Web designers come from all kinds of backgrounds and have all levels of formal training. Maybe you want to become a successful designer, but are hesitant thinking the market is saturated. In my view no market where there’s demand is ever closed off to talent. In fact, I believe there are still incredible profits to be earned in Web design.
Answering how you become a Web designer really boils down to the capacity in which you wish to work.
For instance, do you wish to find employment with a large and established Web development company, or
Do you want to freelance and run your own company? If you wish to run your own company, what kind of websites do you wish to build.
The answers to these 2 questions will determine your path to becoming a designer.
Some people get university degrees with many Website design oriented courses while other designers never take a course.
Becoming a designer isn’t like becoming a lawyer. There aren’t formal governing bodies admitting you. In fact, there are relatively few barriers to entry. This is good and bad. It’s good because you don’t have to go through 2, 4, or 6 years of school. It’s bad because there’s a lot of competition. Anyone who can slap up a WordPress theme can claim to be a designer.
What Should You Do?
If you want to find employment with a large Web development company or in-house with a corporation, the schooling will help and may well be necessary unless you have an impressive portfolio.
At the end of the day, what gets you employed is your portfolio. If you haven’t built many or any websites, get started. You don’t have to have clients to build websites. Build a few on spec. The point is to start building websites.
If you want to be a freelance designer, then focus on a specific type of website. Here are some options:
Small business websites. You can narrow this down to specific types of businesses or organizations such as:
professionals such as accountants, lawyers, doctors, etc.
The point is one way to build up a reputation and develop expertise, is choosing to build specific types of websites.
You’ll also probably want to choose one or two platforms on which you build websites. You can use WordPress, Joomla, HTML, Flash, or any other types of website building platforms.
In order to build a portfolio of real websites for real clients, you may have to build a few for free. That’s okay. Just build the portfolio.
You should also think about strategic model. Will you focus on low-cost template-based sites or large, complex websites that require a lot of work and cost a lot of money.
Do Your Research
Scour the web for the latest designs. However, be aware of the prevailing designs in your niche you target. There may be some incredible, progressive designs, but that isn’t for all types of websites. For examples, a religious body or financial planner may want a more conservative design. Pay particular attention to the types of websites being built for your prospective clients.
Gain Some Collateral Skills for Additional Revenue
It helps if you know the basics about SEO especially if you go into freelancing. Chances are your clients will expect you to do some SEO or know something about it. It helps to know enough to explain it to clients and perhaps refer them to quality SEO folks (or yourself if you know enough of it).
There’s great money in SEO if you get results. Many people believe SEO is within the domain of Web designers (even though the two activities are very different).
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