Serve as Apprentice or Get More Training?

Alison writes:
I’m a bright 39-year-old just completing my first Web development course online. I would like to move into Web design as a career. I am currently a manager at a non-profit museum overseeing a large gift shop. My question given my limited experience is do I have a chance at getting a job in this field? Is there such thing as an apprentice position for web design so that I can learn on the job? What do you suggest should be
my course? More study?

The Career Doctor responds:
Career changers face many challenges but one of the most important is gaining experience in your new career field. You’ve got to build your resume with the training skills and accomplishments that make you an attractive job candidate. You’ve already started this proves by taking your first Web-development course. I would suggest that you look into more courses; one course does not make you a Web designer.
While completing other courses though I would also suggest that you gain some experience in your new field. Does your museum have a Web site yet? If not why not propose designing it — as an expansion of your current job; if they don’t go for that I suggest volunteering your time to do it. If the museum has a Web site you can still suggest overseeing it as part of your job and/or suggest a redesign (if it needs one).
I would also suggest joining a professional Web-design association or organization — and then do some networking. You might also consider job-shadowing a few Web designers to get a better feel for their jobs — and to build your network.
Finally another way to build your resume is through temping — but you need to make sure you have the skills to do the job first. Take a look at our article on temping.
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