Hey! everyone. Today, when I woke up I had this thought in my mind of getting over with what I had wanted to say for quite long. It is about the culture of Web development/design trainings in Pakistan. Once in a while we all get to know about some college or university or may be an individual who is offering Web development/design trainings in Pakistan. There is a catch behind all these trainings, which I eagerly want to address right now. Let me admit, when it comes to IT majority of Pakistanis are quite innocent.
Web Development & Design Training Culture in PakistanAhmad Awais
Innocent you said? Yes! Let me tell you, what a common CS/CE student thinks about such trainings & courses being conducted. So, here it goes thinking of a student who doesn’t know about the web standards, but is interested in joining an institute to become a web developer/designer some day.
- If I learn what is being taught, I’ll be earning in a matter of days (As advertised by the trainers)
- This is it, this individual told me that all I need to start an online career in freelancing is his training
- Well, I have seen the contents of the course & I have time & money to spend over them so, I am just going to take this course.
You might ask, so what’s wrong in it? If you are an individual who is about to join some training institute you might wanna cross-check some stuff to make sure it is good for you.
So what’s right?#
Right training & a right trainer are two important factors which you should consider before jumping into any short courses for good.
Well, I won’t blame you if you get into something which really doesn’t belong to your nature. But it is worth an experience. I believe in miracles as we can see them. You never know what you are good at unless until you try it out. Even little knowledge about something can save your life some day. If you read about me you’ll find out I was an electrical eng. who learnt about 20 programming languages and 6+ design tools to finally realise that UI/UX was his thing. It took me just 10 years. Yes, I said 10 years. It was all worth it. I had no mentor at all, leaving a job at a multinational agency for an unorthodox path was definitely a hard decision, but it was definitely by me myself. Now don’t misunderstand me for fantasising startups, because I ain’t doing that. I say this often, I say this a lot, I am a man of numbers. I record & calculate almost everything in my life as much as I can. This helps me in predicting the output when there is still time. I know what amount of time I spend talking to others, programming, using Facebook, designing user interfaces etc. Imagine the control you’ll feel when you’ll know from the data of last 8 years about how many emails you’ll have to send to get a new project. Yes, I know it. When I was able enough to track stuff like this, I went on my own. I know a lot about myself than a common man knows about himself. Now, don’t just get too deep in numbers. I told this to a friend and later I found him putting himself through theories of quadratic linear algebra functions.
So, the giveaway here is, it is all in the experience! If you are young, still studying or just graduated, my advice to you is find out who you really are! You can never be the best copycat ever, but you can be the best you. Try atleast five different things to find out what you are good at.
Here is where I discuss Pakistani culture.
Getting trained by the right trainer is as important as using the right way to get out of a gallery which has 20 closed doors.
A good trainer will train you how you can open up a door through its handle whereas a bad trainer will train you how to smash open 20 closed doors with your head. You & I both know who is gonna come out of the gallery earlier. In case you are still wondering, then it will be the student who got trained by the right trainer. The other student might be wasting his time smashing his head to the doors to find out if it is really worth it or not.
At-least 50 training institutes#
In Pakistan there are a lot of institutes for short courses. Let’s put a filter of web development & design training and you still end up counting more than 50 of them. More than 50 web dev/design training institutes & a lot of universities but still good front end web developers/designer are like one in a million? Why? Because of their trainers. Are you a trainer? Yes? I may be talking about you.
Stone age trainers#
What’s bad about the web dev/design trainers here in Pakistan is they never keep themselves up to date. They are still living with the old age of table based layouts and Photoshop 7.0. Yes! It’s true. Start a survey, you will end up finding a greater percentage of design trainers teaching Photoshop 7.0 and telling students that updated softwares are hard to learn, are not compatible with your systems unless you spend 500K on it.
