Even for those who have no relation to web design it’s quite obvious it is a highly competitive field these days. It makes perfect sense in a world dominated by technology, where the internet has influenced and shaped every aspect of our lives. A lot of people are tempted by the perks a career in web design can offer and take the plunge, ready to start their venture. Armed with motivation and enthusiasm, they put all their hopes and dreams into it and look ahead to the bright and successful career that awaits.
But there are always two sides to every coin. For all the advantages working as a web designer can bring there are also drawbacks one should consider. With no intention to discourage future web designers, we must point out that before jumping on the bandwagon, it’s always wise to consider both the pros and the cons. So if you’re considering taking this path and becoming a web designer, here are some challenges you’ll probably face when making your debut in the field.
Lack of experience
One can argue this is an issue everyone faces when starting on a career path. You don’t simply finish your training and start off with a wealth of experience under your belt, so the first step is always the hardest. But while beginners in other domains can apply for different positions even if they lack experience and just hope for the best, new web designers can find this obstacle very hard to overcome. Without a decent portfolio, it’s highly unlikely a client will want to work with you. Everyone wants to see your past projects and work to get an idea of your potential, but if you have none, there’s nothing to show. The solution is to start building your portfolio by including designs and projects you have created for yourself. It doesn’t matter you weren’t paid for them. This will show potential clients the skills and knowledge you possess.
Wearing many hats
Let’s get one thing straight: web design isn’t just about designing. Obviously, design is going to be the main focus of your activity, but you’ll have to know many other things apart from that to complete the picture. Hopefully, no one is naïve enough to think that learning HTML and CSS is enough. With that you’re barely covering the basics. Web design is a very complex field, and while it’s impossible to specialize in all areas, web designers these days, especially the ones who take the freelance route, are expected to master many skills. Besides graphics, it’s a big advantage if you add programming languages, UX and soft skills to your body of knowledge. The broader the skills set, the higher the chances of thriving in this profession.
As mentioned previously, there’s no lack of competition in the web design market. What does that mean for newbies? Not a lot of good things, unfortunately. Firstly, with so many players in the game, it’s becoming more and more difficult to stand out from the crowd and get noticed. Secondly, since clients have much more options now and can have their pick when hiring web designers, they have higher demands and expectations, and will not settle for average. Most importantly, businesses are also in the position to ask for lower prices, meaning new designers have to compromise and charge less for their work. So if you’re expecting to get rich fast, think again.
Things evolve fast in the world of technology and good web designers must keep up with the change. Flexibility, adaptability and the ability to keep an open mind and continue learning are absolutely essential if you want to become a successful web designer. But it’s not just that. Since every business must have a strong online presence nowadays, customers will expect you to come up with completely original and unique ideas every time. Clients are looking for custom web design solutions that can differentiate them from the rest and put them ahead of the competition. This can prove very difficult at times, as you can’t command inspiration and be a wellspring of innovation on request.
We keep hearing the motto the customer is always right in business context, but this is a hard pill to swallow when you come across clients whose only purpose seems to be making your life a living hell. You’ll have to prepare yourself mentally to deal with difficult and stubborn clients regularly. Sometimes the problems can stem from a lack of proper communication and planning. Other times, clients might not know exactly what they want and will change their minds several times during the project. Whatever the case may be, arm yourself with a lot of patience and learn to avoid clients that are nothing but a waste of energy and resources.
It’s understandable that when you’re taking your first steps in the web design world, your income will fluctuate and it will take a while for you to reach financial stability. That’s why so many web designers are tempted to take on more projects than they can handle in the beginning. But the trick is to find a balance, charge the right prices for the time and effort you invest in each project and learn how to manage cash flow effectively. It takes practice and you’ll probably make more than a few mistakes along the way, but it’s all part of the journey.
When you’re a rookie all you want to do is gain more experience and do it as fast as possible. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to learn and grow, but it’s very easy to fall in the burnout trap and very hard to get out of it. Even if you’re aware that you still have a lot of things to learn and there’s a long and bumpy road ahead of you, you should not rush things. You must strive to maintain a healthy work-life balance as that will help you achieve your goals and become the best web designer you can be.