What Does a Web Designer Do (and How Do I Become One)? (2023)

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What Does a Web Designer Do (and How Do I Become One)?

Written by Coursera • Updated on

As a web designer, you are responsible for big-picture decisions, like the menus listed on the site, and smaller details, like which font, color, and graphics to use.

What Does a Web Designer Do (and How Do I Become One)? (1)

A web designer creates the layout and design of a website. In simple terms, a website designer makes a site look good. They use design programs to create visual elements. Website designers usually have expertise in UI, or user interface, which means they strategically design a site that’s intuitive and easy for visitors to navigate.

The aesthetics of a website directly impact a user’s opinion of the site and the company. Research shows it takes website visitors less than one second to judge a website, and that first impression is often associated with the brand as well. Seventy-five percent of consumers admit to judging a brand’s credibility based on its website, according to a research summary from the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab [1].

As a result, companies are putting more emphasis on website design, and it’s reflected in the job market. Jobs in this field are growing 23 percent faster than the national average, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics [2].

For those exploring this job opportunity, there isn’t just growth in the field, but good wages as well. The median annual pay for a web designer in the US is $65,952 [3].

If your interest is piqued, let’s dig into this career and see what it takes to become a successful web designer.

Website developer vs. website designer

It’s common for a website designer to be confused with a website developer. A developer uses coding languages to create the framework of a website. They build the structure and then turn the site over to a designer to beautify it.

What Does a Web Designer Do (and How Do I Become One)? (2)

What does a website designer do on a daily basis?

Before talking about the skills or education needed, let’s uncover the daily tasks of a website designer so you can see if it’s something that suits your interests. Regularly, a website designer will:

  • Design and layout websites

  • Think through the navigation of a site to provide the best user experience

  • Design sample pages and create mockups

  • Work in Adobe programs to create visuals, graphics, or animations

  • Register web domains

    (Video) Web Design vs Web Development | What's right for you?

  • Organize files

  • Collaborate on website updates or “refreshes”

  • Coordinate with writers and designers to create a site

What kind of skills should you develop to become a website designer?

If you’re interested in becoming a website designer, there are certain skills you can develop to start down this career path. Here’s a look at both workplace skills and technical skills that you can expand on:

Workplace skills

Communication

A designer needs the ability to talk with a company about what they want, ask questions about the intended audience, and convey their ideas for an effective site.

Being able to communicate is just the start, companies want a responsive designer too. A responsive designer keeps a company informed, explains issues as they arise, and discusses deadlines.

Time management

As a web designer, you might decide to take a freelance approach where you work with a variety of different companies at once or you might work for one company. Either way, you’ll need the ability to manage your time effectively to keep multiple projects moving.

Collaboration

In many cases, a website designer works with other people to create a site. There could be a copywriter, graphic designer, or even members of an IT department participating in website creation. If that’s the case, you’ll need the ability to listen, collaborate, and take constructive criticism.

Technical skills

Visual design

The core part of a website designer’s job is to create visual elements for a site, so having a firm grasp of design principles is a must. Visual design incorporates a variety of best design practices that hone in on things like proportions, symmetry, typography, and color systems.

UX design

UX design, or user experience design, influences the way a person feels about visiting a site. A designer’s purpose is to create a layout that’s easy to navigate and visually pleasing, which results in a positive customer experience.

To generate the right experience for the audience, a designer often researches the audience and studies actions taken on the site to build a website experience that fits a brand’s target market.

Knowledge of design programs

Website designers must have proficiency in design programs like Adobe Creative Cloud, CorelDraw Graphics Suite, or Inkscape. These programs are often used to create visual elements, produce mock-ups, and manipulate images, all of which are needed in web design.

Some coding knowledge

A designer doesn’t write the code to make a site function, but it doesn’t hurt to know a little about HTML or CSS to make small tweaks to a site. With a basic understanding, you’ll be able to manipulate templates, enhance fonts, or adjust placements of objects easier.

Read more: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: What’s the Difference?

Do you need a degree to land a job as a website designer?

