What I learned from a Web Project Manager training

Source : https://cets.georgetown.edu

First of all, I must explain the context. Last year I was in a modern training in France. Now we can learn how to manage web projects, and I was curious, me, a front-end developper. So I tried.

In this training I was in school every 4 weeks. The rest of the time I worked in a company as a Front-end web Integrator.

The purpose of the training

The different themes are :

  • Knowledge of the web world. Yes, it’s the main goal but contrary to our belief, all young people are not familiar with the web. Most of them are just good to post on facebook or to level up in warcraft. But they really don’t know how the web works (and it makes me think of the South Park episode that talks about internet).
South Park — Over Logging S12E06
  • SEO / SEA / SEM / SMO. A big part of webmarketing to learn many ways to index a website.
  • Project Managing. No matter what project to manage, it’s really interesting to know how to manage a team and give tasks to the right people.
  • Web languages. Some people had problems on this point, which is quite understandable. When the trainer talks about HTML, CSS, Javascript, XML, PHP… and give some exercices to the whole class, it’s really hard. Some say it’s ridiculous to know this, because it’s not their job. It’s a real problem to teach how it works without looking in. A web project manager must know this part otherwise he simply can’t manage a web team at all.
  • Design and web accessibility. This part is very important to get a good design, a good semantic code and make it accessible to the largest number of people (on the web we need to care about partially sighted, color-blind or blind person. We need to know how to make pages accessible to them, it’s as important as the accessibility in some places to people in wheelchairs or with limited mobility).
  • The Billing. Yeah, the hard part. I’m not familiar with numbers but it’s important to know how many you can pay your employees with a profit margin, of course. Some Project Manager don’t do this part and leave it to the accounting officer but it’s good to know for little agency, freelance or whatever you want.

At the same time there is also the company job that takes three-quarters of the time.

What I liked?

When we get into this kind of training we meet a lot of people. And yes I met a lot of different people.

It’s very good for the team work to be with people from different areas. Ideas according to individual specialties were really interesting and opens more possibilites.

It’s good to know that all the people don’t use computer in the same way. And when you create a project, this sample of people can inspire you. So when we had to create project group it’s became very interesting. Working in groups is important at all levels. You can have ideas faster than if you’re alone, you can solve problems easier, you can work faster because many tasks can be done at the same time… and so on

The topics are really interesting and complementary. The project Managers have big responsabilities and he has to juggle between marketing and the technical part. This training show me the importance of them.

What I really liked in the training part is the accessibility lessons. It’s often left behind for timing reasons or because the graphic designer and developpers have no thoughts for this. So that’s a really great idea to give it the importance that deserve. Because of this we can expected a good futur for the accessibility on the web. If you want to learn more about this part you can go to the W3C page.

In a nutshell :

Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the Web — W3C

I must admit that I preferred the company part. I learned in two weeks that I never learned in a year of training. My team at work was very great, they helped me a lot to integrate myself into the world of work and I thank them for that.

When you work for a company in the web area it’s not about you, it’s about them. People who visit your site. And your work is real, there are customers and requests, and you need to bring solutions. It’s not the same as a training project, it’s better.

What I disliked?

It’s terrible but there is a gap between training center and the company. They are two different worlds. It’s complicated. You need to learn how it works in real business world and when you work you realize that’s not the truth. I think it’s the real problem of this kind of training. We learn things theoretically, we practice a little bit with this theory and when we see the reality we are lost. I hope some training center can solve this problem over the world, but in France, I think it’s mostly the same in many field (I learn in 4 different center, and the result is the same).

Trainers are not often invested in their work. Some of them are called for replacement. Others may come from different area and they learn themselves the lessons that they teach the same day. But of course, and fortunately, there are always good trainers. But it’s a minority and it’s too bad.

In Conclusion

Yes the purpose of these two entities is different. The training center ask you to learn and get your degree, and on the other hand the company ask you to produce with your knowledge. It’s not incompatible but I think the goal should be common. Trainees should be in company, in the real part of the job. They can learn on the field, with some themes to approach. And if there is a need of degree they can pass a test in agreement with the training center.

Yes that’s utopian but I think with this kind of training we can expect a lot more efficiant employees at the end.

However what I learned is interesting. People of all areas can become web project manager if they want it. Personally I prefer to leave the management for now and keep the development part. I’m not comfortable with the marketing but I saw people who had it in their blood.

If anyone reading this post is a trainer or a teacher in the web field, maybe you can talk about your experience. For exemple I know Nicole Saidy teaches at Le wagon, what can you tell us about their training?

Passionate about Design Systems, Frontend Developer https://yannisabel.com

Passionate about Design Systems, Frontend Developer https://yannisabel.com