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Hey!, I want to be a web designer

How to become a web design professional

Hey!, I want to be a web designer
7 May 2007

Below you will find a series of tips on how to become a web design professional. This guide is focused on those who are starting or have an interest in web design. Many of the suggestions you will find here are the result of my experience and learning over the years. I hope you find them useful.

General tips to become a web designer/web developer / graphic designer:

1st. The most important one: you must create your online portfolio of work. It must be very original and of high quality. If possible, fun (transmitting happiness and positivism). Do not start programming/designing without having a good idea and without having thought about how to solve all the problems of interactivity and usability.

2nd. Persevere, and have a lot of patience. To be good you need several years of experience. The first years are hard... you will have to do projects for free or charge well below the standard salary.

3rd. Try to associate with people in the same sector. Look for creative friends who have talent in drawing, 3D modeling, or creating digital music with the computer... Any creative environment is positive and will help you to keep the illusion.

4th. Read a lot of books, magazines, blogs, and forums, related to web design, the Internet is the best source of information you will find! You can also buy books on Amazon.com

5th. Get involved in any opportunity to create a project (even if it is free). Even if you don't make money, you gain experience and in this way, you learn the many "tricks" that web design has.

6th. Be ready to travel/change city or if you do well you can work online as a Freelancer.

7th. Set yourself short and long-term goals: win a prize, make 1 website per month, win a contest, make your portfolio, learn HTML in a month, then PHP, etc.

8th. with time, you will end up knowing which profile that best suits your skills, your talent or your tastes, because in the industry there are several profiles related to web design. Often you will find profiles such as frontend designer/programmer, backend programmer, graphic designer, 3D graphic designer,... or in English, interactive developer, senior web designer, junior programmer, graphic designer, etc...

Some references...


  • Vocational Training Schools/Higher grade modules related to graphic design/Art/Computer Science. To find them, go to the website of your autonomous community
  • Universities that offer degrees or Masters such as Fine Arts, Multimedia Graduate, Audiovisual Communication, Computer Engineering, E-Commerce
  • Universities or private schools that offer classes for learning Adobe tools and Internet programming languages
  • Free courses offered by the National Employment Institute or similar organizations
  • Self-taught (recommended). Research and study based on books and other documents taken from the Internet

Web design awards

They are a great source of inspiration and learning. Although it is not a very legal practice, from an educational point of view, it can be interesting to de-compile (reverse engineer) some projects extracted from the following pages for study and learning.

www.thefwa.com, www.e-creative.net, www.fcukstar.com, www.dopeawards.com, www.websitedesignawards.com, www.internettinyawards.com, www.creativecream.com

Links to web development communities

Undoubtedly, it is highly advisable to participate in some social community on the Internet. Here is a list of sites related to web design in Flash (Actionscript), Ajax and PHP.

www.senocular.com, www.kirupa.com, www.actionscript.org, www.cristalab.com, www.joangarnet.com/blog, www.joangarnet.com/blog, www.flashla.com, www.senocular.com, www.sephiroth.it, www.after-hours.org/blog, www.carlosrovira.com/blog


Below is a list of the most common tools for web development and design. You don't need to know all of them to be able to work. The industry is increasingly looking for professionals specialized in a particular tool.

  • Graphic, audiovisual and 3D design: Adobe Creative Suite (CS3) and its following versions... Flash, Photoshop, Fireworks, Illustrator, aftereffects, premiere, Corel Draw, Ulead Photoimpact, Swish, Swift 4d, final cut pro, sound forge, Maya, 3D Studio, DVD layout, etc
  • Basic programming: (x)HTML, DHTML, JavaScript, CSS, ActionScript, CGI, PHP, SQL, Perl, ASP, XML, VBScript, WAP
  • Advanced programming: ActionScript 3, RubyOnRails, Ajax, WPF, Perl, JAVA (J2EE), C++, VRML, Pyton, Remoting, Coldfusion, Flash Media Server
  • Development platforms: Flex, Apollo, .Net, Eclipse, MDM Zinc, Dreamweaver, Frontpage, Expression, Visual Studio
  • On-line tools: Unix/Windows web server management, control panels (plesk, cpanel), Google applications (adsense, adwords, analytics, webmaster tools), Domain registration (Nameservers, Registars,...), Payment platforms (Paypal, Bank gateways, ...), DOM Inspector and Firefox plugins, CMS (WordPress, Drupal, Mambo, PHP-Nuke, Joomla), Forums (phpbb, vBulletin), etc
  • Other required software: FTP clients, Pando, Microsoft Outlook, Excel, instant messaging programs, text editor, Sothink SWF Decompiler, Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer, Apache, PHP interpreter, MySQL Server, etc
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