What about university professors?#
Well, I know I am from an electrical engineering background but I hate to break it to you that your university is not teaching you what they should. I did a little research to find out there is hardly any university in Pakistan which is teaching WordPress. I was like holly shit! Seriously! Then I started WordPress Pakistan, we’ll come to that later. About university lecturers & professors most of them are just like those stone age trainers. Some of them are real good though. But I don’t blame them, I blame the system of education in universities. A software engineer (CS/CE Student) here in Pakistan hardly gets to know about web technologies in one single semester in form of one single subject. Where he is meant to learn all there is in relevance to HTML, CSS, PHP & MySQL.
Hard to become a front-end web developer/designer in Pakistan!#
All this discussion leads to a question, how to become a front-end web developer/designer being in Pakistan. Now for those who are un-aware of the term front-end let me tell you what is meant by that. The traits of a front-end developer/designer are as follows
- Knows HTML5 & plays a lot with its APIs
- Keeps learning CSS3 as it is an ever green knowledge stream
- Can build mobile first & cross device compatible responsive designs
- Knows how to design user interfaces by using Adobe Photoshop & Adobe Illustrator
- Follows a workflow to optimize scripts with Gulp, Grunt, Saas and uses Git or SVN
- and the list goes on
When I was in FSc I was not able to triangulate one single institute which teaches this stuff. So, where do people learn this stuff from? Obviously there are front-end developers & designer in Pakistan. The truth is, they learn what is programming language in the most bore-ogramming way in universities and then comes the .NET stuff. Every other software engineer in Pakistan knows .NET why? Because their teachers knew .NET and they taught .NET there is this, and there is only this being taught.
A graduate in four years of bore-ogramming and learning .NET applies for a graphic design or front-end development job out of mere despair that he/she’ll get the job. And if he gets it somehow, the starting salary is no more than 10,000 PKR ($100) per month. Why? Because, the university which gave him the degree of software engineering failed to teach him how & what to do it in real life. Which also means, universities are quite out-dated when it comes to front-end developers or graphic designers. This graduate then spends 3 years messing around with a lot of stuff to learn the real deal out of his experience still having no effing idea about how and why is it working if it is working.
Now don’t go searching for the meaning of bore-ogramming coz there is none, and let me assure you, there is none.
How to choose a good trainer?#
For Front-end Web Dev & Design#
Well, I have a lot to say here, but I’d rather not do that. There are a lot of factors which come into play while you are choosing a mentor/trainer for your web development or design training. Here are some of them
- What are the trainer’s qualifications?
- What are the trainer’s latest projects?
- Is the trainer training the latest standards like HTML5 & CSS3?
- Can the trainer teach you how to build responsive designs & use pre-made responsive frameworks?
- Ask from your trainer, who is his/her inspirations in case of Design & Development, if the trainer fails to answer this question, there is a major chance of him/her being ignorant of latest standards out there. If your trainer answers this questions, note down the names and Google them later to find out about who they really are.
More important questions#
- Can you find a nice responsive web design in case of the trainer’s site through which trainings are being conducted? If you can’t leave that trainer right there. Why? Coz one who can’t design & develop a nice responsive site for himself, for his trainings, he cannot teach you anything good about it.
- Has your trainer ever worked with any multinational firm? If so ask about the project, what was it all about, what he built/designed and what was the feedback of his client. Don’t start asking about the name of client or exact project & its budget, coz things like these are none of your business. All you need to figure out here is if he/she is the real deal or not.
- Follow your trainer at Facebook, Twitter and search about him at Google. See if your trainer is a socially active person, if he attends seminars & delivers some. You don’t wanna end up getting trained by a person who is a self proclaimed genius. In case of female trainers, this point might not be valid, there are a lot of good female trainers who don’t mingle up a lot & are less social. No wonder this IT industry in Pakistan is in a hatchling state.
- There can be a lot other points but these are enough atleast for me
Personally, if a person with poorly designed site tells me he is an awesome designer, I say “Yeah, you definitely are!” then I put myself into a don’t care mode, which I will write about in near future. If you can’t design a good website for yourself, I ain’t interested in talking to you for a min about what kind of trainings you are offering in ref to web design & development.
