What Skills Does It Take to Get a Job in Web Design?

by on 18th May 2011 with 33 Comments

There is an ever-raging debate in the design community regarding whether or not web design and web development jobs should overlap (if so, how far?). For example, should a Photoshop layout guru also know how to write HTML and CSS? How about JavaScript and PHP? Where does it end?

Ultimately, this debate isn’t settled in design blog posts but in the real world where businesses are hiring freelancers and employees with very specific qualifications in mind. Today we’re going to explore what employers are looking for in a new hire and how you can prepare yourself to land the job.

General Job Assumptions

“Every last one of us has a uniquely eclectic skill set.”

Before we go any further, I should outline some of my general assumptions regarding various designer positions. Every last one of us has a uniquely eclectic skill set so don’t perceive this as me laying out hard and fast rules but instead just what I personally generally expect out of each position. Also note that these positions are almost never mutually exclusive, as we’ll see later.

Graphic Designer

Graphic designer is a term that becomes more vague with each passing year. Once upon a time it usually referred to someone who worked in print design. A graphic designer creates logos, flyers, posters, product packaging, print ads, and anything else that is generally done in page layout software.

Web Designer

Web designers may or many not refer to themselves as graphic designers. Younger web designers often have fairly limited experience working in print and tend to focus purely on website layouts and general UI endeavors. The work is typically done in Photoshop and/or Fireworks and is delivered as layered files.

Many web designers know HTML/CSS pretty well and can easily turn their own Photoshop designs into a live page. However, plenty of them stay purely in the realm of visual design and don’t venture into any coding whatsoever.

Web Developer

I expect a web developer to have a solid or even expert grasp of HTML and CSS-based layout practices. Generally, there is also a highly proficient level of knowledge and experience in one or more supporting technologies: JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, etc. Web developers are familiar with the technical aspects of web servers and the types of applications and sites that run on them.

A web developer may or may not have a firm grip on design. The necessity of converting Photoshop designs from others means they almost always know their way around the apps used for web design but aren’t necessarily the people to ask to define the look and feel of your site.

The Point

These positions are over-simplified here but it helps make my point: there are at least three overarching areas that are often blurred together and/or mistaken for each other while technically having different skill sets at heart.

In a perfect world, the overlap here would be minimal. You could pick which concentration you like the best and focus on learning that to the best of your abilities without anyone expecting you to venture into the others. Unfortunately, the real world has other ideas.

Job Posting: Graphic Designer

I was recently sent an email about a job posting in my area. The job title was simply “graphic designer”. Since it’s my job to keep an eye on the industry, I always look at postings like this to see what’s expected of the employee. The following are the actual requisite qualifications that were listed for this job.


  • 2-5 years of professional experience in design for web, print and interactive
  • Proficiency in Adobe Creative Suite – Photoshop, Fireworks, Illustrator, InDesign, etc.
  • Strong typographic skills
  • Solid understanding of HTML and CSS, including cross-browser compatibility
  • Knowledge of industry best practices in web design, information design and usability
  • Comfortable working within a PHP environment
  • Experience with MySQL databases
  • Strong working knowledge of WordPress customization and theming.
  • Experience with Flash
  • Copywriting experience (headlines, banner copy, landing pages, etc.)
  • Intermediate Javascript/JQuery
  • Digital photography and digital video editing.
  • SEO

Experience in design for:

  • Print publications
  • Packaging design
  • Email marketing
  • Marketing materials
  • Landing pages
  • Web ads and banners

A Design Superman?


With the separate concentrations that we laid out before in mind, let’s see where this job fits in. The job posting states that they’re looking for someone who knows HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, Flash and JavaScript. Clearly, these are high-level skills, so they’re looking for a web developer.

However, the position is also clearly for a designer. They want someone who has designed various web-related materials such as websites, email campaigns, banner ads, etc. but also has experience with printed materials and even package designs. This person needs strong typographic skills and a good sense of usability.

There are some other interesting skills thrown in here as well like copywriting, video editing and SEO. Now, is it just me or is this company trying to take an entire department and shove it into one person? Should it be the case that the guy building and editing promotional videos is expected to know how to create custom WordPress themes? Doesn’t that sound a bit like only hiring auto mechanics with experience in laying tile floors?

“Doesn’t that sound a bit like only hiring auto mechanics with experience in laying tile floors?”

