How do I become a web designer?

31 replies
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How do I become a web designer/developer?

How much do I need to know to make good money as a web designer/developer? I want to make about $2,000 per month, that's how much I need to quit my job. I know basic xhtml, css, and the basics of programming and can make a very basic website. I also just learned that I can install open source shopping carts on hostgator and uploaded a premade template. I don't know anything about graphics, adobe photoshop, adobe dreamweaver or flash. And I'm working on learning php and javascript.

How good do I have to be to make around $2,000 per month? Like on freelance sites like elance.com or to get hired off craigslist or something? How do I get started? How would I know how much to charge for my work? Any suggestions? Thanks.
#designer #web
  • Profile picture of the author wassim
    Lots of questions in here... I can see you're quite eager to learn things which is great.
    I advice you not to think of money for the instance, simply focus on learning new technologies and later on the money will come by. $2,000 is not an easy target for a beginner in your case, but it's very doable in the near future hopefully if you know what to do.
    If you're really interested about becoming a designer, then go ahead and learn design from my favorite designing blog: http://www.smashingmagazine.com

    If you you want to improve your development skills and go beyond basic xhtml/css, then you need to check the W3C resource website: http://www.w3schools.com

    If you need any further clarifications and need any kind of help, feel free to contact me.

    Best regards,
    Wassim
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    • Profile picture of the author shintaku
      Thanks for your post. I love w3schools
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      • Profile picture of the author JesseT
        A lot of good answers here so I will only focus on what hasnt really been covered too much. As it's been explained there are two major parts to web design. The artistic (how it will look.) and the flow (how it will work.) While it's great to be good at both, it's not required. Find what you are the best at and focus on that. You can always outsource the other if needed.

        You NEED a website to be a designer and on that site you should have your portfolio. If you do not have a lot of work to show, I would suggest building a few sites for smaller companies at a discounted price. This isn't selling yourself short, this is building your name.

        Another thing you need to be aware of is set limits on what you will do and don't be afraid to say no. One of my first sites were an apartment complex and I agreed to write the content for the site as well. That was a big mistake for two reasons. 1) I should have declined the job as the guy was really a PIA and kept trying to get free work out of me. 2) The apartments were crap and it's hard to sell crap. I couldn't find a way to write good content about these apartments. In the end neither of us were really happy about the site and I got shafted on the deal. While the design was fine the actual content on the site was garbage.
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  • Profile picture of the author weblogixs02
    To become a web designer, it is necessary to learn such things as html and xhtml; these are basic languages used to code webpages. Though there are other things that may help a person become a web designer, skills in these areas provide a firm foundation in web design
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  • Profile picture of the author pmill06
    Originally Posted by highrider21 View Post

    How do I become a web designer/developer?

    How much do I need to know to make good money as a web designer/developer? I want to make about $2,000 per month, that's how much I need to quit my job. I know basic xhtml, css, and the basics of programming and can make a very basic website. I also just learned that I can install open source shopping carts on hostgator and uploaded a premade template. I don't know anything about graphics, adobe photoshop, adobe dreamweaver or flash. And I'm working on learning php and javascript.

    How good do I have to be to make around $2,000 per month? Like on freelance sites like elance.com or to get hired off craigslist or something? How do I get started? How would I know how much to charge for my work? Any suggestions? Thanks.
    Becoming a web designer is a lot of fun and a lot of work. The work comes from he sheer volume of stuff you must learn but don't let that chase you off. I remember when I started I didn't have a clue so I read eveything. Borders became my favorite coffee spot.

    Take some time and grab you a basic HTML book then start looking at the source code of the websites you like. Using the source code and actual site start studying the HTML code. Learn why the various elements are on each page what they mean etc. This is how I started slowly learning various aspects one after the other until it made sense.
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  • Profile picture of the author Seovil
    Html, php, javascript -> those are key essentials.
    Next is mysql (as database for php)
    -----

    Just learn by creating websites, you can try to market some CPA offers at the same time so you maybe already cash a bit

    Once you think you know what you are doing you might want to consider looking at the freelancer portals, there are tenthousands of jobs .. All you have to do is to bid on them.

    2000$ a month is pretty doable but is that really all you need ?
    What's with health insurance and similar stuff your job often pays for you ?

    It depends a lot on your country of course.
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  • Profile picture of the author tuanng
    You are wanting to learn too many things for a starter.

