Web designers have many different skillsets that make defining the outlook of Web design jobs difficult. But even when companies are laying off employees, they need Web designers to maintain their websites. By knowing what skills are projected to be in-demand, you can help give yourself a better chance of getting a Web design job.
Types of Web Designers
There are several different jobs that Web designers do. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Web designers and developers are:
- Computer Scientists and Database Administrators (Web Designers, Web Developers, and Webmasters)
- Desktop Publishers (Web Publications Designers)
- Writers and Editors (Web Writers)
- Computer Programmers (Web Programmers)
I would also add graphic designers to the list of possible Web design jobs.
Of these job descriptions, computer scientists have a very good job outlook through 2016. According to the BLS:
Computer scientists and database administrators are projected to be one of the fastest growing occupations over the next decade.... The computer scientists and database administrators occupation is expected to grow 37 percent from 2000 to 2016, much faster than average for all occupations.
But other elements of Web design don't fair so well. Desktop publishers are expected to stay around the same or possibly decline, while computer programmers are expected to decline through 2016.
Web Design Educational Requirements
Most Web designers have at least an associate degree. And if you're going to go the computer scientist route, most companies want a 4-year degree, although some will accept a 2-year program. Because there is not yet a universally accepted accreditation for Web designers, most companies want someone with experience building websites. And the higher the pay and grade, the more experience you'll need.
If you're approaching Web design from the graphics design side, you'll definitely need a bachelor's degree. According to the BLS, you will face steep competition for graphic design jobs, and so again experience in Web design and computers will help you get the job.
Web Design Jobs Competition
In 2006, about 25% of all graphic designers were self-employed and most of these did at least some work as Web designers. There are a lot of people with Web design or graphic design degrees who are working as freelancers, and that number is only going to get bigger. This means that if you're going to work as a Web designer on the graphics side you'll need to focus your skills on things like:
- Web scripting
- Web application development
Web designers who can also do computer science and database administration will be in higher demand than those designers who are strictly graphics and layout.
Web Writing is Growing
Even as newspapers are going under, there are more and more jobs for Web writers. If you want to get into Web design through writing, you should focus on writing for SEO and the difference between online and offline writing. If you have good writing skills, becoming a Web writer is a great way to get into Web design. And if you already know HTML and how to get your content onto websites, you'll be in higher demand.
Web Design Pay
Web designers, in general, earn less than computer programmers with a median salary of around $50,000. And Web software developers have a much higher median salary at $70,000. But this varies widely across the United States.