Becoming a Web Designer – Requirements and Options

Web designing – a creative process where the designer creates visual elements for expressing the message of a brand. Naturally web designers are required to be creative.

To become a web designer you need to have certain skills.

  • Markup languages – HTML, XHTML, XML
  • Formatting / Stylesheet Languages – CSS, XSL
  • Client side or Broswer Scripting language – JavaScript
  • Server side scripting languages – PHP /Asp/Coldfusion/Perl (only basic knowledge required)
  • Storage technology – MYSql, PostgreSQL
  • Adobe Photoshop, illustrator, fireworks (there are many in the market, but these are most popular)
  • Flash, Silverlight

Though it is not a comprehensive list, any web designer is required to have knowledge in hands-on usage of these tools and languages. If all this sounds too daunting to you, then probably you are not a designer yet!

Web designing is a part of overall development of a website. Graphics designing – when applied to the context of a website, is creation of visual elements of the website. A Web Designer is required to have knowledge and skills in both Graphics designing and programming.

In most companies i have seen the Graphics designer being handed the responsibility of a web designer, leading to much frustration and time waste for the management.

In a typical project scenario, client will provide the designer with some text, image, reference links etc. In most cases the requirements of the client are hard to understand as not everyone is good at conveying their requirements. As a designer it will be your responsibility to make sense of the data provided by client, understand her requirements and create the visual structure accordingly.  As you can see, design requirement analysis becomes a key skill required from a web designer along with communication and adaptation skills.

Becoming a Top Notch Designer is no easy task.

There are thousands of designers all over the web but what separates an expert from a novice or average designer is the level of perfection offered by the expert and also the amount the time involved in completing a project.

To be an expert designer you will need invest time in upgrading your knowledge and skills.  Increasing productivity with tools is a smart move in professional life and as a designer you will do well to learn and adapt various designing tools that gives you an edge over other designers.

Some tools that you should learn and use –

  • Mind mapping tools – these tools gives you a better idea of how content interacts with design
  • Organizing tools – organize your workflow and schedule
  • Collaboration tools – work with team and enhance productivity
  • Diagnostic tools – debug and fix design issues quickly
  • Monitoring tools – monitor your work progress

You may also want to get feedback from peers and friends and use social media tools for the same.

Working for a company

Web designing is a creative job and does not require managerial skills unless you are trying to be the team lead. A designer should be hired on the basis of the skill sets she has – academic credentials are secondary here. Yet, till this date, well known companies expect a candidate to have at least a technical degree – preferably in computer science. There has been exceptions – but very few.

If you are thinking about web design as a career, then you should consider enrolling for a technical degree – like BTech in computer science. MCA or PGDCA (Post Graduare Diploma in Computer Applications). If that is not an option available to you that do not despair! Try to get certified from a reputed design /multimedia institute. A certification from a reputed institution will add weight to your resume and help you ask for a higher pay.

If none of the above options are open to you then do not despair! Try creating excellent designs as test projects and include in your portfolio. Having an impressive portfolio is bound to give you an opening in any small start up or mid-sized organization.

Working as a Freelancer

If working 9 – 5 for some organization is not your thing then you consider being a freelancer. But think it through properly before you decide – being a freelancer is rewarding, but has its cons, you will require a lot of self discipline to make it work. Also you will need to have an impressive portfolio to show to clients before you start. The the onus will lie on you to build your own personal brand and market yourself online.

If you have already decide to be a freelance then had to Freelancer.com, iFreelance.com and Elance.com – to start your professional life right away.

Eventually, whatever you decide – base it on the level of happiness that you derive. Be it a job or a profession, being happy with your work makes it enjoyable and therein lies your progress as a web designer!

 

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