Web Designer: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Web designers require significant formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and employment outlook to see if this is the right career for you.

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Essential Information

A web designer develops and creates websites and associated applications. Web designers work in a variety of industries and often as independent contractors. Education requirements can vary, but web designers can get entry-level work with an associate's degree; bachelor's degrees provide students with an expanded and advanced skill set that can lead to better job prospects or career advancement.

Required Education Associate's or bachelor's degree
Additional Requirements Strong understanding of programming languages and graphics software
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 20% for web developers
7% for graphic designers
Median Annual Salary (2013)* $63,160 for web developers
$44,830 for graphic designers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Web Designer Job Description

A web designer creates the look, layout and features of a website. The job involves understanding both graphic design and computer programming. Once a website is created, a designer helps with maintenance and additions to the website. They work with development teams or managers for keeping the site up-to-date and prioritizing needs, among other tasks.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in 2013 that the median hourly wage for web developers, who perform the same duties as web designers, was $30.37, or $63,160 annually (www.bls.gov). The 2012-2022 projected job growth for web developers was 20%, per the BLS. According to the agency, the median income for graphic designers in 2013 was $44,830 ($21.55 hourly). The BLS projected job growth of 7% between 2012 and 2022 for this occupation.

Web Designer Duties

A web designer's job duties cover all aspects of creating a website. Upon meeting with clients and assessing their needs, web designers help create and maintain the product. Their duties include, but aren't limited to, the following:

  • Writing and editing content
  • Designing webpage layout
  • Determining technical requirements
  • Updating websites
  • Creating back up files
  • Solving code problems

Web Designer Requirements

According to O*Net Online in 2010, 43% of web developers held a bachelor's degree, 27% had some college but no degree and 20% had an associate's degree (www.onetonline.org). Web designers need education in computer technology and website design to be competitive in the job market.

An associate's degree program related to web design, such as an Associate of Applied Science in Web Graphic Design, provides a student with a foundation in the design and technical aspects of creating a website. Students learn web design skills and build professional portfolios that highlight their skills and abilities. Common topics include:

  • Fundamentals of design imaging
  • Basic web design
  • Animation
  • Multimedia design
  • Content management
  • Editing for video and audio
  • Multimedia programming and technology

A bachelor's degree program in multimedia or web design allows students to learn advanced skills needed for professional web design. Students develop artistic and creative abilities in addition to technical skills. Degree programs, such as a Bachelor of Science in Web Design and Interactive Media, cover:

  • Databases
  • Webpage scripting
  • Programming
  • Digital imaging
  • Multimedia design
  • Web development
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