How to Become a Web Designer
Web Designer Careers & Degrees

Web designers come up with concepts for websites, design their look, and create them using computer programming.

If you enjoy the internet, have a knack for design, and would like a job in a growing industry, then you might like to become a web designer.

Working as a web designer is a relatively new occupation, after all the internet didn’t even exist twenty years ago.

Despite this, it is a very fast growing occupation.

A web designer will consult with clients to determine their needs.

If they have an existing site, they will analyze it and then approach the client with a number of concepts for their new site.

While some web designers will complete a job from start to finish, others will specialize in particular aspects of this role.

For instance, some may merely work on programming, others on design, some may be content writers, and others trained in search engine optimization.

This is usually the case in large web design firms.

Education Requirements to Become a Web Designer

Most people in this field have a degree that relates to computer programming and graphic design.

A good way to enter this career would be to complete a web design bachelor’s degree and study other computer related subjects.

More and more courses that concentrate on web design are becoming available.

Learning HTML and CSS programming are going to be essential parts of your role.

It’s never too early to start learning, and there are plenty of resources to do this online that don’t cost any money.

You could also visit your local bookstore or library and find some good resources there.

The most important thing you can do if you want to become a web designer is to start building sites.

Pick a subject that you are interested in and build a site around it.

Even if you don’t know anything about it now, learning by doing is a great way to start.

Web Designer Job Description

Most web designers work for design or internet firms.

They will manage a portfolio of clients whose web design needs they will be responsible for.

Some may be one-off clients, others they may see ongoing for a number of years.

Some large organizations hire a full time web designer to look after their needs.

This is often common for companies whose customers use their websites a lot, such as a bank.

Here are some of the tasks a web designer may carry out.

  • Meet with clients to determine their needs
  • Design and create websites
  • Complete sketches or test sites
  • Modify existing websites
  • Source photography, artwork and content for web sites
  • Test new sites for bugs
  • Ensure websites are optimized for search engines

Web Designer Salary and Career Path

When you become a web designer, it’s likely that you will begin your career working for a larger firm.

Many web designers go on to start their own firm or consultancy business later on in their career.

Many web designers specialize in a particular area.

For instance they may work within search engine optimization, flash, social media, or another facet of the internet.

Some will concentrate on the look and design of sites, while other may have strong programming skills.

Not all web designers start their careers out in this role, perhaps because it is a new occupation.

Many are first graphic designers, or software developers.

Some simply begin building websites as a hobby, and later make it their career.

There are many similar roles to a web programmer that you may go on to later in your career:

The average salary for a web designer is between $40,000 and $80,000 a year.

Those who are self-employed will have the ability to earn more than those who work for an agency.

People living in urban areas can expect to have more opportunity.

If you enjoy the internet, and think you would be good at design, as well as computer programming, then you might like to become a web designer.

With very good employment prospects in this growing industry, it is certainly a career path worth considering.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$82,370
$39K
$53K
$82K
$102K
$142K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$67,070
Alaska$65,920
Arizona$67,970
Arkansas$47,400
California$90,230
Colorado$77,600
Connecticut$83,970
Delaware$78,060
District of Columbia$85,290
Florida$66,720
Georgia$87,800
Hawaii$63,480
Idaho$51,780
Illinois$78,700
Indiana$58,570
Iowa$66,340
Kansas$65,670
Kentucky$70,810
Louisiana$52,550
Maine$57,210
Maryland$77,540
Massachusetts$87,040
Michigan$66,070
Minnesota$80,440
Mississippi$64,110
Missouri$67,770
Montana$52,290
Nebraska$61,980
Nevada$62,760
New Hampshire$70,220
New Jersey$86,680
New Mexico$59,200
New York$82,910
North Carolina$74,840
North Dakota$56,230
Ohio$69,530
Oklahoma$62,840
Oregon- NA -
Pennsylvania$72,190
Rhode Island$74,220
South Carolina$75,590
South Dakota$52,520
Tennessee$65,230
Texas$73,890
Utah$69,880
Vermont$56,030
Virginia$87,710
Washington$134,310
West Virginia$49,810
Wisconsin$62,950
Wyoming$48,920
Puerto Rico$42,920

The top earning state in the field is Washington, where the average salary is $134,310.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Washington - $134,310
California - $90,230
Georgia - $87,800
Virginia - $87,710
Massachusetts - $87,040
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Web Developers and Digital Interface Designers, OCC Code 15-1257, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat is a web designer?

A web designer is responsible for designing the visual appearance, the layout, and the usability of a website.

A great web designer needs to be an IT professional that combines technical skills and creativity.

They are not only responsible for the way the website looks, but also for how it will function.

A web designer can be a freelancer, but there is a lot of competition in the sphere.

A lot of IT companies have design departments where a web designer can get promoted to a web developer.

Creative, digital, and advertising agencies also need web designers.

Within the agency, you can gain a lot of experience as you’ll have the opportunity to work on different projects.

QuestionHow much do web designers make?

On average, web designers can expect to earn $26 per hour, that’s around $52.000 per year.

A freelancer can get around $50 per hour.

While web designers that are employed the traditional way can count on various bonuses and commissions (around $3.000 annually).

The web designers that are just getting started can earn around $21 per hour (about $42.000 annually).

The professionals with quite a few years of experience can earn around $72.000 per year and charge $36 per hour.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a web designer?

The majority of web designers are freelancers without formal training that found a few initial contracts and made a portfolio.

But if you want to stand out from the crowd, then getting an education might help you a lot.

In case you will be going for an associate’s degree, then a year of education will cost you around $3.000-$3.500.

A 4-year bachelor’s degree program will cost anywhere between $7.000 and $29.000 per year.

Bear in mind that you would have to pay additionally for the books, supplies, and accommodation.

There are a lot of different web designer certificate programs to choose from that can cost you $1.000 or $10.000 depending on a variety of factors.

QuestionWhat is the demand for web designers?

If you are a web designer, good career opportunities are waiting for you in the near future.

The demand for web designers is going to grow much faster than the average for other occupations due to the development of e-commerce and the increased popularity of gadgets.

Practically any organization or business would need a web designer at one point or the other.

Despite the growing competition, practically anyone in the field would be able to find a spare place.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a web designer?

In case you want to go for a degree, it will take you between 2 and 4 years to earn one (an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree respectively).

There are plenty of courses and programs that can be completed in a few months (many offer certificates of completion).

However, some choose to become self-taught web designers which means that there isn’t really a time limit for you.

You can find plenty of resources and helpful videos online and the amount of time that you would spend on your education would depend only on you and your pace.

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