Do You Have What it Takes to Become a Web Designer?
It can be intimidating to start a new career path, especially in a field like web design. It takes a lot of knowledge and technical skill to become a web designer. You want to feel confident you’ll succeed in your new career before investing the time and effort needed to refine your skills.
You’ve always been interested in web design, but you’re still a bit apprehensive. How can you justify putting in so much time when you can’t guarantee if it’s the right fit for you?
We don’t have a crystal ball to show you your future, but we have the next best thing: insights from seasoned professionals on what it takes to make it in web design. The characteristics described below may reveal you’re more equipped than you thought to become a successful web designer!
You’re wired to become a web designer if …
1. You’re a good listener
There’s nothing better than sharing deep conversation over strong espresso. That’s why your friends love grabbing coffee with you; they know you’re really listening to what they say.
Web designers need to be good listeners to understand their clients’ needs, according to Madhavi Jagdish, product designer at Wanelo. Your listening skills will help you execute the high-quality projects your clients are looking for.
2. You’re empathetic
Friends and family always come to you when they’re going through a rough time, whether it be a problem with a coworker or facing a messy breakup. You’re always able to put yourself in their shoes and understand what they’re going through.
Your natural empathy will come in handy when you’re designing websites for a variety of different browsers, devices and technical ability levels, says Eileen Mullin, owner and web developer at GenuineClass. You’ll impress your web design clients with your ability to see things from others’ point of view.
3. You’re a master problem solver
Your problem-solving skills can’t be beat. From juggling conflicting schedules to whipping up a gourmet meal from a bare pantry, you can usually handle any curveball life throws at you.
The term web designer is synonymous with the term problem solver. Every website has a goal, according to Gary Cooke, web designer for Serious Inc. It’s the designer’s job to overcome challenges in technology and coding while still achieving a client’s objectives.
4. You’re self-motivated
You took the reins and planned your friend’s surprise party down to the last detail. Your boss never needs to breathe down your neck to make sure your work is getting done. People know they can count on you to get projects done well and on time.
Self-motivation is gold in the web design field. Web designers often work solo, so you need enough natural drive to meet client deadlines without constant pushing from a team, says Joe Auer, founder of Skill Voyage. Your gift for getting things done will earn you a good reputation as a web designer.
5. You can visualize the end product
You confidently chose the perfect color for the living room without hours of staring at paint chips. You didn’t have to second-guess yourself because you could easily see what the finished product would look like.
A web designer won’t get far without visualization. You need to be able to comprehend what a finished website will look like before it’s complete, consistently working toward achieving that final design, says Nabeel Musthaq, cofounder of AskforTask. That mental image of the final product will keep you on track with your project design.
6. You have communication skills to spare
You can explain to your hairstylist exactly which cut you’d like without using pictures and you rarely have misunderstandings with friends and coworkers. It’s all thanks to the clear, straightforward way you communicate.
Your design career won’t go anywhere if you can’t communicate your ideas and work through obstacles with clients. A good web designer is able to talk about their work, clearly articulate their ideas and explain why they made the decisions they did, says Luboš Volkov, lead product designer at Toptal.
7. You’re naturally curious
Your iPod is loaded with podcasts and audiobooks about every topic under the sun—it’s all so interesting! Your quench for knowledge can’t be satisfied.
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it definitely didn’t kill the web designer. The design world is constantly being updated with new technology and web designers have to keep up. You need a desire to experiment and push the boundaries of design, usability and technology, says Jessica Greenwalt, founder of Pixelkeet and cofounder of CrowdMed. The best web designers are always learning.
8. You have superhuman patience
Traffic is backed up? No big deal. Your soufflé deflated again? It’s ok—you’ll get it right next time. Your patience levels are legendary, even in the most trying situations.
That patience will keep you alive as a web designer. Designers often need to deal with difficult clients, repeatedly tweak a design until it’s just right and be willing to keep trying when things aren’t working properly, says Volkov. Your patience will help you handle whatever comes your way.
9. You like taking risks
You eat apples without washing them, go bungee jumping and you’re not afraid to book a trip without a travel buddy. Going against the grain and taking risks is exciting for you as long as the circumstances are right.
Web designers usually follow an accepted set of rules—but sometimes, rules are meant to be broken. When designers break rules sparingly and for a very specific reason, the result is a unique and creative design, says Rob Laughter, founder and CEO of Connective Insights. Your ability to take calculated risks will pay off in the world of web design.
Are you destined for web design?
If a handful of the traits above resonate with you, you may be destined to become a web designer! You’ve already got the natural chops to make it in the field, all that’s missing is the knowledge and technical skill. Learn how a degree in web design can help prime you for success in the world of web design.