I think there’s an inherent problem in non-technical people hiring for technical positions. They don’t really understand what a job entails so they simply throw in every single skill and buzzword they’ve ever heard and hire the person with whom they can check off the most items. If they really want one man or woman to do all of these tasks, the job is likely to be an absolute mess of unrealistic expectations and will no doubt change hands several times in the years to come.

How Should We Respond?


Now, we can jump up and down and stomp our feet all day long about unrealistic expectations for workers in our industry, but at the end of the day the job postings still look like the one above. Employers still want the holy grail of employees that can do anything from building a custom web application to designing enticing packaging for a line of cat treats.

“Placing a graphic design job ad in Craigslist in Phoenix (where I live) will net you around three hundred applicants.”

As an even bigger problem for you as a job seeker, these freaks of nature exist! In a down economy such as the one we’ve seen globally for the past few years, jobs become scarce. This gives employers the upper hand and affords them the right to be picky about who to hire. I know for a fact that placing a graphic design job ad in Craigslist in Phoenix (where I live) will net you around three hundred applicants. If you’re looking to get hired, that’s a lot of competition!

Consequently, the people walking away with jobs are those who have either legitimately or artificially padded their resumes with an incredible range of skills. Unfortunately, your convictions that the average web designer shouldn’t have to know PHP and JavaScript won’t exactly bump you to the top of the list, neither will the argument that those other guys probably don’t know their ten skills as well as you know your three.

Whose Side Are You On Anyway?

At this point you may be a bit confused about where I stand in this mess. On the one hand I lamented that so many job postings look like the example above and on the other I seem to think that designers should just shut up and deal with it.

The truth is, I’m far from convinced that the fabled design superman is a good solution for the employer, the employee or the industry as a whole. I laughed out loud when I read that the company above was looking for a packaging designer who knows PHP. The entire idea seems ridiculous to me. Further, I hate the realization that, no matter how much I learn, there will always be employers who are asking for much more.

“Even with all this, I’m still not qualified for the simple ‘graphic designer’ position above!”

I’m a highly qualified candidate with several years of experience working with major international marketing companies designing all manner of print materials. I possess a degree in global marketing from one of the top twenty business schools in the United States. I could write a book on design theory and have plenty of experience developing visual communication on the web and off. I can teach HTML, CSS and JavaScript and am quickly growing in other areas of web development. I have expert knowledge of the Adobe Creative Suite and am even a professional photographer. Even with all this, I’m still not qualified for the simple “graphic designer” position above!

This is frustrating, enraging, disheartening and flat out depressing. But hey, that’s the web design industry. If you’re on the outside looking in, this is what it’s like. Those of us crazy enough to be inside it and actually enjoy the work that we do have a natural hunger for learning that’s so intense that we end up reinforcing the tendency of employers to ask so much of us. I’ll keep learning everything I can and advise you to do the same because if we’re ever both desperate for work, we’ll be using that knowledge to compete for the same jobs!

Conclusion: Be a Freelancer

To be fair, not all employers are like this. In fact, many large corporations go to the opposite extreme and divide their design departments up into so many separate factions and positions that it’s nearly impossible to cut through all the bureaucracy and actually be productive.

There are even companies that find that perfect mix of challenging their employees and stretching their skills without overwhelming them. They’re hard to find but once you get one, relish it my friend.

What’s the best scenario that I’ve found? Work for yourself. As a freelancer you’re definitely still competing with others but you have a lot more freedom to decide what type of projects you do and don’t want to take on. You can also decide how much of your time you want to dedicate to learning new skills and keeping yourself competitive, a luxury that many FTEs don’t share.

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think of all this. I’d love to hear your thoughts on whether you think employers are asking too much or designers are too often lazy about expanding their horizons. How do you stay competitive as a potential employee and how much of your time do you devote to learning new skills?

Photo Credits: Ben Northern and Carol Browne.

Comments & Discussion


  • http://www.twitter.com/simonstanyer Simon

    for social media success.
    This is a great discussion point!

    I have found many job application requirements to be very similar of the example shown above. How are we (meaning the younger less-experienced graphic/web designers) supposed to fill these requirements?

    I understand that it is good to diversify skills and experience – but to what cost? Is it good to be a jack of all trades, and a master of none?

    Web technologies are already developing at an increasing rate, and lets not even mention the mobile market. Social media is huge, and with a new service popping up every other day I find it extremely difficult to balance everything.

    Are there other younger designers out there that are experiencing the same issues here?

  • http://www.rvdizajn.com/ Robi

    My opinion is that life is too short to have the time for acquiring those skills from job posting and to be very good in it off-course

  • Branda Rochwerger

    All I know is that sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the things I should know/learn/produce within a 24 hour day and a limited budget.

