Northumbria University – How to begin a career in website design

Northumbria University shares some top tips on how to successfully launch a career in website design.

Web design is a specific field within graphic design that focuses on the design of engaging websites.

You need to understand the online working environment and create a site that is suitable for the business objectives; do customers want to sell products from their website or simply acquire leads from their site? It will be your job to know how it should look – and work – and effectively meets customer objectives. Read on to find out how to pursue a career in web design…

Website designer: the role, responsibilities and skills needed

Salary range: £18,000 to £40,000

Average salary: £23,000

Qualification requirements

• Non-essential: Formal web design qualifications – though many designers have qualifications or experience to specialise web design

• Non-essential: Related creative or technical degree, such as Fine Art, Computer Science or Graphic Design.

Skill requirements and experience

• Essential: Design experience – especially working with web pages

• Essential: Creativity

• Essential: InDesign; Illustrator; Photoshop; Fireworks; Flash

• Teamwork – both with clients and colleagues

• Problem-solving  and solution-providing

• HTML or other coding knowledge

• Acquiring skills

 Work locations

• Design agency

• Marketing agency

• Freelance

• In-house at larger corporations

Job duties (varying depending on the agency 

• Liaising with/presenting to clients to discuss their requirements and get their feedback

• Drawing up website specifications and site plans

• Designing websites, including text, colours and layout, in-keeping with the brand

• Working with graphics to make sure they are right for the website

• Keeping on top of current design trends and developments

How to get into web design

With qualifications being desirable – but not essential – there are a number of routes you can take to get into web design. Check out the options below and find the best one for you.


If you’re sure you want to do website design from a younger age, you can choose to specify sooner rather than later.

You can do both undergraduate and postgraduate courses, either specialising web design, or combine it with additional subjects such as communications, development or advertising.

With a degree, you’ll work on projects and that will begin a collection of samples of your work.


If you are self-taught, you can develop a range of skills using online tutorials and books, and build up a body of work that way. There are a number of online or distance-learning that can enhance it.


Whether you study web design or choose to self-teach, you will need to compile a portfolio of your work to showcase your skills to future employers.

Have a digital version, so you can send out a link when needed, but bringing a hard-copy with you to interviews gives you a talking point and something to show your knowledge as well as your skills.

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