Many website designers have a bachelor’s degree in website design or a related field, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, a four-year degree isn’t the only path to this creative career, obtaining certifications is another option. Let’s take a closer look at both degree programs and certifications.

Degree programs

There are four-year degree programs that can provide the necessary training to become a website designer. Here’s a look at a few options:

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science: A degree in computer science provides a well-rounded education in computing skills, problem-solving, and design work. Within some programs, like BSc Computer Science from the University of London, you can pick an area of focus, like user experience (UX), to narrow your skill set.

  • Bachelor’s degree in website design: Some students decide to get a specific degree in website design, which has a more narrow focus on design skills and layout principles that are all taught in concert with the technical programs that website designers use, like the Adobe programs mentioned earlier.

Web Design Certificate Programs and Courses

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree isn’t the only option, you can also explore certification programs or take courses to build your web design skills. To help you explore options, here’s a look at a few courses available on Coursera:

  • Google UX Design Professional Certificate: Learn from industry leaders at Google in this series of courses that cover foundational UX concepts. Build job-ready skills like wireframing, prototyping, and user research as you complete projects for your design portfolio.

What Does a Web Designer Do (and How Do I Become One)? (3)

professional certificate

Google UX Design

This is your path to a career in UX design. In this program, you’ll learn in-demand skills that will have you job-ready in less than 6 months. No degree or experience required.

4.8

(53,071 ratings)

647,514 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Learn More

(Video) Web Design: The Complete guide to getting started in 2022

Average time: 6 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

User Experience (UX), UX Research, Wireframe, Prototype, User Experience Design (UXD), Usability Testing, mockup, Figma, Adobe XD, UX design jobs

  • UI/UX Design Specialization: This series of courses from the California Institute of the Arts offers practical, skill-based instruction to help students understand the UI/UX development process, website architecture, site maps, wireframing, and best practices to create a delightful online experience for the end user.

What Does a Web Designer Do (and How Do I Become One)? (4)

specialization

UI / UX Design

Design High-Impact User Experiences. Research, design, and prototype effective, visually-driven websites and apps.

Learn More

Average time: 4 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Website Wireframe, strategy, User Interface Design (UI Design), User Experience (UX), User Research, Graphic Design, Adobe XD, Adobe Illustrator, InVision, Marvel, Adobe Indesign, Treejack, Sketch, HTML/CSS, Balsamiq

  • Responsive Website Development and Design Specialization: With a growing number of people using mobile devices to search online, understanding how to make responsive, mobile-ready websites is a valuable skill. This specialization from the University of London has students develop and design responsive sites with built-in multi-user experiences. While this class might lean more towards web development, an understanding of these skills will bolster your web design knowledge.

What Does a Web Designer Do (and How Do I Become One)? (5)

(Video) What Does a Web Designer Do?

specialization

Responsive Website Development and Design

Create an interactive user experience.. Learn the fundamentals of full stack web development in five comprehensive courses.

4.6

(3,765 ratings)

64,000 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Learn More

Average time: 7 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

HTML/CSS, Mongodb, Meteor, APIs, JavaScript, Jquery, HTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Responsive Web Design, Routing, Web Development

Web designer portfolio

With the right skills honed and the right educational background, securing a website designer job includes building an impressive online portfolio. To help, here’s a list of tips to curate the best examples possibilities:

  • Quality over quantity: A portfolio should contain your best work, but it’s important to be selective. It’s better to showcase fewer, higher-quality sites than many sites that don't showcase your best work.

  • Highlight the kind of work you want to do: Is there a particular industry that you’d like to serve? Do you want to focus on creating online stores as opposed to single-page sites for small businesses? Your portfolio should include the kind of work you want to do and showcase examples that you’re passionate about creating.

  • Provide context: Your portfolio is a visual representation of your best work, but it is also an opportunity to provide context about your impact and projects. Consider providing a quick three-to-four-sentence description that explains the site’s purpose, its challenges, and why it’s in your portfolio.

  • Update it regularly: It’s a good idea to set aside scheduled time once a quarter to update your portfolio. Even if you are not adding new work, you might have additional context to add, or edits to make, based on your ongoing learnings and goals. It's a lot easier to update when things are fresh in your mind versus months or years later.

