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Web design offers ample opportunities for those with artistic ability, computer skills

Looking for a career on the cutting edge of information technology development and creativity? Think about web design.

Web designers work to create sites based on the needs and goals of both the visitors’ persona and the organizations behind the site, bringing designs from concept to reality. A web designer combines type, graphics, animation, video, sound, and programming to create a complete multimedia experience for the web visitor. Possible job titles may include web graphic designer, digital designer, web administrator/webmaster, multimedia designer, web developer and web writer.

Demand is high for workers who are skilled in the design, development, and maintenance of Internet web sites. Over the next five to 10 years, the number of jobs is expected to increase 20 to 25 percent. Earnings vary greatly depending on location and employer, from around $20,000 to $60,000 annually. Jackson College offers both certificate and associate degree programs in web design.

“Our program is pretty comprehensive, including all facets of web design, such as web site management, graphic design, web multimedia, and database programming to collect visitor information,” said David Fitzgerald, professor of computer information services.

Students may learn a range of skills from simple page creation to full web site administration and database management. The web design program prepares students for both entry-level positions in design organizations and as freelance web/graphic designers. The major focus of the program is on skills development in basic design techniques and Internet technology applications.

With the rapid growth and change in the field, students must be willing to learn new software continually, and enjoy working on computers, which is where they will spend most of their time. They need to be creative and artistic and be able to not only recognize but create good design. Working well with people and being an organized problem solver are also necessary traits. Increasingly, web designers need to create pages that are accessible to anyone, no matter what electronic device they are using. Web designers pay close attention to details including making the web site accessible to those with any kind of disability or special needs.

“Design software programs are changing all the time. If a student is good with change, and they can stay current with the updates in the computer field, this will be a good fit for a career path,” Fitzgerald said. “The web site creation process is a pretty open field if you’re creative. There are no written rules that a web site has to be this way or that way, you can create your own ideas and run with it. No two web sites are exactly alike.”

The College provides a solid base in the Adobe products line, including Flash®, InDesign®, Photoshop® and Dreamweaver®. Personal creativity and some artistic talent or flair is also important within the web design field. Students will need to recognize designs that look good, utilizing colors, selecting artwork, media files, or photos as appropriate. Combine that creativity with technical know-how of HTML code and other computer programs, and you have a good start to a fun and enjoyable career in web design.

Read more 2014 Highlights