Career Guide

How to Become a Web Designer

The internet is an essential part of our daily lives. It’s integrated into our businesses, our social lives, and often our daily tasks. Everything from buying flights, to managing stocks, to swiping our credit card in person at a storefront is made possible with the internet. 

Because of this, the people that design and develop the web pages we interact with on the web are essential, and the need for more web designers only increases as the internet continually expands. Web design constitutes one of the most progressive but stable job markets available. 

Here are a few statistics that support Web Design as a career field that’s not only viable, but highly attractive.

US Web Designers in 2018 earned a median wage of $69,430 per year ($33.38 per hour).

The demand for web designers is projected to be high, growing by 13% from 2018 to 2028.

USN ranks it as #6 in the top 10 technology jobs available.

69430

Avg. Web Designer Salary

96000

Open Job Listings

10000

Hiring Companies

What Is Web Design?

Web designers create websites and web related tools. This process takes more than just good design skills, and often web designers have to wear a lot of hats. Similarly to other technology fields, there’s quite a bit of coding involved. 

Using coding languages such as HTML, JavaScript, and CSS, web designers can create modern, functional, and attractive websites. After all, everything is online in 2019–so there’s never been a greater need for professionals with the skills to create and maintain websites.

What do Web Designers Do?

Web design is a complex field, and there are many variants. Web designers, as a general rule, build and maintain websites and web applications. However, some designers focus more on design and visual elements, while others spend more time coding and creating applications. Here are some of the most common types of web designer and the distinctions that make them different.

Web Designer vs Web Developer

Web design and web development are two overlapping fields that are often used interchangeably, and now more than ever they tend to cover much of the same ground. However, a web designer usually focuses on the front end of a web page, working with aesthetics and site layout. A web developer tends to focus on functionality both at the front end and backend, coding servers and web page functionality.

Graphic Design

This is the most on-the-nose part of a web designer’s job. It means making an attractive website that meets your client’s needs, but it’s also more. A website’s design has to be more than aesthetic, it has to function as well, often in a dynamic way. 

Web design is similar to architecture; it combines form and function. It requires knowledge of good design and best practices, and web designers have to create a UI (user interface) and ultimately a UX (user experience) that is both beautiful and functional.

Web Design Job Description

The responsibilities of a web designer vary, but most will be seasoned programmers with a good eye for visual design. Functionality of a website and a web application is important, which is why good coding skills are vital.

Web designers spend their time building and updating websites and web applications. Often, web designers are required to work with other developers (such as UX/UI designers and software engineers) on large projects, such as launching a company website and online store.

What Are the Required Skills for Web Design Careers?

There’s a long list of skills that can help make someone a great web designer. However, we can narrow down the list to the two most important skills. Once these skills are mastered, you can start seriously working towards a career in web design. 

Opportunities to learn these skills and coding languages are everywhere, and they can help you become a successful web designer. Designing websites isn’t just about Adobe Photoshop and coding–it requires mastery of coding languages that are industry standards, UX design and UI design, and more.

Programming

To make their design actually do something when users interact with it designers have to be programmers too. Even the most front facing, graphic design focused web designer needs at least a basic knowledge of code to make their webpages function and display correctly. Beyond this, as modern internet pages increase in functionality designers will have to know more and more code to create websites that meet the demands of their clients.

Communication

As much as many designers and programmers would love to just hide behind a desk and finish their work in peace, communication with the client and your team is absolutely essential. Your clients may not have any understanding of how the internet works, but demand functionality regardless.</p> <p>You may be working on a team, with everyone working on a different part of a larger webpage. Good interpersonal skills are important for effectively coordinating with these teammates, and with understanding a client’s real needs.

Important Tools for Web Designers

WordPress

WordPress is a company and software designed to build websites. It offers templates and easy tools for setting up a highly functional website with little to no coding knowledge. WordPress sites make up a whopping 30% of the websites on the web, so understanding how WordPress works and learning how to make and modify WordPress templates is an important skill for web designers and developers alike.

Dreamweaver CC

Dreamweaver is a part of the Adobe suite. It’s a professional web design program built to aid web design in HTML and CSS with visual editing, which means you get to see your website while you’re building it. It’s made for building a website exactly the way you want it to look without having to build or modify templates. It also has good scalability tools, meaning it will be easier to build a web page that functions on phones as it does on desktops.

Weebly

Weebly is similar to WordPress. It’s a tool designed to make web design simple for those without much web design knowledge, and it’s even easier to use over WordPress. It has a drag and drop interface for making websites with templates. It’s good to know how Weebly works, even if it is made for non-designers.

Google Web Designer

This powerful free program puts the focus on interactive ads. With simple tools and a GUI you can make text, basic shapes, 3D animations and more. You can also switch between a design view and a code view, letting you see and modify the inner workings of your project.

