Web Designer Training

Web designer careers and training

What do Web designers do?

Web designers are the creative individuals behind the layouts and designs of websites and Web pages. The digital destinations these designers create can be as simple as a one-page personal resume or as media-rich as an online magazine or e-commerce emporium.

Businesses and individuals rely on compelling Web design to do everything from communicate a message to entertain or sell products and services. Web designers help their clients achieve these goals using an array of design tools and visual messaging techniques. In addition to visual art fundamentals such as color and form, Web designers work with the end-user in mind to incorporate interactive media features such as video and animation, e-commerce payment systems, advertising and more.

Web design as a discipline brings together creative vision and technical skills. Designers possess an eye for effective online presentation as well as the programming ability to execute the design. A basic understanding of marketing principles such as branding and merchandising helps Web designers establish themselves as digital marketing design experts.

What is the job outlook for Web designers?

Web design is among the most promising design fields, according to U.S. Department of Labor forecasts for 2008 to 2018. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 13 percent growth for graphic designers as a whole, with particular demand for designers who have website and animation design experience.

This demand for Web designers is a direct result of the growth in demand for interactive media and Internet advertising. According to digital marketing authority eMarketer, U.S. marketers will devote $25.8 billion of their budgets to online efforts in 2011. By 2014, this figure is projected to surge to an estimated $40 billion -- a 55 percent increase. Web advertising accounts for much of this rising budget; ZenithOptimedia reports that online advertising is growing three times faster than the market as a whole.

Web designers can find job opportunities in a number of industries including Internet service providers, Internet consulting firms and specialized Web design companies. Advertising firms and graphic design shops also hire Web designers. An increasing number of large enterprises maintain a staff of in-house designers. Finally, Web designers with experience and strong portfolios can establish careers as independent contractors, providing creative services to businesses or individual clients.

What is the salary for Web designers?

Web design salaries vary widely, especially among independent contractors. The annual AIGA/Aquent Survey of Design Salaries, the design industry's most comprehensive compensation report, cites a median total compensation of $58,500 for Web designers in 2010, an increase of 6.4 percent over the previous year. Front-end or interface Web developers earned $60,000 in 2010. Web designers promoted into management roles command six-figure salaries; creative directors, for example, brought home a median base salary of $100,000 in 2010.

What training or certification is required for a Web design career?

A career as a Web designer begins with a bachelor's degree in graphic design, visual communications or a related field. Some specialized bachelor's and master's degree programs exist in information design, Web design and user interface design.

In addition to a college degree, Web designers rely on certification programs to keep pace with advancing technologies. Some popular certifications in the field include:

  • Certified Internet Web Professional (CIW) program. The CIW program offers specialized credentials for Web developers in areas such as e-commerce, security management, project management and programming. CIW certifications rank among the most prestigious in the Web technology sector. Certification Magazine ranked the Certified Internet Web Professional credential among the top certifications by salary, with average annual income of $59,290.
  • Association of Web Professionals (WOW) Web Professional certification. WOW administers a series of vendor-neutral Web design and development certifications at the apprentice, associate and professional levels. The Certified Web Designer (CWD) and Certified Associate Webmaster (CAW) certifications are widely recognized in the industry.
  • Associate Webmaster Professional (AWP) and Certified Webmaster Professional (CWP). WebYoda provides training programs culminating in these two credentials, the entry-level AWP and the advanced CWP. CWP certification covers HTML, Java, e-commerce and design fundamentals for business Web designers.

Designers also benefit from up-to-date training in Web programming tools such as:

  • ColdFusion MX Developer Certification
  • DreamWeaver MX Certification
  • Flash
  • MCS Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist for .NET
  • MCPD Microsoft Certified Professional Developer: Web Developer
  • HTML Developer certificate

Training in state-of-the-art design technology empowers Web professionals to realize their creative potential. Technical certifications are ultimately a means to achieving the ultimate credential: a strong Web design portfolio.

Web Designer Training
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Web Designer Careers: At a Glance

  • Job outlook: Strong. One industry employing Web designers, digital interactive advertising, is forecast to grow over 35 percent through 2014.
  • Salary: $58,500*
  • Work environment: Many Web designers work in close-knit small graphic design shops or interactive advertising agencies. Some take advantage of the flexibility of independent contract work, working out of a home office.
  • Hot employers: Digital agencies Rosetta, Digitas and Razorfish; large advertising agencies such as Ogilvy and Publicis; and Aquent, a talent agency for Web designers.
  • Top locations: San Francisco Bay Area, New York

*Average wages in 2010, according to the AIGA/Aquent Survey of Design Salaries.