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|Is It Worthwhile Seeking A Web Designer Job?|
I want a job in web design, but am just wondering, with the recession and the employers' preferences for teen graduates with 2 yrs commercial experience, is it really worthwhile trying to get a job in this field?
I love designing websites and have a diploma, with a merit, in web design. However, I don't know what my chances of employment would be.
Also, some experts say I should not spread myself too thin by trying to learn PHP, ASP etc. on top of my front end HTML skills. Do you all agree?
I have tried to get a job in ordinary admin and retail, but because the competiton is much to high for each vacancy, I thought I would try consolidating my web design knowledge with a view to getting a job in that field.
You don't say where you are located?
Design and programming are two relatively unrelated fields. Being an architect doesn't mean you should learn how to lay down shingles :).
If you're finding employment difficult and have to work elsewhere, you can always do side contract jobs, finding clients either locally or online.
And would you recommend I leave PHP alone and just concentrate on building my my design skills?
You might consider setting yourself up as a self employed business but keep it part time until it takes off.
You haven't mentioned any knowledge of SEO. I have a lot of graduates from tech schools/community colleges contact me looking for work but every one of them knew nothing about (white hat) SEO -- simple things like unique titles, and avoiding duplicate urls, duplicate content, etc. (I'm beginning to think it's not taught in colleges).
It doesn't matter how beautiful your designs are if you don't know SEO you are doing a grave disservice to any potential clients. Most of the sites I redesigned were crippled due to a lack of SEO.
Quite honestly there are too many people offering web design nowadays. It is very competitive and getting more so. I am already there but knowing what I know it is not a career I would be targeting.
Unless you have design talent..don't offer yourself as webdesigner..
( it is like setting up as a portrait painter if you can't draw or paint in a representational figurative style )
And if you do have design talent..?
You need to know more than how to work Dreamweaver to produce html to do good work ( make well designed visually pleasing functional as opposed to "pretty" websites ) ..and sites that get rank well and get found in SERPS for the terms that they are supposed to..
Build many sites that "work" relative to all of the above criteria for yourself before offering your services out as a "pro"..
( at which point if you can do that, you would not need to work for someone else ;-)..
One should never hang up a "pro" sign and charge "pro" rates until one has either a genuine innate talent that has proven itself, or one is proven to be extremely good at whatever service one is selling , or one has already learned the "craft".
Otherwise it is taking money under false pretenses..many "webdesigners" do however do just that..one should never be "training" oneself in a field whilst claiming to be a "pro" and charging "pro" rates in that field...it is unethical...learn on your own time and dime.
Plus what Lorel said regarding SEO..it has to be "built in" ( from the start ), "not bolt on" ( afterwards ).
^ ^ ^ What the two Ls wrote above:-)
I am an awful designer, I can copy well but as a naturally talented designer I am crap however I am a perfectionist when it comes to website construction, CSS, image optimisation and SEO, my best mate calls me a code whore I am that fastidious and he is correct but all this has been learnt hands-on over the last 17/18 years since, quite simply, there were no guidelines (a bit from W3C) or instruction books on what to do when all this took off in the early 90s.
Far too many college kids come to me with design-only credentials and Lorel is correct, they do not seem to teach SEO etc but can build awesome flash sites which are useless for the SERPs but are very pretty IF a client wants one.
Personally I wouldn't recommend it to anyone considering self-employment in the UK at the moment, maybe it's different in the larger cities, but I do know it's difficult to establish oneself, very difficult.
He's fine, he's got training in design. That's better than thinking one has talent but actually not having a clue. Web design isn't about who can look the prettiest, it's about getting the right elements together visually - it's technique not style. The confusion through the years is too many people who are artists who think they can design, and too many people who are developers who think they can design. An artist, by virtue of being an artist, doesn't have a freakin' clue how to put together a web form spanning three pages so that it converts. Designers design, and if the OP has training, and likes it, then they should seek employment in the field.
Do what you gotta do to put food on the table. Then do as much design work on the side as you can. You'll either start building a block of business, or you'll find a job doing design, or you'll find something else in the general online field that tweaks your interest. Could be design, could be illustrating, could be developing, could be SEO, could be retailing.
As some one who has taught both art and design at university level ..and earned my living doing both as a non teacher also for the last 40 years.
I'll differ with you there..most of those who call themselves artists are not ..so it isn't surprising that they are not able to do design either..
And a diploma in webdesign..does not make one a web designer..anymore than a diploma in fishing makes one a fisherman.
The UK has sent out a lot of students with diplomas ( very very hard to fail a modern "diploma" course ..as long as you turn up sober enough times during your course..you get your "diploma" at the end, lack of talent or ability notwithstanding )in the last 25 years ..keeps their teachers in work ..and a lot of diploma carriers on the dole with worthless bits of paper.
About 30 to 35 years ago the Uk began training far too many people in "Art and Design" of various sorts ..but it provided job security for their professors and teachers..
