Most businesses report that their first major point of contact with consumers is via the internet. In years past they might have interacted with consumers through commercials, brochures, and old-fashioned salesmanship. Today, however, customers report that they prefer to have more control over their interaction with a company and are more inclined to visit a website on their own time, at their own pace. The websites that they end up seeing are the result of research and highly intentional, professional design concepts. Not just business websites, but the entire internet is a massive blank slate, ready for a talented designer to incorporate their creativity into a convenient, useful, and even thrilling web experience.
Like consumers visiting a company's homepage, we all take control of our information when we utilize the web for the features we desire. But the real control lies in the hands of the web designers who take that blank slate and creatively design what the rest of us end up seeing and experiencing. An Associate's Degree in web design will empower with the education you need to become one of these top designers. From artistry to code, you'll have the knowledgebase that turns your passion for the web into an enjoyable career.
Web design is more than just designing what a webpage looks like; it is actually the creation of interactive media that possesses the capability of influencing the world. Whether designing websites for personal reasons, business needs, entertainment, or any one of the vast areas of opportunity inside of the web, possessing the right background and training will open up to you the tools necessary for finding success in your digital endeavors. An Associate's Degree in web design will enhance your abilities by providing you with education related to the fundamental of design such as art and graphics, typography, digital image manipulation, coding, administration, and networking.
There are so many tools available on the web that a highly qualified candidate needs to obtain experience with each one prior to becoming available for a career. Individuals who possess the broad range of knowledge will be able to provide businesses with what they need. Although some businesses hire fulltime employees to design and develop their website, many companies rely on contracted experts to construct the original design for them. This means that when you begin your career as a web designer, you find yourself working for companies that are hired by other companies to perform this work. Such companies include development firms, advertising agencies, and media companies. Your job titles might range from multimedia producer to web developer, streaming media producer, or web design manager. In all cases, possessing a fundamental understanding of the visual and technical components of web design will highly recommend you for these enticing positions.
Another strong career area that has rapidly expanded over recent years is web design related to mobile applications. Many of the skills incorporated in web design are also related to mobile application design, and many companies that specialize in one are also dealing with the other. Having an Associate's Degree in web design will also introduce you to the world of mobile app development, and your education will help broaden your ability to find careers in these fields.
Since businesses so heavily rely on the way they are represented online, effective web designers are a hot commodity for businesses to get their hands on. Once you have an Associate's Degree in web design, you'll have the essential skillset that will enable you to effectively design the websites and corresponding applications that will set businesses apart from the pack. Now is your chance to make sure you are designing your life as effectively as you can design a webpage, and earn your degree today.
To earn your degree in website design you’ll need a total of 60 hours from an accredited school. It is important that you only enroll in an accredited college or school as it is more recognized by employers but also it will allow you to transfer your credits in the event you want to earn another degree from a different school. Below are some of the top required courses you’ll take at most schools to earn your degree. These core courses are part of approx. 30 credit hours outside of your general education courses you’ll take.
Web Design – All programs will start out with an intro class to computer web design. This gives you a great overview of the career and is intended to get you up to speed in the event you have never taken or learned anything in the past about web design. Some experienced designed will be able to test out of this course as it will probably be too basic.
Animation – The need to great animators is growing and designers need the ability to understand animation more than ever. Most schools will have a course or even an additional elective in animation. Learn about animated GIF’s, Java, Shockwave and more. Animation is now key to advertisers and by knowing this you’ll be a key asset to any company.
Web Programming – Check to see what electives the school you wish to attend has in programming. We recommend taking as much programming as you can. Courses that deal in C++ will give you a big advantage when it comes time to actually code a website. HTML and CSS is a great skill that every designer will end up knowing but very few will be trained in other programming languages.
Layout – Learn what looks good on a page and how to arrange graphics and text for the most impact. Start by doing simple layouts and moving into more advanced techniques that deal with colors and heat mapping. Be taught to deal with complex CSS code as well as even templates including Wordpress.
