What is a Web Designer
Being a web designer gives you the creative freedom to put your technical skills to task and build or redesign websites and other online properties.
The role can involve working on any kind of website, and can offer a varied and challenging working landscape.
If you are getting excited, continue reading because we will analyze how to become a web designer divided into 4 simple and easy to follow steps.
There is a lot more to being a web designer than making changes to the back-end of a website as we will discover in this article. It’s a really competitive industry too, the role is often able to be worked from remote locations opening it up to a global workforce.
What Does a Web Designer Do?
Web designers are among the newer roles in the overall working landscape as they only came into place after the internet was established. With the increase in PC’s and the internet being accessible to a wider audience, there are now more web designers than ever.
The main role of a web designer is to design, change, and maintain web pages on a website. This goes far beyond what you see on the page, such as the fonts and color choices. There is a lot of coding that goes into the back end of a website. The code is incredibly important to how well the site functions, and as a result how successful the site and the company it represents is.
Web designers often work alone on projects. However, there is a lot of involvement with other people and contractors to complete larger jobs. Some web designers do not design the branding and logos, while others will not write content. Being able to communicate well with others and manage each part of the process is key to the overall success of a project.
They key duties of a web designer include:
- Meeting with clients to discuss their project needs
- Preparing plans to outline the work to be completed
- Making decisions on the layout and look of the website
- Testing the site and making any changes when the client’s request it
- Seeing the site go live and ensuring the code is robust and tidy
There is a mix of freelance web designers and employees. Larger companies will have a team of web designers to ensure their websites are well maintained and updated. Companies with eCommerce sites rely on the site operating smoothly for their business to run smoothly and will often have their own team.
The average salary of a web designer is $69,430.
Top Skills of a Web Designer
In such a competitive and fast-moving industry, there is a need to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to technology and technical knowledge. There are some desirable skills that make it easier for someone to become a web designer, and make the role easier and more fulfilling.
Self-motivated to Learn
Technology is always advancing quickly in the online world. There is a need to continually learn and keep up-to-date with the latest technological advancements and new things on the horizon. This is a lot easier if you have a genuine passion and interest in web design, but being self-motivated is incredibly important.
Natural Creative Flair
This is always a tough one because not everyone has a naturally creative side. You can learn this with hard work and dedication however, so don’t panic if you’re not naturally creative. If you are however, then turning your hand to web design may be a smart career choice.
A Good Team Player
While there are elements of web design that require you to work on your own you need to think outside of the project. Web designers need to put user-friendly systems in place for other people to use in the future. As well as working with other team members on projects, both in the form of colleagues and contractors.
Reliable and Timely
Modern businesses rely on their websites as a major part of their revenue. Being able to work to deadlines and deliver a high standard of work is important to keep clients pleased and their businesses operating smoothly. You form an important part of their business, and as such need to be reliable.
Becoming a Web Designer
Step 1: High School Requirements
High School Courses for Web Designers
As expected the most important classes an aspiring web designer should take are computer classes. The work of graphic designers is to design websites, so it is vital to have a deep knowledge on computers, not only on design software but also programming languages like php, java, c++ and other.
Math is the cornerstone of programming and a lot of the math problem solving mindset applies to debugging and programming. You should take all the math courses available and consider taking some AP classes too.
While we mostly analyzed the technical side of this profession above and suggested couple courses that will help you, we surely don’t underestimate the artistic side of it. Art classes like painting, drawing, photography and history of art will help you develop your personal style and your aesthetics too.
Step 2: Get Official Training
Web Design Certificate Program 6 months 1 year
Web design certificate programs offer students the necessary skills to design sites that are both visually attractive and emphasize the human-computer aspects of the website. They are 6 months to 1 year programs that consist of 15 to 34 semester credit hours.
Admission requirements are a GED or a high school diploma.
