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Computer Networking Web Design

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Hello gamedev community, I'm in high school and about to pick my classes for next year and their offering two new courses; "Computer Networking" and "Web Design"(unfortunately no "Computer science ;( ) which one do you think would most benefit me the most.(I am currently learning c++ by the way.)? ----Thanks for the advice ;)

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Hmm, It really depends on where your interests are. I'm a junior Computer Engineering (CoE at my school) major taking a computer networking course right now (probably much more detailed, but in the same vein). If you are interested in the hardware and protocol nitty-gritty, then take the networking course. If you are interested more in appearance and user-level design, then go with the web design course. Both can be pretty interesting, at any rate.

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Which one would you rather take? And perhaps there are other academic ramifications in your choice. Are they prerequisites for later courses? Do you have any way to gauge the quality of the course? Do you know who the instructors for the courses are? What their reputation is? If these courses are electives of sort, you'll want to pick the instructor who knows what he is teaching about and takes an active interest in educating his students. Do you have a syllabus or some topic list for each course?

With absolutely no further information, I would recommend Computer Networking over Web Design. If you were to learn the material on your own, I think that a piece of the material in computer networking would be useful knowledge for a web designer. Moreover, I think teaching web design is hard.

Computer networking is more straightforward. Most likely, you'll find your work to be absorbing all the information being thrown at you. It's just hard information and concepts you'll have to learn. Can't really mess this up.

Web design is trickier. If the course is just making you practice various HTML elements, a bit of CSS and javascript, that's a pretty weak course. For one thing, just learning the tools is enough of a challenge. Cross browser implementations of HTML and CSS standards vary. You learn to navigate this minefield from experience, and reading a lot of blogs, looking at other people's examples, and the like. It's not pretty. And just learning the tools doesn't translate to good web design. Of course, you might have a really great instructor at your school for web design, but I think that's unlikely.

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I know the instructor, she told me that in the web design course we will be using a program called "DreamWeaver". I not sure if thats the best way to learn web design, I like to make things from scratch; not using some program that does most of the work for you. Is the "DreamWeaver" program one of those programs that does most of the work for you?

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Dreamweaver is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor and it's actually very popular among the web development community. The reason for this is because of the integration between Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Flash and Fireworks (all made by the same company after Adobe acquired Macromedia). If you're interested in having anything to do with web development, learning these packages will certainly help you, career-wise, as things stand.

You are right though, you do need to learn how to edit things for yourself, too. The one thing I didn't like about past Dreamweaver versions (not used the latest ones, so I can't comment on those), is they didn't really work too well if you wrote your own server-side code. It often would break the display of older versions (so you'd effectively lose the WYSIWYG part of the editor and pretty much be stuck with a version of notepad that had syntax highlighting), but hopefully that's fixed now.

It's interesting you should view it as you do, which I do believe is the correct way, because when I first had to use ASP all those years ago, there was a programmer with me who also had to learn the web side of things. We took 2 different routes in our learning. I wanted to be more hands-on, just like you and he wanted to download new "behaviours" (script plugins) to do everything for him.

The difference ended up being that if he ran into a problem where one of the scripts didn't work or they didn't quite fit his needs, he was stuck. On the other hand, I was able to write all kinds of stuff and actually made some pretty complex web applications about 7 years ago.

So what I'll say is this: be prepared to use it. Having familiarity with a piece of software is never a bad thing in terms of your prospects but, make sure you do go the extra mile to ensure you know how to write the code yourself, by hand.

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Quote:
Original post by 2 Fresh 4 U
I know the instructor, she told me that in the web design course we will be using a program called "DreamWeaver". I not sure if thats the best way to learn web design, I like to make things from scratch; not using some program that does most of the work for you.


You can't think of it like that, there is a misinterpretation to the argument. This is how you should be looking at it:

If you use a tool to do all the work for you and you do not understand the principles of how to do the work yourself, as soon as that tool is no longer available you do not have the skills to migrate to another tool or do it yourself because you never learned the practice, only an application.

If you use a tool that does all the work for you and you do understand the principles of how to do the work yourself, then that's great because you are now working more efficiently and you actually understand how it works and what is going on. When you have to move to a different tool or do it yourself, you will be able to because you learned the practice, not a specific application.

So, learning the basics of web design using Dreamweaver as a tool is the most efficient way to go about it as long as you understand the difference between Web Design using Dreamweaver and Using Dreamweaver to do Web Design. It's good to have a desire to do things yourself, but do not shy away from tools such as Dreamweaver because they allow you to be a more efficient web designer, something that makes a world of difference when you enter the competitive world.

Quote:
Is the "DreamWeaver" program one of those programs that does most of the work for you?


Not really. It does have some features like using existing templates that does a lot of work for you, but that's not what the program is about. The thing about web design is that it is a lot of repetitive work. Rather than wasting time and doing that work over and over again for all your pages, Dreamweaver makes life easier by giving you the tools needed to not have to do a lot of that wasteful work.

Think of it like this, let's say you have a 100lb bag of dog food. You can either carry it (working from notepad to design your web pages), have someone carry it for you (asking someone to do the web design work for yourself and you just tweak it), or you can put it in a wheel barrow and move it (using a tool like Dreamweaver). In the last case, you still have to do work yourself, it is just a lot easier, faster, and more efficient!

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