How to become a web designer: a step-by-step guide

Updated 30 September 2022

Web designers have become increasingly popular over the years. The reason for this is because most of a customer's interactions with companies are now digital. To become a web designer, there are some essential skills to cultivate. In this article, we discuss some of the steps you can take to become a web developer and provide you with the skills necessary to become a web designer.

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How to become a web designer

Learning how to become a web designer can be broken down into skills, steps and finding the perfect role for you. Web designing is an in-demand profession with progression opportunities. Follow these useful steps to get started:

1. Develop the necessary skills

To become a web designer, hard and soft skills are necessary for you to have. Soft skills include communication, time management and other interpersonal skills. One way you can develop your soft skills is by practising them in your current work environment. If you want to grow your communication skills, you could try booking meetings or catch-up sessions with your colleagues.

Hard skills include official or accredited courses. You can develop hard skills through education or training. To become a web designer, you do not need formal education and can learn them on your own via online tutorials and masterclasses.

Read more: What Are Hard Skills and How Do They Differ From Soft Skills?

2. Have your portfolio

A portfolio is like a gallery of web design jobs you have done for past clients or yourself. It shows prospective clients what you're capable of and demonstrates your style. With a portfolio, you can also keep track of your progress as a web designer.

You can develop your portfolio by building your list of clients, but even if you do not have experience, it's possible to still do so with only mock-ups. When creating your portfolio, it's important to remember to keep it short by choosing your best works so far so that it's easier for prospective clients to navigate.

3. Choose a speciality

In web design, there are many roles you can choose to take up. You can choose a role based on your skillset. A speciality role may be better suited for you if you already have the experience for it, or an entry-level role if you do not have the required skills. After choosing the best speciality role for you, the ideal next step is to pursue more knowledge in that role. You can become more knowledgeable in your role by pursuing relevant certifications.

Related: 11 University and Online Web Design Courses for Beginners

4. Showcase your work

After building your portfolio, it's equally important to showcase it. Fortunately, web design is one of those fields where you do not necessarily require a client base to gain experience or build your portfolio. Mock-ups are designs you create by yourself for yourself and can be showcased in your portfolio. They are very useful in demonstrating your style and capabilities to prospective clients as well.

With the variety of social media platforms in existence, you can use them to promote your portfolio. A way to take advantage of social media is to choose the platform that the clients you're after most use.

5. Join design communities

Joining online design communities is a good way to network with other web designers. In doing so, it's possible to learn from experienced web designers and get connected to job opportunities. You can also share your portfolio and get valuable feedback. Social media is also a good way to search for these design communities.

6. Study both design theories and tools

To start your career as a web designer, it's important to develop a good knowledge of its theory. Such an understanding of web design theory may help you navigate the design tools better. A continuous study process can also improve your precision and general expertise.

7. Freelance

One way to build your list of clients is through freelancing. As a freelancer, you can work with as many people as you can at any particular time. For you to succeed as a freelance web designer, it is good to be good confident enough to reach out to clients you want to work with first. Clients may reach out to you first if they have seen your portfolio. This is why it is a great idea to share your portfolio.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Freelancing

8. Get certifications

As a web designer, certifications can help you get a better understanding of specialised topics. Thus, certifications are also a way to improve your skills in web design. Moreover, they are a good way to boost your CV and increase your worth as a freelancer.

You can earn these certifications online and are more likely to successfully get one after gaining some knowledge and experience in your field.

What does a web designer do?

A web designer's role is to design websites. Thus as a web designer, you can expect your responsibilities to include planning, designing and writing codes for websites. To become a web designer, formal education is not necessary as many web designers today are self-taught.

Skills to become a web designer

To become a web designer, some soft and hard skills are necessary for you to have. You can develop and refine these skills over time. Some of these skills include:

  • Search engine optimisation (SEO): As a web designer, it's important to have some SEO knowledge so you can implement them in your web designs. This is a key part of how you can drive traffic to your client's website.

  • Problem-solving: A good web designer can be considered an acute problem solver. This can relate to solving problems for your clients or their customers.

  • Adaptability: By being adaptable, you can be able to master new technologies. This skill is necessary because of the constant rate of improvement in technology.

  • Communication: To be able to interpret what your client's needs for their websites are, you want to ensure that you develop good communication skills.

  • Self-starter: A self-starter is someone who takes the initiative to do things themselves. As a web designer, take the initiative to learn how to use the new software that comes into existence.

  • Online marketing: This is the practice of using the Internet to spread a company's marketing messages. One of the ways to do that is through copywriting, which is more likely to be effective if you have good SEO knowledge.

Related: 12 Essential Web Designer Skills

Roles in the web design field

Web design is so broad that it can be considered its own field. Within this field, there are specific roles. Some of these roles include:

1. SEO specialist

National average salary: £31,280 per year

Primary Duties: An SEO specialist is responsible for creating and implementing strategies that can drive traffic to a website. In this role, you can expect to constantly check how your client's website ranks compared to their competitors. Another title for this position is known as conversion rate optimisation.

2. Visual designer

National average salary: £39,846 per year

Primary Duties: A visual designer's role is to establish how a website or digital platform can look. Having basic coding knowledge can be beneficial for you in this role. You can expect to be working together with developers to achieve the vision of your client.

3. UI/UX designer

National average salary: £43,606 per year

Primary Duties: A user experience (UX) designer is a professional who is responsible for designing websites and applications in a customer-friendly way. While the role may be similar, a user interface (UI) designer's major focus is to predict customer behaviours on websites. When UI designers can predict these behaviours, they can ensure that the interface is simple and easy to understand for customers to navigate.

4. Front end developer

National average salary: £49,723 per year

Primary Duties: A front-end developer's major responsibility is to ensure that anyone who visits a web page can interact with it. Thus their work is likely to include creating the user interface and maintaining it. In this role, you can expect to use software languages like Javascript and HTML.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the 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.

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