Pursue a Career in the Growing Web Design Field

Web designers, similar to web developers, create websites and applications that are visually pleasing and easy to use for different clients and entities.

They are in charge of the visual outlook of the website, including its efficiency and capacity to accurately analyze the site’s speed and traffic. In some instances, their job description may involve creating content for the site or application.

The position requires an individual who possesses creative and technical skills and has experience in computer programming, graphic design and coding. Web designers will need to possess strong verbal communications skills, since they will often be working directly with clients. There is a difference between a web designer and a web developer, since developers focus more on coding and building websites while designers focus on planning. However, there is a significant amount of overlap between the two positions, so the terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

Web designers can work for an individual client on a freelance basis, or they can be employed by a web designing company. Due to the rise of mobile applications and websites, employment of web developers is expected to increase by 15 percent from 2016 to 2026.

Requirements and Qualifications

The education qualifications for a vocational career in web design vary for different companies. However, most web designers are required to have at least an associate’s in web design. Typically, candidates who possess a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a similar field will have a more diverse and advanced skill set and may potentially have an upper hand over individuals who do not.

For more specialized positions, such as a front-end and back-end web developer, employers prefer candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, programming or a similar topic of focus. Web developers who have a bachelor’s degree in one of these fields will also have a greater chance of becoming a project manager.

Project managers in this field, also known as computer and information system managers, oversee and coordinate computer-related events and actions throughout the organization.

Some employers may require candidates to have both a computer degree and experience in graphic design, since developers are involved in the visual appearance of the website. Having knowledge of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), JavaScript and various multimedia publishing applications are other qualifications employers take into consideration during the interview process.

Along with these skills, web designers must be able to create websites that are compatible with mobile touchscreens. Many web developers are also expected to remain up to date with new applications and coding languages.

Web developers must possess the concentration skills necessary to be able to sit in front a computer and complete different tasks for an extended period of time. They must be creative, since they will be involved in the visual look of the website and application. Being detail oriented is another important quality for web developers to have, since just one minor error can keep an entire page or site from operating correctly.

Pay

As of May 2017, the median annual wage for web designers was $67,990, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median wage refers to the middle wage between the half of workers in a particular field who earned more and the half who earned less. The bottom 10 percent received less than $36,830, while the top 10 percent made more than $122,320.

Publishing industries offered the highest median annual wages for web designers at $71,060. The top-paying industries for web developers are the following:

  • Rental and leasing services – $106,650
  • Other personal services – $103,490
  • Scheduled air transportation – $97,790
  • Audio and video equipment manufacturing – $94,900
  • Software publishers – $92,330

Job Duties

Typically, a web developer will be involved in all aspects of designing and creating a website or application. The web developer will design and maintain the site or application, following the client or company’s instructions. When creating a website or application, web developers ensure that their client’s needs are fully met.

Each type of website requires different tools and applications. Typically, for example, gaming sites involve the integration of advanced graphics, while e-commerce websites require a payment-processing application. Web developers manage what applications and designs are best suitable for the website.

Some of their regular duties include:

  • Meeting with clients or higher-ups to collaborate on the needs and the design of the website or application.
  • Developing code for websites or applications and using programming languages such as HTML or Extensible Markup Language (XML).
  • Developing and testing applications for a website.
  • Implementing graphics, audio and video in the websites.
  • Collaborating with graphic designers to determine the layout of the website.
  • Working with other project members to decide what information is necessary for the site.

Job Environment

In 2016, the number of employed web developers was at 162,900. Typically, web developers work in full-time positions and are either self-employed or work for a web development company. The computer systems design industry and other related fields employed 17 percent of web developers, making it the leading employer of all web designers. Meanwhile, 16 percent of web designers worked in the self-employed workers industry, which ranks as the second-leading web development industry.

Specialized Web Developers

While some web developers will be involved in all the different aspects of the website’s development, others specialize. Webmasters, for instance, oversee websites and ensure that they remain updated and operate successfully. Along with these job duties, webmasters test for developing mistakes, such as redirecting and fixing broken links. In some instances, webmasters will also respond to user comments and work on a team with those offering computer support.

Front-end web developers ensure that the layout of the website is visually appealing through the inclusion of graphics, audio, applications and other creative content. Front-end developers are also responsible for creating web design programs in an array of different computer languages. Back-end web developers are in charge of the overall technical development of the website or application.

They create the basic blueprint to the website and run tests to ensure that the site works properly and efficiently. Back-end web developers also meet with supervisors to collaborate on major changes to the site and create procedures for others on how to add new pages to the website or application.

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