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MA Web Design & Content Planning

Stories from former students in their own words

With thanks to the authors, find out what our former students say about their journey to the MA, through the MA and beyond.

2018

Caroline Jensen

Graduated November 2018

Before I studied the MA, I was working with finance. I was working in a small company where I handled all the paperwork that came in. During the time I worked for that company we started to expand and as I handled all the office work, I got handed the task of creating a website. I had no idea of what I was doing, but I loved the challenge and the act of creating something. Although it was not the best website created, I was proud over it because I had managed to do it and I loved that feeling. I loved the way challenges and the mix between coding and designing. After that I decided that this was something I wanted to continue working with, which is why I stated looking for courses to study web design.

I did a lot of research into what I wanted to study and came across this course, which sounded amazing. It had all I had been looking for. It was the perfect starting point of a new career, a new life. The way that the course is structured is extremely good, and although there is a lot to learn and take in, I loved every moment of it. The teachers are awesome and are always willing to help. The year I spent at Greenwich has been without a doubt the best study experience I’ve ever had. It was many late nights and a lot of hard work, but looking back, it never felt tough, it was a pleasure learning from these people, and it is an experience I will treasure.

I struggled to come up with an idea for my thesis project, but one night it hit me. Books. I love books and never go far without one close by, so I figured I could make something around that, but what? I knew I wanted to create something useful and that could help other people on their way. So, the idea came to me, a bookstore locator. I have moved around a lot over the years and always struggle to find that perfect place to go when you want to get some advice on books, which is where Booksy would come in. The aim was to make it easier for Londoners as well as the visitors to London to find a bookshop. To have information about what genres they offer as well as other useful information, such as if they have a café or stationery. Although doing all of London turned out to be too much to manage, I did manage to get at least one bookshop in all the boroughs.

Booksy

Since finishing my MA, I have worked as a Front-End Developer for a small firm in London that focused on magazine publishing. That role was really rewarding as I got to do a mix between building both sites and apps to match the magazines designs as well as implementing new features into WordPress. I worked there for about six months, but after much consideration I decided that although I have loved my time in London it was time to move. So currently I’m working for a software company near Liverpool and I absolutely love the City and coding both at home and at work, still loving every challenge that comes up.

Kasia Trzcinska

Graduated November 2018

Before the master’s degree, I studied architecture at Gdańsk University of Technology in Poland. During my half-year break between diplomas I worked as a Junior Graphic Designer at Budvar Centrum in Zdunska Wola. During that time, I started to work on a project where the aim was to create a website. It turned out to be very interesting. I decided to develop myself in that direction. I stared to search for the university which would offer me a web design education. And I found Greeniwch.

The course at Greenwich University sounded really good. The opportunity to get coding and design skills together was perfect for me. I have applied and I got in! I was very excited and wanted to gain as much knowledge as possible about the web.

I had no idea how to build a website before I joined the course, but after a couple of months I managed to create my first one. And after a year I built a WordPress site from the scratch.

For my Major Project I built a website about street art. I wanted to create a Street Art Guide for artwork in London and Łódź (Poland). It would show the art around us and how to find it. I decided to build it from scratch and used the most common CMS: WordPress. The learning process was intensive and tuff. At the end, however, I managed to achieve most of my goals.

Currently I am working as a Junior UI designer in DDS Poland in Gdańsk. I have been creating website interfaces since October 2018. The MA Web Design and Content Planning at the University of Greeniwch gave me a lot of knowledge which I am now sharing with colleagues at my current job. If you are considering enrolling for this MA programme, do not hesitate. Just do it! It is totally worth with it.

Fabiana Lassandro

Graduated November 2018

I started my career as a project manager in a web agency. I had the chance to work closely with both developers and designers, and I started to become fascinated with their skills. In particular, the ability to build something from scratch. I started to ask questions and to shadow them as much as possible. I attended a few short courses to learn the basics of HTML, CSS, and how to use tools like Photoshop. Throughout the years, my confidence and curiosity for the web increased, and I decided it was time to change and start a new career. After weeks of research, I found the MA at the University of Greenwich, and I sent in my application. The programme’s aim to teach the students with the method “learn by doing” convinced me straight away.

I attended the MA full-time. I found the ability to plan ahead around my schedule very helpful. It allowed me to focus exclusively on the course for the first term and work part-time during the second one. It was an intense year, which demanded a lot of hard work. However, the course allowed me to become a web designer able to make a website from scratch with solid knowledge about web standards and best practices.

For the Major Project, I decided to make a website encouraging people to make ice-cream at home. I wanted to convey my passion for homemade gelato in a “homemade” website. I decided to build my project, avoiding third party intervention, from the creation of the contents to the compiling of the code. The most significant challenge was building my WordPress theme. However, the final result at One Million Flavours was hugely rewarding, and what I’ve learned was worth the effort.

One Million Flavours

The MA has ignited my passion for learning more. Moreover, during the course, a clearer idea emerged about what I wanted to pursue after. I wanted to become a front-end developer, and during the summer, while working on the final project, I started to take a look at the options available. One day I received a newsletter from Code First: Girls, a not for profit organisation which widens women and non-binary people’s access into the tech industry. An ad invited people to apply for a four-month digital intensive course to learn to code. At the end, we would have the chance to be interviewed, and eventually to be hired, by BT. Today I’m living in Belfast, and I’m a software engineer in BT with a steep learning curve ahead of me, but I’m excited by how far I’ve come so far.

