The Beginnings of WMI
Alex Sirota (NewPath Consulting) and Lisa Stambaugh (Collective Discovery) met as members of an advisory council to a large hosting provider. Despite living on opposite coasts (Alex in Toronto, Lisa in Silicon Valley), they immediately connected on a shared concern: to date, web professionals have been unable to establish an accredited certification. Project managers, accountants, and various other professions have created respected certification programs. As the web becomes increasingly important to people and businesses around the world, the design and implementation of Internet-based solutions becomes as critical as any other profession.
Alex’s west coast vacation in September, 2016 prompted a face-to-face meeting. A scheduled one-hour lunch turned into a three-hour brainstorming session around this concern. The to-do list quickly grew to include founding an organization, defining the process to create a technology-agnostic body of knowledge, and establishing a certification for web professionals based on modern computer-based examination techniques. The need for certification of web professionals was based on Alex’s experience with professional certification called “Project Management Professional” through the Project Management Institute, and Lisa’s “Certified Quality Manager” through the American Society for Quality. The model continued to evolve and expand based on research and investigation of other similar certification programs in other industries including engineering and accounting.
While many people may identify themselves as a “web designer” or a “web developer,” their education could range from being self-taught, to a 12-week coding boot camp all the way to a PhD in computer science. Many web designers or developer have no formal education, but plenty of experience. The WMI’s goal is to articulate and confirm several core competencies and capabilities of a “web professional” — someone who knows the web design and development process end-to-end, including understanding and application of business, marketing, technical and program/project management expertise. The certification becomes a distinguishing factor for both certified web professionals and the people who hire them.
Alex Sirota is a pioneer in using the cloud to meet the needs of small and medium sized business (SMBs). He has a BSc in computer science from the University of Michigan and has worked as a product manager at two Internet startups. He has co-authored a book on Oracle SQL and maintains a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. He acquired knowledge of management of small businesses and entrepreneurship while working with the Ontario ministry of economic development. Alex is a co-organizer of the WordPress community in Toronto, and the president of the University of Michigan Alumni Club of Toronto. Alex lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with his patient and amazing wife and enjoys being a father to a son and a daughter. In the bit of spare time he has, he plays lead trumpet in the Resa’s Pieces community concert band.
Lisa Stambaugh has been a freelance Web Diva® for over 20 years, and has designed and implemented over 650 websites. Her desire to educate clients about working with the right business partner to manage their website resulted in publication of Web Diva Wisdom – How to Find, Hire, and Partner with the Right Web Designer for You. She also writes for the GoDaddy Blog. Lisa’s background includes individual contributor and management positions in engineering, quality, and information technology. She holds a BS in electrical engineering from the University of California, San Diego, and an MS in computer science from Stanford University. She lives in Fremont, California, with her husband and a room full of computers. They have two adult children, a grandchild, and a menagerie of grandpets. If she’s not creating online, her hands are probably busy tying knots in yarn with a couple o’ sticks.