Are you interested in web design? Whether you’re a student, intern, or recent graduate, this guide will fill you in on the education, skills, and knowledge you’ll need to pursue a career as a successful web designer.
What Is a Web Designer?
A web designer is a professional who designs and builds websites. Web designers are generally creative, analytical, and technically inclined.
Web designers combine creative methods and computer science to design user-friendly, properly functioning websites. Not only do they ensure that websites function according to each client’s specifications, but they also make them aesthetically pleasing to the target audience.
Similar Job Titles
Web design draws heavily from the fields of computer science and software engineering, including programming language and coding.
Relevant Education Needed
A career in web design requires, at a minimum, the completion of an associate’s degree in web design or a related field. Students looking to enroll in an associate’s degree program for web design should consider classes in:
- Web Design Basics
- Digital Imaging
- Multimedia Design
- Programming Languages
Successful completion of these classes will provide aspiring web designers the basic tools and techniques needed to create website layouts.
Positions that require graphic website design will involve more advanced technical skills and expertise. Students interested in advancing to higher roles within the field of web design should consider completing a bachelor’s degree program in web design or a related field.
A successful career in web design requires more than just technical skill and know-how. It also requires the ability to understand client wants and needs and translate them into a functioning, creative, and aesthetically pleasing web design.
Hard skills are concrete, quantifiable abilities. These are the key skills employers look for in a candidate in order to determine whether they possess the intellectual and/or physical requirements to perform the job in question.
Skills such as the ability to type, dunk a basketball, ride a bike, or understand HTML are considered hard skills because they can be easily evaluated. You either know how to ride a bike and dunk a basketball, or you don’t.
The skills expected of aspiring web designers can be separated into two categories: design principles and computer science.
All web designers will be expected to have some design sense. Students aspiring to be web designers need to be creative and understand the elements of design, typography, graphics, and especially design principals such as:
- Aesthetics and consistency
- Layout balance
- User experience
Furthermore, aspiring web designers will be expected to understand how users access and interact with a website, what users are looking for from a website, and how to deliver what the user wants.
Web designers are focused on the programming language of a website (HTML, CSS, etc.) and ensuring that the back-end (the code that makes the website possible) functions properly. Web designers will be expected to have a full comprehension of and experience with the following:
- Dreamweaver & WordPress – Web development and design applications that enable web designers to design and code websites.
Soft skills are subjective and less quantifiable, like “persistence” and “effort.” Successful web designers will need to use the following soft skills on a daily basis.
- Time Management – Designing a website is no small task. Many aspects of developing websites are technical, intricate and time sensitive. Successful web designers manage their time wisely and never lose sight of a project deadline.
- Creativity – Web design and creativity go hand in hand, and good designers know how to think outside the box and craft unique, appealing web designs.
- Flexibility – Web design is not a static process, and there are many variables that can determine the outcome of a successful web design. Successful web designers are adaptive to new developments and flexible in their design method.
- Objectivity – The best web designers are able to objectively assess a website, their work, and the needs of the user in order to design and develop the optimal website for each client or organization.
- Communication Skills – Web designers must work with other developers, programmers and software engineers, as well as clients. This requires the ability to communicate clearly with others who don’t necessarily understand the jargon and intricacies of web design.
Now that you understand how to become a web designer, it’s time to put what you know to the test and start designing websites. Web design is a highly visual career, and prospective employers will want to see your capabilities firsthand.
A portfolio is the best way to display what you know to employers and clients alike. They’re also a great way to eliminate the experience gap! Entry-level web designers with a well-rounded, high-quality portfolio can boost their chances of getting hired. A career in web design takes a creative eye for design, an adept hand at coding, and a knack for programming language.
Regardless of your technical, design, and programming skills, it’s important to remember that great web designers are always learning. They stay on top of the latest programming, coding, and design techniques, and they never let their technical skills or their creativity get rusty.