// Blog: Short for 'Web Log'
Technology, the Web, life hacks, and more
Advice to a 12-Year-Old BY Kim Skimmons

[I] was recently contacted through my website by a young man asking me for advice on how to become a web designer. His exact message was:

My name is Curtis. i am 12 years old. Can you give tips about how to be a Webs Designer please.

Here was my reply:

Hello, Curtis.  Thank you for your question.  I have three children in middle school and high school.  Here is what I tell them:

  1. Stay in school and study hard because your education doesn’t end after high school graduation. It’s a lifelong thing.
  2. Learn HTML & CSS.
  3. Also learn a programming language like C#, C++, Java, Javascript, or Python.  Besides the obvious fun factor ;), learning a programming language teaches you how to think clearly.  See http://www.codecademy.com/ or http://code.org/.
  4. Equally important:  Take some art and design classes to understand how to make things look nice and how to lay out pages so that people can understand and use them easily.

My #1 piece of advice for ANY career, including technical ones:

rules for how to write wellLearn to write well in English.  This includes attention to details like proper capitalization (e.g., capitalizing the word “I” — hint, hint Curtis) and punctuation (e.g., ending a question with a question mark and not a period, Curtis — hint, hint again — as well as proper use of commas such as before the word ‘please’ in your sentence), writing in complete sentences, and using clear and concise verbs.  Writing well will set you apart.  You can never write well enough!  Those who are sloppy writers are not taken as seriously as better writers even if their technical skills are good.  So please, do yourself a favor and work really hard on your writing skills.  Listen to your English teachers — they know more than you think they do.

Hope this helps you.


Kim Skimmons
President, Sister Webs Design Studio, LLC
“Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.” ~ Steve Jobs
Try it now:  http://HourOfCode.com

William Zinsser's book "On Writing Well"P.S. For slightly older folks (16+) who want to become better writers, there is one book you absolutely must read and keep beside your desk forevermore: “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser. Even if you only read the first section it will transform you.