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How New Web Designers Can Level Up

Eric Karkovack
Published: October 31, 2022

Starting your career as a web designer is an exciting experience. There is a whole world of possibilities available. Thanks to a massive number of learning opportunities, it may seem like the sky’s the limit.

Growth takes time, however. Short of releasing an instantly popular (and lucrative) product, you’ll have to put in a lot of work to level up. That means taking on smaller projects and lower pay until you become an established designer.

Part of the challenge is in choosing the right tools and technologies. Some offer a more future-friendly path than others. Pick the wrong one, and you may find yourself starting over from square one.

If you’re looking to build a career that is both successful and sustainable, we’re here to help! Here are some tips to help you hit the ground running.

Learn How Things Work Behind the Scenes

The no-code era of web design has arrived – to a point. DIY website builders and even WordPress have jumped on the bandwagon. The idea is to get websites launched faster and with less hassle.

Those are positive steps. But the downside is that you may miss out on the finer details of web design and development. If a feature doesn’t look or work the way you expect, it helps to have some idea of what’s happening beneath that WYSIWYG interface.

To get the most out of these tools, learn how to code. Dig into CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and other relevant languages. This will provide you with the foundation you need to build fully-custom websites.

You don’t have to learn it all at once. It’s perfectly reasonable to pick up knowledge as you go. As you gain experience, you’ll also have a better idea of how to troubleshoot and make these advanced tools work for you.

There is a great temptation to work within the limitation of no-code site builders. But by doing so, you’ll also limit yourself.

When you understand the fundamentals of web design, you'll be better equipped to build custom websites.

Find Projects That Challenge You

The variety of project types available to web designers runs the gamut. Everything from single-page calls to action to enterprise behemoths is out there.

As a beginner, it’s worth experiencing as many of them as possible. Whether you’re a project lead or a worker bee isn’t the most important factor. The value is in going through the build and design processes.

The most valuable projects are often the ones that provide the most significant challenges. They test your knowledge and inspire you to learn something new.

That could be something big like a programming language. But it can also lead to discovering little tweaks that improve your workflow. These are skills that you can take with you – helping you become a true expert in your craft.

Realistically speaking, we all have bills to pay. Sometimes that means taking on projects that aren’t very challenging. That’s fine in the short term. But if you want to move up, look for projects that will push you forward.

Challenging projects enable you to learn new skills.

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

The longer you’re a part of the web design industry, the more likely it is that you’ll experience some failures. And while it might not be much fun, it’s an important part of growing as a professional.

Some projects simply don’t work out. Or a tool you invested in could go belly-up. A prospective client may dangle a project in front of you – only to waste your time in the end.

On the bright side, each of these scenarios is a learning experience. Looking back on them can help prepare you for the future. And they may save you from making a similar mistake, or trusting the wrong person, the next time around.

We all want to celebrate our successes. But it may take some trial and error to get there. With that, don’t let the fear of failure stop you from pursuing the career you want.

This doesn’t give you a free license to be reckless. However, it can be liberating to understand that there will be ups and downs along the way.

Failure is a part of running a business. It can also be a learning opportunity.

No One Starts at the Top

We’ll go out on a limb and guess that you’re both smart and talented! That’s a great combination and one that can take you far in any career you choose.

But it’s also worth remembering that none of us start at the top. It’s especially the case in web design, where finding a consistent level of success can take years. That’s not meant to discourage you – just think of it as a friendly reminder.

The single biggest thing you can do to level up is demonstrate a willingness to learn. Familiarize yourself with code and the technical aspects of your work. Attach yourself to projects that will challenge you to expand your horizons.

Sure, there will be setbacks. But they’re also a great source of knowledge. Use them to your advantage as you move through your career.

Starting in web design is both exhilarating and difficult. But it’s quite possible to get to where you want to go.