Noemi Bisicchia

Graduated November 2018

After my degree in Graphic Design, I worked for almost a year on a small e-commerce website. There I learned to use WordPress and I wanted to learn more about it. With WordPress, most of the things are automated but if you want to make your site special you always need to know more about the back-end.

I had a look online and I found the MA at University of Greenwich. It was a fantastic opportunity for me to learn how to make a website (not just updating it), improve my skills in Graphic Design and to improve my English language.

During the course it wasn’t necessary to know how to use Adobe suite, however, I got many advantages from my previous Degree. To me, the most important thing was to combine design and coding, and with this course I did it.

My Major Project was www.messychef.uk a website for children where they can learn how to cook in an easy and safe way. To build it, I worked on WordPress by coding my own Theme. The idea was to have a website easy to use, where I didn’t have to struggle every time I needed to upload a new recipe. Understanding PHP was essential in order to make all the custom fields work well.

To make an easy journey for the potential “kid”, I had to learn more about kids and try to see their point of view. To help younger kids during the journey I thought it was essential to have illustrations, so even kids that are not able to read could have been able to navigate the website.

Messy Chef

Overall, I’m very pleased with the final result. After the last exam, I just updated my LinkedIn profile and two months later a company noticed me and hired me. At the moment, I’m still working for the same UK company as a Front-end developer. My duties are: uploading new products, update the websites and improve the graphic of the sites. I’m learning a lot about PHP and JavaScript and I feel as if I’ll never stop learning with this job, which is quite exciting!

Anna Ulanska

Graduated November 2018

I completed the master’s degree in Application Computer Science in Business in 2008, right after I opened my own business. Shortly afterwards I was offered a Digital Project Manager role, where I was responsible for the full-cycle process of project implementation. I worked directly with customers analysing their needs and expectations to prepare the best business solution in the form of a website. I was focused on marketing and business goals, worked with Joomla and PrestaShop CMSs, modified HTML and CSS code.

When I moved to London, I aspired to get better knowledge about the British market, trends and business habits, so I decided to go to university. I could not have been happier when I found the MA Web Design & Content Planning course at the University of Greenwich. It was here that I discovered my passion for technologies. I improved my skills in art design, UX and UI, learned how to achieve proper findability and accessibility of the website by using best practice and prevailing rules. The very first time I started to learn programming languages: PHP, JavaScript and jQuery on this course, they became a passion of my life. The tutors’ approach was fabulous; they were always very supportive, accessible, patient and helpful. Comprehensive answers dispelled all our concerns.

My master’s thesis project was an educational website about gender differences: couple.guide. It was created with the WordPress CMS. I started from mock-up in Photoshop and prototyping, then creating a custom theme and custom posts. Due to custom fields, I also had to write custom functionalities like search, pagination, breadcrumbs, and a recent posts widget for every custom category of the posts. Additionally, I created a random quotation plugin on the front site. I achieved great SEO and 100% performance.

Couples Guide

I play with JavaScript/jQuery, PHP, and recently C++ as this is a great way to improve programming skills and develop the best habits. Programming truly drives me on, develops strategic thinking and enhances intelligence. I love my job and feel like I pursue my passions.

2017

Helen Tong

Graduated November 2017

Before the MA, I’d been working as a Production Editor within an academic publishing company, creating page layouts and illustrations for research papers. I was just making the shift to the web content team to become an assistant web editor when I found the course and felt that it would be a perfect fit as I’d wanted to lead my career down a more digital/web route. The two-year part-time study option also really appealed to me as I’d be able to carry on working and apply my learnings to my day-to-day role.

Although no prior knowledge of web design was needed on the course, I was a little worried going in as I had no coding experience and most of my design skills were self-taught, so I didn’t have any foundational training. The next two years were hard and there were times when I wasn’t sure I’d be able to complete the MA, but the support received from the tutors and students were incredible and the number of skills gained was invaluable. To this day, my MA journey has still been the most rewarding and eye-opening years, and it really did open up a whole world of opportunities. The way the course is structured allows you to apply everything you learn, ranging from branding design to UX, on very practical real-life projects which are set frequently throughout so you’ll be surprised at how quickly your coding and design skills develop. The tutors are a fountain of knowledge and expertise, and a real insight into the world of web; they offer real-world advice and are always there to guide you in the right direction if you’re ever unsure but also encourage you to explore and experiment – they’re just generally fantastic!

For my major project I wanted to work on something which combined my interests in illustration and architecture, and came up with Architecturally – a website to help people explore London’s diverse architecture. After some research, I found similar sites out there but they all served up imagery as photos and weren’t very user-friendly, so I aimed to create a purely illustrated site where users could easily filter pieces of architecture based on location, style, time period, and type. There were a lot of late nights and chocolate bars (along with a few tears), but I really enjoyed the whole process – especially learning about SVGs and working on the wireframing/prototyping stage of designing the website.

After the MA, I joined the web solutions team within the company looking after website production tasks such as front-end development work, troubleshooting technical issues, and coming up with and implementing any enhancements to the website. I have recently changed jobs and now work for Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew as a Junior Product Manager looking after the development and improvement of some of our visitor-facing digital products. The MA really has been integral in not just developing my career, but also my confidence in being able to achieve what I set my mind to!

