Itching to work again but not quite sure what you want to do? Frustrated with the lack of interesting jobs available and thinking about doing something on your own? Maybe it’s time to get on the web.
I’ve read that “web professional” is one of the top jobs for women today. Before you say that you’re not a technology wizard, read about my web site designer, Katherine Snedaker of Norwalk, CT, who is a self-taught star.
Q. So, Katherine, are you hiding the fact that you studied computer science in college?
A. Definitely not. I have a background in art and advertising/journalism. My writing and marketing skills help with web site development, too.
Q. Why do you think that non-techies can become “web professionals”?
A. Social media is pretty new—very few people were designing web sites even three years ago. There are few longstanding experts. And if you’re an expert one week, then something new comes along and someone else knows more than you do. The internet changes daily–you are as smart as the last blog you read. The web is part luck, part creativity, and part following the daily updates as closely as you can.
Q. Why is a career as a web professional a good choice for women?
A. You can teach yourself, you don’t need a related degree, you can work at home and set your own flexible hours. If you are on the internet and using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, then you understand social media.
Q. You’ve said that you didn’t even take math in college–but have you always been someone who picks up computer software pretty easily?
A. I’ve never been afraid of the computer, and I’m tenacious about figuring things out. My best strategy is to watch what other people are doing. You can ask any teenager to show you Twitter or whatever is hot this week—and you’ll realize that all social media is pretty straightforward.
Q. Does a web site designer have to know complicated HTML code?
A. HTML sounds scarier than it is. There are websites that write code for you. Then you just copy the code and “paste” it into your website. If you get stuck, you can pay someone to help you.
Q. You started your career as a web professional through volunteer jobs handling school or sports web sites. Are volunteer jobs like this usually pretty straightforward and easy?
A. Yes, these volunteer jobs are great learning opportunities—and they are not difficult. You also have the advantage of previous web site volunteers—usually other Moms—who can show you the way. Every school, team or organization out there has to have a website and email. They are always looking for volunteers.
Q. If other women want to go the “teach yourself” route, what other training or resources would you recommend?
A. Buy a URL and hosting package on a site like networksolutions.com or godaddy.com. They come with free website building software so you can actually build a website on your own. There are step-by-step videos and help pages to teach you what you need to know. And remember the teenager resource–most kids have built a website for school project.
Q. Do you find that most software programs–like the WordPress site you built for 9 Lives–are pretty intuitive? Is it easy to get help when you need it?
A. A basic website is intuitive. The specific customization needs coding, and your web site host can provide some help. You can also pay someone for more complicated bells and whistles.
Q. How long have you been a web site designer and how many sites have you built?
A. I’ve built about 20 sites as a volunteer and a paid consultant over the last decade or so. In addition to 9 Lives, some of my favorites are SportsCAPP.com, LobsterCraft.com, Barbisforyou.com, ConcussionMD.com and respiramassage.com. It’s fun, challenging and very rewarding to help people promote their causes, products and services. —KAS
Katherine Snedaker of Priceless Sites can be reached at PriceSned@gmail.com or Katherine Snedaker. She’s a great teacher, and she’s taught me to be much more independent with matters of technology. After just four months of building my web site (with Katherine often taking charge or looking over my shoulder), I can tell you that it’s all not as hard as you might think.
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