Designing effective websites takes a skill set that not everyone has. Success tends to require training, dedication, and a substantial devotion to your craft.
Web hosting companies make it easy for people to design their own sites, but that doesn’t mean anyone can market his or her services as a web designer, and that includes you.
You need to have the training and proper skill set before you can honestly ask people to pay for your web design services.
But the debate about furthering your college education doesn’t end there. Some argue that without a bachelor’s degree or better, no one can hope to be successful at web design. Many designers have stated that they couldn’t have been successful if they hadn’t obtained a degree.
But others argue that education is a waste of time and money because you can learn everything you need with YouTube videos and practice. It’s true that a few professionals have made it big in the industry without going through a four-year degree program.
When it comes to starting your own web-design business, you’ll have to decide what will work best for you. You’ll have to be the one to build the pro/con list about further education and its potential to serve your business.
Below are some of the primary factors that might help you to make that determination.
If you graduate from a four-year university, you’re fairly certain to finish with the necessary training to build solid websites. You can probably charge more for your services if you have a bachelor’s degree.
However, this option is definitely the most expensive and time-consuming. Though it has worked well for many designers, you might not have the resources to invest in a formal education of this magnitude.
First of all, there is simply getting in. This involves taking the SAT or ACT, the standardized tests that measure one’s preparedness for university studies. They test the critical thinking skills and general knowledge that are necessary at this level.
Once you’ve taken the test, chosen a school, applied, and been accepted, you’ll need to come up with the funding and make whatever arrangements are needed to attend full time. Another option is an online university, which removes the need to relocate.
You may have to quit your full-time job or shift to part-time in order to keep up with the time requirements of schoolwork.
There are hundreds of certificates you can obtain without having to go to the trouble of an institutional education. The Adobe Suite, Zend, Microsoft, WordPress, Joomla, and scores of other design programs offer simple classes and certification programs you can take to become an experienced and authoritative web designer.
Most of these courses cost money, but they look great on a resume, and they give you sufficient experience to start your own web design business. In fact, many web designers with degrees from a university will still take such certification courses after graduating because it gives them more credibility.
The downside of following this route is you have to be highly self driven. If you’re planning on starting your own business, you likely possess a high level of motivation, and that will be helpful in getting you through the courses without having someone there to proctor your studies.
If you’re not sure you’re up to the challenge of disciplining yourself to this regimen, you’re probably better off attending a formal college.
It’s possible to become a skilled web designer without any formal education. Through YouTube videos, blogs, and other online tutorials, you can learn a lot about basic design. With practice, you could attain the level of professional web designer, though you should at least pick up some certifications along the way for the sake of credibility.
A Business Degree
Another consideration is your ability to handle the business end. If you don’t have a natural mind for the ins and outs of running a profitable operation, you might be well advised to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business or an MBA and learn web design skills through other methods. Both are very useful to have, but it’s probably more difficult to master the business end through watching and casual experience.
The bottom line is, you’ll need education to build a web-design business, but the type and amount of training is up to you. Most designers find that a combination of formal and at-home learning is necessary to achieve a successful career.