There are no formal education requirements for web designers. In fact, web design professionals today come from many different backgrounds. However, there are degrees you can earn to hone your skills in this area. Employers may even show a preference for job candidates with a web design degree when it comes to the competitive job market. Professionals in this field make a median annual salary of $77,200 and can expect an 8% growth in job openings by 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
What kinds of web design degrees are there?
Colleges and universities offer web design degrees at the certificate, associate, bachelor’s, and master’s levels. The master’s degree in web design allows learners to develop a more specialized skill set in the field, but it’s less common than the other three program options.
An online certificate in web design allows students to get a sense of the field, explore web concepts and coding languages, and experiment with real-world applications. Certificate programs may include required courses such as web animation, internet design and publishing, and website maintenance. Students who complete a certificate program may also be prepared to take the popular Adobe Certified Associate exam, a credential showcasing skill in the Creative Cloud software used by most web designers. Certificates are shorter in length than both associate and bachelor’s degrees and typically take fewer than a year to complete.
How can I get a job as a web designer?
While a formal education is highly recommended, one of the most important and mandatory components of your job application is a portfolio showcasing your web design work. Your portfolio puts your work on display in its finished form and serves as your unique calling card as a designer. You should expect this to be a required part of every job application and topic of discussion in job interview scenarios.
Web designers may work full time in computer systems design and publishing. They typically hold specialized positions, such as back- or front-end web development or digital interface design. In many cases, these professionals must collaborate with other teams across departments within a company. It’s common for web designers to work closely with employees focused on SEO and content development, marketing, and user experience.
Web designers today can also make a living as freelance workers. Freelance workers interact solely with clients, so networking, time-management, and business negotiation skills are critical when building and maintaining a successful freelance web design career.
There are no formal education requirements to become a web designer, but many professionals benefit from having training in a related field or discipline, such as web development or graphic design. An education in web design or one of its related fields indicates familiarity with the majority of technical and creative aspects of web design roles. Graduates with a web design degree or certificate also build diverse portfolios from completing class projects.
Networking for students and young professionals can also positively affect their web design careers. Learners in web development, graphic design, or related programs get to interact with like-minded students and instructors who are experts in the field. These contacts can pay dividends in the future when a student graduates and begins job hunting. Additionally, students with formal training can take advantage of academic and career-focused contacts made through regional and national professional associations and membership-based societies.
The finished products you produce as a web design professional are of the utmost importance when it comes to finding a job or securing new clients. The more diverse and robust your portfolio, the better. Professionals can further develop their portfolios through completing a degree in web design, doing pro bono work, freelance projects, and creating high-quality conceptual work and mock designs. In all cases, portfolio work should be compatible on both desktop and mobile devices.
The ways in which web designers present their portfolios changes with the latest technologies and trends in the field. Your online portfolio should showcase all of your strengths as a web designer while clearly communicating your personality and unique qualities.