The Benefits of Being a Self-taught Web Designer

Not long ago, web design was a fledgling industry. Therefore, there were few opportunities to receive a formal education in its fundamentals. Therefore, the most direct way to become a professional was to teach yourself the necessary skills.

That’s how my career started. I studied the source code of various websites and figured out how things worked. I tried Photoshop, CSS, and finally PHP and JavaScript. Most of what I know came from the process of trial and error.

But being self-taught comes with a mix of emotions and challenges. On the one hand, it is very free. On the other hand, it can be scary. It can even lead to feeling less qualified than your peers.

With that in mind, let’s explore the good, bad and ugly of being a self-taught web designer.

Learn What You Want, How You Want

This is where the feeling of freedom comes. There is an incredible depth of educational resources available for web design and development. So you can pick and choose your focus.

This is in contrast to formal education. You are then obliged to follow a set path in your learning. This is usually for good reason (you need to understand the basics before you get into the smaller details). However, learning on your own means having the right to set your own agenda.

I believe that there is a significant benefit in learning the skills that interest you the most. For one, you are more likely to be passionate about the subject. When following someone else’s curriculum, it can be hard to find the same enthusiasm (something I struggled with in school).

And because you are taking a different path, you might start thinking differently. This can lead to creative ideas and solutions that you wouldn’t have come up with otherwise.

Finally, when it comes to how you learn, options are endless. It might be a series of tutorials or a video-based training course. Whatever your preference, you can choose the format that best suits your learning style.

You Could Lose Something Important

Perhaps the biggest downside to being a self-taught web designer is that there can be gaps in your skill set. And that might mean asking for something important.

For example, let’s say you want to learn how to do some specific tasks with PHP. Maybe you will find great teaching and master his subject. That’s all well and good. But what if the teaching left out a major point of emphasis, such as security?

I ran into this situation in my career. Learning things in chunk format works to some extent. But when it’s implemented, I often find I have to look for other details. Some items may have been imagined or overlooked.

This is not a review of the resources available. Rather, it is an observation of this approach to learning. It is an area where traditional education has the upper hand.

Therefore, it is important to identify whatever gaps there are and try to fill them as best you can.

Mind The Gap Painted Sign

Staying Relevant in a Competitive Field

Despite the potential knowledge gap, a self-taught designer can work with the competition. There are a few reasons for this.

The first is that our industry includes a wide variety of niche markets. Each of us has specific strengths and areas of preference. Not to mention the range of price ranges out there. Therefore, the list of direct competitors may be narrower than we think.

Because of the niche I have worked in for the past twenty years I have been able to make a good living. It also created opportunities for continuous learning. I’m not the most skilled. But it proves you don’t need to know everything get success.

Second, the job description has changed for many of us. The prevalence of content management systems (CMS) and no-code tools provide a great foundation. From there, we can go as far as our skills (and desire to learn) will take us.

Understanding how these multiple pieces fit together and building a beautiful UI is such a big part of our job. This provides a market for web designers who are formal and self-trained.

Unique Opportunity for the Right Person

One of the great things about a career in web design is that you don’t necessarily need a formal education. All it takes is a little talent, an internet connection, and a desire to learn. And you can apply your skills as a freelancer or by working for someone else.

Self-taught may be the hardest way to do it. For all the freedom it offers, you might lose sight of the fundamentals and details of the craft. And after you’ve established yourself as a professional, it can be difficult to find time to improve your skills.

Still, if you understand the challenges and love what you do, you can overcome almost any obstacle. It’s a truly unique opportunity in web design.

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By LocalBizWebsiteDesign

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