An interesting question for online job seekers: how to become a web designer? You’ve just finished university and you think this is your job. Or you started making websites during high school, you worked hard with Photoshop and now you only have one goal: to create. And put at the service of customers your ability, your taste for a beautiful and functional web.

Sounds like a good start. But this is not enough to become a professional web designer. There is no official register, or at least not yet. But one point is clear: having a website that respects usability, accessibility and good taste is not easy. That’s why you have to follow a series of steps that allow you to face this dubious step by step.

Who is and what a web designer does

The web designer is that professional figure who works with the graphic part of the website, with what we indicate as frontend. That is the section that you see, that presents itself to the public.
So it is a person who is comfortable with what are the subjects related to graphics, but at the same time knows the main languages of the web.

The web designer, in its pure form, deals only with the aesthetics of the site and optimizes its look for all the other specializations that work around the success of the web project. In everyday reality, often and willingly, the web designer has to deal with elements concerning the web master, the frontend developer and the user experience expert. So, what specifically does the web designer do? He is the junction between technique and creativity.

In smaller projects the web designer is the figure that makes the website. This is a limiting aspect, in most cases there must be a content expert and an SEO expert. As the commitment increases, project managers, web developers and content experts (images, text and video) can take over.

What to study to become a web designer

The web designer is a central figure in the process of creating a website, that’s why he must be able to update himself: graphics is a matter that ages rapidly, it’s a bit like SEO. There are trends and standards to follow if you want to remain competitive in the market. How to become a web designer? You have to study three major strands.

The first concerns the history of the subject. A bit like the web writer who knows the works of the great poets and novelists of the late nineteenth century, even the web designer investigates what comes before the web. Because the concept of re-mediation is always lucid: what we do today on the web has been put into practice by the press. And by television. So it is impossible to work as a web designer if you don’t know the basics.

The second step focuses on the specialization of contemporary languages and trends. In this case the work is titanic to say the least because you need to know the code like your own pockets to bend the aesthetics around your needs. The skills needed for a web designer are clear:

  • HTML
  • JavaScript
  • jQuery
  • CSS
  • HTML5
  • CSS3
  • Photoshop
  • Responsive Web Design
  • Main CMS

Then there is the third step to put into practice: the neighbouring subjects. You can’t be a professional web designer if you don’t know everything about the website. You have to go deeper into SEO, copywriting, social media marketing. And the great subject that responds to the name of user experience. Creating a website that is beautiful to look at but impossible to use is not a good way to give the customer what they want.

How much does a web designer earn

It’s hard to give an estimate of a web designer’s earnings or salary. It ranges from 1,000 euros per month for junior profiles up to 2,000 and more for the best and most quoted, but much depends on the country in which you work. These web professions are linked to your ability to create and sell a service. You can be a professional, but if you don’t find the solution to make yourself known and enter virtuous circles you risk losing good opportunities.

Become a self-taught web designer?

Actually you have to become a self-taught web designer. Or rather, you can follow courses and specializations but always thanks to your personal choice. The path to follow to study web design subjects is always the same: from general to particular.

And then back to broader aspects. First you have to get to know the web marketing universe (and understand that websites are not so much about being there) then you have to learn the basics of the subject and finally you have to specialize. In the meantime you return to the general and deepen the basis of the neighbouring subjects to get an overview.

The tools to study as self-taught are many – books, blogs, webinars, specific courses – but in this case practice makes the difference. On the contrary, perhaps in the case of web design there is an added value in working on a concrete level. In this way you develop your own way of working, your own style, a recognizable trait. The web designer is a contemporary artist and is proud of his signature. But it must develop over time.

Can I take a web designer course?

Of course, that of web designer is one of the most developed and ancient professions of web marketing. And it is one of the most popular. Few people care about the user experience (unfortunately) but everyone wants a beautiful and functional website.

That’s why there are many courses that offer hours of training to study the subjects of web marketing. It’s a good way to integrate, practice and get the right information. Don’t forget, however, the importance of training and updating over time.

Do you find work as a web designer?

As suggested above, the web designer is a coveted and requested profile because he is the one who allows you to turn your ideas into a concrete result. In a website. On the other hand, however, the competition is relentless, there is an abnormal offer of web designers. This is one more reason to focus on three decisive aspects to find a job as a web designer:

  • Continuing education.
  • Experience in the field.
  • Personal branding.

The training has already been included in my list of steps to become a web designer. Then there’s the experience in the field: to become a professional it’s not enough to study, you have to do something. You have to practice your skills and publish quality websites. At first you have to do the famous apprenticeship, then you have to get experience in a web agency that can teach you something. Then comes the time to walk with your own legs.

Last point: personal branding. Many web designers think they don’t need it, and that jobs can only come through word of mouth. Of course, being one of the sectors with the most history behind it, word of mouth works. But in the competition for big projects, the ones needed to earn and learn more, you have to make your name known. Maybe through good inbound marketing.

How to become a freelance web designer

This is the next step: become a web designer with VAT number. At first you practice, you have an apprenticeship contract. Then the experience allows you to level up and you can work closely with professionals who can teach you something concrete. The experience makes itself felt, you realize that you can do something more. So you make a decision: I open a VAT number and become a freelancer. A brave choice because the weight of taxes is not indifferent.

To work as a freelance web designer you must already have a good number of clients when you open your VAT number. The reason is simple: you can’t lose 1 year of your activity to create the necessary contacts: all the personal branding talk – and the opening of a blog, the participation in sector events… – must be done when you don’t need it.

Your experience as a web designer

How to become a web designer? With daily experience, training, knowledge of theory and practice. But that’s not enough. You have to focus on the ability to unite past and present, what has been and what is used every day in the world of online graphics. The web designer is a key profession to manage and create web projects: do you agree? Are you a web designer? Leave your experience in the comments.