What is a Web Designer?

What is a Web Designer?

A web designer is an IT professional who is responsible for designing the layout, visual appearance and the usability of a website. 

A good web designer needs to have both creative graphic skills and technical skills. They need to be able to visualise how a site will look (the graphical design of the site) and how it will function (conversion of a design into a working website). 

The term Web Designer is often incorrectly interchanged with the term Web Developer and vice versa.  A web developer is often more likely to be a software developer who works with programming languages to create a higher level of interactions on a website such as the integration with a database system.

What skills and knowledge do employers look for?

To get a job as a web designer you do not always need any formal qualifications. Many web designers however do have experience in other design fields or have taken training in web design software either formally through college or through self-teaching.

Some of the skills usually associated with web designers include:

  • Good working knowledge of one or more of the following web designer packages: Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Fireworks, Flash
  • The ability to create compliant XHTML and CSS, not always using one of the packages shown above
  • An understanding of scripting languages such as JavaScript, PHP and .NET is often desirable
  • The ability to work to tight deadlines
  • Strong creative skills
  • Up-to-date skills inline with technology and software developments

The foundation of a web designer’s job is XHTML and CSS. These two combine to create the Web as we know it today. A good understanding of these two skills is essential for success in this field.

What could I expect to earn as a web designer?

Salaries for Web Design jobs can vary from £15,000 to £40,000 per year depending upon experience and a person’s specialist skills set. According to IT Jobs Watch, the average current market salary for a junior web designer is £21,465 and for a senior web designer is £34,067 – a rise of 10.25% on the same period last year.

What are the career progression opportunities?

Many large public and private sector IT companies have in-house design departments. If working within such an organisation, a person can progress their careers by moving into design team management, or by expanding their current skill set to become a web developer, covering both web design and development.

Alternatively there are many web designer jobs within digital, advertising and creative agencies. You can work on a variety of projects within an agency, which gives good experience.

Finally a person can become a freelance designer. Although there is a lot of competition for contracts, the prospects for skilled web designers are good.

As an average daily rate, a web designer contractor can expect to earn up £265 per day.