You may have an interest in website designing but do not want to go through the hassles and strains of a degree to become one. Guess what, you are not alone!
Many people out there think the same, and in fact, there are quite a number of self-made web designers!
Are you wondering how you can achieve this dream and become a web designer without necessarily going to graduate school for a degree in web design? The answer is in this article.
In summary, you can start by acquainting yourself with the field, then get the needed skills through training and tutorials, get some experience, create a portfolio, then connect and start the job.
Before exploring the above, here is a more detailed understanding of web designing.
Who is a web designer? (What do they do)
A web designer is a professional who designs layouts and assets of web pages and mobile applications. He/she creates and designs the visual and user interface components of a website.
A web designer is responsible for designing and programming websites, as well as coding to make the websites work. They can work on a variety of different projects, designing visually appealing web pages for clients.
Web designers use creative software applications and programming knowledge which help them design and build web pages and applications. They create web pages that are easy to use and effective, in addition to being appealing and enjoyable to the end user.
A large number of web designers work as self-employed freelancers, but a number of them are contracted by design firms. They may specialize in working on specific aspects of the web pages and applications.
Is there a difference between a web designer and a web developer?
Yes, web designers and web developers have distinct roles;
|A web designer||A web developer|
|Responsibility||Converts web design into a functional website.|
Performs testing and debugging.
Does post-launch services (ongoing support, maintenance, fixing server issues).
|Builds and maintains the core structure of a website – constructs the website.|
|Skills and tasks||Creates site structure and mockupOffer post-launch services (updates, maintenance and monitoring). |
Uses graphic design software HTML and CSS.
|Converts web design into a functional website.|
Performs testing and debugging.
|Tools||Adobe Photoshop, Figma, Sketch and Illustrator.||Visual studio code Sublime text.|
Types of Web Designers
1. User Experience (UX) designers
These focus on the experience that users have with services, products, and environments (digital and physical).
UX designers concentrate on how the user will interact with the website or the application. They therefore make decisions based on human psychology and use data based on user interaction research.
2. User Interface (UI)
These web designers use results from user experience and user interaction web designers to figure out how an interface should look and feel.
Their concerns therefore are around website colors, sizes, shapes, and general aesthetics. UI designers usually work with UX designers to make certain decisions on designing.
3. Front-end web designer
4. Visual/ graphic designer
A visual designer works with the visual elements and layout of the website. They focus on visual assets such as logos, illustrations, or graphics to ensure they align with the brand. This incorporates some aspects of User experience and User Interface design.
6 steps you can take to become a web designer without a degree
Web designing requires extensive training and practice, hence, the most common route into this field is a degree that helps aspirants learn the skills in a controlled environment.
However, a degree is not a formal requirement for becoming a web designer, you can become a professional web designer by taking a different route.
So if you have no degree but you are passionate about web designing, hardworking and ready to do what it takes to access the needed resources, no worries, you are good to go.
Here are six (6) steps you can follow to prepare yourself for the web designing profession.
Step 1: Acquaint yourself with the web designer field
Start the path to web designing by learning about the field; it will help to learn about the life of a web designer; what tools they use, what kind of projects to expect or responsibilities to carry on as a web designer, and what to expect in terms of payment, among other things.
Some websites can help you acquaint yourself with the web designer field, Noble desktop has a variety of resources including articles on the Web Designer Hub.
Step 2: Learn the basics and skills needed for web designing
After getting acquainted with the field, now you can explore deeper into the fundamentals of web designing.
You can also get plenty of tutorials on YouTube if you want to acquire these for free.
The skills and packages can be quite complex, but you can choose a specialty that will allow you to focus on particular ones. You can choose to focus on UX, UI, or Web design among other types.
Step 3: Gather experience
You can get experience best through hands-on. Take time to practice and develop your skills. You can do this by trying out actual website designing, taking up volunteer projects, and observing what others are doing.
You can also redesign existing websites to help you apply what you have learned. Just make sure you keep designing and getting opinions about your projects.
Step 4: Develop a web designer portfolio
After going through the training to learn the basics, and building your experience, now it’s time to construct a professional portfolio. This is where you demonstrate your abilities, skills and design style to prospective employers.
While constructing a portfolio, make sure it conveys your unique voice as a web designer, and it should front your strongest points and skills in the field.
Some websites offer step-by-step guides to portfolio development that can ease your work.
A portfolio is proof that you have the skills to do the website designer job. You can make use of platforms like Twitter, Dribble, Behance, and Coro, but a website builder can also help you create your portfolio website.
Step 5: Build a network
You need to connect and network with more skilled and more experienced web designers. These connections can be useful to find employment, but also support during your career as a web designer, and collaborations on related projects.
You can attend web design meetings, online communities, and conferences to connect with like-minded people.
Step 6: Start on actual jobs
It is now time to take on actual projects through freelancing or taking on small projects for friends, you should also actually apply for web designing jobs.
Finding a job can be a long wait sometimes, but hang in there and put yourself out there.
Note that web designing is an evolving field, this makes it important to continue learning and to be flexible enough to accommodate the changes.
Is it hard to get a job as a web designer?
Becoming a web designer is determined by factors that can vary for different people. Whether it is hard or easy to become a web designer is dependent on;
- Your skills, knowledge, and experience
- Your location – which also works together with the job market
- Your portfolio which sells you and tells potential employers about your competencies
- Your education and training
- Your networks and job search efforts
- The market trends
How much is a web designer’s salary?
There is no uniform salary for web designers that cuts across all countries. The salary will vary significantly according to;
- Specialization and
- Skill set
Still, within a location and an organization, a web designer’s salary will also vary with the levels below;
- Entry-level web designer
- Mid-level web designer
- Senior web designer
These may all attract a different salary depending on the organization.
Lastly, the salary will also vary depending on whether you are a full-time web designer or a freelancer.
How can I become a freelance web designer?
Freelance web designing is an alternative route to making a career in the web designing industry.
It requires a bit more work on the side of the designer but also allows them control over what kinds of jobs they can do and when.
To become a freelance web designer you need to:-
1. Determine your path; decide which direction you want to take by specializing either in web development, User experience (UX) or visual designing.
2. Go through training; it is important to get the skills you will need to execute the duties in this field successfully and satisfactorily.
A good number of people get these through a 3 to 4-year bachelor course, but there are other ways to get these skills as explained in this article.
3. Get business skills; besides the technical skills needed for a professional web designer, you need basic business skills.
You will need some marketing skills, legal skills, and customer relations. It is important to acquire these to help you achieve your goal.
Can web design be self-taught?
Web design can be self-taught. With the right skills, determination, and zeal, you can become a web designer by your effort, just like many good web designers out there.
To be a successful self-taught web designer, you need to;
1. Start with the basics – get to know about web designing and the basic tools used like HTML and CSS as well as the types to help you pick a focus.
2. Get training – in your time and at the comfort of your favorite location you can get access to material like ebooks, video tutorials, and other online resources that will help you learn about web designing. Some sites offer training packages.
3. Practice- you know what they say, ‘practice makes perfect”! You need to get your hands on your passion, keep trying out, doing it and sharing your work for feedback, this helps a lot to shape and sharpen your skills.
4. Partner – you need some role models, and experts in the field to inspire you and encourage your dream. Create partnerships and groom them for the benefit of your passion.
5. Stay up-to-date – lastly, web designing is an evolving field. Things may change, new technologies keep coming in, and interests change. You therefore need to keep your eye open and your ears on the ground. Be ready to move as the profession moves.
What qualifications do I need to become a web designer?
Web designing as a field of practice does not strictly require that one goes to school to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills.
However, it demands certain abilities which can be formally groomed and attained through self-drive.
The following are quite helpful for aspiring web designers;
*Formal education; This is not a must, but I do not discourage it. It is important to attain an education in this field and acquire the needed certificates.
*Skills and knowledge; Most importantly, you need to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge that make a good web designer.
You can get these through formal education, or training and practicing.
You need coding and web development skills, designing skills, and tools like Adobe Photoshop, as well as UI and UX design principles.
*Portfolio; This is what showcases your skills and abilities as a designer, it is therefore a critical requirement.
You may have all the education and certificates but those do not speak enough, in fact, a strong portfolio can out-compete formal training.
*Commitment; Just like many other professions, passion and commitment are key aspects of web designing.
Your zeal qualifies you for the complexities that can be associated with the field. Your commitment keeps you up and learning, which is very much required for web designers.
All in all, your journey to becoming a web designer is not necessarily to be defined by a degree but by the creativity and dedication you bring to the digital world.
The tools and resources accessible on online platforms will enable self-directed learning and allow you to develop a diversified skill set at your own pace.
So, as you embark on this exciting venture, remember that real-world experience and a passion for innovation often outweigh formal education, and continuous learning and adaptation are key in this dynamic field of web design.