Ashley Peterson

Graduated November 2017

I’ve had a steady career in print design since graduating with a BA in graphic arts in 2008. My BA touched on a few aspects of web design and development but what I learned was never used and became rapidly dated as time progressed. While I found my career satisfying, I was always keen to learn more about web design and decided to do so with a master’s degree.

I was so excited when I discovered the Web Design and Content Planning program at Greenwich as it encompassed all the areas I craved to learn more about. It was nearly 10 years since my BA, so my experience was close to zero. The program so well thought out from start to finish, with excellent help from all of the professors, I felt myself learning and understanding the lessons from the first day.

I created a brand called National Park Paws for my thesis. The website is a database of all the pet policies for each American nationally protected area like a national park, forest or monument. After travelling around America with my dog Scout, I realised how hard it can be to find decent information regarding the rules and regulations for bringing your pet into those areas. I decided to make a helpful resource by researching and consolidating them into one easy to use website. The website thus far has been a great success and has also grown an Instagram community with over 20K followers.

Currently I’m working as Senior Content Creator at a web design and marketing agency just outside London. While my role there is broad, from social media marketing to print design, one of my main responsibilities at the firm is to design the user experience of new website builds, while also designing their structure, required functionalities and visual design before it gets to development. Post dev, I will help test and fine tune styling to ensure a smooth launch of the site.

I’m so glad that I took the leap to learn more about web design and content planning, it gave me the tools to expand my career in ways I never thought were possible!

Houda Ben Mansour

Graduated November 2017

Before applying for the web design and content planning masters, I completed an undergraduate degree in web technologies. The degree was varied and included a lot of modules that I wasn’t particularly interested in. The modules that included web design and development took my interest and I wanted to specialise and expand my knowledge further by applying for the master’s course.

The masters course covered the main areas of web design and gave me the confidence to create websites from just an idea to a finished product. The course involved a good amount of independent learning and support from the lecturers, with clear communication between lecturers and students throughout the year. As the MA was only a year long, the workload was intense and learning was fast paced, but it meant that a lot could be covered in that year.

Completing the MA also gave me the confidence in my design and development skills, which helped me find a job later on.

My major project was ‘Curls Untangled’, a hair care website dedicated to people with wavy and curly hair. The website included advice for each hair type, as well as a curly hair quiz and forum. I wanted the website to be a community for curly haired girls. For the website, I used CSS grid layout, which I taught myself throughout the project. Having the ability and freedom to create whatever each student wanted was one of the great benefits of the MA, as it meant I could explore new techniques in design and development.

After finishing the masters course, I started working freelance part time, creating websites for start-up companies and small businesses. I am now working full time as a frontend and backend web developer for a financial services company. I create web applications for the company and businesses they invest in. The job is challenging as I am constantly learning new things, but I am enjoying it a lot. With the skills and confidence I gained during the MA, I was able to start a career in something I love doing every day.

Natalia Sivackova

Graduated November 2017

Before the MA I was studying for a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management. Hospitality was not for me, but I decided to finish the course and see what other opportunities were out there. I became interested in web design after working in marketing in a hotel. The hotel employed an external web design team and their daily tasks were fascinating. Not knowing where to start, I originally decided to pursue graphic design, until I came across this MA. I applied for this MA because I would learn about many different areas of the web. My thought process was to get as much information as I could about web design to ultimately make a clearer decision about my career.

This MA definitely helped clear up my vision for my future. I was starting from scratch; my knowledge of web design was next to nothing. But in the end I learned everything I needed to get a job as a Front End Developer. The lecturers each brought their personal touch to the subject matter, clearly and precisely explained key theories and provided us with real-life examples from the industry. Almost everything on this course was practical knowledge, every theory came with examples and practice. I found that way of learning extremely rewarding. You get to plan, design, code and execute. I really came to enjoy what I was learning, which had never happened before. I was even exposed to areas of the web which I had never heard about before, like UX design. I recommend this MA to anyone interested in web design who doesn’t quite know where to start.

My thesis project was Flavour Guide. I love cooking and trying different cuisines from around the world. Whenever travelling, I found myself always researching about the national dishes of the country I would visit. There is always a fascinating history behind a national dish. I wanted to create a website specifically for national dishes. Instead of spending hours skimming through Wikipedia, users can come to Flavour Guide to learn about national dishes from different countries. Flavour Guide provides a brief history and recipe of each dish and where to eat authentic food. After the MA I worked as a web designer for the summer before finding a full-time job as a Front-End Developer. Together with my team, we developed a custom WordPress theme for our websites and are in the process of rebuilding all our sites to use our robust theme. I am also dabbling in new Front-End frameworks such as React and Vue JS. I continue to be captivated by web design. I would not be where I am right now if it wasn’t for this MA!

2016

Alana Foley-Keane

Graduated August 2019

Content pending – due before the end of August.

Lauren Sternberg

Graduated August 2019

Before the MA I had been a primary school teacher in New York City for 10 years. I had reached a point where I felt stalled in my career as an educator and was itching to work in a more creative field. One of the activities I enjoyed doing most with my students was building our classroom website.  I had been making websites for various friends and family on the side using the now-defunct iWeb and later Weebly, but I wanted to make an actual career out of it.  I was fairly certain I could not build websites on Weebly for a living, nor learn how to code from videos or online tutorials — so I decided to head back to school.

