How to Become a Web Designer

Posted on February 19, 2021 | Updated on July 13, 2021

If you’re exploring how to become a web designer, there are some details you should first understand. Web design is rewarding and creative work, but you must develop the skills and knowledge to excel in a highly competitive field. 

There are approximately 174,300 web developers in the United States, making an average of $73,760 per year. However, the rate of growth in the industry is faster than average at 8%, and those who develop complementary skills, such as app development fare even better. 

If the idea of helping businesses and individuals create a unique online presence appeals to you, then follow the steps below on how to become a web designer. 

How to Become a Web Designer Steps

Web designers don’t always have a formal education in development. While taking classes in topics such as back-end management, coding and design aesthetics is helpful, you can also pick up these skills through online courses, seminars and life experience.

Step 1: Learn the Skills

What should I major in to be a web designer? Designers don’t always have an arts degree or even a computer science degree. Many have experience in other fields, such as business or general studies. 

There are a few areas you can specialize in if you know ahead of time you’d like to know how to become a web designer. Some schools do offer associate’s or bachelor’s degree in web design. The skills you should develop include:

  • How to use graphic software like Photoshop
  • A firm grasp of coding languages, especially HTML, CSS and PHP 
  • An understanding of web design theory and design aesthetics
  • Ability to communicate well with clients and team members

Understanding the basics gets you started. You can add to your skills and knowledge as you get hands-on experience with different projects. 

Step 2: Find a Mentor

According to National Mentoring Day, 97% of people who have a mentor feel it is invaluable. Around 70% of small business owners who have a mentor survive past the five year mark, more than twice the success rate of those without one. 

If you’re wondering how to become a web designer and navigate the different levels of operating your own business, finding an experienced mentor can mean the difference between success and failure.

If there is a particular area of design you want to go into, such as creating websites for banks or musicians, look for someone with experience in those areas. If you gain a mentor who is ready to retire, they may refer their clients to you when they close their own business, which would be of great benefit and give you a good start in the industry. 

Step 3: Practice Like Crazy

The knowledge you need on how to become a web designer can be learned in a few months. However, the skills you’ll develop happen over time. Start by volunteering your services to local charities and family and friends. Seek out small businesses with low budgets who don’t expect fancy extras, and then provide them, learning how to add different website features as you go.

Try to work on different platforms as you learn how to become a web designer. Create a website in WordPress, Mango and HTML5.

Step 4: Stay Up on Trends

What are the technology trends for 2021 and beyond? Staying up on the latest trends allows you to look ahead to the type of design elements you need on your sites. Look at the latest gadgets which might impact web design in the future.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is on the rise. One example is smart speakers. According to Pew Research Center, 25% of adults in the U.S. now own a smart speaker. Experts predict the number will rise in coming years. How does your design work with gadgets such as Alexa? Are you ready for the natural language patterns people use when conducting a voice search?

Step 5: Embrace Customer Service Management

In a world with fierce competition for consumer attention, you can stand out with your customer service model. If you don’t already have skills in how to communicate and manage your customers, develop them now. Many people cite a personalized experience as one of the reasons they become loyal to a particular brand.

Not only will your clients be more satisfied but they will tell others. Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful tools you have as a freelance web designer. In the list of things you need to know in how to become a web designer, customer relationship management should be near the top. 

Step 6: Invest in the Right Tools

If you plan to strike out on your own, you’ll need some basic tools of the trade, such as image editing software, video creation programs and digital drawing tools. Even if you land a gig with a corporation, you’ll want to be able to work on things at home or practice new skills in your free time.

The cost of investing in these tools adds up, so look for ways to start on a shoestring. Start with a less expensive computer than your dream model. Pay for cloud-based software services by the month, so you aren’t spending so much at one time. Start with a basic model of digital pen and work your way up to the more expensive features you desire.

You’ll also want to create a portfolio showcasing your best work. There are many sites out there where you can upload images, such as Behance or even a free website. Choose what fits in your budget but still looks professional. 

Additional Tips for How to Become a Web Designer

The steps toward working as a developer are fairly straightforward. Think about the types of projects you want to work on and make sure you’re ready to hit the ground running with those skills. You can always add more knowledge later and learn new techniques as you work on projects. Life experience teaches you far more than you’ll ever learn in a classroom. However, an education gives you the basic components you need to succeed.

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About The Author

Cooper Adwin is the Assistant Editor of Designerly Magazine. With several years of experience as a social media manager for a design company, Cooper particularly enjoys focusing on social and design news and topics that help brands create a seamless social media presence. Outside of Designerly, you can find Cooper playing D&D with friends or curled up with his cat and a good book.


  1. Nylon James on March 22, 2021 at 8:31 pm

    Great article. You’ve shared some very useful and knowledgable information that will help upcoming web designers find their way through this industry. Thank you for taking the time to share this.

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