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Is Web Design a Dying Trade or Can It Still Be a Viable Career Option?


 

There’s no doubt that web design is a fundamental marketing component. However, it’s an industry, like many other technological fields, that’s perpetually dying. Innovation drives new direction into the field at a breakneck pace. Old trends get lost in the dust. 

Professionals who want to remain relevant in the future of web design must reinvent themselves over and over again. As a web designer, you can’t use the same concepts, designs, and guidelines from 6 months to a year ago. Doing so might work for a few small-time, hobby designers, but it isn’t a career strategy. The rapid rate of change is one of the many variables to think about before pursuing a career in web design.

So how do you make web design a viable and rewarding career strategy?

Image: bu.edu

People interested in web design have a world of opportunity at their feet if they approach the industry in the right manner. Fundamentally, you need:

  • A basic education
  • An understanding of key concepts
  • The willingness to make ongoing education a regular part of your work
  • Creativity

Anyone with drive and a little creative aptitude can successfully rebuild and reinvent their skills to match the current landscape of design. To be a great web designer, you will also need:

  • Business relationship skills
  • A deep understanding of target markets
  • An understanding of marketing and branding key concepts 
  • A commitment to learning and exploring new technologies and platforms

In the same way that interior designers, tax professionals, and restauranteurs must refocus their businesses based on the environment, so must a web designer constantly understand and explore the world of online interactions.

What Kind of Education Does a Web Designer Need Today?

Amazing web designers come from a variety of backgrounds. Unlike graduating from a prestigious law school, successful web designers may have several certifications and degrees or they may be self-taught. As a highly artistic field, web designers have a unique opportunity to display their talents to potential employers in the form of a portfolio. The overall visual detail and the attention to current design standards is often what companies look for. Some designers have it and some don’t, and education may not be a factor in some cases.

However, if you want to get started in web design and you don’t have a portfolio, you may want to consider a post-secondary education program. Industry professionals hone their crafts through universities, technical schools, and open online courses. As a designer, you’ll need to choose the program best suited to help you thoroughly grasp the concepts of coding and an understanding of regularly used programming languages.  

Choosing Your Niche

During the course of a web design career, most designers pursue a broad category of design work based on the environment in which they feel most comfortable. Designers work for:

Individual Companies

As a company employee, a web designer might work on innovative website development concepts, but the day-to-day job may include more work fine-tuning landing pages, creating design-based social media content, developing email and invite templates, and conducting various maintenance tasks.

Web designers who work for individual companies have an opportunity to immerse themselves in a branding concept and to focus on one company’s goals. However, they may find themselves tasked with non-design related work as much as they work on traditional design concepts. Similarly, the work environment will likely feel more like a large-corporation and less like a small-office. Most small and mid-sized companies can’t accommodate a web designer in their annual budgets. Instead, they reach out to marketing and design agencies.

Agencies and Design Firms

Agency-based web designers have a unique opportunity to put their hands in many different pots. These designers may work on many diverse company and organizational designs at once, bringing together innovative design features with branding to create something unique.

With the opportunity to work regularly with different companies, agency designers have a natural opportunity to explore different creative concepts and the latest trends. They can move between traditional, modern, and funky designs as needed and bring their own unique artistic brand to the project. 

However, these designers may become overwhelmed with the number of different clients they interact with on a regular basis. In some cases, they may work extensively with a company or organization, but they may also find themselves responsible for a variety of one-off projects.

Freelance

The last broad category of web designer is the freelance artist. Freelancers can work for one company at a time or in more of an agency setup. They may even have design firms as clients. Freelance design work offers the most flexibility. These designers have the ability to accept and deny projects at will and to pursue projects that build their own personal brand.

Freelance design work is what an individual makes of it. Those who are forward looking, client-relationship focused, and business savvy may really enjoy freelance work. However, anyone who isn’t internally motivated may find the rigors of self-employment too much to handle.

Perpetually Dying, But Never Dead

Web design is never going to go away. Trends will die out, but fundamental skills will remain in high demand. Companies, organizations, and individuals will always need some level of experienced design help for websites, blogs, and other platforms that have not been created yet. Understanding what you want out of a design career may be the best way to find the type of work that will really highlight your skills. Some designers work as freelancers, agency designers, and corporate artists throughout their careers.

Interested in a career in design? Reach out to Spinx Digital to learn more about our approach to the digital arts.


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