There were a lot of changes in my life during this time, so I figured I would throw moving to a new country into the mix!  The MA in Web Design and Content Planning appealed to me because the curriculum allowed for practical skills-learning, not just the theory that so many academic programmes tend to focus on. The coursework was challenging, especially for someone like me who was changing careers in her mid-30s and who had no solid background in anything code-related.  However, my tutors encouraged me and provided support whenever I needed it – which was pretty much all the time (and still do, even post-graduation)!

My major project was The Expat Rec-Room, a website for a Facebook-based American and Canadian expatriate group I was leading at the time.  The idea was to provide a space where expats (especially those not on Facebook) could find sponsored and relevant events, as well as information about assimilating in Britain – from the differences in words to the differences in culture.  The content of the site was mostly generated from surveys of American and Canadian expats themselves. Following the completion of the MA, I learned that the University of Greenwich had a programme for foreign students that offered a graduate entrepreneur visa for those with promising business ideas. I founded Star Mountain, Design for Web, a small agency which builds WordPress-powered websites, primarily for small businesses, as well as offering WordPress dashboard training so that clients can maintain the content of their own sites.  Following the graduate entrepreneur programme at Greenwich, I was able to move into a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa to continue running Star Mountain, along with a part-time employee who is also a graduate of the MA programme!

Theresa Morcos

Graduated November 2016

Before the MA I was an Online Production Assistant at a British clothing retailer (Topshop). I was maintaining and updating their e-commerce websites with new content working with a CMS. I analysed weaknesses and bugs on the site and worked with developers in resolving them and in coordinating the creation of new website features across different platforms. That’s when I got more and more interested in coding and doing the actual development work myself.

The MA really helped me to get an overall understanding of the world of web design. It provided a 360 degree approach to everything from designing and developing a website to marketing it and making sure it is being found through good SEO. Because of the course’s variety it gives students the opportunity to pursue careers in a multitude of web related industries.

I liked the practical aspect of the MA as it forced you to actually use what you learned in theory which is the best way to really understand a concept.

Although the course was partly remote, the teachers were always available through different channels. Thanks to the small groups they were able to provide individual feedback and support and you could tell that they really cared about the students and their progress.

It is essential to be self-motivated during the course as that will determine how much you learn and take away from it. It is impossible to be an expert in all aspects of web design and development within a year or two, but the MA is a great place to start!

I created catalog.cat a cat breed selector which matches users with the purrfect cat breed based on their lifestyle and preferences.

I’m currently working as UI Developer at Bloomingdales in NYC. I’m responsible for developing new features on their e-commerce site and conducting experiments to enhance the user experience.

Sasha Ryzhov

Graduated November 2016

I joined MA in Web Design and Content Planning with a mission, to make my own web venture at that time a success, I studied Business and ran my own small agency for several years. I was struggling with my latest venture (which was web related). After failing with a web design agency and freelance designers/developers, I decided it was time for me to gain technical knowledge and skills in web, so that I could manage my way to success.

During the MA, we were introduced to best web practice and foundation principles of good design – not just web design. We covered areas such as Accessibility, User Experience, Website Performance, SEO and other topics that are very relevant in the world of any digital products today and often spoken about by non-technical people without full appreciation. The programme was not just sitting in front of laptops and learning code, it was about broadening our horizons on how to approach design and approach whole web projects. The Major Project was a great practical implementation of the knowledge gained, it trained effective project planning and how to approach any digital product build. I have already used the Major Project Plan outline in my work after MA, once for a Blockchain based app and once for a big corporate website rebuild.

For my Major Project in MA, I built a news aggregator covering topics from opposing perspectives – critify.net, it was a proof of concept project. A WordPress CMS was used for content management, BMI Watson Language Analytics for content analytics, with a custom WordPress theme I created myself to ensure all that content was consumer effectively. Today I am no longer working on this project, as I went on to work on many other web projects since. For my 9 – 5 job I am a marketing manager, given 90% of effective marketing is done online, this MA has really equipped me for managing digital marketing needs as well as digital operations. When working for a large corporate and working with colleagues from different departments, one really recognises the value in comprehending all aspects of digital operations and foundations of any web operations, as I don’t just make notes of colleagues work but appreciate the intricacies and values they drive my colleagues.

2013

Kathleen Corr

Graduated October 2013

Before the MA I was working as a project manager for an arts education charity. As is often the case in small organisations everything had to be done with the resources available. Despite my lack of knowledge and experience I was put in charge of running the website. At first I had no idea what I was doing but really enjoyed doing it. The rest of job became monotonous, it was the website work that I looked forward to; there was always something new and inspiring to do. I wanted to find a way to make this my full-time job.

The course at Greenwich University sounded too good to be true. It covered all the key areas and I didn’t have to have any previous knowledge—perfect. I found the first term in particular very demanding but also incredibly rewarding. Suddenly I could make a website. Granted a fairly basic one, but I’d created something—from scratch—that worked! The teaching was first class; industry professionals with a huge passion for the web, it’s possibilities and it’s rules. Their enthusiasm was completely infectious and we all graduated as evangelists of web standards and best practice, as well as being full of creative ideas.

kathleen-message-map

My thesis project was Message Map. A website for small campaign groups to share ideas, organise and promote themselves. The aim was to help community groups fight for what was important to them locally by linking up with similar groups in other parts of the country. I found the process of researching, creating and building the website incredibly challenging. It was a steep but very satisfying learning curve. My hope is that my thesis was just the first iteration in a project that I will be working on for many years to come.

Once I’d had a few months to recover from completing the masters I built my portfolio site and applied to a web design agency to be a project manager. At time of writing I’ve been there six months and I’m really enjoying it. I’m getting to work on a wide range of interesting projects. Covering history, psychoanalysis and education. I get to be creative everyday; and thanks to the skills, knowledge and confidence the course gave me, I’m good at it. I meet up every fortnight with three other women from the course and we work on side projects together. The plan is to eventually start our own agency. Who knows if we’ll actually manage it but at the moment it feels like a whole world of possibilities have been opened up to us.

Jonathan Reed

Graduated October 2013

Before I applied for the MA I was working as a Technical Draughtsman for a fencing company. I had dabbled with the web during my time there and looked at several different short courses for web design but none really appealed to me. Also, none of the short courses offered any real qualification or recognition for attending. Then I found the MA programme at the University of Greenwich and it jumped out at me immediately, I had found a real opportunity to enter the web design field and achieve an official qualification.

The next day I handed in my notice at the fencing company and enrolled to study for the MA full-time. I managed to secure another job as Creative Manager for a company selling products in the UK architectural marketplace. This enabled me to work and learn at the same time which I would highly recommend as it helps give you an insight into a career whilst learning new ways in which you can assist that company.

The MA helps you get geared up towards working as a freelance designer, within a web design team or working for an agency. I would have to say that the course is very hard work, but then it is so rewarding you just forget the work you’re putting in. There were definitely a lot of late nights, but if you do the work and get to grips with the general principles then you will be fine. Another excellent point about the course is the links it has to the web industry; the lecturers have extremely good professional and personal links with a lot of the well-respected professionals within the industry. The course also holds the yearly Talk Web Design conference where professionals from the web industry come in and talk about their work. This is completely free if you are studying on the course and is another bonus of the MA.

jon-studentbridge

My thesis project, Student Bridge is geared around giving impartial careers advice to new students looking to enter a career and professionals already in their careers. Having conducted a huge amount of research, a lot of the careers advice websites where either partial to certain careers or had extremely poor web design and user experience. So I aimed to improve on both those aspects. The website is now live and attracts around 500 users per month. The aim is to extend the website to include other career sectors in the future.

I am now Business Development Manager for a different company selling products in the architectural marketplace worldwide. Having a background in engineering and also marketing, and now web design has really given me a head start in my career. I am able to see solutions to problems a lot quicker and often able to action the solutions myself rather than outsourcing the work.

2012

Thomas Jeatt

Graduated October 2012

I studied for the MA part-time and before and during the programme I worked for an academic publishing company. Part of my job was building HTML landing pages for marketing campaigns and small websites for academic societies and over time, this became a larger part of my job. I enjoyed it, and wanted to become better, so I spent a lot of time teaching myself by reading blogs, trying things out, and working on personal projects in my spare time. Although I did improve, after a while I reached a stage where I felt I’d hit a wall, particularly when it came to graphic design. I applied for Greenwich because I thought I would benefit from being taught, rather than just teaching myself.

What we were taught on the MA, and the way we were taught it, was fantastic. Despite (or because of) the diverse range of talents and experience amongst the staff and students there was never a sense of covering old ground, even though everyone started from the ground up. I really feel that I gained a huge amount from the graphic design aspect of the course. I was always confident that I had it in me to become a decent coder, but I never thought I had it in me to become a good designer; now I consider myself to be a designer first and foremost. I had very high expectations of the MA, but I still got far more out of it than I had expected. This is the first time that I’ve finished a course of study with the feeling that I’ve come close to fulfilling my potential.

tom-faculty

For my thesis project I came up with the idea of Faculty, an open source content management system for publishing Open Access journals. It was a great project to work on, because as well as the technical challenge of designing a CMS, I was also able to research and write about open source software, the GNU manifesto, and the Open Access and Creative Commons movements. I have a real passion for the ethos and philosophies which drive these communities, and it was incredibly satisfying to explore these issues and write about what they meant to me.

Since graduating I’ve continued to work at the same company as before but I’m now a web development manager, which means I work on web design full time and manage a small team of designers. I was given this promotion as a direct result of what I learned at Greenwich. I take on freelance projects in my spare time, and although I took a bit of time off to recharge my batteries after writing my dissertation (read: sat around playing video games), I’ve recently started to make progress with Faculty again. I’ve also—finally!—designed and built my own website, thomasjeatt.com.

Laura Hampson

Graduated October 2012

I did an undergrad in multimedia at DCU in Ireland. This is where I got my first taste of HTML coding, although I only learned the very basics. After uni I built a few small websites, but then I took a TEFL course, and went travelling and lived for a while in Tokyo teaching english to preschoolers.

When I came back I decided that I really wanted to pursue a career in front end development. After researching a lot of different courses in the UK and Ireland, I thought this MA looked like the best option.

I really enjoyed my time on the course. I thought it was very well rounded, and I came out of it with a lot of knowledge on all the various aspects that go into building a website, from inception to completion, and also for maintaining/growing a successful website once it’s live. Although I already had some previous coding experience, I really feel like I learned so much going back to the basics, and learning all about the importance of clean, semantic front-end code.

For my thesis project, I designed and built a website for a small business, Spilled Ink tattoo studio in Dublin. I used WordPress as a CMS, and although the learning curve was quite steep, and I found it all very challenging, we had great support from the tutors and I was very pleased with the end product.

