Web Design Career Requirements

Many job descriptions for Web designers require a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, visual arts, fine arts, or similar fields. Increasingly, however, universities are offering—and employers are demanding—specialized degrees in such fields as user interface design and information design. Moreover, many master’s degree programs in computer science now offer concentrations in site architecture and other specific Web design-related fields.

However, the Web is evolving so quickly that traditional university programs may still be too cumbersome for potential Web designers. If you are looking to get into the field as quickly as possible, then consider taking some specialized courses in the areas that are of interest to you—either from a college, a nonprofit, or a private computer-training school.

At a minimum, Web designers need to be familiar with HTML, JavaScript, and understand the way Web graphics such as JPEGs and GIFs work. You should also be proficient with industry-standard graphic-design software such as Adobe PhotoShop and Illustrator. When it comes to laying out Web pages, the most popular tools are Microsoft FrontPage, Macromedia Dreamweaver, and Adobe GoLive.

The multimedia design field has many companies that are developing new and better design tools all the time, but the industry is dominated by applications from Macromedia, including Director, Shockwave, and Flash.

Remember: A career in Web design means that you never stop preparing. New products, new standards, and new conventions emerge every day, and the only real requirement is that you be handy with the latest and coolest design tools and concepts available.