Tuesday, 12 May 2009

First Year Reflection

When looking back to the begging of the course I can instantly see a huge change. I feel a lot more at home in every aspect of the course, due to many different reasons. I’ve made some good friends for a start which instantly made me feel more at home. Being able to learn through them has been a great help and has taught me that it is always worth asking questions and asking for help. Reflecting back, I realised this was an issue I was pretty poor on so it has been a good achievement for me over the year.

My confidence has been knocked in different directions all year but there have been some huge positive steps that I can take a lot from. Being able to do things I’ve never done before and having the confidence to make mistakes have made this year well worth while. Knowing that without these mistakes I would never have learnt how to overcome them.

I figured fairly early on that this was the right course for me and in no way have my feelings changed towards it, if anything it has been more solidified. The new skills I’ve learnt have even got me using them in my free time because I enjoy it so much. There is always a worry that things may become a bit repetitive, however, with web design you can always branch out and find new exciting designs to keep you eager.

Another major reason why I have stayed so keen is due to the wide range of skills being taught. I was originally under the impression that the course was purely a web design based course, and at first I was even more intimidated when I found out it wasn’t. Now things are completely different because I have learnt so many new skills I didn’t expect to be learning and this wider range of design skills can only be a good thing.

A good example of the wide variety of skills needed for web design can be found in typography. Before starting the course I would have thought it had absolutely no relevance to designing the website, but it has become one of the most crucial aspects of each build. It is these tiny details that we have learnt that make web design to interesting.

Initially I was finding myself a long way behind with the ‘lingo’ around web design. Everyone seemed to be so much further ahead of me from the start, and I had no hope of catching up. Now, however, it feels like I’ve caught up with people and actually have a better knowledge in some area’s which is great for my confidence. It would definitely be something to bear in mind if I or anyone else happened to be in a similar situation again.

My knowledge of coding has been my biggest improvement over this first year. After the simple HTML codes I originally knew, I have now learnt XHTML and CSS to a high stand at which I can produce fully functioning, and professional websites. It is the side of web design where I feel I get most from, and it produces the best final product. I have now taken it on in my spare time and my knowledge of it is constantly growing. This is another positive that solidifies my ever growing interest in the web design industry.

Looking towards the future, there are issues that I need to attend to for next year. In my own opinion the work I am producing is of a good quality but, as I have always been told, there just isn’t enough of it. I’ve found myself still doing things last minute and it has really caught me out. Blends of personal issues and plain laziness have caused a number of referrals, and a referral in the final project. I find it frustrating because I know what I can achieve, and with a well structured plan of action in each assignment there should be no referrals.

I believe for the second year that certain challenges and tasks must be overcome to say it is a fully successful year. After major issues with confidence this is an aspect of the college life that I would like to rid myself of, so I can stay fully focused on the work itself. This is because I sometimes find myself avoiding things that would be very useful in my learning.

Next year there has to be huge improvements in all organisational aspects of projects, especially with a group project coming up, where I need to perform for the rest of the members in my group. The work load is going to be much greater than this year also, so to keep on top of my work there has to be strict time keeping on my part.

I first set out with the goal of mastering every aspect of web design, so one day I could start up my own business. This has become more of a reality now that I have the tools to progress in this industry. I have been using my new found skills outside of college to produce websites, and things already seem to be going well for me. So this is a goal I can really aim for in the future.

I aim to produce my work strictly on time, with weekly time management to ensure this.

I aim to receive no referrals in the second year.

I aim to get at least two merits.

I aim to improve my ever growing knowledge of design.

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