Web Designers: Not Just A Pretty HTML Face Anymore

Remember way back in the day when if you knew how to do simple HTML coding in Notepad and well before any WYSIWYG editor came out, you were considered a god amongst mere mortals? Well sadly those days have gone the way of the dinosaurs. Now, if you know HTML, you are probably part of the majority. You can use this technology to modify your Myspace profiles and make your own webpage.

To succeed in the Internet & New Media industry, web designers obviously must not be complacent with their skill development and must adjust to what society requires. Now, instead of being an HTML editor, they will probably need to know how to use Photoshop (a big plus, but also probably quite common among everyone in the world these days), Illustrator, Flash, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and maybe even a little programming language like ColdFusion, .NET, or even PHP.

In my experience, in an interactive agency, there are two separate divisions: the creative and the technical teams. Obviously if you’re a designer, you’re not going to necessarily have a strong suit with the technical side so where your core competencies lie is where you should be. You’re creative? Great, go stand with the other creatives and punch out this project. However, that’s not to say that you should isolate yourself in a silo, but rather be familiar with the other trends going on and learn to adapt your skills so that it can intergrate flawlessly with your counterparts on the tech team.

If you’re a freelancer, the above may not be applicable to you as you are the Jack of all Trades when it comes to developing sites for your clients. Nevertheless, people can easily find an individual who has experience in HTML, so what additional items can you offer them to get the business? Do you know how to do E-Commerce? E-mail Marketing? Online Advertising with Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing, MSN Search, etc? What about developing new back-end applications and integrating it with creative? What programming languages do you know that will work flawlessly with the creative? These are some of the essential questions you must ask yourself as more people who are seeking freelance artists want to get instead of going to an agency where they’ll pay practically top-dollar for the work.

Point is, don’t be complacent and adjust to match what society wants – c’mon, it’s called Internet Marketing…market yourself by showing what you can do on the Internet…HTML is so 1999…

By Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a journalist fascinated with the stories of the tech industry and internet culture. He's currently the Technology Editor at Flipboard, where he observes what's happening in the space while also identifying new topics of interest. In addition, he co-hosts the weekly internet show "The Created Economy," which focuses on what's happening to creators and influencers. Previously, he was a reporter for VentureBeat and The Next Web, covering tech startups, the industry's innovations and funding. Ken also has a newsletter you should also subscribe to called "Filed."