Interview with Carl Heaton, Managing Director at Web Courses Bangkok

By mcvanrensburg  | 

 November 28th, 2011 | 

Carl Heaton is an extremely talented web developer, tutor and a mentor to me. He is also the Managing Director at Web Courses Bangkok, where I had the privilege to study last year. It was an experience I will never forget and I can truly recommend Web Courses Bangkok to anyone looking to further their skills in any web related subject.


Hi Carl! Please tell me a bit about yourself?


I am originally from Manchester, England and I completed my Computing degree at Hull. From there I moved to Edinburgh, Scotland where my first job was as a technical call center monkey for Sky TV (not the best job but paid the bills). I later got a job as a web designer and then moved to Brighton to become an Learning Management System designer for I then moved to France for a while to study Aikido full time with the hope of becoming a professional martial arts instructor. Fate had other ideas and one weekend in London I met the girl of my dreams. We are still together 5 years later and she is the reason I am here in Thailand. Fast forward 5 years to the present day and I am now the founder of Web Courses, an international training center in Bangkok and a consultant for a number of UN agencies.


How did you get into web design?

When I was 15, a friend showed me how he created pages in Front-Page and then connected them together using links. I was always interested in writing and creativity and this sparked both of those plugs off in my head. From then on I was hooked and 15 years later I am still enjoying making websites.

How did you go about starting Web Courses Bangkok?

I was working as a Project Manager for a small web design company, we needed to hire a web designer and none of the interviewees knew about web standards, quality design or UX. I had been a teacher since I was 18 and it was in my blood so I put 2 and 3 together and started jotting down ideas in a little leather notebook. It took over me! I couldn`t stop thinking of ideas and had dream of having my own training centre. That dream has now become reality!

Why did you decide on Thailand?

While in Brighton, I used to go and party in London and one hungover weekend, I was on my way home and saw a stunning girl come out of the subway, I pretended to be lost and asked for a coffee. She kindly accepted and 5 years later we are now planning to get married. She is the reason I am here in Thailand and how I came to eventually start teaching web design to friends. That, as you know, grew into Web Courses Bangkok.


What are your plans for the future and the future of Web Courses Bangkok?

My first goal is to have a Web Courses in every major city in South Easy Asia and Australia. From there the world and who knows Web Courses Mars one day! We also aim to create a series of online courses that trainees do at their own pace then select their local training centre to do the final 1-2-1 with an instructor or group. We aim to create as many quality web designers, like your good self MC, as possible!

What are the most important skills a web designer/ developer should consist of if he/she wants to be the best at what he/she does?

I think planning. Planning is the key and it is the essential foundations to any project. Projects without proper planning fail, or worse just keep going and never get finished until everyone is fed up or the budget is exhausted. Finding designers to design or developers to develop what you can`t is easily possible in today’s online workplace, so you can always fill the gaps. So the most important skill for me is planning.


What advice do you have for young web designers out there looking to improve on their skills?

Think T, in that have a broad set of skills including HTML, CSS, a customizable CMS (like wordpress), Photoshop and some Online Marketing. Then find one part in all this that you really love! Once you find it, start doing the stem of your T i.e. Specialise so that when the right project comes along, you can give your best and use the skills you love the most. For me that became UX design and Accessibility, two things I love to do and specialise in.
Lastly, listen! Read blogs, subscribe to RSS feeds from sites that really interest you, follow the top designer/developers/marketers/entrepreneurs and play…lots of playing! Try out that new Jquery tutorial, or look into the new framework that just came out. Listen and play and you will get better every day.
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