In a world that relies so heavily on digital media, advertising and communication, having the ability to craft powerful and well-designed websites is a very beneficial skill that is universally in-demand. Having such skills are very beneficial as nearly all organisations rely on having a well presented website for brand awareness and sales. Due to the significant growth in the industry and high demand for such skills, the competition is fierce. To stand apart from your peers and become an awesome web designer that everyone wants to hire, you will need to develop, sharpen and maintain your skills. We have put together a key range of ways to achieve this below.
Get a Relevant Degree
While you don’t necessarily need a degree to venture into the field of web design, a diploma is likely to aid your journey. Without a degree or diploma of any kind, you won’t be able to tick the box for jobs that require a university degree or tertiary education. Also, when competing with people who do have a degree for a spot, you might fall short for progression to an interview phase based entirely on this. Have a chat with a program adviser at your university to determine which degree is best for your career goals.
Attend a Design School
Degrees in web design are available at a number of colleges and universities, so you should consider a school that specialises in this technical art so that you have an edge over others. Attending a more prestigious school, or one recognised for the discipline, can significantly boost your profile and help you find jobs post-graduation. Attending a specific design college will also open your mind and connections, allowing you to be immersed into the culture of web design. This is also the perfect opportunity for you to participate in clubs related to the field, speak with web design professionals, find internships that could lead to future employment and even contribute to not-for-profits who are teaching skills in this space. Orange Digital are proud supporters of Coder Dojo, a not-for-profit organisation which helps teach school-aged children the building blocks for web design and development skills.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Great artists, musicians, athletes and inventors all have one thing in common – they practice their skills or train every day to make sure they are at the top of their field. Though perhaps not the extent that they do, you will need to do the same. Completing your course assignments is a great start, but it is not enough to sharpen your skills for maximum skill development and therefore employability. You could start off by completing a website design project for a mock site, for example, to build your skills and learn more about the finer processes. When you receive assignments, you should go above and beyond to see if you can replicate the requirements in a different avenue. The more practice you have, the more experience you will gain, the more chance you have in a real world environment. Being able to show potential employers the extra effort you have put in fine-tuning your design skills can help build your portfolio until you get more workplace experience.
Be Confident, But Learn to Self-Critique
Confidence in your own work and ability is a must, but another important part of being a great web designer lies in having the ability to assess your own work. You need to be able to self-critique in order to identify areas of potential improvement and therefore continually adapt and edit your own work until it is the best it can be. When taking courses and receiving guidance from professionals, you should pay close attention to the elements they focus on when assessing your design features. Take notes, as these will guide your own assessment of your work moving forward. Having this ability will ensure that you are open minded, adaptable and continuously striving to create brilliant web design.
Create a Portfolio
At some stage you will need to market yourself to potential employers and/or customers. When you meet them, they are likely to want to see samples of work you have completed. The goal here is to have some high quality samples of your work from internships, hobbies or past jobs to demonstrate your eye for design and ability to effectively translate a business goal into a smart website design. Even if you don’t have internship or job experience, you can still create mock website designs in your own time. A portfolio can often be a make or break for a potential employer or customer, as it is a clear illustration of what you are capable of delivering. For this reason, you need to make sure only your best work is displayed in your portfolio and that the portfolio itself is well designed.
Keep Up with New Technology and Processes
Imagine that you show up for a job interview and the interviewer asks about how you use the latest and greatest program in the web design world, only to realise you have never even heard of that program. This situation is not uncommon, as the web design landscape is constantly evolving. Avoiding a situation like this is easy, you just need to keep up with emerging technologies and processes that impact the field of web design. Learning how to become a good web designer is an ongoing process. You are never going to stop needing to learn unless technology ceases to further develop, which is highly unlikely. There are plenty of options for staying up to date. You can join a community of website design experts to keep up-to-date on the latest trends, discuss such topics with like-minded peers, or even look for courses that teach you the latest methods and technologies.
Becoming a professional and proficient website designer is certainly a possibility if you are focused, willing to learn and determined. If you put in the effort and take your time with the right processes, you are more likely to see the benefits of your hard work. If you would like to know more about website design, we would love to chat with you – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.