Core Courses (21 credits)
- Introduction to Web Programming
- Web Scripting
- Web Usability
- Design Principles
- Designing with Style Sheets
- Design Principles II
- Advanced Web Programming
Electives (14 credits)
- Web Animation
- Web Editors
- Mobile Web Design
- Web Technology Principles
The cost of a web design certificate program is $4,395 – $9,200.
Web Design Associate’s Degree Program 2 years
These programs help students to enhance their web design and interactive media skills. They learn integrate audio, video, images texts and create user friendly interactive content. These are 2 year programs that consist of 54 to 91 semester credit hours.
Admission requirements are a high school diploma with a GPA over 1.5 or a GED.
Core Courses (50 credits)
- Fundamentals of Audio
- Desktop Video
- Fundamentals of Media Communication
- Design Fundamentals
- Fundamentals of the Internet
- Digital Color Theory
- Image Manipulation
- Applications & Industry
- Writing for Multimedia
- User-Centered Information Design
- Interactive Authoring I
- Screen Design and Graphics
- Project Management
- Basic Web Scripting
- Interactive Authoring II
- Information Design
- Sophomore Digital Portfolio
- Web Site Development
General Education Requirements (20 credits)
- Introduction to the Visual Arts
- Introduction to Communications
- Advanced Communications
- Composition and Language
- College Math
Electives (21 credits)
- Fundamentals of Advertising
- Fundamentals of Marketing
- Internship II
- Special Projects
- Special Project II
- Special Projects III
- Fundamentals of Business
- Graphic Symbolism
- Advanced Typography
- Digital Image Manipulation II
- Introduction to Game Development
- Interactive Storytelling
- Concept Design
- Sustainable Building Principles and Practices
- Illustration for Multimedia & Web I
- Principles of Photography
The cost of a web design associate’s degree program is $16,575 – $42,770.
Web Design & Development Bachelor of Science Program 2 years
While there is no bachelor’s degree offered focused only on web design those who want to expand their education they can choose to follow a bachelor’s degree in web design and development. These programs offer students both the knowledge on how to design the front-end of a website and also the back-end on how to program and manage a website by making changes to HTML, php, servers and databases. They are 4 year programs consist of 120 to 180 semester credit hours.
Admission requirements are a high school diploma with a GED over 3.0 or an associates degree in web design or web development and a resume.
General Education Courses (54 credits)
- Interpersonal Communication
- Intercultural Communication
- Critical Reading & Expository Reading I
- Critical Reading & Expository Reading II
- Project Management
- Financial Systems for Management
- Introduction to Statistics
- Ethics in the Professions
- Introduction to Psychology
- Social Interaction/Digital Age
- Critical Thinking
- Microeconomics or Macroeconomics
Core Courses (57 credits)
- Designing Digital Images for the Web
- Writing for the Web
- Web Site Design
- Web Media
- Usability in Website and Software Design
- Introduction to Computer Systems
- Web Development I – HTML
- Relational Database Design & SQL
- Server Side Scripting – PHP
- Web Development II – CSS & XML
- The Strategic Marketing Process
- Retail Internet Business
- Digital Marketing
- Networking Fundamentals
- Introduction to Operating Systems
- Internet and Web Architecture
- Foundations of Cyber-security
- Senior Seminar Project
Electives (9 credits)
- Animation & Interactivity II
- Introduction to Virtual Worlds
- Streaming Media Technology
- Advanced Client Side Scripting
- Advanced PHP Programming
- Search Engine Optimization
- Google AdWords
- Web Analytics
The cost of a web design & development bachelor’s degree program is $76,920 – $103,520.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Web Designer and How Much Does it Cost?
Option 1 : Certificate
|Certificate||4 months to 12 months||$4,395 – $9,200|
|Total||4 months to 12 months||$4,395 – $9,200|
Option 2 : Associate’s Degree
|Associates Degree||2 years||$16,575 – $42,770|
|Total||2 years||$16,575 – $42,770|
Option 3 : Bachelor’s Degree
|Bachelor’s||4 years||$76,920 – $103,520|
|Total||4 years||$76,920 – $103,520|