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Fast Track to a Web Career
Students and instructor in Macintosh lab
Working for nonprofits
For their final portfolio piece, students work in teams to create professional web sites for local nonprofit organizations. “This way,” says Abaya, “the students are exposed to all of the practical issues related to professional web development, including production and scheduling demands. The websites also demonstrate to potential employers the students’ practical skills and teamwork abilities.” A panel of industry professionals reviews each project before awarding a certificate of completion of the program.

“What really excited me about being able to run this program,” says Abaya, “is that it’s a way to use the technology and to give back. Kids are working with different cultures, neighborhoods, agencies, and the people they serve, and giving these organizations a presence on the web. Everyone benefits from the same program.”

Creating confidence
Moving from beginning Mac user to web designer in 20 weeks challenges everyone. “When a subject is rooted in technology,” Abaya observes, “I find that students are afraid that they don’t know enough, because it’s endless. But when they visit companies, display their work, and discuss the issues of design, they discover how far they’ve come in such a short period of time.
Nihonmachi Child Care website

“I met with one student a couple of weeks after graduation,” Abaya recalls, “and learned he had been hired by a company doing Flash. He said to me, ‘It was your program.’ He had been in another business. This was a major change.

“Students,” Abaya smiles, “start to fall out of the unemployment line immediately upon graduation.” 
South of Market websites

Worldwide interest
Abaya says he gets people emailing or calling him from all over the world. “They tell me they’ve been looking for a program like this,” he says. Right now, SFSU’s Web Intensive is one of a kind. 

In the short term, Abaya says he wants to provide students with PowerBooks so they can work on their projects from home. The Multimedia Studies Program also is becoming a training center for Final Cut Pro.

Long term, Abaya and the MSP are exploring ways to extend the program to other communities and to collaborate with other universities. “There’s tremendous demand to expand the program,” Abaya explains. “Not everybody can take classes in that intensive a setting, but there are a lot of people who want the skills now and don’t have the time to waste.” 

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