Become a Web Designer

The median salary for web developers in 2013 was $30.37 hourly and $63,160 annually[i]

Salary Potential if you Become a Web Designer

The median salary for web developers in 2013 was $30.37 hourly and $63,160 annually[i]

Interested in pursuing a career as a web designer?

As the title implies, these professionals design, create, and make changes to websites. While they may fall under the category of web developer, web designers tend to be responsible for a website’s appearance, including layout and graphics, while web developers may perform a more technical role. However, both technical and design skills may be required for this career track, as the focus of a web designer is to create a user-friendly, attractive website that achieves customer objectives such as content accessibility or ease of e-retail checkout.  If you become a web designer, you could work independently or with other IT professionals to complete a web design project, and duties may vary depending on your prospective employer.

So what kind of impact could web designers have? You probably appreciate good web design whenever you intuitively navigate a well-organized website or mobile app. If you think you may enjoy combining creativity and technical knowledge to design a great web and mobile experience for visitors, keep reading. You’ll learn about web designer salary potential, typical tasks, education requirements, and more.

Web Designer Job Description

Web designers are often involved with a website from start to finish, beginning with discussing a customer’s vision, goals, and intended audience. From that point, they may conceptualize designs, create layouts using HTML and CSS, and make changes to webpages as required. Keep in mind that web designers may share some duties with web developers, such as designing a site’s architecture and navigation. They may also share tasks with graphic designers, such as creating graphics, selecting typography, and choosing color schemes. Those who become web designers may be expected to perform varied tasks listed below:

  • Design and create websites, landing pages, emails, banner ads, and other web and mobile content
  • Produce wireframes, comps, and mock-ups for customer review, feedback, and revisions
  • Use concepts of UX/UI (User Experience/User Interface) design to create a welcoming and intuitive website
  • Work directly with clients to understand client’s goals and communicate design rationale
  • Work with other team members such as web developers, project managers, copywriters, and others to ensure that design is aligned with written content, user engagement strategies, and other website components
  • Source photos and other media; edit photos using software such as Photoshop
  • Stay current on web design and technology trends, innovations, and techniques, such as responsive design for mobile devices

Web Designer Qualities and Skill Sets

Web designers often have both technical and design knowledge in order to perform their roles. They also usually have a creative or artistic side, in order to design a unique and compelling user experience. Here are some qualities and knowledge areas that may be useful in this career track:

  • Knowledge of graphics creation and photo-editing software such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop; multimedia design tools such as Adobe Flash; web design software such as Adobe Dreamweaver; content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress
  • Knowledge of design tools, techniques, and concepts, particularly those related to UX design (User Experience design) and UI (User Interface design).
  • Understanding of artistic concepts such as color theory, typography, and photography
  • Knowledge of responsive web design – as more users view websites on mobile devices, web designers must design for screens ranging in size from smart phones to desktop monitors
  • Ability to code webpages using HTML and CSS
  • Communication/customer service skills – web designers may work directly with customers, non-IT employees, or other team members to achieve shared goals

How to Become a Web Designer

Education[i]

If you’re wondering how to become a web designer, you should probably be familiar with typical education requirements in this field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, web developers and web designers typically earn at least an associate’s degree in web design or a related field. While some employers may accept candidates with a high school diploma, others prefer an associate’s or bachelor’s degree – particularly for more technical roles. Web designers often take courses in graphic design in addition to computer science courses.

Additionally, web designers often keep learning throughout their careers. After all, design trends and technology tools change frequently, and designers may need to understand new concepts, techniques, and software.

Training and Career Enhancement[i]

Web designers with a bachelor’s degree could pursue enhanced career opportunities, such as project manager.  Project managers may have technical or design knowledge, but they take on a leadership role that involves managing staff members, contractors, and other elements of an IT or web design project.

For web designers hoping to explore new career opportunities, certification may be a good way to demonstrate your knowledge to potential employers. Certification is commonly offered by software vendors like Adobe. Here are a few to consider:

  • Adobe Illustrator CC Certification – this credential may certify your skills in vector graphics creation and editing for web and mobile platforms.[ii]
  • Adobe Flash CS6 ACE Certification – the certification covers ActionScript 3.0 programming fundamentals and the deployment of Flash to the web. It’s intended for web designers and developers or multimedia designers.[iii]
  • Adobe Dreamweaver CS6 ACE Certification – this program could certify your knowledge of site architecture, page layouts, coding, and other critical web design elements using Dreamweaver CS6.[iv]

Web Designer Salary Potential and Job Growth[i]

So what is the potential salary of a web designer? Potential earnings may vary widely, depending on the opportunity and your level of preparation. Here are some general stats for web developers, which may include web designers.

  • The median salary for web developers in 2013 was $30.37 hourly and $63,160 annually.
  • Between 2012 and 2022, projected job growth for web developers is 15-21%. That’s faster than average for all occupations.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the increased use of mobile devices may lead to job growth for web developers with knowledge of responsive web design.[vi]

Check out some degree programs that could be useful to prospective web designers. 


[i] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm#tab-4|[ii] training.adobe.com/certification/exams/_adobe_illustrator_c.html | [iii] training.adobe.com/certification/exams/flash-cs6.html|[iv] training.adobe.com/certification/exams/dwcs6_cert.html|[v] onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1134.00|[vi] isc2.org/csslp/default.aspx| [vi] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm#tab-6

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