to do list because I have not updated my personal site in years - it was designed before blogs and CMS.  BTW, is Mambo better than Drupal or Ignite?