There is no straight-forward way to become a web-designer, you do not necessarily need any formal training or qualifications, and people come to it through a variety of routes. You might be a self-taught designer and programmer, you might come to it from a BTEC or HNC course in creative media, multimedia design, digital media development, web design and development or interactive computing, or you might come through a degree course such as graphic design, illustration, games design, creative media, advertising or computing. Although formal training is not a pre-requisite, most designers do have some formal training - 29,500 people are in web development in the UK and of these 80% has a degree; 36% of which are media related. (https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk)
One of the key things you will need is knowledge – both of the industry and of design. Start off by studying successful and not so successful websites – take note of what works and what doesn’t. Take note of the way content and menu areas are laid out. This knowledge will help you when you come to design your own websites.
Read some books on web-design such as ‘Bullet Proof Web Design’ by Dan Cedarholme, ‘Web Design in Easy Steps’ by Sean McManus, or ‘Designing with Web Standards’ by Jeffrey Zeldmann. Books such as this can help you understand the process and principles of design, as well as guiding you towards which program to start with. There are also many step-by-step guides on how to design for the web available on the Internet (there are even videos on YouTube).
The other key attribute to a web-design career is experience. You will need to have a portfolio of sites that you have worked on. You can present these to potential clients in the form of a CD, DVD or by sending the client links to your live Internet sites. When you are starting out it is good to offer to make sites for your college, friends, or for local charities to help build up a solid base for your portfolio. The bigger the range of live sites you can show potential employers, the better your chances of scoring that client or job.
This may sound odd but networking is vital to the creative web-designer. Many designers are freelance, working for a variety of clients – ranging from sole traders to large corporations. Even if your ultimate aim is to become a web-design specialist working for one company – networking can open doors and lead you to the best web and graphic design jobs. Building online friendships and joining internet forums can also be useful to the web-designer. Internet contacts can help you to test web-sites, solve problems and even pass on work.
The last attribute a web designer needs is versatility. Versatility is vital in the design world: software and technology is constantly changing and evolving, and it is important to keep abreast of advances being made in the web-design world, or you might get left behind. You can keep up to date with the latest developments by subscribing to magazines such as .net.
For further information on careers in the web-design industry go to: https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/advice/planning/jobprofiles/Pages/webdesigner.aspx