Here is another way to phrase the captioned question-Is there a benefit to earning a college degree in web design? Perhaps the degree is an unnecessary expenditure. Are there opportunities for the individual with an entrepreneurial spirit to succeed in this field with a high school diploma? What does it take to accomplish this? On the other hand, is a degree the optimum path to secure a job and a steady income?
There are online forums opining that you do not need a degree to be a web designer. One of the suggested ways is to do freelance work. You contract your services to companies seeking someone in this field. Of course, this requires a lot of marketing via your business website to try to lure clients. This can be a difficult endeavor unless you have a source of available contacts to start your design work. Once you have done enough jobs, you might be able to rely on referrals for continued business.
Option 1: No Degree
Here are some of the means to market your web design business through social media:
- LinkedIn is a must-have for those searching for potential clients. It is a social network for professionals. Think of LinkedIn as the high-tech equivalent of going to a traditional networking event.
- Facebook is, perhaps, the most popular social network.
- Twitter will help you to keep your clients updated about the latest news regarding your company.
- Instagram will serve to entertain your clients and to keep them engaged.
There are marketplaces for the freelancer to apply for jobs. The popular ones are Upwork, Freelancer, iFreelance, 99Designs, and Guru. Generally, how this works is that the freelancer creates an account, creates a profile, and submits quotes to open jobs. The client posts the project to begin the bid process from prospective designers. The prospective client browses profiles, chats online with a freelancer, and compares proposals before selecting the appropriate freelancer.
Another source is TemplateMonster. The company has been in the web design market since 2002. Their collection of 25K+ templates has helped them attain success and the confidence of numerous clients. Their 24 x 7 customer assistance is supported by a group of experienced web designers and web developers.
To be included in the TempleMonster Web Studios Catalogue, you must pass their Certification test. The test center provides a knowledge base, from which to study, on the basic web design and development topics. However, if you feel confident enough you can start the test immediately.
Option 2: A Degree
You can start with an Associate’s degree in web design. You have the choice of attending school or taking the degree online for two years. The typical program is 60 credits and it covers animation, programming languages, graphics, digital design, and mobile applications. There are colleges who also provide career assistance to help you enter the web design work environment.
Earning the degree online or at a local community college will save on tuition, room and board, and travel expenses. Even some of the least expensive technical and community colleges have their two-year tuition+fees around $7,500, plus books. In lieu of the degree, you might be able to put this money to better use in your marketing efforts as a freelancer. However, the degree provides the benefit of graduating with general areas of knowledge in humanities or fine arts, natural sciences, social or behavioral sciences, and/ or mathematics. In addition to a well-rounded education, you will have the technical skills you learned from the study of computer concepts and terminology, web design, and development.
The next rung takes you to a Bachelor of Arts in Web Design. You study the factors of website design including multi-language programming, content management, and concept development, . You examine interactive design, 3D modeling, web applications, animation, photography, and drawing.
A bachelor’s degree comes with much higher tuition for four years. You still have the choice of online or residency programs. You may graduate with debt on student loans. However, you will have the education to work as a web or graphic designer, web artist, or creative director. Anyone of these may provide the security of a steady income, health benefits, 401K, and other corporate rewards.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report on the category of Web Designer. Salary.com compiles data on salaries for this vocation. They report the median income at $75,712 as of September 2018. The salary range for those with a bachelor’s degree is $64,733 to $86,548.