According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of web design & development jobs will grow by 8% per year until 2029, outpacing the average for all other occupations.
With the massive growth of eCommerce and other web-driven industries, it is not a surprise that the demand for web design & development jobs is only increasing.
Chances are, you’ve wondered whether it’s a clever idea to take advantage of this trend and pursue a career in web design.
Spoiler alert: it could be, and in this blog, we will explain why.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about what a web designer does, how much money you can expect to make and what your career possibilities are.
What Does A Web Designer Do?
A web designer is a multi-talented professional who is responsible for creating the look, feel and layout of a website.
We say “multi-talented” because web designers typically need to have at least some knowledge of several tech, creative and marketing fields to successfully create a visually appealing and effective website for their clients.
These fields include:
- Graphic design
- Consumer behavior
- User Experience (UX)/User Interface (UI) design
- Audio/Video design & editing
What’s The Difference Between A Web Designer And A Web Developer?
Even though the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics puts web design and web development jobs in the same category, these two fields are not the same.
It’s normal for web designers and web developers to work side by side. It’s also not uncommon for some specialists to harness both professions at the same time — even though it might be a bit too overwhelming if you’re just embarking on your career path.
Regardless, these are two different job titles — and here’s exactly what makes them different:
- Web designers are, first and foremost, creatives — just like the job title suggests. Their main responsibility is to come up with a visual and structural design of a website that would correspond to their client’s goals and branding. This process typically includes selecting the appropriate color palette and imagery, as well as crafting an experience for the visitors that will guide them down the website’s conversion funnel.
- Web developers are largely technical specialists responsible for turning web designers’ work into functional websites with lines of code. They are not as interested in the aesthetics or appearance and are mostly preoccupied with making sure that the website is fast, stable and works smoothly.
How Much Money Does A Web Designer Make?
The salary you can expect as a web designer varies on a number of factors, such as your:
- Background and education
- Company and industry
That’s why if you were to look up the average web designer salary, you’d probably discover a wide range of numbers.
For instance, Payscale indicates a range of $37,000 to $75,000 and a median salary of $52,000 for a web designer in the United States.
However, these numbers are somewhat conservative: the HR-reported data on Salary.com suggests that the median salary of an entry-level web designer job is around $66,744 per year.
Naturally, this number grows alongside your experience and qualification — a seasoned senior-level web design expert can command an annual salary of as much as $128,345, according to the same report.
As we’ve mentioned, however, these medians and averages are really nothing more than that — so be sure to check the data for your location to get more precise numbers.
After all, a senior employee of a major Miami web design company is most likely to get a very different salary compared to a beginner web designer somewhere where the standard of living is lower.
Estimating the average pay scale of freelance web designers is just as tricky as there is no official or established rate range.
As is usually the case with freelancing, factors such as your location and track record will have an even bigger influence on your pay rate.
According to Upwork, the average hourly rate of mid-level US-based web designers ranges between $50 and $75. Experienced specialists with a heavyweight portfolio can charge anything north of $100 per hour for their services, while beginners’ rate typically floats somewhere below $50 per hour.
What Are The Key Benefits Of A Career In Web Design?
Between the lucrative pay and the opportunity to express your creativity, web design might just seem like the perfect career opportunity for you.
And if you think that you meet all the requirements, it really could be! Fortunately, the benefits of a career in web design don’t just end with competitive salaries. Here are a few more.
#1: Job Security
As we’ve already discovered, the demand for web design jobs isn’t going down anytime soon.
Moreover, almost any website is a perpetual work in progress and must be updated continuously to catch up with the latest design trends.
As such, a career in web design should be on top of your list if you’re looking for an occupation with a stable, long-lasting job security. In other words, a web designer is very unlikely to end up out of work.
Even if you get dissatisfied with working for the same clients or on the same project, you can always take advantage of the many freelancing opportunities available to web designers.
#2 High Career Mobility
A career in web design requires you to be somewhat of a jack of all trades and have knowledge of various web and marketing disciplines.
With all that knowledge, you will have plentiful opportunities for further career mobility. And the obvious upward path all the way to a senior web designer or art director isn’t even your only option.
A background in web design gives you the option to focus on honing your coding skills and gradually transition into a software engineer, web developer or UX/UI architect.
Moreover, the client-facing nature of a web designer position also means that you’ll have the opportunity to grow into an account manager or any other position that has to do with client management.
#3: High Flexibility & Independence
Perhaps the biggest advantage of any web design job is the flexibility and independence that it grants you.
We don’t just mean the opportunity to work remotely or as a freelancer — even though these are perfectly reasonable options for any web designer.
What we mean is that web design, more than many other fields of work, can teach you how to own your work.
The reason why, is the fact that most web design jobs are project-oriented
Depending on your expertise and the specifics of a given project, you can have almost complete authority and independence to pursue whatever creative vision you think would work best for that project.
That’s not to say that web design work is fully devoid of teamwork, collaboration and process. But if you’re the type of person who does their best work on their own terms, becoming a web designer might just help you achieve that.
Wrapping Up On The Benefits Of A Web Design Career
Web design jobs have exploded together with the growth of web-driven industries, be it eCommerce or Software-as-a-Service (Saas).
As a result, there are many job opportunities for creatives who wish to express themselves digitally and channel their creativity into crafting beautiful websites.
Moreover, web design jobs offer very competitive salaries — especially at higher levels where you can expect to earn well over $100,000 per year.
However, the compelling pay is not the greatest benefit of a career in web design. That honor should either go to the high job security and career mobility or to flexibility and independence you can achieve in web design.
In other words, if you feel like you would make a great web designer and have the necessary qualifications, you should definitely consider it as a career path!