    I say, choose 1 thing you want to do and be really good at it, stick to either coding or designing, dont do both at once at the start. if you like coding (seems like you are leaning more towards that) - then learn css/xhtml inside out and do psd to css coding for people, going rates are around $100 per job, 1 job a day and you meet your $2K a month goal.

    if you know know basic css/html - that is enough if you want to get started in designs, and do minisites for internet marketers. minisites are fairly easy to design and code, if you're really good, you can charge around $300 - $500 per minisite design + extras.

    I think you should narrow down your list and then start from there.
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  • Profile picture of the author highrider21
    Thanks everyone. I think I want to focus more on being a developer and learn web programming. Is programming really hard to learn? I got an A in my introduction to programming with C++ class, but those programs were pretty simple, we didn't get any farther than the basics of classes. I can't imagine coding something like a shopping cart from scratch in php.

    How good do I need to be to start doing some basic xhtml and CSS work?
    And how can I get some practice?
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    • Profile picture of the author Technista
      Originally Posted by highrider21 View Post


      How good do I need to be to start doing some basic xhtml and CSS work?
      If you want to be competitive, you will want to know more than the basics. Take advantage of the online resources and tutorials that were suggestied in this thread. After that, look for more to learn! Once you have built strong foundational skills, you will probably find yourself gravitating to a specialty.

      Originally Posted by highrider21 View Post

      And how can I get some practice?
      When I first got started, I got practice by developing "sample" sites in the industries that I wanted to find clients in. By doing that, I was able to establish a nice portfolio to show my prospects. This is very important. Potential clients will always want to see examples of your work, and it is even more persuasive if your portfolio includes at least one site that they can connect with. I accomplished this by setting up an inexpensive hosting account that offered free unlimited add-on domains. Then I began building one site at a time, experimenting with different types of features that I thought my future clients might like. Things really took off for me after that.

      I wish you all the best in your endeavors. Hope you keep us posted on your progress.

      T
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  • Profile picture of the author weblogixs02
    As a web developer, also known as a web designer or webmaster, you are on the leading edge of a communications revolution. You can create web sites that are seen by literally millions of people. The sites you develop may:
    • communicate information
    • educate people
    • influence public opinion
    • collect important data
    • entertain people
    • sell products or services
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    • Profile picture of the author HomeBizNizz
      Originally Posted by weblogixs02 View Post

      As a web developer, also known as a web designer or webmaster
      Those 3 things is not the same... :p
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  • Profile picture of the author Inside Wholesale
    If you can do these thing maybe put an add on here?
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  • Profile picture of the author managepro
    Hey, Great, without the intention to learn you would never, you have the intention to learn and make $2000, you will definitely get there.

    I would recommend you to work opensource platforms in php, such as wordpress and joomla, there is a lot of demand for these areas and is only growing.

    Most shopping carts such as OScommerce, zencart, etc are also written in php, there are several people who develop in php, but there are few who can implement the software in client locations. If you have a nack for this then you could make money very easily and infact you could find several offline vendors who want to setup a website or a shopping catalog, help them with a low-cost solutions using good quality open-source software of which there is plenty now
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  • Profile picture of the author highrider21
    Thanks again for the replies everyone. I have one last question. Do you think I should take some classes at my local community college to learn PHP/MySQL, Javascript, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, etc. Or should I save the money and just learn on my own?
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    • Profile picture of the author rickey6rutledge
      Originally Posted by highrider21 View Post

      Thanks again for the replies everyone. I have one last question. Do you think I should take some classes at my local community college to learn PHP/MySQL, Javascript, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, etc. Or should I save the money and just learn on my own?
      This depends on mode of learning you like best. If you prefer taking classes at your local community college then go for it, or learn on your own.
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  • Profile picture of the author sakto
    Taking some classes is a good investment. Though you can learn on your own but the interaction that group/class can provide is much better. You'll learn much faster too.
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  • Profile picture of the author Hemal Patel
    Everyone has the right idea.

    Once you start mastering your skills, don't just think work will come your way!

    I have gone out to business meetings and other events over the year and have made a name for myself in my city. Networking is a key step you must learn to make big bucks in anything you do.
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  • Profile picture of the author Toolkit
    Several people have suggested paths to learn the required skills, but you also asked:

    "How good do I have to be to make around $2,000 per month? Like on freelance sites like elance.com or to get hired off craigslist or something? How do I get started? How would I know how much to charge for my work? Any suggestions? Thanks. "

    If you live in the US, I can say for sure you could go out and just talk with your local small business owners and have $2,000 in website design and marketing agreements within a week.