How Much Do Web Designers Make?

According to Glassdoor, web designers make an average of $52,651 per year, but the salary range varies greatly. Web designers in some areas can expect to make up to $100,000 annually. Plus, web designers earn more as they gain experience and seniority, especially within a single company. With that in mind, here are the average web designer salaries in 15 major metropolitan areas.

CityAverage Salary
San Francisco, CA$69,281
Los Angeles, CA$55,562
Portland, OR$53,750
New York, NY$58,620
Philadelphia, PA$51,181
Seattle, WA$56,792
Minneapolis, MN$54,033
Atlanta, GA$54,300
Phoenix, AZ$48,097
Boston, MA$59,180
Miami, FL$52,736
Chicago, IL$55,880
Milwaukee, WI$48,346
Cleveland, OH$46,260
Dallas, TX$52,405

But your salary as a data scientist will also depend greatly on the particular field you’re working in, as well as your experience level.

PositionSalary
Entry-Level (0-5 Years)$47,000
Mid-Career (5-10 Years)$55,000
Experienced (10-20 Years)$70,000
Late-Career (20+ Years)$85,000

Web Design Technologies and Coding Languages

HTML

If your website was a building, HTML would be the concrete. It composes or has a part in composing the structure of almost 90% of all websites. It’s fairly simple and easy to learn, but HTML (specifically HTML5) is powerful enough to have video games built in it.</p> <p>It’s dedicated to making web pages, and it just does what it’s supposed to do. It is constantly updating and changing to meet the high demand of evolving websites.

CSS

Developers often use CSS and HTML concurrently. It’s a different language focused entirely on visuals and it controls how HTML sites are supposed to look. If HTML is the concrete that makes up a building, CSS is the paint.

JavaScript

In our website building JavaScript is the appliances and electricity. It makes web pages dynamic functional. It’s significantly more powerful than HTML and it acts more like a general purpose programming language, except it’s made to run in your browser. JavaScript is used mainly for front end development (what you see on a website), but it can also be used for back end (what happens on a server when you interact with a website).

PHP

PHP is used by over 200 million websites. It’s a general purpose, interpreted language that’s well suited for web development, much like JavaScript. Unlike JavaScript, it runs on the server side rather than running on your computer when you open a website. Developers use PHP at Facebook and WordPress.

How Can You Become a Web Designer?

There’s a lot of good to be said about selecting a career in web design, so at this point you might be wondering “how do I start?” The answer is pretty simple, start learning. Education is the first step to bringing beautiful websites to life, and when it comes to education you have three main options: college, coding bootcamp, or teaching yourself to code. 

Each option has upsides and downsides (especially in regards to cost), but the changing face of career education finally permits true education flexibility. Below, we’ll go into more detail about the most common ways to become a web designer.

Web Design Learning Paths

Web Design Bootcamps

Coding bootcamps are fast, intensive, and proven career education programs that offer college-level advanced programming without added requirements. Bootcamps are a recent invention, but they already have a proven track record for helping people land a job in the industry.

College/University

College and university programs are the traditional route into a web design career. This route offers some advantages over other methods, including the security that comes with a degree. Additionally, a degree is still encouraged by some companies.

Self-Study

Some people manage to train themselves for a web design career. This is often the least expensive way to train for a career in technology. However, this route often requires a very high level of commitment and discipline.

What Companies Are Hiring Web Designers?

Facebook

Web Designer Positions: 100

Average Salary: $108,000

Apple

Web Designer Positions: 409

Average Salary: $125,000

Amazon

Web Designer Positions: 384

Average Salary: $106,000

Google

Web Designer Positions: 67

Average Salary: $105,000

2020 Best Web Design Bootcamps

FAQ

Will coding bootcamp help me get a job?

Absolutely! Coding bootcamp is a proven way to train for a job in tech. Many coding bootcamps offer job guarantees, and some refund tuition if graduates can’t find a job in the field they trained for. In fact, coding bootcamp teaches skills that many college computer science graduates lack.

How much do coding bootcamps cost?

Coding bootcamp tuition varies. Coding bootcamps in New York City cost around $10,000 to $20,000. However, many scholarships and tuition deferment programs are available, so what you see doesn’t have to be what you pay.

What are income share agreements?

Income share agreements, or ISAs, are a new way to pay for education. These programs defer tuition until after students graduate and find a job in the industry. Once students are employed and making above a certain income threshold (usually $40-60,000 per year) they begin paying a fixed percent of their income, often for around 2 years. If students can’t find a job, many bootcamps waive the cost of tuition.

Do I have to learn coding to work in the tech industry?

You don’t have to learn coding to work in the tech industry. In fact, there are several non-coding bootcamps in New York City. These programs train you for a position in tech sales, marketing, or product management–all of which are well-paid positions with plenty of advancement opportunity.

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