Becoming a professional web designer is not as hard is it seems. With a bit of free time and some patience you can earn money doing contracts.
Get a good vector graphics editor such as Adobe Illustrator. Making images using vector graphics is the easiest way to grasp graphics design, so spending some money on something like Illustrator or Fireworks will be a great help. Inkscape is a nice free and open-source alternative for beginners.2
Look at how other web designers create sites, note how a menu or content area is laid out and then use that knowledge in your designs.
You will need to learn skills in XHTML(Extensible Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS(Cascading Stylesheets) as a foundation on which to build. Basically all websites are written in a combination of these two languages. A good place to begin learning them is at W3Schools. Good books on the subject are also helpful.
Create dynamic websites using PHP and MySQL. These technologies will enable you to create a website that does not require you to make individual HTML pages but allow you to use templates to display multiple pages within the same design.
Create a web site that uses AJAX so you can utilise the server-side power of PHP without having to refresh the page thus saving bandwidth and enabling you to create ‘interactive’ web applications.
Install a web server on your Computer so that you can work on scripts locally without an internet connection. If you choose the PHP route try http://www.wampserver.com/en/. If you use ASP.NET use IIS available on most versions of windows.
Get yourself some script examples to “tinker” with: Finding a script to dissect is the best way to learn. Try CMS’s like Drupal and Joomla
Start some Projects: Now with everything you know get yourself some hosting and a domain; then start creating sites.
- Find some Forums you can join. This will help if you find yourself in some trouble (chances are someone has already gone through the same problem).
- You should install PHP from PHP.net so you can test on your computer.
- Web designers must keep abreast of current trends in the Internet industry. They must figure out what services are expected, what graphics are most likely to be received well and enjoyed, and how a page will rank high in search engines.
edit Things You’ll Need
- Design software. eg Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Fireworks or GIMP(open source).
- HTML Editor. Notepad will work but there is other software that will make the job easier, Eclipse(open source) “web development tools” version or Adobe Dreamweaver.
- To publish your website so others can see it on the internet you’ll need hosting
- You will also need PHP installed for testing on your own computer.