The world of web design is fast-paced and ever-changing. Today, websites are essential for businesses and individuals to conduct their operations and promote their services. More recently, with the rise of mobile devices, web designers have been called upon to create sites optimized for desktop and mobile browsing. Additionally, these digital creatives can use their skills to develop applications and other digital products.

As the demand for web-based products and services continues to grow, so does the need for skilled web designers. Managers are moving quickly to snag top web design talent, and highly qualified candidates see multiple job offers. In such a candidate-friendly market, it’s no wonder salaries are rising for web designers who can create unique and user-friendly websites that cater to target audiences.

If you hope to become a web designer, here are more details about what they do, along with the average starting salary that goes with the role.

Job duties and expectations

Responsibilities depend on the needs of the firm or client, but most web designers are expected to:

  • Create designs for websites using wireframes and mockups
  • Provide expert creative guidance on the overall look, feel and functionality of web design projects
  • Be familiar with languages such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript
  • Create artwork (including logos, icons and banners) and layouts that are appealing and user-friendly
  • Conduct quality assurance work to identify possible problems before launch
  • Continuously develop their software skills and stay up to date on web design trends
  • Create concepts in design programs like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign
  • Understand web design issues, including browser and cross-platform consistency
  • Meet with internal stakeholders or external clients to discuss objectives for internet and intranet sites and other web-based projects

Work experience and skills

Although a college degree isn’t required, a degree in design, digital media, information technology or computer science is a plus. If you already have some web design experience or are working on a degree, creating a solid digital portfolio with a clear focus on user experience is a key step forward.

And don’t forget about soft skills, such as adaptability, time management and calmness under pressure. In many roles, your ability to communicate well could be just as important as your design chops, enabling you to refine and clarify your client’s needs and provide a clear brief for developers to execute your vision.

Sometimes employers go another step and ask for web developer skills as well as web designer skills. Consider this when applying for jobs and brush up on your coding skills and knowledge of responsive design and web protocols. Make sure your portfolio includes projects that demonstrate your developer abilities.

Web designer salary benchmarks

The latest Salary Guide From Robert Half can give you the national midpoint starting salary for web designers. You can use our Salary Calculator to fine-tune the salary and find out what a web designer can earn in your city or region.