Front-end website design is one of the most important components for the online presence of a corporation, non-profit or individual, and it takes web designers to make it all possible. Studying the tools of the trade in web design degree programs can go a long way towards giving one the skills companies need to make their online image the best it can be.
There are many different types of websites, such that the specific nature of a web design job usually depends heavily on the individual project, but there are a few general duties most web designers are likely to perform:
- Meeting with clients or management to determine the main goals of a site's design
- Designing a homepage layout and plan for sub-page organization
- Integrating applications for social engagement or e-commerce
- Using images, colors and text styles to produce an appropriate look and feel
- Working directly with clients or management to ensure that the site meets expectations
- Updating the website as needed, depending on the terms of the agreement
Most professional web designers have gone through some formal training, and many employers prefer to hire designers who possess at least a bachelor's degree. Degrees in computer science, web development or graphic design may also suffice for web design roles.
Coursework in Web Design Programs
The specific curriculum for technology program in web design majors varies from institution to institution, but a set of basic design and development ideas are at the heart of many programs. Here are some concepts that students can expect to study on the path to a web design degree:
- Digital imaging basics
- Designing with HTML
- Animation and multimedia
- Information design
- Interaction design
- Basic scripting
- Online marketing
Many colleges and universities offer education for web designers at the associate, bachelor's and master's degree levels. More advanced programs typically delve deeper into graphical production tools and web coding languages, while associate-level coursework tends to focus on the basics.
Career Outlook for Web Design Professionals
Job opportunities for web developers are expected to increase faster than average between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The 20 percent increase in employment in the field predicted by the BLS could potentially lead to around 28,500 new jobs in web design and development.
Graphic design roles, which integrate more and more web design elements these days, are expected to increase at a rate of 7 percent over the same period.
The BLS reports that graphic designers earned a median annual salary of $44,150 in 2012, which works out to about 25 percent higher than the national average across all occupations that year. The bottom 10 percent of graphic designers earned $26,250 in 2012, while the top 10 percent earned $77,490.
"Graphic Designers," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Arts-and-Design/Graphic-designers.htm
"Web Developers," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm