Web designers are responsible for the design and layout of text, images, interactive media and graphical elements that appear on web pages. As the online marketplace grows more crowded and competitive, employer demand for talented web designers who can produce strong, functional websites remains high. Moreover, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that web development jobs, which include web designers, are on pace to grow by 15 percent through the year 2026.
What Do Web Designers Do?
Although web design is sometimes confused with web development, professionals in both disciplines often work closely together to produce beautiful and highly functional websites. While web developers build the structure of websites using programming languages such as HTML and CSS, web designers are the brains behind the aesthetics that make websites visually pleasing and easy to use.
Web designers also design page layouts and behaviors using wireframes and prototypes, with the goal of creating templates that ensure an enjoyable and seamless user experience. As more people search for and consume digital content using handheld mobile devices, web designers are increasingly designing applications and websites that are optimized for smartphones and tablets.
How to Become a Web Designer
Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in computer science, graphic design or a similar discipline can provide theoretical and practical training in the web design field, as well as on-the-job opportunities through college internships. In addition to offering undergraduate programs, some colleges and universities offer certificates in web design for entry-level and experienced professionals who are looking to jumpstart a web design career.
However, one of the most common ways aspiring web designers demonstrate their skill sets and past work experience to prospective employers is via their professional portfolios. For example, the website Behance allows users to showcase their creative work online and browse an expansive network of peer projects across areas ranging from advertising, to fine art and photography. Other qualifications organizations look for when recruiting for web designer positions include:
- Expert knowledge of image editing, manipulation and animation programs such as Adobe Animate, Illustrator and Photoshop.
- A solid grasp of design concepts including composition, color schemes, editorial design and topography.
- The ability to clearly convey technical requirements and design recommendations to clients, vendors and different teams within an organization.
- Excellent analytical, troubleshooting and time-management skills.
How Much Do Web Designers Make?
As a web designer working in the United States, you can expect to make an average salary of $59,863 according to a February 2018 Indeed report. Glassdoor reported an average salary of $56,143 for U.S. web designers. However, these averages vary depending on geographic location, experience level and other factors. For example, the average annual pay for a web designer with at least 10 years of experience was $61,070 according to the same Glassdoor report.
In addition to staying current with graphic design, web development and web design standards, industry certifications are available for professionals who are eager to showcase their knowledge in the field. These include the Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) program, which provides certifications in individual Adobe products and for various digital marketing roles, and the W3Schools HTML Developer Certificate.