CAREER

REQUIREMENTS

Many job descriptions for Web designers require a bachelor's degree in graphic design, visual arts, fine arts, or similar fields. Increasingly, however, universities are offering-and employers are demanding-specialized degrees in such fields as user interface design and information design.

At a minimum, Web designers need to be familiar with HTML and JavaScript, and understand the way Web graphics such as JPEGs and GIFs work. You should also be proficient with industry-standard graphic-design software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and Web layout tools such as Microsoft FrontPage and Adobe's (formerly Macromedia's) Dreamweaver.

Whether you work as part of a Web development team for a consulting firm, within a company, or as an independent contractor, you'll need good people skills, imagination, and mastery of the design tools. You will interact with clients or other departments; take other forms of information, such as brochures, slide presentations, print advertisements, or other documents, and turn them into multimedia experiences; and incorporate user data to help define and shape a website that people enjoy visiting, and which helps the sponsoring company achieve its goals.

CAREER TRACKS

Many Web designers come to the position with some formal training in the arts or design, and a degree in graphic design or visual arts is often desired. Still, the underlying artistic nature of the job means that if you have a portfolio of work and can demonstrate proficiency with the necessary design software, then you will be viewed as a qualified candidate, even without a diploma in design.

The titles that people use to describe positions in Web design are not standard by any means, and sometimes the words "Web designer" and "Web developer" are used interchangeably. The ensuing job titles and brief descriptions outline the major careers available in Web design, from entry level to senior management.

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