Take the next step

Are you ready to take the next step toward building a career as a website designer? If so, consider Website Design For Everybody, offered by Michigan State University, and the Meta Front-End Developer Professional Certificate. In both courses, you’ll create a professional portfolio that you can use in your job search.

specialization

Web Design for Everybody: Basics of Web Development & Coding

Learn to Design and Create Websites. Build a responsive and accessible web portfolio using HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript

4.8

(23,861 ratings)

264,622 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

(Video) How to Become a Web Designer, Explained in 1 Minute

Learn More

Average time: 6 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Web Development, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Html5, JavaScript, Responsive Web Design, Web Design, Web Accessibility, HTML, Style Sheets, Document Object Model (DOM), Bootstrap (Front-End Framework)

What Does a Web Designer Do (and How Do I Become One)? (7)

professional certificate

Meta Front-End Developer

Launch your career as a front-end developer. Build job-ready skills for an in-demand career and earn a credential from Meta. No degree or prior experience required to get started.

4.7

(3,797 ratings)

65,273 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Learn More

Average time: 7 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), HTML, UI/UX design, React, JavaScript, Web Development Tools, User Interface, Front-End Web Development, HTML and CSS, Responsive Web Design, Test-Driven Development, Object-Oriented Programming (OOP), Linux, Web Development, Bash (Unix Shell), Github, Version Control, Debugging, React (Web Framework), Web Application, Application development, Web Design, User Experience (UX), Accessibility

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Written by Coursera • Updated on

(Video) Everything about Web Design in 3 minutes.

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

FAQs

What does a web designer actually do? ›

Web designers plan, create and code internet sites and web pages, many of which combine text with sounds, pictures, graphics and video clips. A web designer is responsible for creating the design and layout of a website or web pages. It and can mean working on a brand new website or updating an already existing site.

Why do you want to be a web designer ?/ What makes you want to become a web designer? ›

Becoming a web designer allows you to use your creativity, following briefs and putting your own individual spin and style on them. Most projects you'll be given will have a particular deadline and task outline, but the reason you've been hired is because they require an expert to add that much needed creative flare.

What skills do you need to become a web designer? ›

20 web designer skills to have
  • Know the principles of design. You don't need to know music theory to write a song, and if you've never taken an art class, you can still draw. ...
  • Typography. ...
  • Composition. ...
  • Color Theory. ...
  • Software for design. ...
  • Content Management Systems (CMS) ...
  • Responsive design. ...
  • User Experience (UX)
18 May 2020

Is becoming a web designer hard? ›

It can be intimidating to start a new career path, especially in a field like web design. It takes a lot of knowledge and technical skill to become a web designer. You want to feel confident you'll succeed in your new career before investing the time and effort needed to refine your skills.

How long does it take to become a web designer? ›

If your goal is to land a web design job with a good starting salary, then you should expect to spend four years pursuing a bachelor's degree. Additionally, it can take one to three years to complete a master's degree in web design and several weeks to obtain certification.

What do Web designers do daily? ›

As a web designer, you are responsible for big-picture decisions, like the menus listed on the site, and smaller details, like which font, color, and graphics to use. A web designer creates the layout and design of a website. In simple terms, a website designer makes a site look good.

Do web designers make good money? ›

The average web designer makes $49,000 - $90,000 per year, or about $23 - $43 per hour working full-time. By contrast, a freelancer can earn anywhere from $30 - $80 per hour. So if you're looking for some extra income, try side-hustling on the evenings and weekends while continuing to work your full-time job.

What is web design example? ›

Web design is the process of planning, conceptualizing, and arranging content online. Today, designing a website goes beyond aesthetics to include the website's overall functionality. Web design also includes web apps, mobile apps, and user interface design.

How do I become a web designer with no experience? ›

The qualifications that you need to get a no experience web designer job typically include an associate or bachelor's degree in computer science, graphic design, web design, or web development. While in school, it's recommended to begin compiling your work into a digital portfolio of design examples.

