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Web Designer Career Path

Web design is a fairly unique career path in that it offers professionals a number of different ways in which they can advance their careers. Whether you want to specialize in specific elements of the web design process or you simply want to climb the career ladder working as a generalist designer, you’ll be able to find a career path that works for you.

Getting Started

The first thing you’ll want to do is find out if web design is the right career for you. Web Designers will be tasked with designing and building webpages and other digital applications, and the job is a solid blend of technical and creative skills. You can also explore some free web design seminars offered by Noble Desktop to learn more about the kinds of tools Web Designers use and what sort of projects you will be working on.

Do I Need a Degree to Become a Web Designer?

Most Web Designers will enter the job market with a four-year degree either in web design or in a related field, such as graphic design, multimedia development, or another creative field. Some Web Designers may enter the workforce with a degree in a field far flung from web design, but they will need to have either a minor in computer science/design or they will need to demonstrate their technical skills through other means.

However, there are a few paths to enter into the field of professional web design without getting a four-year degree. The best way is to receive career-focused skills training through accelerated professional training programs, such as the Web Design Certificate program offered by Noble Desktop. Courses like these will catch students up on the kinds of technical skills training that they need to find work in the industry. These courses also provide students with professionalization resources and seminars built to help catch them up to designers who gained a great deal of networking experience in their degree program.

Another way to become a Web Designer without a degree is to simply start freelancing and build a name and reputation for your work. This will be the hardest and least guided process, but it may also be the best option for students who have the technical training and design skills, but don’t have the accredited diplomas or certificates to demonstrate these skills on a resume.


Many aspiring Web Designers will benefit greatly from a professional design internship program, or some other form of volunteer work within the field. This can be a great opportunity to build professional connections, receive on-the-job work experience and build a larger portfolio of design works for your job materials. These positions aren’t for everyone, particularly non-traditional students, but they are worth exploring.

While unpaid internships are largely falling out of favor, it is still important to consider that you may not want to give away too much labor for free, especially early on in your career. While this is a personal decision concerning how much volunteer work you are willing to do, it may not be worth the time and energy for many students.

Entry-Level Web Designer Jobs

Entry-level Web Designer job titles include Web Designers, Associate Web Designers, Junior Web Designers, and Assistant Web Designers. These are your rank-and-file designers who work within a large studio firm or in-house design team. When you are working as an entry-level designer, you are likely to be given individual or small team assignments to design and/or program elements of a webpage that is coming either from a client of the firm or from another department within the company. This means that you are likely to have little creative control over the kind of work that is being done. Instead, big-picture creative decisions will be handed down from on-high.

Some specialists, particularly those working on the web development side of the process, will also work in these entry-level positions. The only major difference between an entry-level generalist design position and a more specialized position is the kind of work that they will be employed to do. For example, specialists may end up doing very little design work and may instead spend most of their time coding web assets.

Mid-Level Web Designer Jobs

More advanced Web Design positions include Digital Designers, Mid-level Web Designers, and Design Directors. These designers will still be working in a studio environment or in an in-house design studio, but they will have additional responsibilities and be more directly involved in the creative direction of any given project. Many of these design positions will require you to lead teams of entry-level designers and work to ensure that a project is completed on time, requiring additional project management training. These jobs tend to be significantly higher-paying than their entry-level counterparts and are the natural progression on the career chain for generalist designers.

Specialist designers will also find work in a number of mid-level positions. User Experience and User Interface designers, Front End Web Developers, and Digital Designers all play specific roles in the web design process, and larger firms and studios will have these experts on hand to work within their specific specialty. This means that they will have more clearly defined responsibilities and pay grades that match these responsibilities. For example, a User Experience Designer will strictly apply their research and design skills to anticipating and responding to user behavior in an effort to produce more accessible and user-friendly web designs. They won’t be tasked with any of the coding or visual design elements of a project.

Senior Web Designer Jobs

Senior web design positions include the aptly named Senior Web Designer and Creative Director. These are high-level positions reserved for experienced designers who are brought onto a team to leverage their specific creative voice. They are closely involved in the planning and pre-production stage of a design project and may be responsible for large amounts of the prototype design work that is shown to clients and stakeholders. They will shape the voice and style of a web project, and, in many cases, they will be responsible for guiding the overall design philosophy of an entire project.

In a few cases, Senior Web Designers may find work as Chief Creative Officers. This is an upper-level management position that is responsible for guiding the creative voice and vision of an entire organization. They will be responsible for building, planning, and organizing all of a company’s creative projects, and they will ensure that all of the work produced by an in-house design team is communicating the same message. Most studios and organizations will only have a single CCO, as they are responsible for creating the singular creative voice of their company.

Another Path: Freelancing

Prospective designers who aren’t interested in following this career path may want to consider working as a freelance designer. This will let them pass over the unpleasant drudgery that some may associate with an entry-level Web Designer position at a large studio. These designers may want to consider working as their own boss in a self-employed freelance scenario. This is perfect for creatives who want to have more control over their work schedule and the kinds of projects that they take on, as well as the clients with whom they interact. The drawback to freelancing is that it can be difficult to break into the marketplace and build an early list of clients, and freelancers will need to handle more of the administrative and client outreach portions of the job, which may not be to every Web Designer's liking.

To learn more about freelancing as a Web Designer, please visit Noble’s free career hub article on the subject.

How Do I Find A Web Designer Job?

Designers looking for work will often find listings posted on job search webpages such as Indeed, LinkedIn, or Glassdoor. These aggregate webpages offer users a convenient search function that will find job listings in their area alongside lists of requirements and links to hiring portals. These job listing sites are a great way to find entry-level positions and find new work in a city you’ve relocated to. Prospective Web Designers may also be able to find job positions through regular networking connections and other professional associations. Finally, some Web Designers may start their careers as freelancers, letting them bypass the process of starting out with a job search.

After you’ve found job listings, you’ll want to spend some time working on your job materials. For Web Designers, these materials will include your resume, a series of cover letters, a collection of professional references, and a design portfolio. The most important of these materials will be your design portfolio since it will be the job material that allows prospective employers to see how you position yourself as a designer. However, in order to get your portfolio seen, you’ll need to have a well-crafted resume and a compelling cover letter that convinces hiring managers to give more attention to your application. 

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 webpage 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.

Key Takeaways

  • For most professional Web Designers, there is a fairly conventional career path that you can follow based on your experience and your expertise.
  • Most entry-level Web Designer jobs are for rank-and-file designers working at a studio, development firm, or other large organization.
  • Middle-level designers will either serve as creative team leaders, design or programming specialists, or more trusted and essential designers.
  • Upper-level designers will be responsible for shaping the creative vision of design projects and even entire departments or divisions.
  • Students interested in avoiding this potentially tiresome career climb may instead wish to consider working as a freelance designer.
  • To learn more about how to become a web designer, consider enrolling in one of Noble’s web design career courses. These comprehensive skills training courses are available both in person and in live online classrooms.

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