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  1. #1
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    Re: Becoming A Web Designer

    If you don't have any qualifications and you want to change career to Web Design in a professional sense. How do you go about it? I'd love to be designing user interfaces for a living how does one go about with this? I know that Team Tree house offer a lot of courses and tutorials, is this a good route to go through. I'm self-taught in Graphic Design and I've been teaching myself for decades as it's a hobby but I've found it very difficult to break into it.
    I am a newly self-published author.
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  2. #2
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
    ralph.m's Avatar
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    Web design might be a little easier to break into. So do some intensive learning, and then find people to do websites for—perhaps starting with friends, family and connections. Or just do one for yourself, at least. Then you could go to local business meetups etc. and find work that way. Plenty of people need a website.

  3. #3
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    Build up a portfolio. Whether it's projects you've done for friends/family, or practice projects based around a fictitious company, you just need a good compilation of your best work to impress potential employers.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bluedreamer's Avatar
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    To get anywhere you need to get stuck in and learn the basics first: HTML, CSS, Accessibility, Usability - learn and practice till you do it without thinking.

  5. #5
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    molona's Avatar
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    I agree with what it's been said.

    You've learned because you enjoyed it and had fun with it. And that's great. But, even if you know a lot, in this world you will have to go on learning... forever!

    Not only to keep on improving as a designer but also you need to learn about business

    So, yep, keep on learning and start to create a website, something that you can show. It could be yours (why not? You should have your own website)

    When you have something to show, things are easier. Fake companies could be good too.

    Doing a real project (whether it is your own web page or some fake companies) will show you the problems that you could be facing with a real client. Even if you will not code it yourself, and you need help for that... do it!

    Participate in competitions like in 99Designs.com to gain experience and get feedback.

    And when you're a bit certain that you have something to show... Offer your services. Pick one or two companies and offer to improve the design or re-do their website for a fair price.

    Be sure that you don't make promises that you can't keep. Always over deliver. The word of mouth will start to roll.

  6. #6
    padawan silver trophybronze trophy markbrown4's Avatar
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    Great advice molona!

    The only thing that will stop you from succeeding is a lack of motivation, there's so many great ways to learn and it costs nothing but your time to learn everything you need. So stay inspired, practice often and try to understand the value of your work by doing real projects for family, friends and small businesses around you.
    Also look around at local design agencies and startups who are doing great work, hang around them and learn from them.
    Attend local meetups in the design/tech space and you're bound to find good opportunities.

    Inspiration
    http://dribbble.com/
    Process This is more focused at software development in a team, but you might find the Interface Design chapter helpful.
    http://gettingreal.37signals.com/toc.php

    Good luck,

  7. #7
    SitePoint Zealot Lieto's Avatar
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    Take existing interface like "Facebook" and try to make it a better experience + better look and feel.
    If you succeed you get yourself a job right away.

    Behance is a good resource to start on.
    Open for UX career opportunities in London Portfolio

  8. #8
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    A good resource for learning is also CodeAcademy.com They have such an awesome array of programs and it's a really fun user interface that gives you points as you learn. You can learn new things about HTML, CSS, Javascript, JQuery, PHP, and others. Just keep constantly learning and talk to everyone about what you're doing. I've found most of my clients through my job [I'm a barista] and just talking about what you're learning, how excited you are about it and just general design and passion can get you quite far. There are most likely opportunities for design in your everyday life that you haven't thought about -- and wouldn't -- until you start talking about it. Also, if you're a part of other forums [besides this one] offering a redesign or additional skin can be a great learning opportunity. I learned PHP because a forum I'm a part of wanted a new skin for their website and I offered to try it out.

    You'd be amazed by how many people you know that need or would like your help with designing things.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Mentor silver trophybronze trophy

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    There are many ways to learn how to code a website. The best I can think of is using video tutorials from let's say lynda.com. You can also try and code yourself from website such as codeavengers.com and codeacademy.com. Practice make perfect. From experience books never helped me much, so I think learning online would be the best practice.

    In terms of treating this as a career, I feel it might be a hard cookie to crack.

