Web Design Careers

Web designers are instrumental in helping companies establish an online brand that sets them apart from their competition.

Successful web designers utilize their creativity and a keen eye for design to create visually appealing user-friendly websites.

The role is challenging yet full of variety and new experiences. The web designer also works beyond the realm of creativity and sometimes delves into the technical details of building and managing the back-end of a website. With the growth of online retail, web designers and other people employed in technology and design careers are becoming more invaluable to helping companies expand and grow.

The Vital Role of a Web Designer

Web designers play a vital role in establishing and maintaining the design of a website. Designers have many skills that help ensure a positive website experience for visitors. They are master graphic artists, they are experts at creating user-friendly web pages and they are adept at authoring code to enable website technology. Some web designers focus solely on the design aspect of a website. They use graphics editing programs to create custom images, banners and design elements to give the site a cohesive and elegant appearance. Given the need for such creativity, web designers have a knack for creating visually appealing color palettes that make for an enjoyable user experience.

Beyond creativity, web designers must have a solid understanding of what makes for a positive user experience. They take special care to ensure that the layout of the page is clear and easy to read. Designers also make sure the site navigation flows smoothly from one area of the site to the next. By creating buttons, menus and progress bars, web designers make it easy for site visitors to find what they need.

Some web designers have a broader range of skills that include using programming languages such as JavaScript, HTML or XML to develop custom applications for the web. They may create useful website features such as an online payment calculator. In some companies, web designers help with the more technical aspects of the website. These web designers may manage the architecture of the site by creating specifications for how to organize the site. They may also manage website performance by monitoring traffic and making recommendations to improve overall speed and function of the site.

What Makes a Great Web Designer

Web designers spend a lot of time in front of the computer writing code. As such, good web designers must have high concentration and patience. They may need to spend hours on the same design element, making frequent changes to get it just right. Further, successful web designers are highly creative. They need to have an imagination that allows them to quickly come up with new ideas and apply those ideas to create design elements that are visually appealing and captivating. When it comes to designing professional websites, attention to detail is a must. Many pieces must come together to make a website, and a good designer needs to be able to coordinate them all. They must ensure consistency in colors and layout throughout the site, validate that there are no typos and ensure that all plugins work correctly.

Further, successful web designers have excellent communication skills. Designers usually work in large corporations, and they may need to communicate their vision for the design to nontechnical users. They may need to give presentations that showcase new features or spend time one-on-one with customers training them certain aspects of the website. Web designers are excellent problem solvers. Most companies rely heavily on their website to do business, and as such, the site musts be available for customers 24/7. Should issues arise, designers need to know how to quickly diagnose the problem and take the appropriate steps to resolve the issue. Additionally, teamwork is an invaluable skill for a web designer. They must be able to collaborate with other designers, by brainstorming ideas, giving and receiving feedback and taking ownership of their assigned tasks.

The Path to Becoming a Web Designer

The path to becoming a web designer varies and depends mostly on the company and industry. Although not required, a degree in web design or graphics arts is useful in establishing the foundation and knowledge to be successful in the field. Formal education gives web designers a chance to learn advanced techniques such as .NET, JavaScript, HTML and CSS programming. A post-secondary degree also sets designers apart from other candidates when interviewing for jobs. A degree shows employers that the designer is dedicated to their craft and have taken the time necessary to perfect their skills.

While a post-secondary degree is helpful, many designers have had great success establishing their career with training through vocational programs. Many of these programs last from just a few weeks to a few months and provide designers with the necessary skills required to gain entry-level jobs in the field. Although less common, some web designers have started their careers through individual learning and hands-on experience. These self-taught designers tend to rely heavily on their portfolio and expertise to communicate their qualifications to employers.

A good web designer must stay current with design trends and technology. As such, their training continues well beyond their formal education. Many designers take classes, read books and attend seminars to learn new techniques to enhance their craft.

Salary & Job Outlook for Web Designers (240)

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for web designers are expected to grow fifteen percent between 2016 and 2026. As more and more companies evolve to a business model that is heavily web-based, the need for web designers is stronger than ever. Many of these companies rely on their websites to showcase their brand, sell products, gather information from customers and provide customer training. A professional and functional website is invaluable to their success. In addition to customer-facing sites, some companies rely on internal websites, known as intranets to operate their business. Many business functions such as accounting and inventory management now operate through web interfaces. Web designers will continue to play an instrumental role in helping businesses succeed using web technology.

Salaries for web designers varies by company and industry. In May 2017, the median salary for web designers working in the publishing industry was $71,060. On the low end of the pay scale, were designers working in technical and consulting services with a median salary of $65,620.

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