What I did about this condition?#
Well, I had this in my mind for more than two years now. I always wanted to teach people, what we call the real deal. I wanted these graduates to know, there is a much easier way of doing much complex things which they do, now-a-days. I wanted to teach them about my workflow.
But never got time to do that. You know every once in a while you get those wild thoughts of doing a lot of stuff but then you realise it’s Sunday’s Fever of holiday.
WordPress Pakistan – My story?#
Again if you read about me you probably know that I have spent good 7+ years with WordPress. I am a big fan of WordPress. I always wanted to spread the word about WordPress being easier & better than a lot of other scripts. One day I had this feeling that WordPress should be introduced as a subject in universities of Pakistan. Before I started to struggle for its implementation, my feasibility analysis report told me not to do so. What I opted for is to unite 3.5 Million users of WordPress in Pakistan (Ref. Tribune) which are more than Twitter users here. Yet they don’t know it. I started WordPress Pakistan to curate a WordPress focused agile & active community of developers, designers & bloggers in Pakistan. My intentions are to introduce WordPress as a subject in universities by showing them off what it is capable of. Though WordPress Pakistan’s platform ain’t ready yet, but we already have started working to spread it. Earlier this year we had a WordPress Week in Lahore (Day1, Day2, Day3), first of its kind. WordPress Pakistan will help people learn WordPress & get hired. By now we have taught 200 people about WordPress blogging and 25+ blogs were created by our students. This is just the beginning of a massive WordPress focused platform.
You must be thinking what does WordPress Pakistan has to do with the training stuff. Exactly! WordPress Pakistan is a platform to explore WordPress & show off your skills. We started it in 2014. But in 2012, me with my team was working over a professional trainings startup. We called it FinkTanks. FinkTanks have had been there for more than an year now. We have trained more than 500 people about how to blog, how to code in HTML/CSS & how to start using Photoshop. That is basic bloggging & web development training. FinkTanks was incubated in UET Lahore, whereas we recently moved out to setup an office just for these trainings, in DHA Lahore.
What’s up with FinkTanks?#
FinkTanks initiated to make you people Learn, Build, Certify & Earn! Online learning, earning, certifications & professional trainings all in one place. This is my effort to bring these quality industrial level trainings to common people. It’s been an year since we are training people but now we are finally expanding.
FinkTanks amazing statistics#
By now we have trained more than 500 people from which 80% were women. Amazed? It is because one of the initiators of FinkTanks left her job & started working full time for FinkTanks. I am talking about Miss Maedah Batool, currently heading the business development team at Worwox Group of Agencies. Maedah being our creative director at FinkTanks has managed to train more than 400 females about How to start their online career in blogging, content writing, web development & design. She herself started four and a half years ago as a copywriter. A success story herself, leading a team of 30+ content writers now-a-days (You might have heard about my content writing services? It’s basically the same joint venture with her).
At FinkTanks, we plan to professional train people about stuff which is really important but is not being taught at universities. Not only this, but our goal is to get the best trainers out there to train our students. By now you know what kind of filters we have to choose a trainer & start a training. Above all, being connected with Tech Gurus for about 10 years now, I have contacts in IT industry with recruiters. Recruiters who are hungry to hire talented individuals.
FinkTanks not only plans to teach you but allows you to build a public profile. Where you can showoff authenticated badges you earned after learning stuff through our courses. These profiles in turn act as portfolios, which are then shared with the recruiters. Recruiters end up hiring 25% of our students. So, it is a kind of service, where you get to learn what you want to, from hand picked trainers and then you showoff your portfolios to recruiters in industry or clients to get hired for your dream jobs or freelance projects.
We plan to share the success stories of our students who were able to score a job or start freelancing right after the training sessions, in near future.
Hey? What about you?#
I know the feeling, you came here to read my blog and ended up reading about what is going on with two of my initiative i.e. WordPress Pakistan & FinkTanks. But that’s not all. I am starting a training about WordPress. Yes, you read it right. Won’t mind reading another story? Do you?
