Any Advice? - Career Change: Graphic Designer to Web Developer.

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Comments (8)

Phoenix_55515 in Charlotte, North Carolina

60 months ago

I have been in the graphic design field for the past eight years and have been working as a freelance web designer for three.
I work on freelance projects at least 4 days out of the week.

I recently completed a twelve month primarily design oriented contract
with a mid size automotive resource company in NC. But I am looking to
transition completely into web development. With the goal
being to secure a position as a full time web developer (entry level or otherwise) as quickly as possible.

I have experience with the .Net platform, VB, xhtml, css, php, among
others, and I am working on C# now. I am wondering what employers are
looking for right now? I was originally thinking about just building a strong portfolio of work (50-60 sites)and adding in the appropriate certifications.
I currently have about 20+ sites that I have and/or are continuing to work on.

Would I be better served by A) Getting Microsoft Certified (MCPD and MCTS) or B) signing up for a one year computer programming certificate program through ECPI or similar.

I'm 31 so I am looking for a direction that is both time effective and puts me in the best position to get into the field full time as a professional.

Anybody have any advice?

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Phillip in Huntsville, Alabama

59 months ago

With the experience that you have, and the portfolio that you have, you shouldn't have a problem finding work. That is, I'm assuming that the work in your portfolio is actually good. (lol)

Knowing C# would be a bigger benefit to you, but there are a lot of companies still utilizing VB.NET as well.

Anything .NET related is always in big demand - try to add Flash and Silverlight to your skill set as well. If you are looking into certification, don't waste your time with a certificate from any school. Employers couldn't care less about a certificate from a college or university. However, Microsoft Certifications are a completely different story and are worth every penny and hour that you invest in them.

But like I said, you seem to have all the skills and portfolio that an employer would look for now. Just make sure that the work you show them is actually good. Also, don't be surprised if you are given a test of your programming abilities at the interview. They may put a piece of paper in front of you and say, "Write a function that takes a string argument and returns the string in reverse".

So be sure you understand VB.NET and/or C# very well. That's what separates the job seekers from the employed.

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CT in Los Angeles, California

54 months ago

How do you know if Web designing won't eventually be all done in India in 5-15 years?? Since the client can view the web site any country.

I read any job that requires a computer or phone as part of the job duty can easily be sent to India.

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JO in Gaithersburg, Maryland

54 months ago

CT in Los Angeles, California said: How do you know if Web designing won't eventually be all done in India in 5-15 years?? Since the client can view the web site any country.

I read any job that requires a computer or phone as part of the job duty can easily be sent to India.

Well based on my own experiences of being in web design that most likely wont happen because most overseas work is highly focused on language programming, and software development. They could care less for the visuals, and thats where a web designer seperates themselves from the competition. Its all about the artwork and making the site visually appealing. Not saying that there are no artistic Indians, but not many.

Another thing is that most clients want to meet with the designer they are ready to employ, and although they may do this even today via online meetings like "GoToMeeting" it isn't the same.

If you're considering web design GO FOR IT, I would stay away from software development unless you eat, sleep, live the stuff. Competition is fierce!

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CT in Los Angeles, California

54 months ago

Thanks. Some wrote on the forum that trying to learn web design from a community college may not be be a good idea.

The reason being is that employers prefer somenone who received Microsoft web building and design training instead.

I contacted Mircrosoft on where I would go to get training through them but have got no reply.

I also read that the market for web building and design jobs are not easy to get because the market is saturated with to many people doing this.

Are there some truths to these statements?

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Anon in San Diego, California

53 months ago

JO in Gaithersburg, Maryland said: Well based on my own experiences of being in web design that most likely wont happen because most overseas work is highly focused on language programming, and software development. They could care less for the visuals, and thats where a web designer seperates themselves from the competition. Its all about the artwork and making the site visually appealing. Not saying that there are no artistic Indians, but not many.

Another thing is that most clients want to meet with the designer they are ready to employ, and although they may do this even today via online meetings like "GoToMeeting" it isn't the same.

If you're considering web design GO FOR IT, I would stay away from software development unless you eat, sleep, live the stuff. Competition is fierce!

This is completely untrue coming from Australia where there is a high number of Indian exchange students, many of whom were part of the graphic design stream in my college and shared a few classes with us in the web development stream. In other words, there are plenty of people trying to get into graphic and web design, Indian or otherwise. Right now I suspect there aren't a whole lot of people who think that Indians are good for anything but tech support, but that is largely due to racism and ignorance. In the near future you will see them in every area of IT. There are already many labor sites out there now where web developers, mostly foreign, bid on web project contracts, and they are very fast and very cheap. You do see a lot more people in programming, but that's because programmers have a lot more earning potential and people aren't stupid. Unfortunately, these types of IT jobs are easily outsourced.

I will agree that most employers do want to see the person they're hiring face to face, but it wouldn't surprise me to see H1B web developers in the future.

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Leta in San Diego, California

53 months ago

[cont. from above]

Re: job market

Web design/development is super competitive right now because of 1) outsourcing; 2) technical colleges; and 3) no accreditation needed. Technical colleges are pumping out hundreds of students who've heard that IT is hiring like crazy. But, you don't actually need any kind of degree or accreditation to do this. Plenty of people are self-taught and freelance. The average-joe looking to buy a website isn't going to know enough about what's good and what's bad, and will hire you mostly based on the aesthetics of your work. Does it look good and seem to function? That's all that matters to them. Now, if you want to get hired at a design firm where the money is, they'll actually care about your code and will focus more on functionality and design principles that go beyond aesthetics. Basically, you've got to know your stuff. There are so many new technologies; languages and standards are evolving all the time and you need to be familiar with them.

My advice to people starting out in this, not necessarily the OP, is make sure you really want to do this. It's something you have to be passionate about it to be successful in and you will need to enjoy studying IT. It's not an easy field to make headway in.

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ChrisWardplatt in San Diego

7 months ago

You already have enough experience in programming and designing, and there are still thousands of employee who prefer to work as a web designer, if you learned enough in your web/graphic designing course, I must say you should not change your career to web programming, here in San Diego people are still looking for local students those can work for their web design projects and they are getting good amount. Choice is yours!!

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