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How to become a Web Designer

0 April 27, 2012 in Students Area by advanced

In this week’s web design video blog, EuropiWeb gives advice about the various routes that you can take to become a web designer in the UK. It follows some of the best courses for high school leavers, those looking to go into higher education, and those hoping to teach themselves the essential skills. Our colleague Petros has researched for this blog some of the best University and College Courses to go on and also how you can train to be a web designer from the comfort of your own home. To support this week’s video, Peter has produced the following blog to help you become a web designer.

Practice Makes Perfect

By Peter – PR Manager for EuropiWeb.

When you’re talking about the nuts and bolts of how to build a website, it’s worth keeping in mind that with a field that progresses as fast as web design, and because the people writing/teaching the material are usually out of the field a little while themselves, it can be harder than you’d think to find a course that’s going to give you everything you need.

School Leavers – Some of the best routes available

If you are in your final year at High School, then you should be considering your options as what to do next. If you’re thinking of being a web design or creative professional, then the question that you are probably asking yourself, is whether to do A Levels or enrole on a specific college course. As mentioned in the video, this decision can be made easier depending on your objectives. Below are a series of courses that are recommended as a starting point.

  • Web Design Certificate / Diploma at Hove College. (1 Year).
  • National Diploma in Graphic Design at Warwickshire College. (2 Years)
  • National Diploma in Graphic Design at Harlow College. (2 Years)
  • AS Level in Art & Design (Graphic Design): One Year (1 Year)

Higher Education For Creatives

After college or A-Levels, students who wish to remain in education can further their studies in design and multimedia via completing an HND or Degree. Many Universities that have good Design and IT Schools, can offer the courses under the following 3 fields:

  • Ba Honours Degree in Graphic Design – Recommended if you would like to stay ‘creatively broad’ and focus more on design and design’s various applications.
  • Ba/BSc Honours Degree in Multimedia Design – Recommended if you would like to focus more on the technical aspect of design and media for the Internet.
  • BSc Honours Degree in Computer Science – Recommended if you are more interested in the mechanics of dynamic web-sites and how they function.

As EuropiWeb team mentions in the video, these 3 different types of courses can suit students with different interests and areas of specialism. It is always important to visualise your goals when deciding between courses. Whilst at college or Sixth Form, your teachers, lecturers and careers advisers will help you research and select university courses that are best for you. At interview stage, the factors that become really important are your personality and your portfolio, so make sure you give yourself the best possible chance at success.

Following your completion of an undergraduate course, you might be interested in studying further. In this instance, it is worth bearing in mind that the University of Greenwich actually runs a specific Web Design Masters course.

Teaching yourself to be a Web Designer

One of the great things about web design and Internet marketing is that you don’t have to go to University to be able to make fantastic and successful web-sites. Here are some ideas for ways you can teach yourself the essentials:

  • Evening courses such as ‘Website Design Using Dreamweaver Level 1’ available at Warwickshire College.
  • Part Time University Courses such as ‘Web Design Skills’, or ‘Dreamweaver – Introduction’; both available at Coventry University. Although expensive, these courses are very detailed.
  • Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 Classroom in a Book by Adobe Creative Team
  • The Web Designer’s Idea Book: The Ultimate Guide To Themes, Trends & Styles In Website Design: The Ultimate Guide to Themes, Trends and Styles in Website Design
  • Practice!!

For those of us who were at College / University or in a job before the great Internet boom of the early nineties then the choices are either to become a mature student or to work your way into the industry. There are a wealth of places to find tutorials and guides on web design as well as training courses being offered in almost every town and city in the country.

What skills will I need to be a competent web designer?

To be able to complete a web site on your own you will need to be able to design the layout of your client’s site, design elements are usually handled by Photoshop, Illustrator or Fireworks. Once the client is happy with the proposed design (always make sure you have written confirmation of this and advise the client that future amendments will be chargeable) it will need to be chopped up into the HTML that will render the page on screen.

You will need a good knowledge of HTML and an editor to create the page. If you are new to the industry then you may be tempted by Microsoft Front Page – but from my personal experience I would advise you stay away from it as it uses a lot of proprietary code that is not always cross browser compliant. Apparently it has got better in recent years but I would still steer clear personally.

Quite possibly the best package, and the industry standard, is Adobe Dreamweaver. While Dreamweaver will save you time and energy compared to hand coding it is very important that you understand the HTML behind the design so if things do go wrong while building the page in the WYSIWIG (What You See Is What You Get) editor then you can pop into the code view to correct it.

Last Modified: April 27, 2012
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