My Basic to Advance WordPress Training & the Story behind the scene#
Well, let’s begin with, what kept happening again and again when I started hiring people. You see, till four years ago, I used to work alone. But as the pressure & work both increased, I started hiring people. And believe me when I tell you, recruiting the right person for your work could be the hardest thing you’ll ever do as a programmer or a designer. So, the quest began. I hired one after another, and another after him, but ended up firing them after 6 months or so. First thought was, may be I am not paying them on monthly basis, which is the reason why they loose interest. I actually paid them on project basis. Then like two years ago I started hiring people & I experimented with recruitment options. I hired two, a guy & a girl at 50,000PKR ($500) salary per month. Which at that time was quite a good salary, even in multi-national software agencies they weren’t getting paid more than $400 a month. With these two people I hired two beginners as well, again a male and a female both were two years elder than me, and had graduated the same year. After one year, I ended up firing two of them, one left me and the last one is still working with me as a team lead. What happened was that I code & design in a specific way.
For me my projects are more important than my clients. Obviously my clients are important, but to make sure I get paid good, I only chose to work with the best possible clients, who understand the value of quality & effort I put in their projects. It is never about delivering what looks like the described output of a project. You need to build exactly what I commit to my clients, you do that and believe me there is nothing stopping me from giving a monthly raise at the evaluation bench (we have this meeting after each month, we call it an evaluation bench).
So, back then the two employees who were experienced ones and were getting paid top dollar for their work, they had have serious issues with shifting their coding standards from useless trash to industrially accepted ones.
I kept telling them, indent your code, never write generic names, be unique, build stuff & not blow stuff, consider your code/design a human being, take care of it like it matters a lot. But even after an year what I got were excuses of not doing it the way I wanted them to do it.
Which resulted in me asking from my clients to give me a month more and during that month I re-coded & designed the whole one year long project. Yeah! Right after firing them, with a lot of coffee & sleepless nights. I still believe that was the month when I started getting fat.
What happened with the two beginners?#
I taught them the way I wanted things to be done, one of them after learning it all for free, obviously I was paying him to learn from me and do nothing, left for a better software agency to get paid higher. The other one came to me telling me about the whole story of what happened, she said that “He has left your job after learning it all from you to seek better monthly pay, I could have done the same, but instead I came to you to ask for a raise.” I told her, you can leave if you want to, but let me tell you a golden fact.
You cannot jump up the ladder, you’ll always have to step up the ladder.
She understood the reason, and three days ago from now she told me that she is happy for not leaving my firm as in now, she is getting paid more than that guy who left us, and ended up changing 6 different software houses in a matter of an year. She is an equity/share holder & team lead at our agency now.
Pretty confused? Eh?#
Then I thought, why not teach this. I mean atleast once? I have always thought a lot to change the way people code/design, the workflow and all. So, here it is, I plan to teach in the best possible way about “Basic to Advance WordPress Training” this is it guys. I don’t promise I will be teaching it again, but atleast once, this time, I am gonna do it. So, in collaboration with what we do at FinkTanks.com & what is the idea behind WordPress Pakistan I have announced a massive three months long intense training to turn people in to great web developers and designers some day. Those who’d be hired by everyone in a mere glimpse of an eye just because of the standards they’ll follow to code & design. I am gonna teach all I speak about.
Basic to Advance WordPress Training#
- Teach the industrial standards of HTML5 & CSS3 with responsive design concepts
- Teach WordPress from basics concepts to advance CMS features
- Teach design, User interface & experience modelling
- Teach how to build products
- Teach how to sell products
- After first batch completes its training hire the best individuals from it
- 7 friends who have their own software houses requested me to share the portfolios of my best students in this training. Obviously, people want to hire developers/designers who know how it is done in the best possible manner
- I love to teach, whenever I get time for it
Join the training#
So, that’s all folks. If you are interested in my Basic to Advance WordPress Training, read more about its curriculum and book yourself a seat before 1st of July, 2014. Apply Here.
What’s your story?#
Any comments? Would love to hear your side of story. If you loved what you just read, don’t hesitate to share it.