Internet use has virtually exploded since 1995, when only .4% of the world’s people were online. As of December 2009, that number has soared to over 26%–over 1.8 billion people now use the Internet, with more being added every day. Web designers are an integral part of keeping people and businesses connected worldwide, and more people than ever before need web designers to help them “get where they want to go” on the Web. Web designers-also known as information designers, information developers or Web developers-are responsible for designing and maintaining websites for a wide variety of clientele. It’s their job to make sure that websites are visually appealing and present needed information in an understandable way.
According to wisegeek.com, web design professionals usually have many tools that they use in helping a client achieve a perfect website: they often have extensive experience with graphics software and programs that can animate figures, and are well-versed in multimedia, adding sound and/or video clips where needed. They need to know what’s current in the Internet industry, and have a good grasp on what makes a webpage stand out-how to keep it ranked high with search engines. A background or aptitude in art is important, as well as good interpersonal and communication skills.
There is a difference of opinion among designers about whether or not formal training is needed. Some web designers have accumulated experience in navigating the Web and programming pages, and believe that this is sufficient, while others have taken a few courses in design and programming. According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most employers seek out those web designers with a college degree in graphic design, information systems, or computer science. Additional certification is also highly recommended if searching for a web designer position: certain scripting and programming certificates, as well as those in HTML, PHP, and Sun-to name a few-are helpful. Those designers who wish to achieve higher management positions within a firm should seriously consider attaining an MBA in information systems or technology management. There are many schools that offer online courses to give web design professionals the training employers require.
Many self-employed designers create their own webpage as a way of attracting business, and many of those who are certified work in a variety of businesses-advertising agencies, Web development firms, design studios and publishing firms, to name a few. According to payscale.com, designers currently make on average between $30,976 and $51,350 annually. The top-end salaries of contract web designers is around $67,500 a year, and the second best industry for designers is the Federal Government. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, web designer careers should have great potential, with a 37% projection of increased employment by 2016.
Our global community is looking to the Internet-and web designers-to keep it all connected. With the chance for increased future success as well as the opportunity to work at home, a career in web design is an attractive choice. Add advanced training, good communication and technical skills, and a solid grasp of marketing and visual design-and you have an unbeatable combination.