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Web Mentoring

Careful! This post is looking a little old and could be inaccurate in many, many ways

There is a massive divide between what can be taught about the web and what is actually going on in the trenches. Still I see numerous web courses of varying levels seemingly teaching old practices, it’s understandable that in a fast moving industry the academics are struggling to keep up but there’s no excuse to still be teaching table based design, for example. Some professionals are trying to help Universities provide more up to date curriculums but I wonder if there’s another approach.

Personally I love the idea that I could help someone with the knowledge I’ve gained whilst in the industry. Sure I’m not as well versed as those on the conference scene but I’m pretty positive I could have taught an 18 year old me better than some of my lecturers. The problem I see is there is a gap in the information being passed around in our community, with so much at a high level that it is making it difficult for many newbies to figure out where to start.

So would these people be better served with something a little more personal, with someone in the industry that is aware of all the newest advancements that such a person could get help from when they needed it? Something like a mentoring scheme or apprenticeships would be the best way to describe it but I like the Star Wars analogy:

In a nutshell you have our conference set as the Jedi Masters, essentially the Yoda’s of the group imparting knowledge and driving forward our understanding of what we do. Next down you have the Jedi Knights, the guys out in the field keeping the piece or in our case designing and building the websites. Then for each Jedi Knight is a Padawan learner, someone not yet fully skilled in the way of the force who can go to their Jedi in times of confusion for help and guidance.

Unfortunately it would require people much more connected than I to get such a thing off the ground, and in truth although I think the idea has merit I think it’s only likely to happen in a galaxy far, far away. But if you look past the complications and implications on the formal learning environments I think it would really improve our industry and make for a even closer community.