With a growing number of students graduating from college with web design degrees, the profession is being increasingly targeted by employers seeking skilled web designers, said Dan Satterfield, principal technologist with the trade association Web Designers and Engineers (WDE).
Satterfield said web designers are “really not getting the training or the tools they need,” particularly if they’re in the fields of software engineering and architecture.
He pointed to a recent survey that found only 30 percent of web designers said they were able to teach their skills to others.
“I’m sure there’s a good number of people out there that are working with students and saying, ‘I don’t want to teach you, you have to learn yourself,'” Satterford said.
“It’s important to realize that it’s not about the skills, it’s about how to get the training and the tools to actually create the content.
And that’s a whole other thing.
It’s really not enough.”
He added that the industry’s reliance on Web designers for content creation has left students behind, which is problematic for the future of the profession.
“We’re getting better and better at getting people in the industry, but they’re not getting better at producing the content they need to create the jobs,” he said.
“And the more we’ve become dependent on this workforce, the less likely we are to have the skills we need to really grow the profession.”
Satterford noted that students who get into web design are often working with designers who specialize in a particular industry, like the automotive or medical sectors.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, he said, but it also leaves students in a position where they’re unable to work on their own projects.
“You’ve got to be able to be a good leader and have a sense of responsibility for your team,” Satterf said.
He said students need to learn how to be more self-motivated and not feel pressured to work too hard to achieve a perfect product.
The current state of the web design professionSatterf also called for a more streamlined curriculum for graduates, which he said could include a requirement for students to spend at least a year at a web design school.
He said this would help students find jobs in their chosen fields and help them build more professional connections.
The WDE is currently drafting its own web design education guidelines for schools, and it’s currently working with the industry to develop a blueprint for a web development training curriculum.
Satterjf noted that WDE members are working closely with industry to find the best way to implement this idea, but he cautioned that it would require an enormous amount of resources.
“There’s a lot of people who are working on it,” he noted.
“We’re working with all the major web designers in the world.
But I can’t tell you how many people are working to make this happen.”
The WDI has been involved in education efforts in the past, as well, with an initiative to develop Web Design 101.
In 2013, it created Web Design Week to help students prepare for their first job.
And in 2013, the WDI held a webinar series to discuss the profession’s growing diversity.
The profession is still far from being fully embraced by the public, however.
Sasserfield said that while the profession still has a large portion of students in school, there are still fewer people working in it than in other fields.
“You have the opportunity to be successful in this field if you want to,” he pointed out.
“The market is really very open.
You can enter it if you’re ready,” he added.
“But if you don’t, it just takes too much effort and a lot more money.”
It’s really hard to find jobs right now.