The employment market has changed a lot in the past decades and thanks to the latest tech innovations, young, creative professionals can make a decent living working jobs that didn’t even exist in their parents’ time.
Web design is probably the best example: according to the latest research, web design and development is one of the fastest growing fields and the demand for professionals will increase with the use of touchscreen and handheld devices.
One of the most prospective and well-paid jobs in IT, web design does open many career paths, both as a freelancer and as an employee in a tech company, but, as it is the case with all other industries, you can see the best results only when you’re good at what you do. Here are some tips to jump-start your career as a web designer.
Basic skills you need to become a web designer
Web design is quite a broad term that includes several activities, but, generally speaking, a web designer is in charge with the look and feel of a company website or application.
To design functional and appealing websites aligned with the company’s corporate identity, a web designer needs to have skills such as:
- HTML, which is the main language for creating web pages
- Basic knowledge of CSS – although it isn’t mandatory for the designer to code in CSS as well as a developer, basic knowledge is appreciated
- MySQL database management system
Apart from these technical skills, web designers need to have good project management skills and work together with developers to deliver the finished product. In the initial stages of a web design project, you might need to draft documentation for the client and/or developers and take customer feedback.
Tools you can use
Depending on the product you are designing, you will need several tools to help you out. In general, a good web designer knows how to use.
- image creation and editing software: i.e. Adobe Photoshop, GIMP
- web design software: Adobe Dreamweaver, Balsamiq, Adobe XD, Sketch
- code editors: Sublime Text 2
- Content management systems: WordPress, Magento, Joomla
- UX animation tools: i.e. Principle
- Font management tools such as FontBase
A good knowledge of the variety of speciality web hosts is also helpful. Not all host providers will provide the same functionality and this could affect your design options – as well as the required expertise you need to install, build and run a variety of content management platforms, PHP and HTML technologies.
If you are unfamiliar with the variety and functionality of a good web host, Web Hosting Secrets Revealed is a good place to start your education.
Web design training
One of the best parts about starting a career in web design is that formal training is not mandatory.
In fact, you can learn the basics of web design at home, by watching YouTube videos, reading free design resources, following online tutorials and practising on small projects that you can find on freelance websites.
The web design community is huge so you can find many forums and e-learning sites for all levels where you can ask for help and get feedback on your work.
If you’re still in high school, you can start your web design training by going to a college that has web design classes.
How much can you earn?
Working as a web designer can be a lucrative job, but keep in mind that your salary will depend on the company size, location and years of experience.
In the US, a web designer earns on average $49K per year plus bonuses. The salary for a junior designer can start from $37K and as you advance in your career you can earn up to $85K or even higher, in the case of multinational tech companies.