And because the courses need the numbers of students to keep the teachers in the jobs ..no one could get told .."you don't have the talent to get work doing this"..whereas in say competitive sports unless you are very talented ..everyone will tell you " it is highly competitive and you dont have the talent to get ajob , other than teaching, doing this"..
So during the eighties and the nineties and the first decade of this century ..the situation perpetuated itself ..and now we have huge glut of designers..few of whom who have real talent ..desperately chasing very few jobs..and meanwhile turning out crap designs when they do find a job ..and recycling themselves into teaching art and or design whenever they can..where again they wont tell students the cold hard truth ..because if they did ..they'd have less students..and less students means you don't need teachers for them.
[edited by: Leosghost at 3:24 pm (utc) on Sep 8, 2011]
|Web design isn't about who can look the prettiest, it's about getting the right elements together visually - it's technique not style. |
I agree but there are many sites available offering off the shelf design components to assist people who are not skilled enough in design. It can be done when the graphic requirements are not critical.
|You need to know more than how to work Dreamweaver to produce html to do good work ( make well designed visually pleasing functional as opposed to "pretty" websites ) ..and sites that get rank well and get found in SERPS for the terms that they are supposed to.. |
Actually I have been doing more or less that for ten years and I have many long standing and happy clients.
I've seen your stuff ;-)..you know what you are doing vis a vis the rest of what is required ..but I did wonder if I should have said BDW excepted at the time of posting..and thought to myself..Nah BDW will know I don't mean him ;-)
|Quite honestly there are too many people offering web design nowadays. |
...than why do i see so many #*$!ty sites? ;-)
...there is always place for a good web designer. I would go freelance and see how it goes. There are several freelance platforms you can try out. While you do compete against low dollar per hours worker from asia or eastern europe, many many prefer a western contractor for various reasons.
I just started recently to investigate the wedding niche for a client. And after thousands of websites looked at, i can assure you; there are many wedding niche websites that are in desperate need for a good web designer.(and every second site played some damm country music)
...so go freelance and specialize, become THE wedding niche webdesigner and redo all those ugly websites and silence their sound... ;)
Thanks, everybody, for your advice to me on pursuing a career in web design. So the general consesus seems to be, I am going to have a VERY hard time making a living out of being a web designer? I must admit, I was very disappointed to read this, as I would have thought that with the internet being as big and popular as it is, there would have at least been SOME opportunity to get my foot in the door. I mean, what about all these jobsites who have web designer jobs advertised? Wouldn't I even have a chance with them either?
I really do want to make a living out of web design, with a view to perhaps going on to learn PHP etc. But given such discouraging, bleak news, I am beginning to doubt now whether it really WOULD be worthwhile having a go. This is a great shame, and I am left now wondering if there is ANY field of employment that I would have a chance in?
Define "good designer." I'm serious, one of my daily tasks is taking fixed pixel designs - and most of them are beautiful - and trying to make working sites out of them. As a brochure, nice, as a web site, not so good but they do it anyway because for most clients and "designers," it's like art: "I don't know art, I know what I like."
Anyway, for the original question, take this constructively because that's how I intend it:
|I have been designing websites since 2004 and self-taught myself HTML and Dreamweaver. |
These are not strong skills. There are far more factors involved than just plunking together pages. You can, however, narrow your niche and work **just** with design: providing .PSD's for developers to break up.
The best advice I can give at this point: Get on Elance for a few months and pull down some jobs. You won't make a lot of money, but the experience will give you a sharp insight as to what you're up against in the "web design world." It's pretty brutal, you'll be competing against those working for supplemental income (AKA beer money) and those to whom $50 will feed their family for a week, and working *for* people who want a mountain of work for a pittance - i.e., the average "web design client." You will stumble across a few good ones though, who respect what it takes to do what we do.
Only those few nuggets and your dedication and love for what you will make you stand out and survive it. It's really too much for many people.
edit: I'll add, in respect to "self taught" in the areas of client or server side programming, you *can* do this but you shouldn't. Too many people already do, and here is where "a little bit of knowledge is dangerous" rings true. When you start interacting with a server, you open the potential for security issues. Take deep classes in programming and pay strong attention to security if this is something you want to get into.
[edited by: rocknbil at 5:00 pm (utc) on Sep 8, 2011]
^ Good advice ^
>>So the general consesus seems to be, I am going to have a VERY hard time making a living out of being a web designer? I must admit, I was very disappointed to read this
don't take any notice of the negativity here.
personality is an important part of being employed and having a career, no-one starts out an expect, as you go along you find the areas that suit you best and you develop more skills in those areas.
just try and get a job in the field, keep trying to learn - real experience, on the job learning is much better than school type learning. (but you have to put the hours in - this business suits obsessive personalities)
Thanks for your encouraging advice. I will try not to let the negative comments on her dissuade me from trying to get web design work. You are so right when you say that constant learning pays good dividends in the end. That is exactly what I am doing, reading all sorts of books on web design and practicing on my computer. I am particularly proud of achieving the No. 1 position on Google for my true ghost stories site. I will just keep on building the sites and accruing as much knowledge as I can, in addition to trying for work on freelance sites etc. etc.