    There are plenty of owners who still haven't gotten around to getting a website done, or are still using a VERY bad one with no ranking. Even as you are learning, you can practice design basics with easy WYSIWYG programs. Some owners will be pleased to only have to pay a few hundred dollars for a better website, and you can always partner with a more experienced designer for additional help.

    Trust me on this, I was able to do it myself, and even found attorneys who had nothing more than their name and address on a website. Your first websites may be rather basic, but you can, and should always be improving.

    Do a local search, find a few very bad websites, and work on making a better one. Even if you don't sell it to the business owner, it will be good real world practice. Not too many plumbers have had someone meet them for coffee with a laptop and show them a page or two already built for their business. Some will agree to work with you on the spot.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alisyasmathon
    You should do web designer course then you will make a good web designer......

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  • Profile picture of the author kennethg
    I've always looked at web designing as two parts - the visual part and the programming part.

    While I am good at the programming part, I am poor in the design part.

    How good are you with the visual aspect of web designing? Designing visually attractive sites can set you apart from the crowd.

    As for programming, PHP + MySQL is a must since most advance websites are user driven these days.

    Enjoy the journey. It's the journey to becoming a proficient web designer that sharpens you.
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    Kindest regards,
    Kenneth Gomez
    http://www.kgomez.com/malaysia
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    • Profile picture of the author webeverondelhi
      First learn Photo shop and HTML

      after use your creativity .....to become a Webdesigner
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  • Profile picture of the author ziya
    Just simple go and search in Google to learn about development, else we will train you, but need to spend some money

    outsource-website-design.com
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  • Profile picture of the author Agz21
    Maybe you can tell us your definition of basic website. If you can build a quality minisite, or a wp theme, there's plenty of jobs out there for you
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  • Profile picture of the author Rinis Mirashi
    Hey html is very easy, use Dreamweaver and you'll be fine. But the main aspect about becoming a web designer is learning Photoshop and flash. Once you know those two then your ready. Or try learning from the best Design Guru Ryan Check out his work then you can get an idea, I had the privilege to work with him check it out madcashmachine.com, the internet is changing daily from web 1.0 to 2.0 to 3.0. To be great you have got to stay tunned to the latest designers. also check out Internet Marketing Blog | Graphic Design | Mario Xiao he is also good..
    I hope that helped you.
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  • Profile picture of the author domainsam
    Learn tutorials online and just practice.. I am under 18 and can design better than many designers I see.
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    • Profile picture of the author sparky
      Hi, I think you're trying to do far too much at the beginning - which is a trap I fell into.

      The simple answer at this stage is Specialize!

      Help people in certain areas or niches, and with specific needs or problems. Become an expert in one field. Leave the fancy design to others, although most of the code you need can be 'borrowed' off other sites or is readily available.

      You say you do shopping carts, well these are a nightmare for most people. If you need graphics then team up with someone who doesn't do much web design and work together on projects.

      Most web businesses don't need the real high end stuff so don't overcomplicate it. Be the 'Can Do' guy in one or two tight but profitable areas.

      Sparky
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      • Profile picture of the author DarrenHill
        By the sounds of things you're already a Web Designer ;-)

        At the beginning it's better to start designing for small businesses. You will be surprised how many there are that need websites. As your skill set grows so will your income.

        Also it's best to specialise in some area as this is a sure fire way to stand out from the crowd or enable you to offer services at a better price. I would always encourage designers to stay on top of the latest trends and keep training in the latest technologies. There are lots of stuff out there that you can use to teach yourself. Don't forget good designers always view the source :-)

        Also don't be afraid to pitch for jobs that you may think you're not able to do ... you can always outsource or work with another designer / programmer to get the job done. Collaboration is a good thing which is normally a by product of networking which again is a good thing.

        All the best

        Darren
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  • Profile picture of the author knightofdawn
    Build your portfolio by coding and creating unique themes or try to edit a few available pre-scripts. Then show your scripts through posting to a programming forum to have a review. Accept all fact and move for improvement.
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    • Profile picture of the author Megas
      If you're very serious, go to school in Web Design.
      It will help you get taken more seriously and seen as a professional, this isn't set in stone but it does help.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aare
    web designer isn't? not a web developer?

    for to be a designer only, you'll need to mastering photoshop. if u can, integrate ur photoshop skill with macromedia flash. you'll be a famous web design ever!
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    God bless us all!
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  • Profile picture of the author careerskk
    Becoming a web desinger requires passion to learn. To start with you should learn HTML which covers up basics to create a simple website. Following that you can start learning any server side technology like J2EE or DotNet.
    You can also give a try at PHP which has lot of content management systems making the life easier.
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