Ecommerce – Working on eCommerce sites can be challenging and this course will involve understanding not only the code needed in eCommerce but understanding credit card process. Also it is important to understand the best ways customers check-out and purchase products in order to find out certain drop-off points during the check-out process.
Seo – Search engine optimization or SEO is a method of gaining ranking for a website. Part of SEO involves created a website and design that loads fast, is visually appealing and functions correctly. These are just a few of the 100’s of factors placed in an algorithm that will get a site ranked. If you have the ability to be a website designer as well as a good SEO that is a positive trait you’ll have over others looking to get hired for the same job.
Html and css – Learn how to code from scratch using HTML as well as cascading style sheets. Almost every website is created using these 2 forms of code and you’ll become a master at them overtime.
Logo Design – Part of website design involves company branding. Companies might want to be rebranded and that means a new logo. Learn about color combinations and about what makes a great logo.
Photography – Although not part of your Associate’s degree program but taking a photography course can help you get the shots that you can’t find online. It is often necessary to take pictures of your products or services and the only thing that will work will be original shots. These photography courses are usually digital and will allow you to take the shot and instantly add it to the website you are working on.
Once you earn your Associate’s degree in website design you’ll be able to go out in the workforce and start applying for jobs. It is recommended that you look into the below areas as sometimes companies don’t really know what they need and often don’t list design jobs under the title of website design.
Website Designer – Check to see what jobs are available with this title but sometimes companies are reluctant to hire someone with just an Associate’s degree right out of college. As a full-time website designer you’ll be in-charge for the creation, implementation and maintenance of the company’s website.
Editor – As an editor you could be the one who writes all content for a website. Usually employers are looking for individual with an English background or degree but because you have design experience if you are also a good writers you qualify for the position and I wouldn’t overlook it.
Consultant or Freelance Designer – A quick way to gain employment is to look for jobs that are looking for freelance website designers. Often they need small projects done but they can’t afford to hire a full-time designer. Because this type of work can be done at home we have heard of designers that juggle 3-5 clients at a time. Often freelance work is a great option when you first graduate college. This will allow you the freedom to find industries you want to work for as well as a great way to build up your digital portfolio.
Marketing – Every marketing department needs designers, writers and individuals who understand code. In all of my years in marketing I can tell you what they really need is just one good designer that can do everything. I personally recommend taking any job you can in a marketing department as long as it is with a good company. The second the company realizes you can do great design work, create logo’s and even do some print design you’ll soon become one of the most valuable members of the team.
Webmaster – As a webmaster you’ll not only handle the design but also the backend network needed to keep the site up and running smoothly. You’ll deal with accessibility issues as the webmaster and be in-charge of even tracking traffic and assisting the other marketers with analytics.
Advertising Agency – Agencies often hire individuals with an Associate’s degree and they typically start out in a position called a runner. This job will get you familiar with the agency while you improve you design skills. This is usually an entry level position but again the goal for you is to get a job then once you get the job show your employer all that you can do.
Top Design Programs to Learn
- Adobe Dreamweaver
- Adobe photoshop
Below are the Top 5 things to possess in order to land the perfect website design job.
1. Training – Besides your Associate’s degree it is recommended you continue with your training and obtain a higher degree or at minimum additional certifications. These certifications will help you stay on-top of industry changes and make you a better designer.
2. Portfolio – Have the best digital portfolio that showcases your website talent. Often employers don’t have a ton of time when looking at resumes so having a digital portfolio where they can quickly see your work is becoming the norm. Make sure you show all of your talents including any projects you completed in school or freelance work your completed.
3. Marketing Talents – Get trained when it comes to SEO, lead generation and social media. Sure your employer might think they are just hiring for a website designer but by having these additional talents you instantly move yourself ahead of your competition.
4. Coding – Take coding classes outside of your degree. Coding is essential in building websites these days and having advanced coding knowledge will allow you to build more advanced sites thus putting you a different category of employers.