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How to Become a Web Designer

Students who are aspiring to become Web Designers might be uncertain where to begin. This article is designed to help demystify the steps of the process for students who are looking to enter into a new career path. Read on to learn about the important steps of the training process and learn what kinds of tools you can expect to use on web design projects in your professional life.

What is a Web Designer?

Web Designers are creative professionals who are tasked with designing the layout and assets for web pages and mobile applications. They are creative professionals who are responsible for designing evocative and visually appealing web designs for their clients, and they will work on a diverse range of different projects. They tend to be well-rounded creatives who use both creative software applications and programming knowledge to design and build web applications. Using software applications such as Figma or Adobe XD, web designers will construct the appearance and feel of both the visual and functional elements of a webpage before handing that design off to web developers who will make the design a reality. At smaller firms, a Web Designer may also be expected to work on the programming side of a web design project, so most Web Designers learn the basics of HTML/CSS and JavaScript.

Web designers are most commonly employed by design firms that contract their service to clients, though many work as self-employed freelancers or work in-house for large businesses that are regularly building or updating web applications. They will most frequently work as part of large teams of designers and developers when working on large projects, but they may also find themselves working on individual smaller assignments, particularly if they are working as freelancers. Web Designers may specialize in working on specific elements or aspects of webpages or digital applications, such as building user interfaces or working on the tactile elements of a webpage to build a positive user experience.

What Tools Do I Need To Get Started?

Web design is a field that combines creative and technical skills to produce vibrant, interactive web applications. Students will need to learn how to use design software applications and other digital design tools. In addition, almost all web designers will need to learn the basics of computer programming, usually learning programming languages like HTML/CSS and JavaScript.

The most important tool for most Web Designers is a web layout design and prototyping application. The most commonly used tools are Figma, Adobe XD, and Sketch. Each tool has its own specific strengths and weaknesses, and this is in flux since Figma was recently acquired by Adobe, meaning the fate of it and XD are somewhat up in the air. Nevertheless, students interested in learning more about the differences between the programs may want to consult Noble’s free article on the differences between these applications. These programs will have various monthly costs in order to use, ranging from about eight dollars to twenty dollars a month.

Web Designers will also likely need to learn how to use various graphic design software applications, such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. These are industry-standard design programs used to manipulate photographs and build resizable digital assets. Both of these kinds of designs will be frequently utilized in building a webpage. These tools are available through an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, and the cost of using them will depend on how many programs you need to license and how you are paying for them. As a general rule, each program will cost about twenty dollars a month to license, but all twenty programs can be bundled together for about fifty dollars a month.

Lastly, Web Designers are likely to need to learn how to code. Not only will this mean learning HTML/CSS and JavaScript, which are the two most common coding languages for building modern web applications, but they will also need to learn associated programming tools, such as how to use a code editing application and how to learn efficiency tools like Git. Noble provides a number of free resources for students who are interested in learning more about these programming tools. These languages and tools are all open source, meaning they are free to use, but they will require time and training to become familiar with them.

Steps to Become a Web Designer

Students interested in becoming Web Designers may want to understand the processes that they need to go through in order to find a career in the industry. While this is going to vary from individual to individual, there are a few common hurdles that every aspiring designer will have to jump over in order to find a high-paying job. These include everything from starting off your education to building your job materials to mastering the interview process.

Step #1: Determine your path

The first step of the process won’t simply be deciding whether or not web design is the right fit for your needs, but also determining what kind of web design you want to specialize in. While new Web Designers may want to become well-rounded designers and developers, some students may decide early on that specialization is the route they want to take. These students will then want to build their training path around ensuring that they prioritize the skills that they plan to specialize in.

A few examples of specializations include those that emphasize graphic design, web development specializations, and UX design specializations. Graphic design specialists will need further training in visual art and composition, particularly programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Figma. Designers specializing in development will want to learn more complex coding languages and more versatile programming frameworks. Anyone hoping to specialize in user experience design will need to learn research skills and methodologies of testing human behavior.

Students unsure whether or not they want to specialize in any given aspect of the field may want to consider taking advantage of a free online training program. These programs, such as the free seminars offered through Noble, won’t provide you with the depth of knowledge necessary for professional web design work, but they will give you a taste of the kinds of work you’ll be expected to do if you enter into these career fields.

Step #2: Get trained

The next and most important step is to receive the technical and skills training that you will need to work as a professional Web Designer. While most students receive this training in a four-year bachelor’s degree program, many talented developers find alternative ways of achieving this training. One excellent place to receive this training is through a professional skills development course, such as Noble Desktop’s Web Design Certificate program. In these training programs, students will learn the skills they need to become professional Web Designers, and they will be setting themselves up for future success.

Noble also offers training courses, in the form of short bootcamps and career-certificate programs, that teach students more specialized skill sets. These include Noble’s Web Development, Graphic Design, and User Experience Design courses. Some of these classes have requirements and prerequisites, while others are open to the public. Regardless of your course selection, however, these classes will help build your skill set to make you attractive to potential employers.