I learned so much in my year at UoG and came out the other end with a portfolio of websites and enough skills to get a job, straight away, with a digital agency as a junior front-end developer. I spend my days coding in HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP, and learn new skills all the time. For example, recently I’ve started learning some Ruby. I usually work in agile teams for big clients, together with the UX and visual designers to create awesome products. I have now been with Digital Detox for two years.

Although I have taken a role that is purely front end development, the things I learned about UX, graphic design, SEO and content management on this course have been so beneficial in my job. Pursuing a career in tech has been the best decision I’ve ever made, and this course was an indispensable part of my success.

Gary Pigott

Graduated October 2012

Prior to the MA I had been working as a self-employed programmer (not web) primarily within the social housing sector. The kind of work I was involved in included software development, maintenance and system admin within a Unix environment. Having done that kind of work for 15 years I was keen to move on to new and more interesting challenges and felt that web design was the way to go. I saw the programme as an opportunity to move into the web design field and provide me with a valuable addition to my CV.

The programme is definitely geared towards the practical; there are some projects with more of an academic bias but it generally gets the balance right with the focus being towards practical projects that provide valuable real life web experience and help to fill out an initial web portfolio. The course is hard work but very rewarding—the figures quoted on the course site suggesting between 25-50 study hours per week are not exaggerations, so be prepared for some late nights; but from a personal perspective the effort is well worth it, and most definitely a case of ‘you get out what you put in’.

gary-cybernet

My thesis project was geared around developing a website to promote my business; Cybernet Computer Systems—its initial aim was to provide an inexpensive means of advertising my business as well as highlighting the fact that I also did web development work. However, things don’t always go as initially planned and what it ended up being was a web portfolio and a means of learning Drupal which is now my (future) career path…

My thesis site was based around the Drupal CMS, and was a fantastic (although hard and often frustrating) introduction to Drupal. Having completed that site, I then undertook several Drupal-related private projects before moving on to work for Axis12, a Drupal web agency (in order to get more exposure to corporate Drupal development). I have recently changed jobs and now work as a Drupal developer for Encore Tickets, a large West End ticketing agent operating multiple Drupal based sites.

2011

Pui-Ling Lau

Graduated October 2011

Before the MA, I was doing a four year degree in Law and graduated from it with a decent result and a year’s worth of work experience under my belt. However, during my final year I came to realise that I was following a path rather than a passion and so I had to re-evaluate my future. I realised that in the moments when I wasn’t thinking about law, I was designing websites for friends or designing images on my computer. I realised I wanted to go into web design, but I had no design experience and absolutely no coding experience.

I found the MA by chance and it has been absolutely fantastic. The course assumes no prior knowledge before the start date. It gives you the great opportunity of starting afresh, provided you bring the right enthusiasm and determination! Although it assumes no knowledge from the start, the year is not an easy one and requires a lot of time and dedication. However, it is safe to say that the course is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. In one year, I have gained so much knowledge, an even brighter passion to work in the web industry and a job that I absolutely love.

pui-chinese-recipes

My journey there involved my thesis project, Chinese Recipes for All. Another of my passions is cooking, and I found that there was a niche for a specialised recipe site primarily dedicated to Chinese food, which targeted a Western audience. I am Chinese and my parents are both chefs, thus Chinese Recipes for All was born. Researching, designing, building and managing my thesis site was a wonderful opportunity to gain skills in every area of “website architecture” (not just designing and coding) and the site has set me up for working in the industry as a proper web professional.

Shortly after the MA, I freelanced very briefly and then found a job as a front-end developer with Treat Digital. My day consists of coding sites after approval of the design stage. I am also involved heavily in the implementation of the CMS too (Expression Engine). To complete the circularity of my journey, many of my company’s clients are top law firms. Instead of becoming a lawyer myself I am now building their websites, and that is absolutely fine with me!

Will Morrison

Graduated October 2011

I was working in the City in an IT systems support position, which included intranet and web-application support, before I enrolled on the MA. I had wanted to get more grounding in the area of web content planning and publishing, including web design concepts. The MA course ticked all of the boxes for those areas I wanted to build knowledge in for future personal and career advancement.

My first degree was in Publishing from the London College of Communications, and I’ve an interest in that area, though I’d found myself veering away from that path occasionally career-wise into more technical IT positions. The solid grounding I received in the practical and theoretical aspects of web design and content planning made me realise that this area is far more diverse than one might first imagine, and it was really interesting to cover such a wide-range of topics.

Having had my eyes opened to the world of digital publishing and content planning I am far more appreciative of the vast scope of specialities that fall under the umbrella of web design. Work upon my book review site Spooky Reads as part of the MA’s Web Thesis Project underlined the crucial aspects of content creation, planning and adaptation, and the important world of search engine optimisation, social media implementation and fundamentals of site traffic analytics.

Since finishing the MA I’ve been working freelance — something I’ve been able to do with much more ease having completed the course — and have recently started looking for a permanent position in the area of web content editing and planning. That’s when I am able to pull myself away from my copy of The Art of SEO, however!

Jena Birch

Graduated October 2011

Before the MA, I had completed a qualifying degree in Law and was planning on becoming a solicitor. After several months of work experience and a few unhappy weeks at the College of Law, I realised that it was not the career for me. During my undergraduate degree, I spent many hours designing and building basic websites for friends, family and some local businesses. Web design really captured my interest, so I was eager to learn more.