What is the most important in web designing? ›

Your website text should be informative, easy to read, and concise. Well thought out web content and copy will do more than anything else to make your website design engaging, effective and popular. No matter how informative, beautiful, and easy to use your website design is, it's useless unless it's web-friendly.

What is Web design and how does it work? ›

Web design is a multi-disciplinary job, where you'd need not only knowledge in design (typography, color theory) but also skills in developing a website (HTML, CSS, JavaScript). Some web designers are also involved in interaction design when they code for animations and interactions using CSS and/or JavaScript.

How do I become a successful Web developer? ›

Steps to Become a Web Developer
  1. Earn Degree(s) An aspiring web developer must first complete an education to develop basic coding and programming skills. ...
  2. Pursue Internship(s) Landing a solid internship as a new web developer provides vital work experience. ...
  3. Build Your Portfolio. ...
  4. Earn Certification(s) ...
  5. Create Your Resume.
30 Aug 2022

How do Web designers succeed? ›

10 Best Steps Guide on How to Become a Web Designer
  1. Learn web design theory. ...
  2. Learn how to code. ...
  3. Get the right tools. ...
  4. Learn basic SEO rules. ...
  5. Build a habit of testing your design on a regular basis. ...
  6. Improve your communication skills. ...
  7. Keep an eye on coming trends. ...
  8. Join web design communities.

Does web design require math? ›

“It's absolutely not a barrier to becoming a web developer.” According to Web Developer Charlotte O'Hara, it's not only easy to learn to code without having a background in math, but outside of some routine arithmetic, most web development projects don't rely heavily on math at all.

Does web design require coding? ›

Most web designers need at least some knowledge of basic programming languages, such as HTML, CSS, PHP, jQuery, JavaScript and Flash. Freelancers need more coding knowledge, while web designers employed with an agency will likely work on a team that includes programmers and graphic designers.

Can I be a web designer without coding? ›

The short answer is yes. In this article, we'll dive into the best ways to approach how you can do web design without coding. While learning the basics of code, like how HTML and CSS work, will help you understand how to design for the web, it's no longer required knowledge if you want to be a web designer.

What should I learn first to become a web designer? ›

To become a web designer, you should study both the creative and technical aspects of creating attractive web pages. Through a college degree program or certificate program, you can learn how to become a web designer and work with all the website's visual components, from color and font to layout.

What education do you need to become a web designer? ›

Web designers often have a wide range of education, from bachelor's degrees in web design and development, computer programming or computer science to associate's degrees coupled with years of work experience.

How much education does a web designer need? ›

The education needed to be a web designer is normally a bachelor's degree. Web designers usually study graphic design, computer science or computer applications. 67% of web designers hold a bachelor's degree and 18% hold a associate degree.

Where do most web designers work? ›

Web designer work environment

Web designers work for companies, contract for agencies or operate their own businesses. These professionals typically do their jobs at desks, where they work on desktop or laptop computers. They may work in spaces with open layouts, in cubicles or offices.

What do Web designers spend most of their time doing? ›

Web developers and digital designers typically do the following:
  • Work with graphics and other designers to determine the website's layout.
  • Integrate graphics, audio, and video into the website.
  • Monitor website traffic.
  • Create prototypes and mockups of websites or applications.
  • Design and develop graphics.
14 Sept 2022

Is Web Designing a good for future? ›

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for Web Designers is expected to rise 8 percent by 2029, much faster than the overall rate of growth for all jobs across all industries. This demand, they say, will be driven by the rising popularity of mobile devices and eCommerce technologies.

Do web designers have a future? ›

The fact is that while there's no doubt that the field of web design continues to evolve and innovate, it definitely won't fade away in 2022 or anytime in the foreseeable future. The demand for skilled web designers is only going up and that trend is likely going to continue.

How much do web designers make a month? ›

Average R 21 353 per month.

What are the 3 types of web design? ›

Web designing is of three kinds, to be specific static, dynamic or CMS and eCommerce.

