How to become a website designer

We receive many emails from high school students asking about how to become a web designer. They often pick out graphic or Web design because of all the cool perks and stories they’ve heard. Perks like the lady who is having a limo drive her to her work every day, free admission to events, or the fantastic presents from clients after they designed something really cool for them. There are stories about the amount of free time, about what a lax profession it is, or that it is constantly changing.

Well, forget about these dreams, it’s really not so easy at all, for most designers at least! There are some things that you should know before deciding to pursue a career in the world of graphic or website design. First, you need to have at least a high school or GED diploma. If you don’t, you can easily prepare online with for your GED diploma, it’s all free there lessons and practice test and secondly, you will need to find out whether this profession fits your personality. To discover if it does, check out this easy and fun career quiz from Just get started, and check if your personality meets the results. If it shows you are a creative type, well, that’s good for you, so read on.

The world of Web Design is all about creating the images, icons, navigation tools, or some other features in order to give a Web project its public face and look. But please be aware that Web designers are devoting their time and energy to a lot more than merely a website’s looks.

As D. Keith Robinson (a Web design blogger from Seattle, WA) writes: “The World Wide Web is first about people, and secondly about technology. Designs intended for the Web are primarily about content and communication, and graphic design comes in second”.

It is good to realize that if you want to become a Web designer, your creative skills need to be optimized. Now that doesn’t imply that you ought to have Picasso-like drawing skills, but you must have a talent and an eye for all that’s related to Design. You must understand what colors are working well together, what it’s taking to make a good layout, and so on.

What comes with the job

A professional Web designer usually works with other professionals from the professional fields of project management, computer programming, marketing, technical analysts, or others to produce a good great appearance and architecture of systems or websites. They will often need to work together with different colleagues to be able to deal with a wide range of duties, from technical aspects and planning the concepts to testing and implementing their ideas. Their tasks can be varying from designing small icons as navigation tools to set up an appropriate color scheme to accurately represent a major corporation on the Web. Web designers are usually working in a wide variety of professional settings, for example, design or advertising firms, marketing departments of big corporations, or other organizations. In 2016, the median Web designer salary was around $65,000.


Web Designers’ Education & Training

There are widely varying opinions about suitable and appropriate education and training requirements and options for Web designers. There are many employers that want or expect candidates to have completed a Graphic Arts degree program and hold a respectable portfolio of their Web projects, but there are also quite a few employers who don’t think so high of the existing possibilities as they feel the profession is so new, and education and training can therefore not be truly relevant.

Jason Fried is president of a Chicago-based software company (37signals) that has a pretty influential blog (Signal vs. Noise). He says: “There is not one Web Design class that I like, this is a profession that requires experience to grow in to”. Then again, also when some employers do not view education and training in Web design as a requirement, a rigorous education in graphic design, computer science, and communications will be highly beneficial if you want to secure a job, and relevant experience and a nice portfolio of projects will help as well. As D. Keith Robinson (the Seattle blogger) puts it, the world of Web Design is a fairly open playing field and it surely can be accommodating people from various backgrounds.

Breaking In

There is one thing, though, that all Web designers must do to be able to enter this professional field: They must build something. Numerous Web designers became known for the Web sites they built for community agencies, nonprofit organizations, or just by building a Website that reflects their own passion, or interest. Jason Fried says “Build your own thing for real, and start promoting it. Try to make people use what you have built. That’s the best marketing around”.

Job Skills

So before you decide to register for a Website Design program, think it over, and be aware of what exactly it is that employers expect to see in applicants for their Web Design positions. Robinson, Fried, and more experts in the world of Web Design say the required skills and experience need to include command of graphic design, information architecture, project management, communication, human-computer interaction, computer programming, and writing. For Web designers, knowledge of Photoshop, HTML, and JavaScript or PHP is essential, and being experienced with print design may also be helpful because quite a few organizations want their designers to do both Web and print projects. Many Web designers see their jobs as quite challenging. This is partly due to the fact that the profession is relatively new. They are creating specific things, and often they make something out of nothing, which can be really gratifying


2 thoughts on “How to become a website designer

  1. This is a great overview, I am currently working on my GED and then I would like to find a school for website design. How long do you need to study to become a good designer?

  2. HI Maria, I would suggest that you start working on the website design as soon as you have some time. Schools are important but you need to get as much as possible practical experience. Just start building websites for friends and family:-)

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