Why doesn't India have a web association?
Why doesn't India have a web designer and developers association? Its high time this industry organized itself and implemented standards.
I have been in this business for nearly 5 years. In these years I have seen our industry grow from a fledgling outcrop of the software industry to one which has grown into a huge industry in itself. The web design and development industry in India has branched into many specialities and created many gurus in its wake.
However it still remains a disorganized industry with each company operating in its own silo with its own standards and practises. We do encounter each other in some industry related conferences or while pitching on a common client but other than that we all mind our own business.
Why does the web designer and developer community need an association?
This industry has grown and matured. It is no longer a part timers job. Many highly skilled and professionally run companies have successfully established themselves against great odds. With an association this industry can find power and safety in unity. Some of the benefits that could flow from such an association
- Web design agencies do not adhere to any one standard of design or development. The association can draft standard rules and guidelines to create a roadmap which we can follow.
- There is virtually no sharing or cooperation between agencies. Best practises are never shared or divulged and a scarcity mentality exists. The association can give us all a place to connect, cooperate and share good ideas. Cooperatively all our businesses can grow.
- Sooner or later we are going to require to lobby the government for somthing or the other. A unified front would prove immensely beneficial for such a need.
- Young professionals entering this industry do not have clear roadmap of what career opportunities exist withing this field. The various options and specializations that they can do.
- The quality of web design training in India is abyssmal. Institutes are teaching software skills without the training and mindset need to create with them. Most freshers in our industry are practically unusable. An association can pressure such institutes to improve the quality of training as well as provide new entrants a clear roadmap.
- Currently there is virtually no barrier for anyone to enter the industry and call himself a web designer. An association can create a system through which only the professional ones are given web designer status. Certain benchmarks must be adhered to acquire this level.
A pipe dream? The barriers to a successful association being formed and maintained.
Success in the web design industry is difficult. Very few firms survive and thrive in this industry. This is because of the very nature of it. Most web design and development companies are preoccupied with survival and growth. They are scrambling for funds and investors at the same time trying to acquire customers in a very very competitive industry.
Every time I speak to any industry colleagues about such an association I hear stories about back biting, client stealing and generally unethical behaviour by others. The trust level in the industry is very low and it will take a mighty effort to get everyone on the same page.
The industry has matured over the years and has thrown up several 'seniors', people who have inspite of all odds established a successful web design practise. They need to take the lead and create something.
It won't be easy but we have to start somewhere.
The scope of such an organization. Whom to include and whom to exclude? Making it meaningful for all.
When I say 'web design and development association' what kinds of companies and professionals come to mind? I would include the following:
- Web designers - those who make websites from corporate to ecommerce
- Web Marketers / SEO professionals - Anyone associated with marketing a company in the online space.
- Web Hosting Companies - India based hosting companies who register domains, provide email solutions and give us servers.
- Social Media Specialists - A new category which is rapidly filling up
- Web Training Institutes - Any institute that has a web design or marketing course as part of its curriculum.
- Associated Professionals - Such as content writers, photographers, illustrators and other professionals without whom we cannot work.
Big brothers NASSCOM, IAMAI and ABCI can pitch in. There is a lot of mutual benefit for these associations.
Associated Industries have thier associations such as The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), Internet And Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Association of Business Communicators of India (ABCI) should support in the creation and support of such an association. Its to their mutual benefit to have a strong vibrant web design and development community.
These organizations are lead by open minded and dynamic teams and we can definitely learn a thing or two from them.
What it means to me personally and what it could mean to the scores of web designers across India.
Doctors, lawyers and accountants get automatic respect. Not because they are brilliant or excellent (which they might or might not be) but due to the respect that is accorded to their profession and industry. Web designers do not work any less or are not any less smarter than any other profession, quite the opposite in fact, we are always grappling with the latest technology and trends in the world today.
An proactive association to which I belong would mean recognition of our industry as a valid, vibrant, safe and respected. It would mean that every professional working in this industry has the same status and respect.
A little too much you think? Well, try spending 13 years in an industry without getting sentimental about it.
The day when parents will give their daughters (or sons) hand in marriage to a web design professional as if he/she was a doctor or lawyer?
Thats the Indian in me speaking. We are so used to the typcal dialogue 'beti ki shaadi koi doctor ya engineer se karao' (Get our daughter married to a doctor or engineer). I hope one day parents will have enough faith and security in our field to give thier daughters/sons hand to a web design professional.
I'm happily married mind you, so its too late for me. But I think it would be nice for the younger generation to have that kind of respectability.
In conclusion I would say its time. The industry elders should get together and form the association our industry sorely needs.