4 Powerful Reasons to Go into Web Design or Web Development
With every year that passes, the Internet becomes more ingrained in our lives. Many of the things that could once only be done offline are now being done online with greater and greater frequency. As a result, new websites—and upgrades to existing ones—are being produced at an astonishing pace. Plus, Canadians are among the most engaged Web users in the world. Check it out:
- In 2013, the average Canadian viewed over 3,730 web pages per month—about 62 percent more than the global average. And, on average, people in this country spent over 41 hours online each month, second only to the U.S.*
- Almost 87 percent of households in Canada had an Internet connection in 2013. And high-speed broadband services were available to 100 percent of the nation's urban residents.*
- In 2012, half of all Canadians who went online purchased a product or service over the Internet. Collectively, their e-commerce spending amounted to more than $22 billion, a 10 percent increase over the previous year.*
Obviously, these are compelling stats. But they're only part of the story. As a potential web designer or developer, you might feel especially encouraged by the following facts:
1. The Opportunities Keep Expanding
In Canada, the market for web design and development services still has a lot of room to grow. For starters, consider that only about 45.5 percent of the nation's businesses have their own websites.* That means the country is filled with possible clients or employers who will likely want to establish or boost their online presences in the coming years in order to stay competitive.
In addition, the rise of the mobile Web is producing a big need for designers and developers who understand how to create sites that are optimized for smartphones and tablets. In 2013, 60 percent of Canadians used a mobile device to access the Internet. They were part of over 22 million mobile users in this country alone.*
But most of the opportunities will probably be created as a result of the worldwide expansion of Internet users, which already total about 2.5 billion people. In the not-too-distant future, an additional two billion users could gain online access and influence the development of millions of new web pages.*
2. You Can Be Creatively Minded, Technically Inclined, or Both
Creating great online experiences for Web visitors requires people with all kinds of talents. So it's possible to achieve success whether you're a web designer who focuses on the visual and front-end side of things or a web developer who specializes in writing the back-end code that makes everything work. It's even possible to develop a mix of design and programming skills that give you a distinctive edge.
3. There Are Always New Things You Can Learn
And similar possibilities also exist for web designers. Markup languages like HTML and CSS will continue to evolve, along with digital art tools like Adobe Photoshop. Plus, the more a designer knows about widely used programming languages, the more effective and valuable he or she can become.
4. The Pay Can Be Outstanding
Many organizations have difficulty finding qualified web designers and developers for their projects or open positions. The demand is simply very high, and the market of skilled web professionals isn't always large enough to meet it. That's why a lot of people in this field make great money. In Canada, the median salary for full-time web designers and developers is about $52,000, but many earn as much as $86,000 or more.**
* Canadian Internet Registration Authority, website last visited on February 12, 2015.
** Job Bank, Government of Canada, website last visited on February 12, 2015.
Inside the Industry:
Advice and Insights from a Web Designer
As a web designer, Ryan M. wears many hats, from graphic and user-experience designer to information architect. After spending six years earning his Bachelor of Science degree with a double major (chemistry and computer science), the Kelowna, B.C. resident has worked for many years as a full-time web professional.
"I love that, as a web designer, you utilize both sides of your brain because you have to be both creative and analytical," Ryan says. "Design jobs are always changing and growing, and web design is no different. I like that there is always something new to learn both graphically and technically."
Both sides of Ryan's brain definitely get a daily workout. A typical morning for him usually consists of handling email and responding to the questions and concerns of clients. He also uses this time to work on any troubleshooting issues related to existing sites. This can include finding bugs in the code and pinpointing their solutions.
"I usually work on several different web design projects a day," he says. "I like it this way because then you're not staring at the same thing all day long."
Toward the end of the workday, Ryan is careful to make note of what he learned and accomplished that day. "This is my moment to reflect and absorb what you normally cannot during the fast-paced life that is web design," he says.
Ryan credits his ability to handle all aspects of web design to his education, saying the most useful skills he learned include organization, prioritization, and project management, as well as how to troubleshoot in order to solve problems quickly and effectively.
These skills allow him to efficiently handle his various duties, which can span from web design and development to customer service. He also meets with clients to discover exactly what they are looking for in a website and recommends solutions that are cost-efficient and help to ensure they get exactly what they want out of their sites.
For those interested in joining the web design field, Ryan advises exploring the technical side of the job first. "Focus on learning your HTML and CSS skills first and growing from there, because without these you're bound to run into problems in the future," he said.
If you are interested in pursuing a career as a web designer, get a great start by finding a school near you and asking for more information. Take advantage of the listings above, or use the simple postal-code based search tool!