With every business living digitally, creating a website is quickly becoming one of the hottest jobs around. Figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predict that the field will enjoy a 13% growth through 2030.
If you’re considering to enter this rewarding and lucrative career, no doubt you have plenty of questions on your mind, like:
We’re here to answer these questions and more for aspiring designers.
Before we look at how to become a web designer, it’s prudent first to see what the role actually entails.
In a nutshell, a web designer conceptualizes and creates everything you see on a web page (the front end). That includes the layout, color scheme, buttons, navigation elements, and link structure. Assets like images and videos are typically outsourced to graphic designers (but it’s not uncommon to find web designers who do these as part of their job scope).
However, a web designer’s job is more than just creating a visually pleasing website, although that’s a big part of it. Their most important responsibility is delivering a fantastic user experience to website visitors.
While most people mistake web designers with web developers, they’re actually distinct roles. Strictly speaking, web designers only specify how the website should look; they do not develop it. That responsibility falls to web developers.
However, in the real world, there is much overlap between these two roles. For instance, some web designers are also responsible for coding the web page, especially in smaller companies. As a result, it’s often helpful for web designers to have some coding knowledge.
If you want to become a web designer, here are the potential tasks that you’ll need to do regularly.
Web design is a multidisciplinary job that blends both artistic and technical skill sets. It touches on multiple areas like user experience (UX), design, and programming in one role. This is on top of soft skills like time management, communication, and client management.
Here are the critical skills needed to become a web designer:
Understanding user experience (UX) concepts is one of the top skills a web designer must possess. Using UX best practices allows a designer to create a web page that looks great and is intuitive for visitors to browse through.
A big part of UX is conducting proper user research to find out their needs and pain points. In turn, this tells the web designer the best layout, color scheme, and content to deliver a stellar experience.
Web design theory is the use of visual design principles in creating attractive and stunning web pages. Good visual design skills go hand in hand with UX since it enables the designer to use the appropriate elements to achieve the desired user experience.
Nowadays, most web designers are expected to get their hands dirty and code the webpage themselves. Thus, having coding experience is a requirement.
At the minimum, web designers must be proficient with HTML and CSS since they deal with a web page’s structure and style. Even though many web pages now are built using drag-and-drop tools, designers might occasionally need to get “under the hood” and customize pages using code.
While not strictly part of the job scope, having foundational knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) is vital for a web designer’s skill set. That’s because how high a page ranks also depends a great deal on its structure and visual elements. Therefore, having SEO knowledge can make you far more valuable as a web designer.
Web designers have their tools of the trade, which you have to master if you want to enter this career path. The essential software tools include Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Sketch, which are used for various tasks like editing photos or creating wireframes.
On top of this, it’s also helpful to familiarize yourself with online website builders like WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify.
A website is a vital part of a company’s digital marketing efforts, so it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the field. This enables you to understand the language and make meaningful contributions when collaborating with the marketing team.
We’ve already mentioned SEO, which is a more crucial digital marketing knowledge for web designers. Other areas worth exploring are social media, online ads, and marketing funnels.
Web design can be a particularly demanding job. Designers often work on multiple projects and juggle various tasks. With this in mind, sound time management is a crucial skill if you don’t want to get overwhelmed with deadlines.
Web design is never a standalone role; you’re constantly collaborating with developers, marketers, clients, and even users. As a result, fantastic verbal communication skills are a prerequisite for success in this field.
So far, we’ve discussed the web designer role, as well as the skills needed to thrive. By now, you’re probably asking yourself, “should I be a web designer?”
To help you decide, here are a few more critical points about this career.
First, let’s talk about how much money this career makes. According to PayScale, the average annual salary of web designers is $51,821. Of course, this depends significantly on the city and country where you live.
Are web designers in demand? Absolutely! With every company adopting an online digital strategy now, the need for skilled web designers will only rise. Experts are expecting a 27% growth in this field until at least 2024.
Web design is also an exceptionally flexible job that you can do anywhere, which is evident with the rise of freelance designers. This is undoubtedly an excellent path to take if you want to manage your own time. But if you prefer a stable income without looking for clients, being an in-house web designer might be a better option.
There are also challenges to consider. For one, you need to keep your skills up-to-date as web design and development is a rapidly and continuously evolving field. It can also be demanding with tight deadlines, so expect the occasional overtime.
Wondering how to become a web designer? It all starts with developing the necessary skills. With the vast troves of knowledge online, it’s entirely possible to teach yourself web design. Alternatively, you can also enroll in any of the excellent courses online.
Once you have the skills in place, it’s all about practice. Creating your website not only showcases to potential employers of your capabilities, but it can also become a vital marketing tool. You can use it to convey your rates, show your portfolio, and display your certifications.
Speaking of certifications, it’s also worthwhile to invest your time and money in getting a few. Industry-recognized certifications like Adobe Certified Expert and Google Mobile Web Specialist can instantly communicate your skills and qualifications to future employers and clients.
Then, it’s all about networking. Find potential employers and ask them if they have web design needs. Or, consider starting on small passion projects like creating the website for your local church or sports team. Anything that gets you to work on real-world projects is a step closer to a full-time career.
Lastly, continually update your knowledge. Web design is constantly changing, and you need to arm yourself with the latest skills to stay ahead of the pack.
Now that you know how to be a web designer, the path might seem challenging. But with a lot of focus and hard work, you can make it in this rewarding and exciting field.
Of course, if you have a website that you need to design right now, why not partner with an expert agency like Expedition Co? With our web development services, you’ll get a visually stunning website that delivers excellent UX, plus you get to see first-hand how it’s created!
Interested? Contact us today, and let’s start a conversation.