What is web design Short answer? ›

Web design is the process of creating the look and feel of a website. Many different areas are covered, including the graphic design and layout of each page. Web design is a lot different from web development, even though they are used interchangeably by many.

What are the 5 areas of web design? ›

5 Basic Elements of Web Design
  • 1) Content.
  • 2) Usability.
  • 3) Aesthetics.
  • 4) Visibility.
  • 5) Interaction.
20 Feb 2019

What inspires you to be a designer? ›

Travel exposes you to new cultures, people, and experiences. It's no wonder professional designers like William use it as a source of design inspiration as well. By immersing yourself in an area that's far from home, you break out of your comfort zone and open your eyes to new possibilities in your creative projects.

Why did I choose design as a career? ›

Design degrees allow you to discover everything related to creativity and innovation, from expressing ideas to providing answers to the needs or challenges of society, as well as transmitting messages through an image that can be projected through each of our designs or graphic pieces.

How do you answer why do you want to be a designer? ›

To provide a good answer, you can explain your creative process to them and describe how you motivate yourself. Example: 'Although I find that designers can find inspiration everywhere, one thing that works best for me is finding inspiration in nature.

How do I become a web designer without going to school? ›

How to Become a Web Developer Without College?
  1. Enroll in a Web Development Coding Bootcamp. ...
  2. Code Every Day and Build Your Web Development Portfolio. ...
  3. Build a Network of Web Developers and Tech Recruiters.

What makes a great web designer? ›

A great web designer is someone that has a vast range of knowledge. They are not only able to come up with and implement a great design but also able to build a web page (using different design platforms and coding languages) and use the latest technologies to do so.

Is web design worth learning? ›

Once you know what web development is, you may wonder if web development is worth learning. Well, yes, it can be worth learning if you enjoy problem-solving and technology, and you want to learn a modern skill that can help you in the job market.

Do web designers get paid well? ›

The average web designer makes $49,000 - $90,000 per year, or about $23 - $43 per hour working full-time. By contrast, a freelancer can earn anywhere from $30 - $80 per hour. So if you're looking for some extra income, try side-hustling on the evenings and weekends while continuing to work your full-time job.

Can I teach myself to be a web designer? ›

Yes! You can become a self-taught Web Designer if you want to. It can take months to learn the tools and the basic guidelines for good designs. Then you can keep on improving your skills at the same time you land some clients and create your portfolio.

How much do web designers get paid? ›

For an hourly rate, the average freelance web designer may charge about $75 per hour. This figure can vary based on a number of things. The typical cost to design a website ranges between $27 to $60 per hour while the cost to develop the site can go up to $100 to $180 per hour.

How can I become a good web designer and developer? ›

However, generally speaking, some important skills include:
  1. HTML and CSS knowledge.
  2. Understanding the Principles of website design and web accessibility standards.
  3. Responsive and interaction design.
  4. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
  5. User journey mapping.
  6. Wireframing and prototyping.
  7. Branding, color theory, and typography.
16 Mar 2021

Is web design a good career? ›

On the earning potential front, web development careers appear strong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the 2020 median annual salary for web developers and digital designers was $77,200—substantially more than the nationwide average of $41,950 for all occupations.

What should I learn first web design? ›

The best first step to becoming a Web Developer is to start learning web development fundamentals, including an understanding of HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and JavaScript. Many aspiring Web Developers are now using coding bootcamps to fast-track the learning process.

How many hours does a web designer work? ›

Hours. You'd usually work 37 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Evening and/or weekend work to meet deadlines is common. If self-employed, you may have to work long hours to complete a job on time.

How much should I charge for my first website? ›

While prices differ from person to person, web design professionals typically charge between $50 to $80 per hour, with skilled freelance website designers making upwards of $75 per hour. A flat fee for a standard business website can range from $5,000 to $10,000, with an average of $6,760.

How much does a beginner website cost? ›

Hourly Rate

Reasonably skilled freelance web designers make about $75 per hour. This figure can vary though, according to CSS-Tricks. Website Builder Expert estimates that the cost to design a website is $30 to $80 per hour and the cost to develop it is $100 to $180 per hour.

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