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Jennifer Kyrnin

Study hard and become a Web designer

By August 13, 2007

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What Education and Experience is Required to be a Web Developer?
One of the more popular questions I get in my inbox is "how do I become a professional Web designer?" I wish there were some direct path that I could recommend that will end with you having a lucrative career as a Web designer or developer, but the reality is that there isn't any one way to do it. I know Web designers who've been doing design for less than a year and are better designers than I will ever be. I know developers who have Ph.D's who have trouble getting work they enjoy. Most people lie somewhere in between these two extremes, but the fact of the matter is that there is no one required level of experience. The best way to answer the question of how much education and experience do you need is to look at Web designer jobs. That said, the following article has a few suggestions for education and experience that most jobs, while they might not require them, would find valuable.
August 14, 2007 at 11:49 am
(1) Gerald says:

Why wouldn’t someone who really wanted to become a web designer or a web professional get at least a Associates degree in web design? That is like someone getting elected and not really caring about the job itself just, so they could say that they were elected. We have ‘web designers’who have a class or two in high school and consider themselves web designers. There is more to web design than using Dreamweaver or some other WYSIWYG program.
This is why I went back to school in my 50′s to get a degree in web design, so I could understand what was happening with that form or survey that was placed on the page that I was working on.
Now I am finding out that you need at least a B.s. in order to even be considered for a web designer position.

August 9, 2011 at 9:54 pm
(2) Mark says:

Not true Gerald. Ive been designing corporate sites professionally for over 6 years. I only have a certificate under my belt. What makes you a GOOD WEB DESIGNER is a STRONG portfolio. The talent. If you are great at what you do then your work will show it…no matter what education background you have. The salary might reflect though. You dont need a BS. Thats BS. — LOL!! It helps..but you will be fine with an AS. Im enrolling for my AS for 2012. Figured I needed it. Congrats on your AS!

August 17, 2007 at 9:48 pm
(3) Jane says:

I was a waitress all my life and barely knew how to use a computer until I went to an 8 month long computer programming class. The technical school helped me find my first job, and I’ve been doing web dev for the 8 years since. I didn’t have the time or money to get a CS degree, so I took jobs I could learn on and worked my way up. I’m now working on Wall Street earning a respectable salary. Anyone fairly intelligent with the desire to learn (and continue learning) can make a decent career in technology.

June 14, 2011 at 6:43 am
(4) HEMANT KOHRE says:

As same your story I have left my job from BPO due to not satisfied with that work and want to join web designing filled and doing the webdesigning training from Radiant Computers academy for 8 month and now its time come to join somewhere to start new professional work.*/

August 23, 2007 at 11:39 am
(5) Laura says:

I am self taught in web design. I am free lance so I don’t need a degree to get the job. Learning through tutoring from annother web designer, books, Lynda.com, program tutorials and some short online courses plus lots of online reserch (great info found here on About Web design!)Web design is such an ever-changing area that the info in a textbook would be outdated by the time it was printed!
Not knocking the degree, wish I had time and money to do that!

January 24, 2011 at 5:18 am
(6) Nora says:

I would like to become a web developer and I am looking for a distance learning course to do. I came across Oxford College – http://www.oxford-learning.com/product_info.php?cPath=11&products_id=165

I am not sure whether it will be enough for me or do I need to pay a lot of money and get certified from Adobe and similar companies….
I would be very grateful if you can advise me on what to do….
I have a BSc degree in Computer Science but haven’t used it for quite some time now…..
Thanks a lot,

January 26, 2009 at 9:33 am
(7) Fred says:

Web and Graphic design seems to be one of the few career paths in which a degree isn’t necessary to find work, If your Portfolio makes the cut that is. Schooling is always beneficial however

March 4, 2009 at 5:58 pm
(8) Ryan says:

I’m still in my 4th year studying Web Design & development at the University of Abertay in Dundee.

So far I feel that half of the course is a total load of crap. I seriously believe that Universitys are abusing the system with long drawn out courses.

2 Years studying and 2 years building portfolio in your spare time is what I advice someone getting started.

My portfolio begun this year at http://www.webtechglobal.co.uk. Is it enough to get a job, hell no! Is my Degree, no chance. I don’t even get a reply to job applications. So far I’ve spent more money looking for work and on freelance websites than what I have made.

I’m now looking for just any job I can find even if its minimum wage.

March 5, 2009 at 6:46 am
(9) Ryan Part 2 says:

Heres the reply I got via email I hope you don’t mind Jennifer!

What kind of things do you feel are crap?

Personally, I’ve found that most universities are not really set up to teach Web design as it would be useful for a career. Instead you get drowned in either the technical details of programming or the technical details of design. When in reality it would help more to get a business education and learn HTML, some basic design and basic programming.

But I don’t run a university, so what do I know. :-)

Good luck in your job search, that can be grueling.

My short answer to the question is half of the course hence why I believe 2 years of education in Web Design is enough.

I know many students with good heads on their shoulders working in jobs that are nothing to do with their targeted profesion. Thats a fact.

