Career Quick Look
Technology, Graphics Concentration, Walla
Sarah Lewis's Resume
"As a web developer, the more well-rounded you are,
the better off you'll be."
"For the most part, anything in the computer industry
is possible if you're willing to learn, including management."
Getting Started: Sarah Lewis' interest in Web site
design began at age 13 by surfing the Internet on her
Dad's computer. She had done some creative writing, which
sparked an interest in this world of electronic text.
She began by looking at different Web sites, paying attention
to URLs and navigation, and then moved on to learning
some basic site design programs. Teaching herself, she
created her own first Web site, which she describes as
"hideous," but it supplied her with enough basic principles
behind Web site design to start learning HTML by looking
at other sites and reading books on programming and design.
By the age of 17, Sarah was serious about Web site design
and ready to go to college.
Education: After trying out a couple of majors,
Sarah focused on a 2-year program in Technology with a
Graphics concentration. This gave her the skills she needed
to begin doing Web site development in her spare time
as an independent contractor to earn extra money and begin
building a strong portfolio. After graduation, she began
looking for a more permanent job at the local Internet
Service Providers in her area. Having some difficulty
obtaining a job that suited her needs, Sarah eventually
decided to start her own business for convenience and
so took the steps to register her domain name, create
her company Web site and apply for appropriate business
licenses. Now she has the freedom to work from home, choose
the assignments she prefers and schedule her own hours.
Greatest Professional Achievement: Sarah loves
coming up with creative new ideas and is most excited
about projects that spark bigger ideas for the future.
For example, she developed a Web site for real-time on-line
pizza ordering, which was not technically complex, but
was something she had never thought of before and which
inspired bigger ideas she would like to develop later.
Among her most current thoughts are creating a Pen Pal
site where people from different nations can match up
with a pen pal and correspond through e-mail, and a Sports
Partner Match-up site where individuals can find others
to play sports with who match their skill level and interests.
Barriers: Sarah overcame the difficulty of finding
a good job after college by starting her own business.
Owning a company requires that Sarah perform all tasks
related to keeping it functioning aside from developing
Web sites. Sarah overcame these potential barriers by
learning new skills, such as multi-tasking, business communication
and administrative tasks including proposal writing, in
order to run her business efficiently and successfully.
She also had to learn self-assessment skills such as recognizing
her own strengths and weaknesses and learning to be assertive
and set boundaries to avoid being taken advantage of.
Sarah has managed to avoid many business pitfalls through
her participation in ListServes related to her industry,
which allows her to get specific advice from those with
Working with Men: Gender issues don't effect Sarah's
business very much because it is still such a new field
and most of her work is done independently. While in school,
she did notice that a higher number of males were generally
in the more technical programming classes, but essentially,
her gender has not been an issue in her education or her
Advice for Women: To those interested in becoming
Web site developers, Sarah urges to get training in any
way that you can whether formal or informal. She felt
that her A.A. degree was sufficient enough to give her
a well-rounded technical education, but lots of education
can be gathered from on-line sources as well. In addition
to a technical background, Sarah believes that getting
a good grasp of traditional visual design is just as important.
"HTML programming is straightforward and formulaic. Most
people can learn it. But getting some knowledge of design
can benefit anybody in this field. It never hurts to have
a decent understanding of it."
Typical Workday/Environment: Sarah's typical workday
varies depending on what stage of a project she is in.
Her time is divided between computer work and client communication,
but as most of her clients are not local, communication
is generally through e-mail, instant messaging or telephone.
She discusses her clients Web sites with marketing in
mind and so must spend some time getting them to really
think about and specify what they want the site to do.
This is an important step in ensuring the Web site's effectiveness
as well as add value to the work being done. Communication
revolves around client feedback on recent work and web
site updates, upgrades and maintenance. Aside from client
communication, Sarah spends a significant amount of time
programming and creating graphics. She generally works
with 2 to 3 clients at a time, but her workload varies
depending on client needs and her own personal schedule.
Work hours also fluctuate between 5 and 10 hours a day,
depending on the amount of clients she is working with
and the needs of their site. Because she works from home,
Sarah is free to dress however she pleases when on the
Career Ladder: Entry-level salary for a Web Developer
varies greatly depending on where you live and what type
of company you work for. Starting salaries generally range
between $30,000 and $60,000 per year. Self-employment
as a Web Developer can be slightly less stable than working
for an established company and yearly salaries can be
slightly lower, but the freedom and convenience it allows
are a good trade-off for many. The title of Web Developer
is a broad term allowing many options for career advancement.
A designer can work up to programming or become Microsoft
certified to work with computer hardware. Smaller companies
offer more career flexibility with opportunities to do
almost anything involved with running the business, but
larger companies can sometimes be more stable and may
offer more room to be trained and promoted.
For project management, she finds that people come from
all different backgrounds - drafting, construction, engineering,
etc. Typically, you start as an assistant project manager
or project engineer, "where you do lots of the grunt work,"
Kate says, but still earn $40-50,000 a year. With a few
years' experience, you can move up to project manager,
then executive project manager, and in some cases beyond.
"A lot depends on the company that you work for," Kate
Professional Associations: HTML
Hobbies: Sarah likes to spend her free time with
friends and family. She also enjoys reading for pleasure,
playing racquetball and computer games, and hanging out
by the pool.
*Annual salary number is not the role model's actual salary. Salary for Web Designer based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition