Traditionally, web design is a male-dominated industry.
But in recent years there’s been a spike in the number of women emerging in the sector. With more support and training opportunities available for women wanting to break into the industry than ever before, the field is beginning to level.
However, the numbers still show that web design is more man’s world than woman’s. For the numbers of women in web design to really increase, there needs to be as much help and support as possible.
In this blog post, Noupe has teamed up with Kimberly Leary, Managing Director of web design and brand development agency, Squibble, to offer some helpful advice for women wanting to achieve success in the industry.
Be smart with your learning
You can set yourself up for success at the very start of your career in web design. Being smart with how you learn your trade will help you develop faster and better.
From understanding how you learn best to get the fundamentals under your belt quickly, there’s a number of routes you can take to achieve your goals.
Perhaps the most mainstream route into web design, a university of a college education is a popular choice for those straight out of school who want to immerse themselves fully into the world of web design and kickstart their career with teaching from some of the most reputable designers in the country.
A university education is undoubtedly a value chain in your armour. Providing you with a wealth of resources, first-class teaching and facilities, a solid community of other passionate soon-to-be designers and a wide-spanning curriculum.
However, it’s certainly not the only route to becoming successful. If you support a family and need a steady income, learn better in a workplace environment or simply would rather not attend a higher education institution, there are other options available, including online courses, workshops and apprenticeships.
Whichever way you choose to learn your trade, nothing will teach you better than real-world experience. Only on-the-job will you get to experience the true world of web design—from client communications to working in a team.
Experience of working in web design can give you unique attributes that help you to stand out from the crowd, get noticed in interviews and build up a unique portfolio.
Whether you combine university study with work experience, take on some freelance work alongside your online learning or complete work for clients as part of your training program, evidence that you’ve been operating in the industry is worth its weight in gold when applying for jobs or securing your first clients.
Practice, practice, practice
Although natural talent in web design is helpful, the fact is that it is a skill which has to be learned.
Once you’ve got the basics down, the only way to improve is to keep up to date with the emerging trends and—most importantly—practice.
The more you practice, the better you’ll be. The further you push your abilities though frequent practising, the more your skill will develop and the better you’ll become at identifying and creating the best designs possible.
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Build a robust portfolio
The reward of success in web design isn’t a given. Even if you spend hundreds of hours tirelessly perfecting your craft, you still need to ensure your skill is visible.
Building your portfolio is one of the most effective ways to land jobs—especially at the start of your career when you have a smaller client base, fewer recommendations and little visibility.
Your portfolio needs to show exactly what you can do—your best work on show to prospective clients. Whether you have paid work coming in from clients that can be shown off in your portfolio or you take the time to complete designs unpaid, having your best skills on show in your portfolio is the secret weapon in securing future clients.
Passion is key
All this learning and practising can sound like hard work—and that’s because it is. The web design sector is saturated, and—although the demand is there—there’s a lot of people waiting to fill it.
This is why you need to have passion. To truly succeed in this sector, you need to be able to compete against the best of the best. To stand a chance, you need to continually refine your skills, perfect your work and breath your passion into your designs.
No matter how much you know, when you’re facing off against the most talented designers in the industry, a real passion for web design is the one thing that will set you apart.
Seize opportunities to develop
The interest in web design shown by women is on the up, and the industry is responding. With everything from talks from those who’ve found success to free courses for minority groups (including courses specifically for women), success has been made so much more achievable.
Every opportunity to grow and develop should be seized with both hands. From words of wisdom to new skills, the resources and advice available can prove invaluable.
Join the community
Web design is one big community. Designers from all over the world support each other, offering support, advice and skill sharing.
This community is a valuable resource for emerging designers wanting to succeed, and especially for women wanting to do well.
From online forums to local networking events, getting involved in the wider community can help you become more connected in the industry, learn from others and connect with other web designers similar to you.
There are so many factors that contribute to becoming successful in web design—too many to list, in fact! However, these are some of the main areas you can work on to see fast and drastic improvements.
Full of passionate people and endless support, the tips and advice we’ve mentioned show just how many opportunities are available for you to learn, grow and develop. If you’re a woman in web design and want to achieve, success in this industry is yours for the taking.
For more information about Kim and to find out more about Squibble, get in touch with her today.