Job Description: Web Designer
As a Web Designer or Web Developer you’ll be responsible for the overall design, layout and coding of a website. It’s a part-creative, part technical role and you’ll be heavily involved with the both the technical and graphical aspects of a website.
How the site works and how it looks – and making sure it performs its functions well is what you are employed for. As such you’ll be closely involved with the maintenance and update of existing sites you have designed. You would be developing the programming code, either from scratch or by adapting existing website software and graphics packages to meet business requirements.
You’ll also be testing your website for possible problems and then uploading the site onto a server and registering it with different search engines.
Is it for you?
Many web designers work in the creative industries or within the creative departments of companies and organisations. Therefore, much of your work is linked to the marketing of the company’s products and services so you’ll be thinking about the target users for your website and identifying the type of content it will host.
You’ll often be working in a fun, fast-paced and informal environment often working to deadlines and fast turnarounds. As such whilst your normal hours will be between 37 and 40 hours a week, there are bound to be late nights or even the odd weekend to meet deadlines as they arise.
Qualifications and Skills
If you’re into websites, they way they look, work and function and you will have skills in software programming and graphics you’ll find this is a job that’s in wide demand across all industries and sectors.
In terms of aptitude you’ll need to be adaptable and have good interpersonal and communication skills. You’ll also have to keep up to date with advances in computer technology and how this affects the business environment. Most employers expect applicants to have a degree-level education, often with relevant work experience and vocational skills.
However, there are specific non-degree qualifications available that provide a good grounding in web design, interactive design, graphic design and internet technology.
Here are some of the most common qualifications: BTEC National Diploma in Art and Design (Multimedia); Computer Studies or IT; SQA National Certificate in IT; BTEC/SQA higher national diplomas Courses can be full time or part time, and some colleges offer sandwich courses, with one year's work experience.
Opportunities and salaries
Web Designers/Developers are employed across every industry sector; indeed, there is no commercial or non-commercial organisation that doesn’t have a web for selling or communication purpose.
As a Web Designer you basically work for a company which provides web services. These include: advertising and marketing agencies, IT consultancies, software houses and specialist web design agencies. Alternatively, (and still doing the same job) you can work within an organisation's IT department. Within the latter, of course, you will only be working on your company’s needs whereas in the former you’ll gain experience on hundreds of different types of sites and for all types of target audiences.
Your normal progression will be to become a senior or principal web designer/developer or there is always the option of going self-employed if you feel this is for you.
Salaries range from about £18,000 to £40,000 plus. However, where you may be working on a large consumer brand with huge budgets you may find your salary much higher. As a freelancer you could be looking at upwards of £200+ per day.