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How do I Become a Web Designer?

Web designers must have extensive knowledge of HTML.
Many employers consider web design experience and talent to be more important than college degrees.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 August 2014
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Those interested in careers in web design will find that there are no etched-in-stone requirements for this field. Many employers consider web design experience and talent to be more important than college degrees. In fact, there are many web designers, both employees and independent contractors, who develop their skills at home through books, software, online tutorials, practice, and trial and error.

To become a web designer, it is necessary to learn such things as HTML and XHTML; these are basic languages used to code webpages. It is also a good idea to learn CSS, which has become popular for controlling the way webpages look. Though there are other things that may help a person become a web designer, skills in these areas provide a firm foundation in web design. There are many ways to build skills; some people opt to attend brick-and-mortar schools while others choose online training programs. There are also many books, websites, and programs that teach web design skills on both beginner and advanced levels.

A person who wants to become a web designer should also learn about scripting. Many people opt to learn JavaScript, which provides a good foundation in client-side script programming. It may also be a good idea to learn about server-side scripting.

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Graphics can be a big part of web design, so it's a good idea to learn how to use a variety of graphics and website-building programs, such as Photoshop®, Dreamweaver®, and FrontPage®. However, there's a wide variety of programs that may be used to enhance websites. To gain an edge in the web design field, it is best to learn as much as possible about using the most popular programs.

Practice can go a long way when a person wants to become a web designer; it is a good idea to build a business website in order to practice web design skills. This website can give the potential web designer a chance to see which areas he still needs more training in and perfect his skills before he starts marketing his services. Once his website is up to par, it can serve as a marketing tool to help him get new business and let others see the type of work he can do. This website should be virtually mistake-free before the new web designer starts to market his services; this is especially true of things like photos that fail to load and links that don't go to the proper places. People are less likely to hire a web designer with such problems on his own website.

A good next step is designing websites for others. For example, a budding web designer may make websites for her friends and family members, either for free or for a discounted rate, building her portfolio. This portfolio can be instrumental in gaining paying clients, as they will be able to see the types of sites she can produce.

Once a person has learned the skills necessary to become a web designer, his job is not over. He may give himself a better chance of success if he enrolls in marketing courses or reads marketing books, learning how to target consumers using such things as graphics, headlines, colors, and ad placement. It's also a good idea to subscribe to newsletters and other resources that will allow him to stay up to date on ever-changing web design technology once he has become a web designer.

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