Step #3: Search for jobs

Once you are comfortable with your training, you will want to begin seeking out jobs and preparing job materials for your applications. The job search process will involve scouring both online spaces and personal, and professional networks for openings and beginning the process of researching those job openings. This is not only done to ensure that you are both fit for the job and that the job is still available, but also to prepare you to tailor your application materials for that job.

Once you find a job that piques your interest, you’ll want to explore their online presence to see the kind of work it is that they do. Every company, big or small, will strive to have a coherent style and feel to their web pages and web designs. This means that you can learn a lot about a given job application by the work produced by the firm, even if it isn’t something that is being listed in the job application material. Doing this kind of research is a vital part of maximizing your chance of finding a job.

Step #4: Build your job materials

The next step is going to be building your job materials, particularly those you can build at this stage of the process. You’ll want to have a resume that you can update and modify to suit different job applications. The goal of the resume is to concisely narrate your own skills and history as a designer to let an employer understand who you are. You will also need to craft a cover letter for your application, which will explain why it is that you are an ideal candidate for the job in question and demonstrate that you will be an effective member of the company or organization. You’ll be writing one of these for all of your jobs, but having a template or a general outline will go a long way.

More difficult will be building a portfolio of sample designs. This is the most important part of your application materials since it is vital for demonstrating your proficiency and style. It will quickly tell a hiring manager what kind of candidate you are and whether or not your designs fit the kind of work that the company or organization is looking for. Students who have a four-year degree are likely to have built a coherent portfolio from capstone projects and other advanced work, but students coming out of alternative professional training programs may find that their options are a bit sparser. These designers can opt to slowly build their portfolio through regular outside work, by picking up freelance commissions or simply finding job openings that they feel better fit the kinds of work that they have in their portfolio.

Step #5: Completing the application process

The final major step for becoming a professional Web Designer is completing the interview and testing processes that individual firms will have for hiring their designers. Some companies and organizations will place a great deal of emphasis on the interview process, meaning that you will need to run a mock interview and prepare yourself to answer the questions of a hiring committee or hiring manager. Other companies and organizations will place less emphasis on interviews and will instead give potential candidates a sample design project to work on in order to demonstrate that they can deliver the kinds of results that the hiring manager or committee is looking for. Many job applications will ask the prospective employee to do both. Once this process has been completed, the decision is fully out of the candidate's hands, and it will be a matter of waiting to hear back from the job.

Why Become A Web Designer?

There are a lot of reasons why becoming a Web Designer can be a good career choice. The most notable is that it is a job that combines a number of creative and technical skills, meaning that you will be consistently working on new and unique projects, and you will be able to leverage your personal skills into better job opportunities. In many firms, it will involve a combination of coding and design work, so you are less likely to fall into a rut, and you can eventually begin to specialize in certain aspects of the job in order to improve your long-term earning potential. The diverse job titles for web design work mean that you can constantly learn new skills and position yourself to find better employment opportunities in the future.

This versatility ties neatly into the other major reason to become a Web Designer. Every second, approximately three new webpages are created. Every company, start-up, organization, and institution understands the value of a strong web presence, so they are constantly looking for more talented Web Designers to help them build one. Web Designers of all stripes are in high demand, and the demand for these jobs is only looking to increase. By laying the groundwork to work in the field of web design, you will be entering into a diverse, in-demand career field that affords you plenty of opportunities to find the long-term job that is right for you.

Learn the Skills to Become a Web Designer at Noble Desktop

Students looking to build the technical skills they need to become Web Designers may want to consider the options available to them for professional training and skills development through Noble Desktop. These classes provide students with live training from expert instructors and include hands-on training and practical experience using real-world design samples. These classes are available at Noble’s Manhattan Campus or through live online instruction. No matter the delivery method, class sizes are kept small so students won’t have to compete with one another for their instructor’s attention. As a bonus, every Noble course comes with a free retake option, meaning you can take the class again within a year. This is ideal for students who want to receive more instruction and for students who want more time to gain hands-on experience that they can parlay into better job opportunities.

Students interested in becoming professional Web Designers will need a lot of skills training. For novices, Noble offers a Web Design Certificate program that will teach students how to use common web design software applications, how to code their designs in basic HTML/CSS and JavaScript, and how to use WordPress for more advanced web page design. In addition, students enrolled in this class will receive one-on-one career mentoring assistance and professional development seminars, including portfolio-building exercises. This is an ideal course for any student who wants to start a new career in the field of web design. Noble also offers more targeted programs, such as the UX/UI Design Certificate program, which prepares students to design interactive interfaces for digital applications and products. This focused career-program de-emphasizes the importance of learning to code and emphasizes the importance of tactile user experience design.

Students who have a measure of professional training and are seeking to expand their skills may want to instead consider enrolling in one of Noble’s skills bootcamps. For example, in Noble’s Figma Bootcamp, students will learn how to use Adobe’s Figma software application to build interactive prototypes of web designs in order to test their functionality before beginning the coding process. This is an invaluable tool for any Web Designer to know how to use, and in a bootcamp, you can focus on learning individual skills to improve your own career standing.

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