If you are both artsy and a bit of a computer geek, you may have a future in web design. Web design jobs can be very lucrative if you commit yourself to learning the tools of the trade. So what tools and skills do you need to get a web design job? One is creativity and basic artistic ability; some design schools require students to take basic art classes before ever touching programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator.
Many people in web design jobs know some programming languages like HTML, C, Perl, PGP, Java, Flash, and/or ColdFusion. The Adobe software suite is the most widely used, so take the time to learn these applications. Take classes, read books, do whatever it takes for you to learn how to use Adobe. Dreamweaver is also an industry standard in web design software.
When you have a solid skill set and a body of work (even if it is all practice), you need to create a portfolio to showcase your work. Whether you’ve obtained an education on your own or by taking classes, you no doubt have a few examples of websites you have built, especially your own. A website/portfolio can serve as your audition for web design jobs and may be all potential employers need to see to get a feel for what you can bring to their business. You also need to have a current resume listing your work history, accomplishments, and education.
Most businesses these days have a website that was designed by a graphic artist. Sometimes these are built in-house, but often they are contracted out. You’ll have to decide if you want a web design job at a company where you manage just the company’s website or if you want to work for a web design firm and manage multiple websites. You may decide that you want to go the freelance route and contract your work out. This allows you to make your own schedule, choose which companies to work for, take off when you want, and keep things interesting. Be sure to allow yourself time to take advantage of the multitude of books, online training courses, and product tutorials to hone your skills and keep up with trends.
Don’t forget the importance of networking and word-of-mouth recommendations when looking for a web design job. Keep your contact list current and touch base with the people on it from time to time. Mingle with the online design community and use it as a source for job leads, business advice, design trends, software innovations, marketing advice, and career leads.
If you have the skill and the drive to make yourself stand out from the crowd, there really is no limit to what you can achieve as a website designer.
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