I studied many modules that spent hours covering the basics of something I was taught the previous year. Thats a fact.

My 4 years course did not include a single week of work experiance despite most jobs asking for it. Thats a fact.

My University states they asked many companys what skills they want in new employees and that the course is made up of those skills. Sounds great when your in your 1st year but then you open your eyes and realise those companys want those skills with vast experiance not just a module which can only ever be an introduction. The fact there is students in Web Design still don’t have what it takes even after 4 years education simply because the course covers EVERYTHING!

To some especially the self taught that sounds reasonable because you focus on HTML, PHP, MySQL and Photoshop then you might be sorted for a lot of work. I’m talking studying Law, Computer Ethics, Interface Design, eMarketing, numerous Team Problem Solving type projects all of which are made up as they go along (hearbreaking for a student by the way) and last but not least 2 modules every year to do with Multimedia despite there being a Web & Multimedia honours degree available.

Don’t know how the US does it but right now the UK is about to create a lot of unemployed students in the current economy and if it was up to me all Web Design courses would be halfed and the students bursarys/loans paid to places of work to aid in work placements.

March 5, 2009 at 3:58 pm
(10) Jennifer Kyrnin says:

Hi Ryan: I’ll post my reply here so you don’t have to repost it. :-)

I suspect that what you’re experiencing is true for many of the “job” oriented majors that universities are covering. In other words, I got a degree in Linguistics. For the most part there aren’t “Linguist” jobs out in the marketplace, so I had no complaints with the education I received. I learned how to learn, and I did it in a field that was interesting to me.

When you’re studying for a degree in something that is an actual job out in the workplace, you have to remember that universities aren’t going to be able to keep up or provide you with real-world job experience. That’s not what they’re built for. The only exception to this, I would argue, is for jobs where you need the degree in order to do the job (medical profession, engineers, etc.).

That’s an interesting idea about paying companies to do internships. But when I was looking for unpaid interns, I found them very hard to find – most wanted to be paid to learn.

April 9, 2009 at 6:53 pm
(11) Daniel H says:

I found this page, possibly via a Google Adwords ad that may have appeared below.

My take on this issue is that my education from the beginning of high school (A-levels in the UK) through University was entirely Arts based. My major was Psychology which didn’t have an ounce of arts or technology content.

The major factor to my being a web designer is having a huge passion for the industry and the craft, and dedicating myself to it over and above other career paths that I had considered.

In addition to passion you need to have a keen attention to detail, a desire to learn new skills (technology progresses at a breakneck speed in web design), and the ability to engage with non-technical/non-design people.

These skills/traits are far more important than education, since courses/degrees/colleges are already far behind the current trends in/state of web design.

June 4, 2009 at 10:40 pm
(12) Amber says:

I’m currently enrolled at my community college for a degree in web design, that has an unfortunately long-winded name – Computer Information Systems: Web Management/Web Master.
It is a 2-year degree and covers a broad-spectrum of technology and web-related topics.

I know I won’t be leaving school all ready for a job, so I plan on designing on my own time to beef up my portfolio. It sounds odd, but if you can’t get hired to make a site, then designing a fake site can be the next best thing.

The main thing employers care about is whether or not it can be plainly seen that you, the candidate, are highly qualified and capable to fulfill the position at hand. If you want to know what skills you will need then start searching for jobs that you will want in the field and see what they are requiring.

I know the 3-4 years of experience that is typically asked for can be daunting, but if you can prove yourself to be just as good as someone with twice as much experience, then you can probably get a good job.

June 17, 2010 at 2:55 am
(13) Nischal says:

I am so confused, hopeless n dont kno what to do by reading all the comments above. I also want to b a pro webdesigner n was looking for an admission through google until i stepped into this page…….

August 27, 2010 at 6:45 am
(14) Rob says:

From my experience as someone who has a B.S. Degree in Web Design and Multimedia and has been a freelance web designer for the last three years….

web design and development positions are extremely difficult to land. Most companies have either fired their part-time developers and now expected their full-time crew to do everything. Front-end developers are now expected to do back-end development. It’s absurd!!!

Let me ask you….does a plastic suregon specialize in the flu/treating flu or viruses? NO! He’s a plastic suregon and that’s his specialty. The same goes for developers/designers. We tend to specialize in one area and very few designers/developers that I know do everything.

My advice for those who want a full-time/part-time web design job at a marketing/web agency..get another job doing something else and stick to freelance web design–this way you can keep building those skills. I haven’t even been able to land an interview and employers nowadays expect that applicants do every single programming language. This, again, illustrates my point of companies being completely stupid!!!

August 27, 2010 at 6:53 am
(15) Rob says:

actually, more than stupid, the astronomical job requirements in the web design field illustrate that companies have lost their minds! It also shows that HR doesn’t know what it takes to do the job, so they just start throwing out programming languages like it’s nothing.

Let’s get back to the old roots where companies have marketing depts, design depts, deveopment depts.

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