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How to Become a Web Designer in the UK (With No Experience)?

Starting out a brand-new career can be extremely daunting. You never know if you are likely to succeed or fail in the venture. However, fear shouldn’t be the barrier holding you back. If you want to try new things, allow yourself to experience changes in life. You only get one life, so squeeze out every experience that you possibly can, in one lifetime!

In case web designing is the current path that you have chosen to travel, you can easily build a career from scratch in the field. Web designing requires attention to detail, creativity and the ability to understand and empathise with users. The field is a combination of technicality, aesthetics and innovative thinking. If you fit this criterion, you can launch your career in this field.

Although, before you initiate your venture, it is essential to study all aspects of the filed, so you can decide if it is right for you. Take the following guidelines into consideration, before you make your decision.

Web Designers – Who are they and what do they do?

As the name suggests, Web Designers, design websites / webpages. However, the job description is much more intricate than that. The duties of a web designer involve creating a visually-appealing website, which offers functionality and ease for the users. A web designer must have the ability to understand the target audience, for which the website is to be created.

Web design involves two key elements- design and functionality. The design features of the website take the business/organisation, as well as the target audience into account. This is because the layout of the website must be aesthetically appealing for the users. Moreover, the website’s design further reflects the business’s operations in the digital world. Keeping this in mind, the web designer is required to create a website that mirrors professionalism, along with a strongly developed taste.

The functionality of the website is another factor that web designers usually take into consideration. This involves incorporating elements within the website’s layout, which facilitates ease and simplicity for the users. The website’s interface must be easy to navigate and use.

Considering this, a web designer must be versatile, while designing different pages. This is because each business has a different set of requirements for its website. For example, if you are creating a website for a psychological clinic, the website must follow a theme that offers a serene vibe. In this design, you must add a colour story that should be visually striking, while also bringing the aspect of warmth and comfort for the user. As you are designing for a clinic, you would also have to integrate professionalism with the fonts and layout that you use. On the other hand, if you are designing a website for a children’s arcade, you would have to use brighter colours, along with animated design features, so that you can capture their attention instantly.

Taking the preceding information into account, a web designer must be versatile, creative and technically skilled.

The Difference between a Web Designer and a Web Developer

While Web Designers and Web Developers work in a similar domain, the jobs they perform are quite different. Before you step into the industry, you must develop an understanding of each role.

A Web designer focuses on the design elements of the website. Hence, this job requires you to integrate your creativity into the website’s layout. As a web designer, you focus on the addition of graphics, font style and size, colour story, as well as the transitions between the pages.

On the other hand, a Web Developer takes your design and adds a layer of code to it. This suggests that a Web Developer ensures the practicality of the design. Web Developers are usually skilled in programming languages. It is near impossible to find a Web Developer that is fluent in all of the programming languages. That is why, there are different roles assigned to Web Developers, based on their areas of expertise. For instance, front-end developers usually employ the use of HTML, CSS and JavaScript, whereas back-end developers are more fluent in using PHP, Java, Ruby, and .NET.

Taking the aforementioned into account, you can understand that there is a vast difference between the duties of a Web Designer and a Web Developer. For the latter, you would need to have full command over certain programming languages, so that you can effectively perform your job. However, in Web Design, you need to have the technical skills required to create a website.

If you lack the fluency in programming languages, a career in Web Development can be put on pause, so you can refine your skills in the area. On the other hand, you can work as a Web Designer, while having the technical skills along with a creative vision. Although, if your expertise lies in designing and bringing your vision to life, choosing a career as a Web Designer would be the more appropriate option for you!

Let’s talk money – What is the salary of a Web Designer?

If you are choosing to start a career in Web Designing, you should always consider the income it would bring in. Web designers usually make a variable amount, depending on their level of expertise, the type of work they do, the clients they work for, as well as their experience in the field.

When you start out in the industry, you would have to work jobs which may not pay as much as you’d expect. However, once you grow in the field, you will see an increase in your income. Typically, a fresh Web Designer can earn around £17,000 per annum.

On average, Web Designers, with some prior experience, can earn up to £24,000 per annum. In addition to this amount, you would also be eligible to receive bonuses and compensations on top of your salary. However, as you refine your skills and build a reputation within the industry, your average income could be increased p to £35,000 per annum.

