How to Become a Web Designer

How to Become a Web Designer: Career Path Guide

If you want to become a web designer, you first need to determine if this career path is well suited to your skills and interests. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a web designer:


• You don’t mind working in an office and looking at a screen for long periods

• You are skilled in HTML/CSS and both MySQL and PHP

• You enjoy working in a fast-paced environment

• You have a high degree of focus when working

• You are able to use programs such as Dreamweaver, Javascript, .Net, Photoshop and others

• You are able to create logical and concise website architecture


Those who become web designers are not technophobic, nor do they lack creative flair. This career requires originality, imagination and inspiration at all times, in order to keep websites fresh, user friendly and unique.


Those who become web designers also have the interpersonal skills to obtain project requirements from their clients, and the technical abilities to manifest those requirements.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a web designer. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Web Designer

You do not typically need a formal education to become a web designer. However, most designers have experience in other types of design, or have done training in web design, either through university or college, or by teaching themselves.


It must be noted that some employers may require candidates for Web Designer jobs to have at least a 2-year diploma from a web design program at a college or university.


Many web designers also enter the field with an educational background in a related field, such as computer science.


They then acquire the necessary writing, graphic design and management knowledge and skills through other coursework, working closely with other professionals (such as graphic artists and marketing managers), and through professional development activities, such as independent learning and attending seminars.




Web Designer Job Description

Web designers are responsible for designing the layout, look and navigation of websites. In order to do this, they must have a thorough understanding of the client’s needs for the website; how it needs to work and what objectives it will have to accomplish.


Once they have an understanding of how the website will need to function, they must create its visual elements, which includes the font, the color scheme, any graphics or pictures that are to be included, and other elements.


Web designers may create websites for the Internet, such as e-commerce websites or informational websites, or intranet sites that are internal to organizations. Depending on the project, web designers may also be asked to manage their client's website once it is up and running.



Web Designer Job Duties

• Liaise with client or employer to determine the goals and objectives of the website

• Design website layout that will satisfy the webmaster, website users and content writers

• Work with graphic artists to create unique graphics for the site

• Work with marketing team members to ensure advertisements are optimally positioned

• Convert written, graphic, audio and video components to compatible formats by using software designed to facilitate the conversion process or by performing the coding work manually

• Ensure the site operates as planned prior to releasing it publicly

• Keep the site relevant and visually interesting by uploading new content on a regular basis



Who Creates Jobs for Web Designers?

Web designers are hired on a part-time, full-time or contractual basis by small, medium and large organizations in the public, private and non-profit sector.


Types of Employers of Web Designers include:


• Web design companies

• Web Service companies (such as search engine optimization companies)

• Graphic design companies

• IT departments of large public, private and non-profit organizations

• Colleges and universities

• Self-employment (as freelancers)





Skills and Traits Needed to Become a Web Designer

In order to become effective in a career as a web designer, you need to posses a certain set of skills and personality traits. These skills and traits will help you make the most of your career as a web designer by allowing you to perform your job duties with competence, and by helping you to maintain a positive attitude towards your work.


Many of these skills and traits are also in high demand with companies that hire web designers; you will see many of these skills and traits, or variations of them, listed on web designer job postings.


Personal Characteristics

• Enjoy analyzing and developing information

• Enjoy consulting with others

• Enjoy performing tasks that require precision

• Enjoy performing work that involves logic and creativity


Soft Skills

• Patient and methodical approach to work activities, such as troubleshooting

• Excellent communication skills

• Able to work independently and as a member of a team

• The ability to stay up-to-date with the latest industry innovations


Hard Skills

• Skilled in HTML/CSS and both MySQL and PHP

• Able to use programs such as Dreamweaver, Javascript, .Net, Photoshop and others

• Proven ability to create logical and concise site structure

• Knowledge of using content management systems



Working Conditions for Web Designers

Working Hours: Web designers typically work standard business hours, although they may also work mostly evening and weekend hours (when they have access to servers and systems while fewer users are online). Overtime is often required by web designers to meet project deadlines and to solve problems.


Work Setting: Web designers may work in an office environment, or they may work from home. They may spend some time travelling to meet clients.


Work Environment: The work of web designers can be stressful, such as when they are under pressure to meet a tight deadline, when they have to solve technical problems or when they are dealing with a difficult or dissatisfied client.


Occupational Hazards: Occupational hazards for web designers typically include eyestrain and injuries related to repetitive movement and sitting for long periods of time. 



Career Advancement for Web Designers

Web designers may move into a variety of roles involving greater levels of pay and responsibility, based on their personal qualifications and their career ambitions.


Web developers who have a bachelor’s degree can typically advance to become project managers. Web designers who have a bachelor’s degree or proven management skills may become webmasters, lead designers, or they may work as highly sought after freelancers or start their own web design company.


Experienced web designers who have proven technical abilities may move into occupations such as systems security analyst, information systems quality assurance analyst, computer programmer or interactive media developer. 


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Web Designer Salary

The salary level of web designers can vary depending on their personal qualifications, the size and type of their employer, and many other factors.


Web Designer Salary Alberta: According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Web Designers and Developers occupational group earn an average of between $26.47 and $37.50 per hour.


Web Designer Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadians working as part of the Web Designers and Developers occupational group is $41,562 per year.


Web Designer Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salary level of workers in the Web Developers occupational group is $66,100.



Careers Similar to Web Designer

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Web Designer, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Computer Programmer

E-Commerce Manager

Graphic Designer

Magazine Designer

Video Game Developer



References: How to Become a Web Designer

Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a Web Designer.



Occupations in Alberta:Web Designer.” (March 31, 2018). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 16, 2020.

Occupational Employment and Wages:Web Developers.” (March 29, 2019). Bureau of Labor Statistics - United States Government website. Retrieved January 16, 2020.

Digital Arts Careers:How to Become a Web Designer.” (December 12, 2019) The Art Careers Project website. Retrieved January 16, 2020.

Explore Careers: Web Designer.” (n.d.). National Careers Service website. Retrieved January 16, 2020.



Scholarships for Becoming a Web Designer

Scholarships in Canada and the United States listed for majors that apply to becoming a Web Designer can be found on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Web Designer: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a Web Designer. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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