A Career in Web Design
What is it like to work as a Web Designer?
Web design is a combination of art and problem solving. On the art side, a web designer crafts websites that are a beautiful reflection of the brand and are intuitive to use. On the problem-solving side, a web designer creates a fluid layout that works on a range of devices from smartphones to 5K monitors.
If you enjoy making posters or Power Point presentations, then I know you will enjoy a career in web design. Designing a website has the added challenge of making a design that works for all screen widths.
Web designers can choose work in the following environments:
- Self-employed as a freelancer
- Employed by a small design agency
- Working in a communications department at a large company
- Working as the designer on an IT development team.
You will likely work with the following technologies: WordPress, Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator, as well as programing tools like text editors and FTP software, like Filezilla. A web designer must also be able to code in two markup languages, HTML and CSS. While modern web design tools make hand-coding less frequent, some hand-coding is required on nearly every website.
The Web Design Certificate at Saint Paul College
I have two jobs. First, I work as a part-time instructor at Saint Paul College (part of Minnesota State), I teach students pursuing careers in web design and web programming. Second, I work as a freelance web developer for WhiteBuffaloWebsites.com.
Since the first time I walked in the door at Saint Paul College I have been impressed at the dedication of instructors to their students. Not only will you learn skills from dedicated instructors, but because it is part of Minnesota State you will receive college credit from a respected institution. And I know you will love the instructors in the Computer Science (CSCI) and Digital Graphics and Interactive Multimedia (DGIM) departments.
I teach two courses at Saint Paul College. You can see my curriculum for these courses on this website: the Web Fundamentals (HTML and CSS) and the Web Design. Both of those courses are part of the Web Design Certificate program at Saint Paul College.
If you would like to learn more about a career in web design, I encourage you to enroll in Web Fundamentals/HTML (CSCI-1450) at Saint Paul College. In that course you will learn two coding languages, HTML and CSS. You will also find out if you prefer coding or design, since both coding and design are covered in that class. It is a 4-credit course, and the cost is only approximately $800. Most students at Saint Paul College qualify for financial aid, and you may too. Many employers cover college tuition as well.
The first step is to apply to the college. Once you are in the program, then register for CSCI1450.
Application to Saint Paul College
Register for Web Fundamentals (CSCI1450)
If you have any questions about a career in web design or the Web Design Certificate, send me an email. I would love to set up some time to connect with you.
Frequently Asked Questions about Careers in Web Design
Web design is a combination of art and problem solving. If you love art and problem-solving, a career in Web Design will be everything you have dreamed of. On the art side, a web designer crafts websites that not only are a beautiful reflection of the brand and but also are intuitive to use. On the problem solving side, the web designer must create a fluid layout that works on a range of devices from smartphones to 5K monitors. A web designer must also be able to code in two markup languages, HTML and CSS. While modern web design tools make hand-coding less frequent, some hand-coding is required on nearly every website.
Web designers will either need to be able to do a bit of coding or have access to a web developer. While WordPress and other tools remove the need for hand-coding websites, every website that I have made has at least some custom CSS. Don’t be afraid of coding. It is easier than you think and just takes a bit of time to get used to it. Generally speaking, the more coding that is required the higher your salary will be.
Per salary.com, the median web salary in Minneapolis is approximately $70,000. Of course, when starting out in a first role as a web designer, the salary would be lower. But with a bit of experience and excellent communication skills, the salary should be over $50,000 in a year or so. Here is a link to the stats at salary.com: https://www.salary.com/research/salary/benchmark/web-designer-i-salary/minneapolis-mn
There are many skills that web designers need, and a great way to pick up those skills is in a Web Design Certificate course. At Saint Paul College (part of Minnesota State), the Web Design Certificate is a 18-credit program that can easily be completed in one-year or as an add-on to another degree. Here is a link to the program at Saint Paul College: https://www.saintpaul.edu/programs/web-design
Most definitely! As a web designer you can work for a large corporation (likely in the Communications Department) or for a Web Design agency, or you can work for yourself as a freelance Web Designer.
There are a myriad of ways that a web designer can specialize. One way to specialize is to become an expert in website user experience (UX). Other specialties could include eCommerce (websites that sell products), websites that target a certain industry, websites with CSS animations, or SEO Copywriting. The tools you will use as a web designer are another area of specialty. Most small and medium size business make their websites with WordPress, and larger corporations make their websites with Microsoft products. As a web designer you will also need tools to create images for the website, like Adobe PhotoShop or Adobe Illustrator.
You need some skills to get started. The Web Design Certificate at Saint Paul College (part of Minnesota State) is a great place to learn those skills. Once you have some skills, then you need to start building up a portfolio of websites, so you gain practical experience. You may need to start out making websites for friends and family for a very low price. As your portfolio grows, you will have something to show clients. Working for yourself as a freelance web designer is a great way to have flexibility in your work schedule.