I want to design, or code, or something OR a Toronto guide to getting started as a web professional

Everyone who’s written any flavour of code for long enough (ComSci degree be damned) will say they are self-taught. My start was at Fanshawe College in a program that I just Googled and found no results. It provided me with what I call the ‘General Arts and Sciences of Multimedia': HTML4, CSS2, the Adobe Suite, video & audio recording, and 3D Studio Max. To make use of these skills, I sought tutelage from a programmer friend (to whom I owe much of my career trajectory to) for the basics of how to use PHP to create, read, update, and delete fields in a MySQL database. The rest is history.

At that time, people would glaze over with disinterest at my work, or they believed that I am a magic wizard. Since then, it’s come to be that most people have looked at HTML code and some kinda get it. Furthermore, people have realized that design and development extends beyond just punching code. And, that it can be a creative and lucrative skill, resulting in a job where there is always beer in the fridge, and a dog greeting you at the door. People want in. But, where to start?

No jokes, coding is another language and you have to immerse yourself in it. If you aren’t one to write code, then you’re going to STILL have to immerse yourself in the tools. And, learn some basic code skills. All the drag and drop “UX prototyping” tools in the world won’t help you understand how things are built. And if your fancy yourself a designer, you better learn Zurb Foundation fast and start ‘designing mobile first’ right away.

Here are the resources I would recommend to anyone in Toronto who is looking to get started. And my advice is to throw yourself at it. This isn’t a dabbler’s sport anymore. There is too much to learn. And relearn. And tweak. And rewrite, redraw, reinvent. First, before you go to any school – get an account with an online training platform and get a start. Then, get into a community. Make a project. Read documentation. Attend meet-ups. Join newsletters. And then, maybe, you’ll want to get some formal training. Maybe.

Here is a Toronto centric list of things to get you started:

Online resources:


Some reading: