Potential tech stumbles. Surprisingly far into Web Design, but still a beginner.

EDIT: I’ve just removed all the angle brackets and hypertext transfer protocol encoding from this post in order to de-confuse WordPress; apologies for any confusion.

I’ve just learned about a security gap which I was heretofore unaware of. It has to do with the rel=”noopener” tag which I’ve seen be inserted into links when I view the raw HTML of entries (both here and elsewhere) in which I’ve entered a target=”_blank” specification.

target=”_blank”, when placed within an “a” (link) tag, causes the specified link to open in a new tab. What I didn’t know before tonight is that…from what I can see, it appears that if target=”_blank” is placed within the “a” tag, so as to open the target link within a new tab…if not paired with a rel=”noopener” tag, this creates a security vulnerability where the opening tab can take over the original tab.

Thus, the marginally safer way to insert a link which opens in a new tab is to add rel=”noopener” within the “a” statement.

At least that’s what it sounds like, given what is said on GitHub. I’m going to not link to the page I want to link to, because I don’t know if it’s safe (I haven’t checked out all the source code, nor clicked on the test links); and if I recall correctly, WordPress has a bit of their User Agreement that prohibits WordPress blogs from linking to sites which might have malicious code.

Searching rel=noopener will likely bring it up…unless Google just knows that I’ve searched for tech stuff before and is directing me to more advanced sources.

Since I’ve been considering going into Web Design after this…it was just a surprise to find this security vulnerability which has been right in front of me this whole time (that no one told me about, pretty much ever). I should check my links elsewhere to make sure they’re okay, though I can’t remember having hard-coded anything (that I deleted information from) in recent memory.

I also started looking at Wacom drawing tablets, again. If I’m going into Web Design, it would help, whether I’m working with Photoshop and Illustrator (I would likely need to subscribe to Creative Cloud, which brings its own problems), or GNU Image Manipulation Program.

It looks like if I got a Wacom Intuos Pro (eventually), it would be a good balance between functionality and price. I initially started searching for the Cintiqs to see if the prices had come down.

No. No, they have not.

I still have an Intuos (the plastic on which is degrading), but I don’t think it’s been installed on any computer I regularly use, due to age: and my suspicion that its driver could be incompatible with the current version of Windows.

The deal with Cintiqs is that they’re essentially drawing tablets that display what you’re drawing on the screen, as you draw it. By that I mean you’re physically drawing on the screen. They start at around $1000, from what I recall, which is the price of a good computer. Intuos and Bamboo tablets, however — you’re essentially drawing blind. The image shows up on your monitor…but there is no display on the tablet. Of course, that makes them a whole lot cheaper. About 1/3 as much.

The good thing about the Intuos is that it’s reliable — I used mine in the Multimedia Arts program which I had been thinking about going back to (in the Web Design and Production certification), but there are two caveats. One is that the Web Design specialization isn’t really a specialization there, anymore. I just checked out the Graphic Arts program at a different place, and what I could learn there, too, that I don’t know — is minimal.

I need a class in typography (or despite it all, just to learn typography), and to work on my own sense of composition, plus working at digital photography, if I want to do Web Design (and not use stock photos). The latter may require me to get a Digital SLR camera. Which I am not particularly…hot on, but digital photography might be a bit easier for me, once I can do it, than trying to compose images totally from imagination.

I’m really surprised that there isn’t much to draw me to those Community Colleges, anymore. But I did surpass the upper limit of what I could take and still have priority registration…


Too much time in school. I need to be using and honing these skills.

And I’ve found that when the verbal part of my brain stops working, the visual part is often unaffected. I should make note of this…


Gettin’ serious, now:

Okay, so I guess attending class this morning does count as classwork done. Plus, I went to work (which wasn’t bad, this time).

There are actually a good deal of Library Assistants, Library Clerks, and Aides/Pages in my classes, which is causing me to think about getting back on the Clerk list. It would likely be less shocking a transition than going straight into an LA position. I’d just have to refresh my typing certificate, to apply.

I also have three more pages of reading to do before I can start in on all the little assignments due on Wednesday, and I should get on listening to the lectures.

Aside from that, and maybe starting in on another article (the one I’ve printed), that should be enough to think about, for the night.

If I really can’t sleep tonight, I can work on my own personal tech reading (e-books, tutorials), especially as my Database class will not cover MySQL (I found this out, today). I doubt I’ll have that much boredom, though.

There are some additional thoughts I’ve had in regard to listening to everyone’s different experiences…and my own workplace dynamics, but this isn’t the place for them. I should put them in a personal journal, or get back to work…

Career Pathways: Web Design, Development, Production look interesting.

I’m not going to be able to stay here for long (getting sick, need rest), but I wanted to note something down before heading to bed: it looks like the goal I had before, of becoming a Web Designer first and then transitioning into a Web Developer, is not a bad option!

A while back I had a friend advise me not to take on a career as a programmer, though they didn’t tell me why. (I still don’t know why, and if I would care; I should ask them.) I ran as search as to why this might be the case…and I need to do some more research, but the main issue that I care about — besides technology constantly updating, meaning that things break routinely — is that programmers are seen by employers as interchangeable. And often, it’s cheaper for a company to outsource this labor.

So I don’t have to go whole-hog and become a software developer. Web Design is more in line both with my skills, and with what I’m being taught. Having Development skills, in addition, would give me a leg up. A page I found at SkillCrush is particularly encouraging. The only thing I will be really missing, on graduation, is training in Typography. I do know a place where I can take that class, though…or I could research and learn it on my own.

Of course, I’m planning to go into a job as a Librarian right after graduation, and build my tech skills on the side; I don’t expect to get the MLIS and then be — ready? to head right into a Design job. (I also wonder if a Design job would mean taking a pay/benefits cut, relative to being a Librarian.)

And then there is the possibility of becoming a Web Producer, which is like being a Content Editor…also very interesting, and a possible extra option.

Well, my eyes are burning and my nose is starting to, as well. I also heard that some others were sick at the office, so maybe I should just let this be, for now, and get some rest…

Future directions?

It wasn’t until I logged on last night that I realized I had been away from blogging (at this blog, at least), for four days(!). There are a number of things going on, the most pressing of which is Finals (though that will be completely over by the end of next week). Otherwise…I am going to have some work to do in archiving what I’ve done in the past semester (including the forum posts).

One final is entirely done with, and that is the final in which I had to interact with other people — not the easiest work, for me. Right now what I have left are my Web Design final, and my final for Digital Archives. I’ve got the idea that…I may actually want to look into software development…but I’m not sure my concept of what that work is like, is accurate.

The idea is to do another Master’s in Computer Science, though I’m not sure that will give me what I need. I’ve been dealing with online information and tutorials which seem more my speed. (I was even thinking that I might be able to use these in lieu of an in-person Computer-Science-101-type course, as they’re more targeted to my needs.)

What I’m finding is that Web Development may actually be more suited to me than Web Design (amazingly!), because of the interaction with users that designers have to deal with. (It seems like people automatically assume everyone is OK with this.) In effect, from my (limited) experience, it seems like people on the User Experience (UX) side of things need really good social skills, and I would expect this to be closer to a Web Design role than a Web Developer role.

That is, Library Science is closer to Social Science, and Information Science is closer to Computer Science…I think.

In turn, Web Development looks like it will need experience in a type of math I don’t yet know (Discrete Math); and…well, I was about to say I hadn’t taken a math class since high school, but that’s not true.

I took Statistics in undergrad, began and then dropped Calculus (it’s very hard not knowing if you’re doing things correctly or not; I dropped right before the first test)…and did a little bit of Accounting, before I got (physically) very sick and had to drop because I fell behind (I missed a four-hour class and didn’t know how I even could make that up, without sitting with the professor and having him teach me for another four hours).

Calculus was interesting, just harrowing. I think, though, that if I want a job away from the public, I’ll have to deal with the math. I’m fairly certain that if I’m learning math that I’m going to apply in some way (like to be able to issue commands to a computer), it will help with my motivation in learning it.

Applications of what we were learning weren’t even on the table, in my high school math classes, though Statistics, Calculus, and Accounting (all in Community College) all had very obvious applications, and I think Discrete Math does, too.

The issue I had in my early math classes was being so good at math that I received hostility for it from my peers (because I was female)…which made me not want to touch math, ever again. But if I was good at it, that means I have the capability.

Of course, though, I’d like to get my present loans dealt with, before getting into another Master’s program!

Where do I want to be in five years? 10?

I wouldn’t be back here quite so soon, except that I had been considering the track of working within a Public Library, as versus on the Web…and realized that I should take a long-term approach when planning this stuff out.  I can see that the Digital Services path — the one I originally wanted to take — is something that will give me a foundation, at least, in tech work.

I won’t be ideally suited to be a Reference Librarian (though I am not sure any other part of me besides my idealistic and ethical [and somewhat lazy/comfortable — seriously, I can work elsewhere] self leans that way)…but I’m fairly certain that I do want to move on into Web Design and into Web Development, when I outgrow Web Design.

Salaries in Web Design are higher than in Graphic Design, but they still top out at ~$60,000/year.  It’s not that I would need a whole lot of money — except for the fact that I live in an area with a bizarrely high cost of living — because I’m single without children and don’t plan on children.  Health care is something else, though; retirement is something else; and there is the question of whether I’ll ever partner with someone.  If I won’t, I’ll need my own emergency cushion.  Web Development, on the other hand — as a next step after Web Design, has a higher salary range.  It’s something I wasn’t looking at when I was researching careers:  that is, branching off into a related career with higher top pay.

And given that, it’s kind of a mystery as to why I would stay in Library Science when I could just get a Graphic Arts degree and move on to an apprenticeship…though of course, that will be training to work for the person I would be if I did get the LIS degree with a specialty in anything digital.  And even if I fail the degree in LIS (there is a looming “e-Portfolio” which I’m not sure I am going to do too well at — here’s hoping I’m not too much of a minority for the ALA), that won’t necessarily matter in Design, if I have acquired skills while in the LIS program which others don’t have.  At least, that is, if it’s like Art:  where no one cares what degree you have, as long as you’re good.

So right now…I have a fall-back position that I just figured out.  If the MLIS program doesn’t work out (I presently fear being put on academic probation because of the Cataloging course, and then getting a B- next semester [which means I get kicked out and still have to pay back all of my debt]), I’m going to re-enter one of my past Community Colleges and work at the Graphic Arts program (it takes two years to complete this cycle).  If I use all of my resources, I may be exempt from the rule which says I can no longer utilize priority enrollment.

I will also want to move into a different job, part-time.  For the experience, for networking, and for higher pay.

Right now I can’t even think five years ahead, because I have an assignment due in a week which is worth 1/6 of my grade…and I’m rocking a C- right now (I checked today).

Yeah, I should get back to trying to catch up…(there is a saga to this that I don’t feel like re-relating, right now.)

…After, that is, I note that I shouldn’t let other people’s philosophies and issues keep me from doing something I may enjoy.  I didn’t continue on with Ceramics because some kid said it was “for old people.”  I didn’t continue on in Graphic Arts because I was told I “could do more.”  I didn’t go back into Graphic Arts because my Fine Arts teacher wanted us never to give into the aesthetics and desires of others in making our own work.  I continued on in Library School in part because a Librarian — and my family — and my counselor — wanted me to.

But none of that is about me, though I’ve internalized all of it.

Anyhow.  I should get back to work…