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Tips for getting a web design Job

17-06-2021

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With the internet always expanding and more websites popping up each day at an almost alarming rate, for the past ten years or so the web designer profession has been quite sought-after and it seems that the trend is here to stay for the next decade as well – employment of web developers and digital designers is projected to grow by approximately 10% by 2029. Although this might not seem like a lot at first glance, it is actually much higher than the average for all professions.

This growth is generated by the ever-increasing demand for mobile-responsive websites and for e-commerce platforms – the sector is currently booming and will continue to do so. For the prospective job seeker, this spells better job security and more opportunities for career advancement. Furthermore, according to IT Jobs Watch, the median annual salary for web designers has increased by a whopping 43% in the last year, which is definitely something worth considering.

Tips for getting a web design Job

The best tips for getting web designer jobs

Now, whether your job has been affected by the pandemic or not, and regardless of your education, experience and background - logic and common sense dictate that you at least analyse the possibility of switching to a high job growth field at some point in the future. The list of fields that match this criterion is quite long and diverse. If web design is one of the jobs on that list that has caught your interest, then you need to know the skills and abilities that will facilitate getting a great design job and ultimately building a career as a web designer.

Based on job descriptions from websites like O*NET Online and on the contents of web designer job ads on aggregators like Jooble, we have compiled this list of requirements and tips to help you along on your path to getting a great web design job:

1. Hone your artistic abilities

The basic formula here is Imagination + Creativity + Attention to Detail. First and foremost, a web designer is a creator of visual content. If you have been seriously considering a web design job, or if you already have some experience in this field, then you probably are a creatively inclined person.

However - same as with any other ability – creativity, imagination and attention to detail can (and must) be improved through training. You can do this yourself, by taking on more creative tasks and jobs, or with the help of specialised courses, of which there are literally thousands.

Unfortunately, there is no single, unique algorithm to enhance or improve creativity – different techniques work for different personalities. Just keep searching and trying, until you find the ones that fit you perfectly.


2. Brush up on your technology skills and knowledge

For a web designer, these are arguably even more important than artistic abilities. In order to get a great web design job, you need to have a strong, confident command of the following:

  • Programming languages like JavaScript, HTML, CSS and Python. These are some of the most common languages for web design, but there are actually many more. There is no single best (or worst) language – each one behaves and performs differently. You will have to choose the most suitable language for your current project or job, based on performance, reliability and expressiveness. In the long run, you will probably end up experimenting with most of these languages, to some degree or another. 
  • Database Management Systems (DMS) like My SQL, Amazon DynamoDB and Oracle PL/SQL. This is crucial for most websites – DMS are responsible for the confidentiality, data access control, assuring data integrity, restoring the database from a backup and logically presenting the data to other users.
  • Top web page creation and editing software, like Adobe Dreamweaver, Wix, WordPress, Weebly, Webflow, Bluefish and Visual Studio Code. This software makes website creation simpler, more intuitive and user-friendly. The majority of these programs have a beginner mode as well, to help you get started. Again, there is no single best software in this category – it depends on the project and on your personal style.
  • Graphics or photo imaging software like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Pixelmator and SmugMug Flickr. This software will help you unleash your imagination and creativity. 
  • Video creation and editing software, like Adobe AfterEffects, Adobe Premiere Pro, Flipgrid, Screencastify and YouTube. Same as the previous point, but for videos.
  • Web platform development software like Backbone.js, Microsoft ASP.NET Core MVC, React and Spring Framework. You need to have at least a basic grasp of this software, in order to understand how it works and to be able to make changes.
  • Having SEO knowledge will help you create efficient websites that are easier to promote, at a lower cost.

While this does seem like a lot for a beginner, you do not need to learn and know all of it at the same time. If this is your first try at a web designer job, put some research into job ads and see which technical skills are in demand right now. Pick what you know (or like) best and start building and expanding from there.

This can be done either by gaining experience and learning as you work or by taking relevant courses to help you stay ahead of the game.


3. There is no golden rule with regard to education

Although getting a degree in digital media design (or a similar subject) will surely help your job-hunting efforts, it seems that most employers do not post that requirement. As long as you have the skills and abilities necessary to get your tasks done, backed up by a decent portfolio, no one is going to bother with your degree, or lack of one. This brings us to our next point.


4. The key to success lies in having a strong portfolio of web design work

Most serious employers will want to see examples of your previous work, before even thinking about offering you the chance of a trial period or your first project. If you do not have a portfolio yet, start building one by applying for a web designer apprenticeship and/or by doing as much freelance work as you can.

You need to have something to show if you are to be noticed.


5. Communication is extremely important

As a web designer, you will be communicating a lot, and not just with your employer and colleagues, but also with any stakeholders of your current project.

This means that you need to get in the habit of communicating quickly and efficiently on subjects like developing design specifications and details, resolving issues, creating, and implementing marketing strategies, provide customer service and technical support, and many more.

Again, if you find that your communication skills are somewhat lacking, it is definitely worth trying to improve them through training.


6. Time is your most valuable resource

Regardless of the stage, you are at with your web design career right now, from non-existent to considerably experienced, you need to pace yourself. The best time management practice is to break your efforts down into separate tactical tasks and to prioritize and track them separately.

Try using well tested time management tools, such as Covey’s Matrix, Pareto Analysis, the Eisenhower Matrix and the Pomodoro technique. 


7. Stay up to date with what is going on in the field

Spend time reading the best publications on web design. These include Creative Bloq, PRINT, Creative Review, Graphis, Offscreen, IDEA, Communication Arts and many more. They are a great source of new ideas and a great way to delve into the secrets of the art.


8. Become a part of the web design community

Online forums are the best place to interact with web design professionals who are sharing their experience, ask questions freely and stay on top of new trends, platforms, and tools.

Some of the best web design forums are:

  • Bootstrap
  • Designer Hangout
  • Coffee Cup
  • Graphic Design Forum
  • HOWDesign,
  • The Web Design Forum
  • Digital Point
  • Dear Designers

9. Never stop looking for web design jobs

Even if you just started learning about web design, or you are one of the experienced web designers who think that they have already found the perfect job, you should always be on the lookout for new opportunities. You never know where the next exciting challenge will come from, and it makes perfect sense to keep an open mind.


Conclusion

Although we went quite a way with our research for this article, please bear in mind that these are just tips to get you started in the process of getting a design job and building a career in the field.

If you are serious about entering this field and successfully advancing in it, it will take a lot of your time and effort to just orient yourself and start moving in the right direction.

As much as it is about talent and experience, this process is also about trial and error. It will take many attempts, disappointments and maybe even failures before you land that perfect web design job.

On the bright side, all these attempts will add to your experience and will expand your portfolio, which will only help you in the future.



Article by Teodor Birsa: DCP Web Designers in London


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