    Granted, plenty of people need websites, but more than enough people aren't prepared to pay for a website. It's one of those things. Companies might need it, and some value their online appearance. The problem with value is that it's only valued on the eyes of the beholder, and if the client does not value an online appearance then there is no value to what your producing, or no value to your client should I say.
    follow me on ayyelo, Easy WordPress; specializing in setting up themes!

  10. #10
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    It is really nice that you have been learning and acquiring information about web designing from a long time.
    But to implement it in terms of your career you should increase your practice as like designing some dummy projects.Also you should give a try to some short time training for web development before actually giving a shot to professional web designing as this will give you a knowledge of proper fundamentals and techniques to be followed for successful web designing.
    Apart from this make sure that you are fully friendly with CSS, Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver and other designing tools as these are form a nucleus of web designing.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Enthusiast zakelijk's Avatar
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    If you really want to start as a web designer it isn't just learning some code... a lot of people may think so.. but first you should ask yourself a question....
    Why do i want to become a web designer.... what websites do i want to build? They should be nice looking and also functional?

    If you wanna become a really good web designer you should know a lot more then just code a website... You will absolute need to be a guru in html/css and maybe php and you need some skills with Photoshop...

    But if you really wanna be a great web designer it's very important you know some standard SEO issues... how easy is your navigation... what's the bounce rate on pages... how can you lower the bounce rate, how can i increase my pageviews per day... what's the perfect inner-linkingstructure... how do i get visitors to stay on my customers websites?

    You need to understand that when your customer is successful because of your skills, you will be successful and customers will redirect to you

  12. #12
    SitePoint Zealot Lieto's Avatar
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    Well ye, quite frankly "web-designer" used to be a profession in 2001-2005.
    Now its UX designer, UI designer, front-end engineer, java developer. etc.
    Open for UX career opportunities in London Portfolio

  13. #13
    SitePoint Zealot ewomack's Avatar
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    When I see the words "Web Designer" I think graphic design and not necessarily coding. Basically, the person who designs the web sites graphics and layout and then hands it over to a coder to implement. 95% of the companies I've worked for, including my current one, make this distinction. For larger companies, at least, these people usually have a graphic design or an arts background or a degree in one field or both. One person I know is an artist by trade (or at least partially by trade) and taught himself Word Press. So he can whip up a really beautiful sight and just plop the template into WordPress. It works for him, but he has a solid arts background. Some smaller companies, with little or no budget, and I've worked in a few, may have a developer playing both designer and programmer roles, but this usually just delays implementation and distracts from system engineering. And it seems more and more rare.

    So if you mean "Web Programmer" then the advice given in this thread sticks: learn HTML, JavaScript, CSS and at least one dynamic platform (ASP, PHP, JSP, etc.). But if you want to design how people interact with the site and know how to place graphics in the most advantageous places, that's a different question all together.
    Ed Womack
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lieto View Post
    Well ye, quite frankly "web-designer" used to be a profession in 2001-2005.
    Now its UX designer, UI designer, front-end engineer, java developer. etc.
    I agree with you, now its more of UX designer, UI designer and font end development


    Regards
    Mohsin Fancy
    <snip>
    Last edited by TechnoBear; Jan 17, 2014 at 06:25. Reason: Please use an official signature

  15. #15
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    So far, I'm reading some great advice here.

    You are actually off to a great start. Some of the best web designers I know are actually self-taught. A number of them only took serious classes after things got bigger for them.

    Like what ralph.m said, start with the people who actually believe in you (family, friends, etc). These are the people who can help spread the word out of your actual skills. This can help build your portfolio.

    Speaking of portfolio, molona said it right. Not only do you have to do continuous learning of your skill, you also have to learn about business. This may seem like a daunting task. But, if you have an entrepreneur's mindset it shouldn't be. It would be a fun and challenging ride. After all, you can get started without spending anything yet. <snip>

    You can also listen to podcasts. Keep learning. Apply what you learn. Also, learn from your mistakes.

    Build it from there. I'm sure you'll go far. Good luck!
    Last edited by TechnoBear; Jan 17, 2014 at 09:17. Reason: Link removed


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