Keeping Up In Web Design

September 19, 2006

These days the Web is moving faster than most of us can keep up with. Between work and kids and keeping the family boat afloat, I feel like I'm slipping a bit further behind each day. The list of skills I want to acquire or improve on is a long one...and growing: PHP, graphic design, XML, JavaScript, usability testing, project management, Ruby-- You get the idea. I want to master it all. Perferrably now. The question is how? I would gladly take a year off and spend it deep in study of the Web, but like most working parents, I don't have a lot of time to myself. It's hard to keep up with new web technologies when you feel lucky just to get a few minutes alone in the bathroom. Even if I did have the time for classes, it's a sad fact that most US universities and colleges do not have decent web design programs. So what are the alternatives for busy designers? In the past I often learned best by just jumping in and doing it. With a project I was fired up about, I'd order books from Amazon, read tutorials on the web, ask questions on forums and fumble my way to some understanding of the subject. Recently a small group of us at work decided to get together to share talents--a sort of lunchtime cross-training program that promises to be a great source of learning. How do you stay current with new technologies and keep your skills up-to-date?