Changing Careers to Become a Web Designer

Entering the web design field requires specific education requirements which lead to certification as an internet webmaster, indicating a good foundation to employers.

Becoming a web designer is the dream job of many people today who are thinking about changing careers. This is especially true for those who have some basic computer knowledge or have taught themselves HTML. The good thing about selecting a career as a web designer is that little or no prior knowledge in computer programming is needed to enter the field.

To enter the web design field, someone only needs to have the ability to understand technical information, have good writing skills, and have some artistic ability. Being one of the women in technology, I can say that the remaining skills can be learned by taking classes through vocational education programs or enrolling in online distance education programs. The important thing to remember is any course completion must result in certification as a web designer and a college degree is not required.

Web Designer Vocational Education Requirements

There are three main areas of focus for someone who enters a web designer program; these are design, graphics, and layout. Any education program needs to have these three areas as a foundation of program. Beyond this foundation, the program must include the following:

  • Programming – learning and applying popular computer languages such as PHP, ASP, and JSP.
  • Networking – learning how to design and repair networks.
  • Web Design – using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and others to design web pages.
  • Web Layout – the artistic side of web design focusing on developing visually pleasing websites.
  • Writing Web Content – using writing skills to write descriptions and information which appears on web pages.
  • Graphics – developing graphics and modifying existing graphic designs.
  • Portfolio – the requirement to build a portfolio of web design work completed for school and any self-employed work outside school.
  • Certification – must earn a certificate as a Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) recognized by the International Association of Webmasters (IAW).

Certification is based on passing an examination that covers the internet, page authoring, and network basics. This is the beginner certification which indicates the person has beginner webmaster skills necessary for employment.

Job Responsibilities of a Web Designer

Before entering the web designer career field, begin by asking current web designers and developers what the job involves since you need to know how to achieve work-life balance. If someone is not available, then read about the job requirements in employment advertisements and the employment section of the local newspaper.

These will all provide a good idea of what is expected. Here is a breakdown of broad job requirements:

  • Approximately 40 percent of the time is spent developing and writing web projects.
  • Another 20 percent of the time is spent completing routine maintenance on equipment.
  • Remainder 40 percent is spent building websites and web pages from scratch.

Web Designer Career Income

People earning certification as a web designer typically start off earning more money annually, than other vocational career fields. Here are the current average annual incomes based on years of experience according to

  • Less than 1 year – $ 35,000
  • 1 to 4 years – $ 39,000
  • 5 to 9 years – $ 48,000
  • 10 to 19 years – $ 50,000
  • 20 years plus – $ 53,000 and up

The highest average annual incomes are obtained by working for hospitals and the government. The lowest annual income is earned by those who are self-employed.

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Author: Diane H. Wong

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