I read a great article this morning from Andy Rutledge of Design View, all about the skills one needs as an aspiring web designer coming out of school and looking for a first job.
I agree with all of his points. I think it might surprise some new or aspiring web professionals how important the general business knowledge and the professional interaction skills actually are.
I’m not a good public speaker (INFP here) but I’ve gotten extremely good at selling my services during the pre-client meeting. When I started this business about 3 years ago, I would never have have thought that; but I guesstimate I win about 75% of the jobs where I meet them face to face. That’s huge for me.
Also, the value of writing well can’t be underestimated. I’ve gotten a few interviews because I was one of the few who wrote a coherent cover letter.
Finally, the project management stuff. When I’m working on 6-7 different projects in various stages of development, having a defined workflow is all that keeps me straight on what’s happening where and when. I used the workflow from Web Redesign 2.0 (Kelly Goto) as a basis for what I have in place now.
I didn’t go to school for web design, but the few curricula I’ve seen have been all about the craft and very little to do with ethics or business or marketing or dealing with people. So I think Andy is right on with his observations.