With that said, these rates can vary, depending on your education, as well as your skills. For instance, Web Designers with added expertise in HTML, HTML 5, Adobe Illustrator, and

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), will attract a higher salary.

This salary may vary if you decided to work as a freelance Web Designer. If you work as a freelancer, you can set your own rates (which must be reasonable and market competitive). For freelancing, it is imperative to have constructed a compelling portfolio for your clients.

On the other hand, if you work for an organisation, you would be able to avail other benefits, aside from the salary. Most firms offer Web Designers with medical, dental and vision-improving benefits.

Skills and Training required to become a Web Designer

To work as a Web Designer, you would need to have certain requirements that are mandated in the industry. While qualifications do not matter as much, you can take the degree route and go for a Bachelors’ degree in Web Design, Computer Graphics or any associated field. However, if you are aiming to get less technical jobs, you can also get an Associate’s degree to start your career.

To start off your career, you can work at an Executive level positions. However, after five years in the industry, you would be able to apply for more senior positions. Furthermore, in order to launch your career as a Web Designer, you would need to possess the following skills:

Proficiency in HTML, CSS, Adobe Suite, Photoshop and Dreamweaver

In order to land clients as a Web Designer, it is imperative for you to hold a certain degree of expertise in HTML, CSS and other software programs required in the Web Design industry. You can conduct personal research to develop an understanding of the latest trend in Web Design. Take online courses to refine your skills in areas that are currently in demand.

Attention to Detail

As a Web Designer, you must be detail-oriented. The profession demands for you to create a layout that offers a solution to every problem that a user can struggle with, on the website. Hence, by creating a design that pays attention to minute details, creating designs that are polished, professionally executed, and offer the required degree of functionality. Clients love great attention to detail because it shows that you care for quality.

Creative and Unique style

A Web Designer can be labelled as a ‘Technical Artist’. The website you create are your individual masterpieces. Considering this, you must have the ability to channel your creativity and integrate it into your work. Creative thinking can include elements like picking non-traditional colour stories and making them work. If your website is visually striking, you have completed your job as a Web Designer.

Communication Skills

In addition to having an understanding of design, you must be able to communicate effectively in order to succeed in this field. As a Web Designer, you may find yourself in a position, where you have to pitch your vision to a series of clients. In such a situation, you must be able to communicate your idea in a way that other people’s vision can be aligned with yours. Even if you decide to work as an independent Web Designer, you would have to set up meetings with clients, to present your idea in an effective manner. Hence, communication skills are essential for survival in the industry.

It is important to be a good listener. Only if you are a good listener, you’d be able to understand the client’s needs and use your creativity to create amazing websites.

The Desire to Learn

The digital world is ever-changing. In order to secure your spot, you must have the willingness to constantly learn and expand your skills and knowledge within the industry. For instance, every year, there are new Web Design trends that dominate the digital realm. As a Web Designer, you must have the desire to educate yourself regarding the latest updates, taking place in your industry. This way, you can stay relevant in the work that you offer.

Problem-Solving Skills

As a Web Designer, you need to have the ability to think on your feet, and come up with suitable solutions for spontaneously recurring issues. You can work on your problem-solving skills by exercising the decision-making muscle in your brain. You can think of potential problems and engineer a plan to overcome them. The more you practice this ability, the more refined it will become. Online forums are a good way to learn what problems are being faced by web designers these days and see what solutions are being offered by the web designer community.

Time-Management

When you are working with clients, you are required to follow a certain schedule, in order to avoid delays in the entire project. Hence, you must have the ability to effectively manage your time and meet all your deadlines.

Build your reputation – Become a Guru!

The first rule of survival in the digital realm is staying visible and staying relevant. Hence, when you are starting out as a Web Designer, you need to hold on to any platforms that offer you the chance to become visible to potential clients.

In order to achieve your objective of staying relevant, you must become an expert or Guru on various social media platforms. Taking this initiative would give you the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge in the field. Therefore, you would be able to reach out to a wider range of clients. In fact, by becoming a Web Design guru, you can even take on clients from across the globe. You can utilise the following platforms to demonstrate your knowledge.

YouTube

The primary platform that you can benefit from is YouTube. You can start building a name for yourself, within the industry, by uploading quality content for your followers. This content may include tutorial videos on web designs, the latest trends in web design and any information that you deem to be relevant.  This way, you can create a platform for yourself, so that clients could directly approach you.