There is more to web design that "pretty sites." You have to be a designer, developer, artist (as in graphics), marketer, SEO skilled and risk taker. But, what I believe is one of the most important skills and is not taught in (web design) school is interpersonal relationships. The ability to relate to and talk with (not at) your client/potential client. To understand their needs/wants and transform that into something functional.
I spent most of my life as a theatrical set and lighting designer (before I got into web design) and dealing with opinionated or arrogant or narrow minded people is the hardest part. As long as you understand your relationship to the client and your place in respect to theirs, it is possible to make a go of it. Otherwise, don't bother as you will become very frustrated and disenchanted very fast. Some things are just not worth the aggravation.
|don't take any notice of the negativity here. |
What's all that about?
The OP asked a straight question and got some straight answers. Would we have been better to make up a story for him that he would have preferred to hear?
The truth is that with no real CV, no job and no contacts in the business it is going to be very difficult for him. That is not "negativity", it is pragmatism.
If you really want to do this the best advice would be to start applying for jobs and to do work on the side, use eLance or similar as has already been suggested. Get some practical experience and keep learning.
What about concentrating on mobile apps and design? That is taking off just now and not everyone is doing it yet.
Hi. Thanks for your replies. Would just like to set the record straignt regarding my views on the "negativity."
I don't mind people being honest with me about my chances of landing a job in web design. In fact, feel free to be as Simon Cowelly with me as you like, honesty is the best policy. It was just that, initially, it came as something of a surprise to me, as I would have thought that web designers were ALWAYS wanted, and in ALL shapes and forms, given the perpetuity of the internet. Anyway, I now know where I stand, and will certainly continue to consolidate my knowledge of CSS, HTML etc, as such skills always come in handy for me personally anyway, regardless of whether or not an employer calls upon my skills. I love building websites, and always enjoy coming up with a viable idea for a new niche website!
Then perhaps you should consider building profit making sites for yourself?
|brotherhood of LAN|
|I love building websites, and always enjoy coming up with a viable idea for a new niche website! |
|Then perhaps you should consider building profit making sites for yourself? |
Indeed, this is how a lot of us started out. For a couple of dollars a month you can develop sites trial and error.
I agree with the negative sentiments regarding 'online' being competitive environment for work, and the big question is whether you like this kind of work enough to put the time into learning the trade. No different from other jobs in that respect.
|I would have thought that web designers were ALWAYS wanted, and in ALL shapes and forms, given the perpetuity of the internet. |
Analogy: walk down the street and look at all the unkempt lawns. Clearly you could make a killing as a gardener; the need is obvious.
Nope. All those horrible sights, or sites, exist because not enough people are prepared* to pay someone to set things right. You just hope that the fairies will mow your lawn while you're at work. Or fix your web site while you sleep.
* Fuzzy, ambiguous word chosen intentionally.
Psst! Leosghost! Time to close a few tabs again ;)
|All those horrible sights, or sites, exist because not enough people are prepared* to pay someone to set things right. |
Yes. How often have your heard "my niece, my nephew, my grandchild, my 2nd cousin twice removed youngest... can do this for me for free"
Money can be made in web design but a) you have to find people willing to pay and b) you really have to have a passion for it.
So that means any Tom, Dick or Harry is throwing up websites, free of charge? I suppose another analogy would be that of trying to make it as freelance administrator, as most people have computers now and type their own letters, spreadsheets etc.
Hmmm . . . perhaps I SHOULD build websites purely for my own self profit, putting on Clickback affiliate links, Adsense etc.
|Hmmm . . . perhaps I SHOULD build websites purely for my own self profit, putting on Clickback affiliate links, Adsense etc. |
It's a lot more fun than working for customers :).
|So that means any Tom, Dick or Harry is throwing up websites, free of charge? |
Yes, more or less.
I have had a few jobs come to me that people had originally done for nothing. Some of these were OK too but eventually the folks who do this move on to other things and the website owners have to look elsewhere.
The problem with website design is that there is virtually no investment required to start up. If you have a PC, suitable web editing software and an imaging package (all available open source if required) you're all set. All you need is a little knowledge of what's involved. That is why there are so many people doing it.
I started this way myself. I started another business ten years ago. I have some IT background so I decided that I would try building my own website. I managed to do so then someone I know asked me if I could do a website for him. I took this on and it grew from there. When I started I new absolutely nothing about web design but that was ten years ago and not nearly as many people were doing it back then.
|So that means any Tom, Dick or Harry is throwing up websites, free of charge? |
Like I said, sign up with Elance and see what you're up against (don't use other clone sites, they are much worse.) None of these comments are negative, they are realistic, and it's not an easy field to make a living in, but if you love what you do, it won't dissuade you.
|All you need is a little knowledge of what's involved. |
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