Last week, I spent a good few hours rewiring a commercial building.
OK, so it was a 14-inch-high building and was made of Lego, but it was a commercial building of sorts. I installed the #lightmybricks lighting set to my Lego Ghostbusters firehouse, which involved setting up the power supply, running wires throughout the three floors and installing lights in multiple rooms.
It took a long time to complete, and was very fiddly, but the result was incredible and well worth the time invested.
As I completed this, I thought about what a manly task I had just undertaken. I had rewired a building, at least that’s how I was going to tell it. That makes me an electrician.
Obviously, I know that it doesn’t actually make me an electrician, yet I thought about how some people set up a Wix website and then pass themselves off as web designers. It’s much the same thing, even if the result isn’t quite as life threatening.
The process of installing lights to a Lego set requires the same level of understanding about electrics as the process of setting up a Wix website requires about web design – virtually none. Yes, I plugged cables into each other, and connected them up to a battery, but I was following instructions from a website and had no idea what the circuit boards provided actually do.
Much like with a Wix website, you follow instructions, which make the process very simple, yet you don’t need to have any understanding of how it really works.
I’m not about to start going around networking groups offering to rewire someone’s house, or to rewire their commercial building, just because I’ve installed lights in a Lego set. That would be dangerous, and actually illegal. Nonetheless, for some reason, it’s fine for people who use ‘plug-and-play’ website builders to call themselves web designers. I even met one ‘business’ through a networking group that used a free website tool that makes mobile versions of people’s websites, and the business was charging for this as a service.
There was no technical knowledge. There was no design talent. There was no skill level or experience of any kind. None of that, however, stopped the business selling this as a service.
The issue I have is that there are no barriers to entry to web design, development or online marketing. Anyone can call themselves a web designer regardless of whether or not they have any experience or understanding of website design. In some ways, this is a good thing and, for reasons I won’t go into here, there can’t actually be any formal qualification worth its salt anyway. In many ways, though, it’s a bad thing, as business owners have no idea whether or not the person they’re talking to actually knows what they’re doing.
Are they a qualified electrician, or have they just installed some lights on their Lego set? Are they an experience and skilled web designer, or have they just clicked a few buttons on Wix?
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