Catching Up With the Internet

I’ve spent the last four years on dialup internet. During that time I wasted countless hours waiting for pages to load and didn’t go to many websites because I didn’t have the time to wait. I also killed many website ideas I had during that time because managing them would have been impossible on dialup. As of a month and a half ago though I have finally rejoined the rest of the high speed world and am on a level playing field with my internet connection.

I came to a scary realization a couple week ago though. While I spent the last several years maintaining simplified websites to accommodate my connection, the rest of the internet was becoming bigger and better and I simply ignored what I couldn’t do on my connection. Now though I realize that while I was stuck, the rest of the internet has passed me by. My web design and graphic design skills are severely out of date and if I want to be able to compete in the online world I need a major upgrade to my knowledge. I may have grown up with computers but kids today have grown up with internet capable computers and their skill level is accordingly greater in the online arena.

If you find that your skill set is also obsolete here are some subject areas I would recommend studying: css, xml, php, asp, javascript, internet marketing, and very importantly graphic design. The first several things I listed are the meat of what makes a site do what it does but the internet is increasingly a visually dazzling place and most sites don’t need a really meaty backend to be able to perform their intended function. So if nothing else, try to look good. Good graphic design is often aided greatly by good graphic design software and that unfortunately isn’t cheap. All of the graphics on all of my websites were made using Paint Shop Pro. Years ago I would have likened Paint Shop Pro to being really similar to but not quite as good as Photoshop, while keeping the price tag much cheaper than Photoshop. Unfortunately though in recent years the makers of Paint Shop Pro have really not kept pace with the tools that are now available in Photoshop.

There are a number of really great free tutorials scattered throughout the internet that could teach me any of the programming languages I listed. And that is where I plan to start when I am able to make the time. I haven’t yet figured out how to resolve the graphic design problem but I’ll work on it. We live in an online world and it changes with such frequency that it is far to easy to be left behind.