I found the MA online and I have never looked back since. I was so pleased to be studying something I actually enjoyed, and relished the opportunity to develop my skills from the ground up. I found that an enthusiastic and hard working approach was essential in order to keep up with deadlines (and with the rest of the class), but every hour spent researching or wrestling with code was definitely worth it in the end.

jena-volo-sport-horses

My thesis project involved re-designing and developing a site for Volo Sport Horses, a sport horse sales business based in Norway. I found that most sport horse websites were basic and/or outdated and saw an opportunity to create an exciting, modern website that would show off Volo’s horses to their full potential. Since the new site’s launch, the number of monthly visits has increased by over 600% and Volo have received many promising enquiries about their horses. Researching, designing and hand coding the website from start to finish really gave me an invaluable insight into all the work involved in a web project.

After the MA, I freelanced for a couple of months then found myself a job as a web designer & front-end developer for Capra. My day-to-day work is as varied as it is challenging. I spend my time planning, researching, designing websites and iPhone apps and coding up pre-approved designs. What a joy it is to look forward to work each morning, and all thanks to the MA!

Casey Keppel-Compton

Graduated October 2011

Before starting the MA, I was a part-time freelance web designer working from home and struggling to get paid work. I went to night school to learn CSS and HTML and also did both a Dreamweaver and a Photoshop master-class before deciding to join the MA programme. I have worked in IT most of my life and had a network engineering background. My last role was with Microsoft and I was very much business focussed selling high end consultancy to blue chip clients.

The programme was very intensive and focused. The best part was getting some structure into my web design process and taking time out to look at the big picture. There is so much change going on in the industry that you need time to read and educate yourself on a daily basis. This is what I learned and it has been very important. The MA programme also allows your work to be critiqued in a positive environment which allows you to see your work from a different perspective and question your approach. You learn more from your mistakes than your successes with this approach. It is a course only for committed individuals because the pace is such if you do not hit deadlines you cannot catch up.

casey-talk-medical

I did an e-learning Web Thesis Project and managed to put ten years worth of classroom-led training into a learning management system to sell online medical terminology training. Talk Medical is a commercial venture now and we will be launching an updated learning environment to our beta testers for final check in the next month or so. The project focussed strongly on SEO at the earliest stages to ensure the target audience could find us and try us. We used freemium principals (free module on YouTube) and a few free courses for practise managers to get interest. We have successfully tapped into a solid customer base to get started selling our courses in bulk in GP Practises.

Right now I am doing web design – currently working on a new web site for a pro photographer. I am designing another site for a managed services company and providing some IT remote support for their business. I am also a SEO consultant and I work with small business owners to improve their online searchability. I earn £30+ an hour. I have not looked back.

2010

Kerri-Anne Ellis

Graduated December 2010

Before the MA programme I worked full time as a Personal Assistant for a consultancy firm. I started tinkering around with blogs as a hobby and found myself becoming more and more interested in the workings of the web. I initially looked for classes in various web techniques but found the Master’s course and thought it offered an all round programme.

I found the MA very rewarding. To be able to look back on your first piece of work and see how far you’ve come is a great feeling and you can really appreciate how you make the course your own. The deadlines were fair and demanding and the whole programme is based on learning the foundations of web design, not just sitting in front of the computer learning code.

Because I understood that the thesis project takes months of hard labour and research, I decided the only route it could take was ‘fun’. My idea started as a makeup review website, but the more we discussed the potential of the internet, the more I realised it deserved something unique. Being lucky enough to have very funny and creative friends I turned to them to write stories from our random musings in the pub. From how PAs are actually a superior race who run the universe, to how some people simply cannot get ready for an event in time as they are caught in the scientific phenomenon known as a ‘faff hole’. Those musings are compiled at gettinglippy.co.uk.

Although the course is more about the principles of web design, it allowed me to really study and hone my ability to write semantically correct front end mark up and to really explore the best way to structure and execute it. From this I created a portfolio of work which I presented to Pirata, a digital production agency in London. From this I was lucky enough to be given a role as a Junior Developer, where I am being taught everything from Javascript to PHP frameworks such as Codeignitor and even app development.

Kris Matta-Noaman

Graduated December 2010

Before the MA I was a Senior PR consultant working in the area of healthcare and pharmaceuticals. I’d undertaken a small course in HTML and was interested in progressing further so I decided to do the MA in Web Design at the University of Greenwich.

The MA program was fantastic and teaches even the most green of web designers/coders how to design and develop visually effective, compliant and search engine visible websites. It’s also good to see that even on the other side of the world (in Australia where I now live) this qualification is highly regarded by employers and I’ve had some great feedback about the quality and accuracy of my work.

My thesis project was an online/offline professional networking club called Martini-meets – www.martini-meets.co.uk. The club was aimed at marketing, PR and media professionals who were looking to broaden their professional networks and meet like-minded people. Events were held at London cocktail clubs and were a massive success.

Unfortunately, Martini-meets hasn’t continued since I left the UK but it was such an amazing experience creating such a popular professional network.

Until recently, I was working as a freelance web designer here in Australia but have now taken up a position as a Front End Web Developer with a well-known global advertising and digital agency in Sydney. It’s great fun and amazing experience.

2009

Mia Spencer

Graduated December 2009

I had been working as a self taught web designer/manager for several years and felt that I needed to both solidify my knowledge and underpin it with some academic foundation. I also wanted to build my thesis project site and knew that this would be the ideal support framework within which to do it.

