How To Get A Job As A Web Designer

Interested in working as a web designer? In this article we’ve broken down exactly what a web designer actually does, plus the qualifications and skills you’ll need in order to land your dream job.

What does a web designer do?

A web designer designs and builds new websites, or re-designs existing websites. Typically, web designer jobs require both creativity and technical skills in that the designer needs to be able to make a website functional and user-friendly, but also need to be able suit the aesthetic of the client and make it appealing from a front-end perspective.

What qualifications do web designers need?

Many web designers will have a degree in a design or media subject, such as a specific web design degree, multimedia design, digital media, computer science (although this is less of the ‘creative’ side and more of the technical’, or even graphic design.

Other qualifications you could take include a diploma in creative media or IT.

Do you need a degree to be a web designer?

No, not necessarily. You could be self taught and gain experience via a different route than gaining an academic qualification. However, a degree in a relevant subject can be a good introduction into this career and does reflect well on your resume.

Technical Skills

Web designers need a lot of technical knowledge in order to be able to design a website to both look good and - perhaps more importantly - function properly for the user.

Technical skills a web designer needs include:

  • A good working knowledge of HTML/CSS
  • Experience with Photoshop and the Abode Suite or other design software
  • Good knowledge with at least one programming language (Java, Python, C++ for example)
Soft skills

As well as needing technical skills, web designers do need other ‘soft’ skills in order to really excel in the role. These include skills such as:

  • Time management: web designers will often have several projects on the go at a time with strict deadlines so that everyone else working on the project can complete their tasks on time. Being able to manage your time effectively is therefore essential to ensure the entire project doesn’t get delayed.
  • Communication: it is likely that you will be communicating with the client on a regular basis to get a good idea of the key functions and general aesthetic they are looking for on their website. Good communication is a key skill to ensure you are able to satisfy the brief accurately and avoid a constant back-and-forth of revisions.
  • Creativity: web designers need to be able to come up with creative solutions to problems, and to design a website with the overall aesthetic in mind just as much as functionality.
  • User Experience: A web designer also needs to be able to consider the user’s experience after designing a website. How easy is it to navigate? Do all the buttons and links work? Is it well laid out? These are all essential considerations you need to be able to work through.
Build Experience

To get a job as a web designer, you’re going to need experience. Ideally, you will have a strong resume as well as a portfolio of at least a handful of projects you have worked on to showcase your best work to future employers.

If you are fairly new to the industry and haven’t acquired much work experience yet, you can overcome this by:

  • Ask friends and family who own websites if you can re-design theirs, whether unpaid or paid, to add to your portfolio.
  • Do some voluntary work to fill out your portfolio - this will probably be unpaid at first, but if you are just starting out then volunteering can be a fantastic way of building your portfolio while also contributing a great addition to your resume.
  • Come up with hypothetical web designs of big brands that you like. This can still be a good way of showcasing your skills without having actually worked as a web designer before.
Where to apply

Being a web designer can give you a lot of freedom over where you want to work. You could apply to work in-house for a particular company, or you could freelance and take on projects for different brands all the time.

You could work in an office, or you could work completely remotely. Consider what you want for yourself before applying to jobs. Then, some good places to look for connections and job adverts online include LinkedIn, Indeed.com, GitHub, and StackOverflow.

Aside from looking online, don’t be afraid to get your name out there and ask your friends and family for help. For these slightly more creative jobs (especially if you are freelancing) referrals and word-of-mouth can be one of the most effective ways to find work when you are first getting started.

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