Every time you log onto a website, use a search engine or play a game to pass the time, you are looking at the work of a web designer. Web designers create online spaces that are easy to use and have plenty of visual appeal. This requires some business savvy as well as creative skills and technical knowledge.
Earning associate degrees in web design
Planning for a web design career starts as early as high school, where art, design and computer courses can lay a foundation for college. Associate degrees in web design offer a background in liberal arts as well as training in computer programming and software. Typical courses are studio art, commercial graphics production, graphic design, art history, principles of design and more. Foundation courses might include writing, sociology, cultural studies, marketing and business.
Career options, outlook and salary
Because web designers boast an array of knowledge and skills, they can seek work in various fields related to computers, programming, social media and the like. Web designers can choose to work for large corporations or small businesses, or to strike out on their own as freelancers. Related careers paths include art director, computer programmer, graphic designer, multimedia artist or animator, and instructor, among others.
The mean annual wage for a web designer was about $63,000, according to recent data from Salary.com. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the following median yearly wages for two related professions as of May 2010:
- Commercial and industrial designers: $58,230
- Graphic designers: $43,500
The BLS expects 13 percent job growth for graphic designers and 10.5 percent growth for commercial and industrial designers from 2010 to 2020. Both of these design occupations generally require a bachelor's degree.
Going beyond the associate degree
Though certificates and associate degrees in web design can open doors to entry-level positions, career advancement usually requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree. Employers often look favorably upon those who have a master's degree and a background in the field.
As the world of technology changes on a daily basis, continuing education is important to keep up-to-date on the latest trends. Distance learning is one way to upgrade your skills and stay at the top of your game as a web designer. Online courses also allow those seeking degrees in web design to gain on-the-job experience while furthering their education.