The teaching is very well executed and covers a wide breadth of subject matter. Now that I am in my final phase I am really able to appreciate how well structured the course is to provide me not only with general learning but also with the skills I need during this thesis project.

mia-urban-foodie

My project, urbanfoodie.net, a London foodie hub, had been in my mind for a while. I am a passionate foodie who believes in real food – even when you live a busy London life. The website, which has recipes (including a baby food section), a small producer shop, a foodie social network and more, is one that I felt a great deal of passion for – I wanted to build it as much for myself to use as anyone else.

I am continuing to work as Web and Design Manager and also working hard on getting Urban Foodie up and running as a profitable web business.

Mohammad Kashem

Graduated December 2009

I had been working as a publishing designer for a media company in London since 2003. Before joining the MA Web Design and Content Planning programme I did a course on Magazine and Publishing Design from the London College of Communication, University of Arts. A major part of my design project work was in print media. Alongside printing I was keeping an eye on web design and its evolution. I was designing websites using WYSIWYG editors but was keen to gain more confidence by pursuing a professional education.

The programme was a perfect choice for me in terms of the time I invested and the skills and knowledge I gained in return. I was looking for a web design programme that would be unlike other programmes on offer. Most of the programmes available elsewhere seem to focus on development aspects of the web. As a designer I wanted to learn more about aesthetics, usability and marketing aspects of web sites and a workable understanding about various web-development technologies. The MA Web Design and Content Planning programme is a nice balance of design and development for the web. Class size was small and at times informal and I was lucky to have teachers who are experts in the field too. Whenever I needed any help or advice from the tutors I would always get it almost instantly. They are just an email away!

mohammad-dhakatown

My web thesis project was dhakatown.net on Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Dhaka is a mega city of 12 million people. I noticed there was no full-fledged website like londontown.net or visitlondon.com in Dhaka. I wanted my thesis project to be on a service that can generate money too. Since its formal launch in October 2009, users are increasing each month. New contents are being added every day. Shortly, I will have an office for the site in Dhaka, and want to employ a few people too.

I am working as a publishing designer for a media company at present. My future plan is to have my own design companies both in the UK and in Bangladesh.

2008

Jason Michael

Graduated December 2008

I decided to take the MA because it was something I have been interested in for a very long time, I love all things digital, and the ability to create and develop websites was something I was starting to develop a passion for. At the time I had just completed my BA in Business Management, been travelling to South America, and when I came back I decided it would be best in the long run that I tried to make my working life something I would enjoy doing for the rest of my life – footballer was out of the question, so Web Design was something I was extremely keen to learn.

The programme/teaching was excellent. I didn’t know anything about how to design/build websites when I started, and after two years I am working at Bluhalo, a digital agency as one of two HTML/CSS developers with huge responsibility for sites such as Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspurs FC. It’s incredible really, because without opting to do an MA at Greenwich University, and without the excellent teaching methods of David & Tom, I wouldn’t be able to work where I am now- which I absolutely love. I think the teaching style is great because you are taught the fundamentals and a very clean and organized method of designing, developing and also thinking – which are vital in real life web design.

The idea behind my thesis project was down to my dad owning a small courier company (mckcouriers.com), which didn’t have a website and no real online resource. Therefore, an ideal opportunity to help my dad’s business enter a new era and complete my thesis with a very real project.

I now work for Bluhalo, digital agency; I’ve recently finished the new Liverpool FC website which was built from scratch from designers PSDs (Photoshop images) and am close to completing a re-design of an existing Bluhalo site for Tottenham Hotspurs FC. Both sites are due to launch before this seasons Premier League campaign. You can view those sites in the coming weeks and also some other projects I have been involved in post my MA at dysfunctionaldesign.co.uk. Next on the agenda, Bluhalo are re-designing their own website which I will be building towards the end of the year.

Patricia Pilippi

Graduated December 2008

I was working in a language school designing marketing materials when I decided I wanted to broaden my design and online marketing knowledge by doing an MA.

I think this course is unique in its approach and has the right balance of design and technical know-how. No previous web design knowledge is required as a good foundation is built in class and the fact that the tutors are very competent and always there to help make this a very enjoyable course.

particia-mayfair-school

For my thesis project I decided to do a redesign of my previous company’s website (www.mayfairschool.co.uk) as the old site design looked dated and wasn’t very user-friendly which resulted in too many phone queries. Besides I wanted to increase their online revenue as well as their site traffic by adding new and relevant features and therefore make it a useful resource for both new and existing clients.

I have since changed jobs and I’m now working as a Marketing Executive looking after my company’s website and their email/online marketing as well as being part of their e-learning strategy team. I have also recently started to do some freelance web design work.

2005

James Barker

Graduated December 2005

I was managing the intranet for a large insurance company, and wanted to learn more about web design and internet marketing to apply to my job, and also some personal websites.

The MA was a perfect mix of design, content management and internet marketing. The tutors were approachable experts. Importantly, you get out what you put in – study and commitment must continue outside the lecture room to achieve truly great results.

james-free-digital-photos

At work I often needed to source good quality images yet did not have any budget. There were internet sites that offered high quality images for a price, or low quality images for free. There was a gap in the market for high quality free images. My theory was that offering such a service would generate high traffic which would bring in decent advertising revenue. My project site, freedigitalphotos.net has become a great success.

The MA meant I now had ‘commercial quality’ web design/marketing skills, and as a direct result I set up my own web development business about a year after graduation. That went well, and I subsequently joined a design agency as Technical Director, in charge of all web projects.