The best Web sites are the one that keep visitors interested, engaged and coming back for more. If you spend your spare time designing and building Web sites and enjoy the challenge of learning and writing code, you already possess many of the skills needed to become a professional Web designer. Still a Hot Market
The first Web site was published in 1991. Since then, the Web design field has exploded, with no end in sight. As the industry has evolved, so has skill set required for Web designers. While some Web designers have a background in graphic arts, equally important is an understanding of the latest design software tools and a sophisticated understanding of HTML.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for computer scientists-a category that includes Web designers-is expected to be excellent over the next eight years, with a growth rate of 37 percent. Building Web Design Skills
Most entry-level Web design positions require at least a certificate or degree in Web design, graphic or digital arts, or multimedia
. Increasingly, typical salaried jobs in the field require a bachelor's degree. There are an increasing number of two- and three-year associate degree and certification programs available through community colleges, technical and art schools, and online degree programs
. These programs will often include classes in visual design, HTML, scripting, site management, writing, and project management. You'll also learn how to use specific Web design tools like Adobe Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver, Java, and Perl.
As the field experiences faster-than-average growth and technology becomes more advanced, Web designers will be expected to possess a high level of skill and knowledge-and stay on top of new developments and software upgrades. Web designers generally earn between $47,000 to $71,500, while Web developers earn between $54,750 and $81,500. Working in Web Design
Web designers may work as Web developers or Webmasters, site producers, product managers, or graphic designers. As a designer, you might maintain and update your employer's Web site or be expected to build one from scratch. Since just about every company, organization, and individual has a Web site these days, you shouldn't have a shortage of work to do.
Additionally, few fields have as many freelancing opportunities as Web design. You should avail yourself of as many freelance opportunities as possible as you prepare to start your career. These freelance gigs will supplement your income, but of greater value is the opportunity to build your portfolio. When the time comes to step into the job market, a good portfolio will get you farther than a good resume or interview.