Blog

Similar to creating videos, writing a blog can also give you the opportunity to extend your knowledge and share it with the followers. A blog allows you to connect with the audience, within the industry. Hence, by creating a relevant blog, you can work on increasing your online visibility, you can then be considered as a reliable Web Designer. However, if you do not have a sophisticated style of writing, you can always collaborate with a freelance creative content writer. This way, your work would be liberated from errors, thus increasing the legitimacy of your business.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is known to generate positive results for individuals seeking jobs.  If you want to be recognised as a Web Designer, it is imperative to create a profile for yourself on LinkedIn. With this platform, you can connect with professionals in the industry, and pitch your portfolio to land a job. You can also add the links of your YouTube channel and blogs to your LinkedIn page.  This would increase the traffic on your channel and blogs, while also adding to the credibility of your profiles.

Become your own Brand!

Starting out, without prior experience is a challenge for those who are unable to effectively sell their skillset. In order to get jobs, you need to find ways to brand yourself on the internet. You can take the following approaches into consideration:

Create a website for your business

What better way to start off your portfolio other than creating your own website? Design a webpage for your services. Hire a Web Developer to make it functional. A website can allow you to create a space for your clients to reach out to you. Additionally, this would make you a more credible candidate for businesses. Optimize your site using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies. This would improve your visibility on the search results ranking page, thus bringing you more clients.

Promote your Skills on Social Media Platforms

Social Media Platforms are essential for branding. Create a page for the services you offer on Facebook and LinkedIn. This would make sure that your services appear in the searches of the platform. In addition to just creating the account, you must regularly update it, so that your clients can see that it is still functional.

Connect, Socialise and Build your Reputation

Even today, most employment opportunities are availed through human-made connections. Keeping this in mind, you must interact and engage with relevant individuals in the industry. For instance, you can attend Web Designer’s conferences to meet more people in your field. With these connections, you can find potential clients, as well as potential recruiters for an in-house Web Designing position.

Build a Portfolio

A web designer’s value is determined by their portfolio. Therefore, it is important for you to keep a record of all the works that you have done. If you are starting out, you may add your university projects within your portfolio. This would increase the count of the jobs you have completed. While creating the portfolio, keep the following tips in mind:

Highlight your Niche

Your portfolio should follow a specific theme. For instance, if your talent lies in making professional websites for business, you must add web designs that showcase that skill. However, your portfolio should not be one-toned. Add some elements of versatility, but make sure that it fits with the theme.

Make Edits

When you are first creating your portfolio, you can easily get overwhelmed and add every piece of work that you have ever created. However, it is extremely important to edit out some pieces, which fail to offer the same level of quality as your optimal designs. In your portfolio, only add the pieces that you think would wow the clients.

Define each Design

Your portfolio should include pieces that tell a narrative, with or without the use of words. Your designs should speak for themselves, however, if you want to explain your creations, you can add brief statements to justify the integration of certain elements within your design. This justification would demonstrate the command you have over your own work.

Add Latest Designs

Your clients only want to see the most updated designs. Therefore, your portfolio should be inclusive of the latest work that you have done. When you keep adding new items, make sure to delete previous designs. This way, your portfolio can be updated, brief, while amplifying your recent work.

Targeting Clients

For a new individual in the industry, targeting clients may be the most difficult aspect of the job. With that said, you can land jobs simply by communicating and promoting yourself online and offline.

Offer free services (to build your portfolio)

In order to make money, sometimes you have to give away your talents for free. If you sell free services to at least three clients, you can earn the opportunity, along with the experience to interact and engage in a professional set up. Additionally, you would also land clients, who could give you referrals and return to you in the future.

Design your Landing Page

Your landing page can speak about your work. Design a flawless landing page for your business, and add links to your social media platforms. This can bring more traffic and allow your work to be viewed by several potential clients.

Additionally, you can also make a profile on freelancing platforms, and add the link to your landing page on those platforms.

Conclusion – is it right for you?

Web design is an industry for individuals who love creating art in novel ways. It requires technical knowledge, attention to detail, excellent communication skills, and an artistic vision, along with the ability to sell yourself and your work. If you have the technical and aesthetic skills to opt for a career in this field, you must start branding yourself to increase awareness of your talents in both online and offline spaces. Refer to the preceding guide to jump-start your career in the Web Designing industry!

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