How to Become a Web Designer (With Skills and FAQ)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 13 December 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A career in web design requires technical skills and creativity. Web designers use their technical proficiency to develop functional websites, but they also benefit from having aesthetic sensibility and artistic skills to create a pleasing user experience. If you're interested in pursuing a technical and creative role, you may want to consider the field of web design. In this article, we discuss how to become a web designer along with some of their key skills and answer some frequently asked questions about being a web designer.

How to become a web designer

If you want to learn how to become a web designer, consider the following steps:

1. Earn a bachelor's degree

Formal educational qualifications aren't always necessary, as some companies place greater value on experience and creativity, but larger companies often require a related degree at either the undergraduate or postgraduate level. There are many relevant degrees you can consider pursuing, such as:

  • digital media production

  • web design

  • computer science

  • graphic design

  • fine art

  • software engineering

  • multimedia web design

  • information technology

Whilst pursuing a formal degree, consider additional subjects such as languages, management, advertising, development, technology and communications. Knowledge in additional fields can be useful for pursuing different career paths, such as moving into management roles or working abroad.

2. Gain work experience

Any experience, whether voluntary or paid, may boost your resume. You could embark on a placement year, complete a summer internship or design websites in your own time for friends or family. Consider building a portfolio of work that you can showcase to hiring managers and keep up to date with the latest trends in web design. Joining societies or clubs at universities related to multimedia, web design or computing may expand your network, which could lead to work opportunities.

3. Develop key skills

Here are some crucial skills to become a successful web designer:

Creativity

Creativity is one of the most important skills for web designers. While clients may specify certain design aspects, you may have the opportunity to provide suggestions on aspects such as fonts, colours and spacing. Being able to design creative, unique and compelling designs for each client can impress employers that can lead to career advancement.

Related: What Is Creativity? (With Definition, Examples and Tips)

Teamwork

Collaboration and teamwork are crucial skills as a web designer often works as part of a larger team. It's beneficial to understand the different duties of each team member so you know who to seek for assistance. For instance, copywriters provide the written content for the website and web developers handle more technical elements, such as animations.

Related: Teamwork Skills: Definition and Examples

Ability to understand client needs or requirements

Before creating a website, a web designer meets with clients to understand their needs or requirements for their site. They understand the message the client wants to convey and find out who the target audience is. Larger companies often have specific brand guidelines regarding their logos and colour schemes. Understanding and following client requirements can help ensure client satisfaction.

Strong communication skills

A web designer works with various clients and professionals. Even if working in-house, there may be internal clients and stakeholders involved. Being able to effectively communicate what's possible regarding design can help set expectations with clients and ensure they're satisfied with the final product. It's also important to accurately communicate your design and any requirements to team members so everyone is working towards the same goal.

Related: 10 Effective Communication Skills for Career Success

Attention to detail

It's important for web designers to develop strong attention to detail. Having excellent attention to detail allows a web designer to produce high-quality work that's free from errors and meets the requirements of clients. It's also a highly transferrable skill that many employers and clients value, as it helps projects meet deadlines and quality standards.

Basic web development knowledge

While coding is typically the role of a website developer, it's beneficial for web designers to have some basic knowledge of programming languages, such as Flash, JavaScript, jQuery, PHP, CSS and HTML, to determine what design options are going to work best. For instance, some design effects function better with certain programming languages. Having basic web development knowledge can help web designers build realistic website designs.

Software skills

To become a successful web designer, it's important to be familiar with common design applications and software. Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop are some of the most common software used for web design. Employers often expect candidates to have experience in specific design software.

Related: Technical Skills: Definitions and Examples

4. Earn certifications

You may pursue the following certifications to improve your knowledge and qualifications and boost your resume:

  • Adobe Certified Expert: This design-focused certificate shows your proficiency in developing digital and video elements with Adobe software.

  • Agile Certified Practitioner: Offered by the Project Management Institute, this certificate helps you learn the fundamentals of the agile approach to project management.

  • CIW Web Design Professional: Provided by Certification Partners, this certification shows your competence in best practices for e-commerce and website design standards.

5. Market yourself

If you want to work as a freelance web designer, your success often depends on your ability to market your skills. Aside from keeping your portfolio and personal website updated, look for other ways to advertise yourself to potential clients and the design community. Improving your online presence may also lead to job offers if you're looking for a full-time position.

You can use professional profiles and social media to boost your visibility. You can communicate with other web designers online to stay updated on job opportunities and industry news. Consider building positive relationships with your clients to ensure their repeat business. You may ask them to refer you to other clients. You can also attend networking events to continue to grow your professional network and potentially meet new clients.

6. Stay updated

Web design is a constantly evolving field. As technology changes frequently, new design methods emerge and consumer needs change. Keep learning, practising and developing your skills to remain current in your industry. Show clients that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to design websites that meet their needs and expectations.

Frequently asked questions about web designers

Here are answers to some of the most common questions about being a web designer:

What are the specific duties and responsibilities of a web designer?

A web designer's primary responsibility is to turn a client's vision into a realistic and unique design, which may combine several visual elements, including video clips, graphics, photos and text. They oversee the layout, theme and style, which can involve updating existing pages or working on a brand new website. Some specific duties of a web designer are:

  • researching current web design trends

  • sourcing or creating media to be added to a website

  • employing design best practices throughout the website build process

  • ensuring your design remains consistent across different devices, such as tablets, mobile phones and computers

  • communicating with developers to ensure your design is practical

  • integrating branding elements into a website

  • testing functionality of design elements, such as animations

  • ensuring your design meets all client requirements

  • sharing draft designs for feedback and constructive criticism

  • adjusting formatting for different languages

What is the work environment of a web designer?

They may work independently as a freelancer or on a full-time basis for a marketing agency. They frequently spend long hours sitting, using a computer and other office equipment. Web designers also meet with clients to discuss their services.

How much does a web designer make?

The average salary for a web designer is $16,056 per month. Your salary can vary depending on factors such as your experience and expertise. Your earning potential may increase as you expand your portfolio and improve your skills in different web design software.

What is the difference between a web designer and a web developer?

Web developers create the technical aspects of a website by using coding and programming languages. They turn a design into a functional website. Web designers focus on the creative, visual and user experience elements of a website and often work directly with web developers to consider any technical limitations.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌ Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.