Getting Work As A Web Designer
The fight for employment is becoming increasing hostile considering our volatile economy. The web industry has not escaped this hit so prospective designers (like me) need to stay on the inner-curve to stand any chance at all of keeping pace in the rat race. But, that is easy to say and hard to do. This is a topic that means an awful lot to me so I wanted to lay down some different perspectives and things that could be sticking points on the matter. The idea of this article is to further the conversation and, while doing this, try to gain different slants on the issues. So, please feel free to post your thoughts and ideas in the comment area below the article.
The first big issue, especially for freelancers, is job titles. Some refer to themselves as designers/developers, some as simply graphic designers and even some as inflated as “information architecture.” The problem is that many customers will expect the developers to be able to take care of all their web needs. That instantly creates a problem because, to avoid turning work down, the person then quickly has to learn more skills or turn down the work. Without realizing it, by doing this, the client is slowing the development of the site which will make it more expensive. Even worse, making the designer learn more skills that they’re not expert in, the final product will suffer. So, we need to find a way to better define job titles which are more universally understood.
Next comes the problem of qualifications and experience. From what I know about the industry, getting work is less about formal certifications and more about a strong and long-standing portfolio of work completed in the past. This introduces the problem of where you get that experience from when starting out. One way that I personally tried to overcome this was by offering to design jobs for free. Doing that for a while really did open my eyes in regards to just how demanding people can be even when they’re getting something for free that would run them hundreds on the open market. This quickly made it crystal clear that, even though it helped me to build a portfolio. I could not possibly devote every evening to it and see no financial return. So, the problem still stands, how the hell do you gain trust if nobody is willing to trust you in the first place?
Add to all of this the issue of not knowing what kind of qualifications and references that commercial design firms will expect and you’ve got yourself a big fat pile of unknowns. On that note, I saw an article that gave poll results from readers of a large design blog relating to the relationship between having an academic degree and their current web design job. I’ll let you go over to the page if you’re interested but, in summary, the results are a very mixed bag. Although I personally believe that a range of skills are important in case you want a career shift in the future, one thing the article does reinforce is that this is not always entirely necessary.
My first client was Adrian Miles of Supreme Cleaning of www.carpetcleaningstreatham.com, we original designed their website in Joomla a great platform, but soon after we launched the website, they found it a little difficult to change the content, as an initial revaluation, we decided to convert it over to WordPress, this involved a few hours of coding, but now anyone in the company can change the content with ease, This was a great opportunity of show my skills, within a week of doing so Adrian referred 4 new clients to me one resulted in a new WordPress website www.leafletdistributioninlondon.com. We delivered the site full functioning in 10 days from the start, 4 days ahead of our estimated finish time, so looking after customers can really increase your client base.
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