  • Joshua Johnson

    I’m with you Branda!

  • http://www.linushultin.se/ Linus

    In response to above poster Simon, I sit in the very same boat. Which is why I freelance.
    I left school with experience a lot of different subjects. I soon realized that it would be simply impossible to stay on top of both programming and designing. So I gave up the programming and focus solely on design now.

    I think the biggest problem in the business right now is that those who are outside of it, don’t have any idea of what “we people” do all day. Sure, this is true in loads of businesses – but in the Webdesign one – no one believes you, no one knows what’s good for them and therefore will think you’re ripping them of. No matter how good you are.

    “Did that take a week? I have [insert random relative here] that could have done that quicker and better!” is not something you would hear in any other line of business.

    So the biggest question, in my opinion, is how do we educate people enough for them to understand the complexity of the Web and computers? How to teach them what the difference between a good and bad design is. How to recognize quality when it’s right in front of your eyes.

  • http://www.bigfishdesigns.com allen

    I dont want to come off pompous, or anything… but if you dont have the experience, pass on this job. Leave it for someone that does. There are some places, big and small that want a jack of all trades. I know I could easily get that job with my experience… where were they? and how much are they paying? :)

    Now the title of the position, yes is very mislabeled… I’d say “webmaster” would may be the closest title to work. I had a position that was titled webmaster and e-commerce manager, and what I did fit in very much with what they are looking for. I’ve noticed that mostly institutions like colleges and non-profits are mostly posting jobs like the example, and calling for a webmaster. Do a search in indeed.com for webmaster, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

    Should we complain and get our panties in a bunch because companies are looking for this type of person? or that HR doesnt know what to correctly title the want ad as? No…

    What should the younglings that are just out of school do? unfortunately you have to pass on this one… and try to find something more suited to your skill sets. Get a snazzy portfolio going and make sure you express in a coverletter or in the interview, how eager you are to learn and expose yourself to new skill sets.

    And to answer the question, is it better to be a jack of all trades, or a master of one? Be both :) Each side will see things differently. I’m on the jack of all side, and I sometimes wish I had a more focused resume that would make it easier to get certain jobs. But I can see the other side point of view, and job postings like the above fuel their arguments.

  • http://www.pingdesigns.net David

    I am in one of these positions now. I have my expertise, web design, where I design and build websites. Then I have the back-end I am learning as I go, designing print media like business cards and brochures, designing and putting together a magazine, and most recently I’m to get into mobile apps. One of the reasons I’m setting myself up to go freelance in the very near future. This is a great article and it would be great if we could somehow get this to make sense to the human resources people that do the hiring within these companies. Great article Joshua!

  • Joshua Johnson

    Allen, it’s awesome that you’re qualified for this position. I’d love to see some of the package designs, email campaigns and video editing projects that you’ve done but I didn’t see any in your portfolio, do you have a link?

  • http://mattywatts.com Matty

    Josh, great article I know exactly where you are coming from. It is hard to tell companies that they are asking for too much, because there are MANY designers that have learned to work seamlessly between web and print. But it also seems that the more experience you get, and the higher profile your client, the more focus you are granted towards a particular expertise. This seems like a bit of an anomaly, especially for young designers. Now, with job postings such as this one: You have to show that you are qualified to do everything, to eventually gain access to one particular thing.

  • http://patrickmcintire.com Patrick McIntire

    Josh, really good write up. It covers one of the biggest issues in the overall “media industry” today – one that extends well beyond the web design / web development / print design field.

    I think that one element that has played a part in this paradigm shift is general consumers’ increased exposure to a variety of extremely low-cost solutions to produce media overall. Every niche in the market has blown up to be accessible to everyone, and as such, the quality of work has become more varied allowing the perception of “quality”, “experience” and “talent” to be watered down.

    A case in point is the development of the YouTube generation. Historically, the creation of pseudo-broadcast quality video was limited to the pro production houses and television stations – now anyone with a US$120 (or less) point-and-shoot camera has the capability of producing 720p video that they can pass off as “professionally” produced entertainment to share with the masses. If they get too popular and need to establish a web presence apart from their YouTube profile page, they simply chime in on their “professional web designer” friend who inaugurates a quick WordPress or Joomla installation, smacks a “professionally created” US$15 template on the thing, and pops it into their portfolio as an example of their “talent” and “experience”. Say they generate a pretty substantial fan base and need the ability to create t-shirts and coffee mugs. Their “pro web design” friend uploads the “professionally created logo” (US$25) to CafePress and soon has in their hands a variety of full-color printed soft good promotional material that went to press without any understanding of what CMYK separations are. 15 minutes later, a PayPal shopping cart is added into the WordPress installation. Scary? I think so.

    Frankly, I’m one of those guys that could apply for the example Superman position. My background goes back years in analog print – back when halftone and screen rotation mattered. My personal interests were in pro video and audio, which I learned by borrowing from my skills in other media. Being exposed to family geekdom and learning BASIC when I was five established a logic in my head that allowed me to jump into both building expression-based effects in After Effects and Flash fifteen years later while I was learning PHP and databases and Apache because those open source scripts weren’t customizable enough for the sites I was building.

    My point is — even though I could do it, I wouldn’t apply. Simply, because I wouldn’t want the stress of being a company’s one-man marketing system. It’s an unrealistic expectation; one that I have experienced a few times as it blew up in my face. What I do now is maintain six versions of my resume which I use as their suited for an open position. When I am in a placement, or freelancing for a niche and the need for additional skills comes up I will consider it, but it is established that it will be quoted and performed separately from other duties. If I’m given grief for this, I point to the previously agreed upon definitions and duties for my placement and or contract (always try to have this with an employer or client).

    Each of us, as professionals in our niche (I’m focusing on hard development these days) has the choice to steer clear of these Superman listings. Because, in the end I think it’ll pay out to our benefit. I’ve seen these types of positions be placed with a jack-of-all YouTube-generation twenty-something and soon fall apart, after which they’re broken up into various different legs of a marketing operation. At which point, we can all apply to the niche leg and work together collaboratively as we should be.

    Hope this perspective helps.

  • http://www.bigfishdesigns.com Allen

    If you are seriously wanting to view more… I dont have anything packaged up, but…

    video: search “bruce rossmeyer” on youtube… there are two official users that have some of my video work. I dont have any of the auction videos, but I’m sure I could dig and try to remember our brightcove account info (I dont work for them anymore… economic downsizing) :)

    also check out allenarmstrong.net/portfolio_bak for some older work examples…

    also just finished up at where I work now:

    I’m in the process of putting a more formal and updated portfolio together.

  • Jenna

    My web buddies and I actually found that there are not three but five separate classifications for “Web Design”. There’s: Graphic Designer, Web Designer, Web Developer, Web Engineer, Online Marketing

    Developer covers an excellent know-how of (X)HTML, CSS, and some basic understanding of dynamic coding and SEO. Online Marketing (called many different things, but we call it Online Marketing) covers blogging, writing, articles, social media, SEO, SEM, adverting–all the stuff that gears traffic to the site.

    I’ve seen some totally outlandish job postings asking for all five divisions. I tend to look at their asking pay and flag them depending upon how asinine their hourly or project wage is–or looking for “free work”.

  • http://www.bigfishdesigns.com allen


    “I’ve seen some totally outlandish job postings asking for all five divisions. I tend to look at their asking pay and flag them depending upon how asinine their hourly or project wage is–or looking for “free work”.”

    unfortunately the “asinine” rates are all too frequent. When I was in the job hunting market early last year, I could find plenty of full time work, but unfortunately everyone didnt want to pay. Even had one guy say “I know I probably cant afford you, but I wanted to get you in here and see if there was anything I could do get you to work for us” I ended up freelancing for some local marketing startups, until I was able to get some contract and consultant work.

  • http://rodne.me Erik Rodne

    I’m no hipster, but I do love great design. And over the years I’ve been learning more and more about web development, mostly in an effort to stay sharp and competitive for job postings like this one. At a certain point though, I know that I’ll never be the code monkey who’s an expert at database security and hacks into systems for fun.

    So I think there’s a reciprocal expertise going on here. It’s great to be an expert at web development—and I think the more expert you are of said web technology the lesser your design aesthetic stays sharp. Really they’re two different parts of your brain, two completely different hemispheres. Though it exists to be completely genius in both fields I do find it to be a rarity.

    “The enemy of the best is often the good” —Plutarch

    Ultimately I’d say focus on your passion, and keep learning as much as you can about what interests you most. Remember that you’ll only be über smart in one focused area, so perhaps knowing a bit about everything is good, but knowing more than anyone about just one thing is best.

  • http://www.buttonsrock.com Todd G

    In my opinion if a web designer doesn’t know HTML and CSS, they’re not really a web designer. They’re more or less a print designer who has caught on to the fact that tech jobs generally pay a lot more.

  • Dee

    When I see these jack-of-all-trades listings, I usually think that particular business doesn’t know anything about web development or design, and assumes that those people are good with computers so they should be able to do both. I question whether those businesses would be good employers.

  • http://www.valpocreative.com Valpo Designer

    Style, style, and style – Of coarse knowledge helps, bc without knowledge you can’t get very far. Knowledge can be learned, but Style is almost something you are born with, you either have it or you don’t.

  • Kim

    This seems like the perfect post to ask some questions I’ve been thinking about.
    I’ve been getting involved in social media and really enjoy this area but would love some developing background just so I can move around people sites. I’m taking an upcoming basic dreamweaver and photoshop class but wondering what other skills I should gather. I guess my objective is to help some friends get a site up and promote it.
    Any advice would be appreciated!


  • http://www.paginasinternetpuertorico.com Paginas Internet Puerto Rico

    Being an effective web designer requires developing a number of different skills. Not all of these skills are limited to the technical and artistic aspects of web design. Communicating with clients, project management, and promotion are all important as well.

  • http://timteeling.com Tim Teeling

    As someone who just graduated college, I can be the first to attest that there is no such thing as an entry-level position in this industry. I spent an entire year job hunting and kept finding posts that were looking for a ‘superman’ who has had multiple years of agency experience with the ability to design and code WordPress themes, WebApps, work with Twitter API, and even build iPhone Apps!

    I don’t even want to throw it into this industry but it seems the only job someone out of college can get in the online space is dealing with social media. Job posts for this also want experience in HTML, CSS, and Photoshop. My issue with these jobs is that companies looking to hire for this don’t understand social media. I had an internship with a TV station that wanted to have a dedicated Facebook and Twitter feed to tell you what the local weather was!

    As for the industry as a whole, I feel a lot of people are well rounded in their interests and knowledge of design, coding, photography, and even video editing, but they can’t be masters of it all.

  • http://www.behance.net/alcazar Javi

    ╔ ────────────────────── . ────────────────── ╗

    Problem is education. Semantics. Language.
    Who was the first labelling this job or that one
    is a web designer?. Is the dog chasing its own tail.

    I totally agree with you Joshua.
    Now i think the question might be:
    is there any way to ammend the mislabeling
    of the design-creative-media jargoon?

    Thank you

    ╚ ────────────────────── ☺ ────────────────── ╝

  • Bettina

    Great article, and I hear you in all points. I have been a one person department in my last job, and the position was called “Creative Designer”. My background is in digital and classical media. Over the past five to six years I have extended my skill sets tremendously and found myself always running “after” the latest knowledge to keep my skills current. That can be frustrating and super challenging, because the fields and disciplines became too many, and after all I’d like to have a life as well. Keeping all skills current is the biggest issue, because it doesn’t allow you to excel in all fields. You still need to be selective and have a focus, but keep an eye on all other fields at least from a high level. Now reading the job description, I still don’t cut it entirely, because of all the JavaScript, JQuery, MySQL and PHP requirements. My SEO and Web Analytic skills became a bit rusty, and need to be polished up again, plus my copy writing … ah well.

  • Laura

    I found a similar job posting just two days ago (italy): they were looking for senior web designers with skills in HTML, CSS, JS, PHP, MYSQL, SEO, AS3, UI design, knowledge of adobe suite + after effects. Logo design.

    I’m a web developer, I was a freelancer so I can be a web designer too, but still, though I can code HTML5, CSS3, jquery and understand php and CMSs, I just used AS2 in the past, then I left it to specialize in the other stuff.

    The point is I don’t know and I don’t want to know AS3.

    They asked for Adobe After Effects knoledge, too, so it comes you’re also a motion designer, and… The salary they were offering for this position was 800-1500€.

    I think if they find a superman like that, thay should at least be honest and start from 2000. At least.

  • arnold

    yeah this is sad for those who want to enter in this field , its like more company nowadays wants to get some more stuff on one employee…its pretty crazy for me,

  • http://be.net/ecdep Roger

    This is a nice article… it is all true.. But it doesn’t answer any questions, it asks more =))

    The problem of this job is that nobody takes it seriously. For people: we draw websites for our clients in photoshop which is used by their kids for making funny photos with liquify tool, and it doesn’t require much of intelligence.

    And all those skills listed by employers are for themselves – so that how they know what they pay for.

    By the way I am unemployed because have not much of experience and only because of that :(( So if there is someone having a job for me, please hire me =)))) My tiny portfolio in the link above)

  • http://www.ConstantStrategies.com Constant Strategies (TM)

    I’ve been freelancing and basically self-employed since 2002. Never been hired for a tech job. It is very tough to be doing what I do, and finding my own client base. I would prefer to work for an established company, but I do feel that they would take advantage and under pay me the way this article suggests. I think I’m just going to keep building my business one satisfied customer at a time!

  • http://www.laurelblack.com Laurel Black

    I think the conclusion of the original post (to be a freelancer) is right on. I have been freelancing for decades and could never apply for the job described in the post, because there is no way I will ever be able to learn all that stuff. When you are a freelancer, however, you don’t have to. You develop relationships with other creatives and sub the parts out that you don’t know how to do yourself. I can design basically anything that’s 2-dimensional, illustrate, write copy, manage projects, and create media and communications plans for small businesses. I am never going to code, but I don’t have to because good buddy John is fantastic at it. He is also a great still photographer and videographer. I also have an SEO provider and a WP guru. So find your people and go independent. No need to be Superperson when you’ve got the right group.

  • http://www.bsb.com.au bartulamous.simon

    i really help right here about startiny business companyin

  • http://www.rojorevolution.com David Rojo

    I have been saying this for a long time. I too live in Phoenix, AZ. And I was unemployed for practically all of 2010. The majority of job postings I saw were like the one you mentioned. I myself find it a little ridiculous. In my opinion hiring one person to do your design and your development will never net you as good results as hiring two separate people. I know Phoenix design/web market is completely over saturated. And I felt the reason it took me so long to find a job was because my resume was simply not being read. Employers get bombarded with hundeds of resumes, I wouldn’t doubt they give up and just pick someone from the first 50, if that.

    The job I do have now, my boss told me he got hundreds of resumes as well, but he said they were all garbage (not to blow my own horn here), after they read mine, they didn’t even really interview me as much as give me an orientation, they just wanted me in here asap!

    I blame the schools really. I mean every single college/institute has a graphic design program. And they accept anyone so long as they can pay the usually ridiculous tuition.

  • http://www.mikerdzign.com Mike

    This is a great post! Thank you for putting into words what I’ve been feeling for a very long time, and it’s only getting worst. I have held onto the graphic design term for a while but have been pushing myself in the web direction to stay a float in this industry. Lately I’ve been having to push myself into other areas as well: social media, email marketing, photography, video, and copywriting. It seems graphic design isn’t enough, employers have to include something else with it, I’ve seen three recent job positions that I was over 75% qualified for but the added position requirements were way outside my comfort zone: television video production, PHP, C# SQL and even one that required extensive PR background. While it’s good to have all these added skills and great to be able to wear many hats it’s hurting the definition of each industry. While proclaiming to know all things might get you the job for a meager salary, it’s only hurting our industries further by exploiting our services and stretching our capabilities until we are no more than the chain service providers that we scoffed at while we were in design school. I think the best thing we can do is inform and educate, offer to rewrite our job descriptions if we have to and stand strong in your respective industries.
    I have a full time job that I’m grateful for but also maintain a freelance business on the side. While I love freelance, I don’t advise foregoing full-time employment especially if you are trying to raise a family. The freelance thing is great but clients can have many of the same misconceptions of the different job qualifications, and unless it’s contract work, they don’t have any obligation to stay with you if they run into some other bloated ego, one-stop-shop, or nephew who is an aspiring Photoshop artist, who says they can build a website and tack on a logo, a free ad and copywriting for minimal charge.

  • http://www.fizzwebdesign.co.uk sean

    I hear you! I know html & css plus Photoshop & SEO pretty much inside out these days, yet increasingly find clients demanding WordPress sites, which involves php & a hell of a lot more effort when html/css would achieve the same result for what they require. Ask them why, & they often don’t have an answer.
    On the other hand, I know of companies that will only build in WordPress & charge a small fortune for it.
    I now struggle with the dilemma of thinking I now need to learn more than my basic php. Yes, it seems never ending & employers often don’t know what each of these 3 letter abbreviations actually mean!

  • http://www.andrew-mcintosh.com Andrew

    Agree 100% with this article. I get so frustrated as a web designer when I see a job title for web designer including heavy duty AJAX, PHP, Javascript coding. I keep asking myself, out loud sometimes, do they even know what a web designer is!? Good to see I’m not the only one embracing the “Jack of All trades” mantra the job market these days.

  • Adil

    i want to take webdesining work


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