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Fast Track to a Web Career
The new Web Design Intensive at San Francisco State University is clearly a hot property. The 20-week, team-based training program — which immerses students in all aspects of web design and development — drew hundreds of applicants for just 16 spaces this semester. Is it possible to prepare 16 beginners for web careers in 20 weeks? 

“Sure,” grins Craig Abaya, coordinator and one of the faculty for the program. “The students essentially wind up living a 24-by-7 lifestyle during the program. But at the end, they’re ready to go out into the industry as web designers and even as managers.”

G4 Lab

Abaya’s students — ”I call ‘em my kids” — include a 50-ish CPA, a Gen X student, a filmmaker, and a former NFL pro. Meeting in the Power Mac lab of SFSU’s Multimedia Studies Program in downtown San Francisco, students saturate themselves in the creative, technical, and business aspects of web design. Classes taught by practicing professionals in San Francisco’s Multimedia Gulch often spill over into the weekend, but nobody seems to mind.

Hands on — every day
“It took awhile to get used to the fact that every day I was going to be in the same class,” says Anastasia Ling, one of the program’s first graduates. “But I was learning so much in such a short time. I had three years of education in 20 weeks.” 

“There are certain things that are better done on the Mac when it comes to design. The Mac just facilitates faster web development.” —Craig Abaya, Web Intensive Program Coordinator

Ling, a native of Singapore who had been pursuing a master’s degree in design communications at New York University, says she applied for the Web Design Intensive class because “the whole industry is exploding, and I want to be a part of it. I feel really, really happy that I did it. It gave me skills to work in an industry that is new and moving very fast. The speed of the course is pretty much the speed of the Internet.”

Now doing freelance web design, Ling is exploring her job options in the U.S. and in Asia. “I have a marketable skill now that complements my marketing degree. This program definitely did it for me.”

Web Design Intensive students in lab
Macintosh for web development
After nearly 600 hours of instruction and lab time in the Power Mac lab — in just 20 weeks — students have learned everything from Photoshop and HTML to the principles of e-commerce. They’ve also created working web sites for neighborhood nonprofit agencies — a win/win for everyone.
Craig Abaya, program coordinator for the Web Intensive, says “I’m not there to preach any one platform. The best platform for students is the one they are happy with. However, there are certain things that are better done on the Mac when it comes to design. The Mac just facilitates faster web development.”
 

Featured websites are the final portfolio projects of the Spring 2000 Web Intensive Class.

Chinese newcomers website

Somoan Community web page

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