Any web designer in any level of experience, must be started at some point in life as a new comer. A new comer has almost no experience in the field, and it is nothing to be ashamed of! BUT they have survived the problems of a new comer, they have contributed to web design as a whole, and are now recognized professionals!
Let us discuss the first thought processes and accompanying actions before you embark on your journey to look for your first design job. You may even be a designer with no particular web experience, but do not worry! Read on to get a few tips on what you could do to break into the web design world.
1. Do You Need Professional Web Design Education?
In a nutshell, the answer is a definite NO. On the other hand, it would not hurt if you had a professional web design degree. Personally, I would give an answer based on the age and experience of the person. For a fifteen year old person reading this, I would say – why not get a web design degree? To a professional print designer I would say – you would only need a few weeks of web experience to make the change.
2. So What Skills do You Need?
3. So How Much Time Do You Need to Put in Before you Land a Full Time Position?
This is really hard to define since it is subjective to people, their personal situations and the levels of their expertise. However, all in all one could average it to about one year before you land a good full time job, provided you do your best. To land a job in the field in which you desire to work requires persistence apart from expertise. Just how soon are you willing to throw the towel in if you are a new comer? A month? Four months? But if you are persistence, things do tend to go in your favor when you have the necessarily skill sets. If you are still a student, remember you have to work very very hard every single day to achieve the goal that you desire. There simply are no short cuts!
4. How To Get Started
There is nothing more important than to be passionate about the career that you wish to pursue. Especially with artistic fields, you simply cannot monetize what you wish to do, a banker could thing like that! If you equate your end target with money, you definitely will give up along the way in the web design field. A designer needs to have a true feeling of satisfaction upon making great designs for clients, making the clients content with those designs, and finally walking away with a cheque as a result of the efforts. We agree that sticking to this rule such as it were a gospel word could lead to problems with payments, but then again we are speaking of getting started. And then, unless you are born under an exceptionally luck star, starting off always is associated with burning your fingers! Another option would be to consider using a company for professional website design. There are many options out so if you have the money you could gain credibility with clients and jump start your career.
5. Trial and Error
When you are studying web design, it is vital that you practically try out everything that you are learning. There simply is no better way to evaluate your learnings to your own self! Hands-on experience is something that is irreplaceable. Once you have an idea of the practical effects of your learnings, and your mistakes; you will get a hang of the design techniques that much quicker. Anything that you create today could look unacceptable to you at a later time in your career, whether you have two or twenty years of experience under your belt. a good artist is forever looking to increase himself, and a good artist would never say that he has experienced all there is to learn about web design! Begin with trial and error, learn from the errors and remember the trials; and you just cannot go wrong!
6. So What Do You Need To Bet Equipped With?
Well, if you are going to be trying coding, you will eventually need a text editor. You can definitely find a few free text editors on the Internet. You could get better editors for a small fee; it all comes down to your level of expertise, your budget and other subjective measures! However as a start for a beginner, we could strongly recommend Textmate or Coda. At the end of the day you would also need the world standard photo editor called Photoshop. This is definitely one of the more expensive tools you will need to invest in as a designer, but we highly recommend it at the same time. If you are well on your way to becoming a professional, you will probably be able to afford it. However, if you are still a student, you could get a good student discount from Adobe, the makers of Photoshop.
Would a Degree in Design and Expertise in Coding Suffice? The truth is, you simply need to live and breathe as a part of the design community. You will need to identify your own favorite designers, identify what you like about their designs and follow in their footsteps taking inspiration and not copying them. Take a look at their blogs, their facebook ‘likes’, their own personal tweets on twitter and watch their youtube videos. This may seem like we are asking you to be a copy cat! The bitter truth is, a degree can give you so much expertise and no more. We as designers live and work in an exceptionally fast paced industry. The only way to keep your skills up to date is to be aware of current trends, whether as a fresher or as an experienced professional. But remember, all this hard work will eventually reward you with working in the industry that you love.
Never forget to try out new ideas in your career, whatever your level of expertise may be. If you do not currently have projects with you on your hands, you could still find interesting scripts and functionalities. Why not try and replicate these? Forget about copyright issues when you are truly trying to learn from the experience of replicating a design. For example, if you find an interesting shadow effect on a button on a site, go ahead and try to replicate that effect on Photoshop. Effects such as this are a part and parcel of being a good designer, and no one has a copyright to using these effects. Going further, do experiment with the varying levels of shadow effects you can play with on Photoshop. Get your own favorite and make your own mark! Needless to say, if and when you do become a highly popular designer in your own time, people will also try and replicate the effects that you have used!
9. After Coding and Photoshop
So you have started coding and have gained a little Photoshop experience as well? If that is true, you are now at the exciting stage of starting to build your own design portfolio. Why not kick off on your folio by starting to do voluntary work for public service organizations or NGOs? If you do not believe in charitable organizations and their causes, find a cause that you DO support! Maybe you could build a site for a friend’s business? At the end of the day you need to start working on designs for projects that you believe in, when money is not a part of the incentive. One you have a few samples in your portfolio, you could start applying for jobs with companies. Do keep in mind that companies are not always looking for people with experience. You could start off as an intern, and who knows where you could go from there?
10. Sounds Like a Lot of Hard Work?
Well, the answer to that is, YES! No professional field is really easy, and there simply is NO substitute for sweating it out. It can definitely seem intimidating at times, especially when you are a fresher and looking for encouragement that no senior designer seems to be giving you! If this is true, you need to take things in the positive sense! Maybe you are so good that you intimidate the professionals! On the other hand, maybe you need a lot of improvement before you are truly appreciated. At the end of the day, you need to remain persistent and keep doing what you do best while being open to criticism when you are a fresher!