Did anyone here become a freelance web designer without working at a web design firm?

Discussion in 'Web Design' started by voodoochild16, Dec 24, 2013.

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  1. voodoochild16

    voodoochild16 New Member

    Hey all,
    Basically my question is in the title. Has anyone here simply taken the courses online to learn web design, and some coding to get into the "Freelance Web Design" career?.

    My senses tell me that going to a school and learning web design, and some coding, then working at a web design firm, is the best way to kick start that kind of career, but I just thought I'd ask the above question first to see if anyone has done it that way or not. Thanks in advance.
  2. RDB

    RDB New Member

    I learnt web design in college, then moved onto a more development area in university studying computer science, I have then progressed from there to becoming a freelancer.
  3. notarypublic

    notarypublic New Member

    Hi, voodoochild -

    I feel there are many tracks to get into web development/design.

    To make a long story short, I think the best approach is as follows:

    Even a community college, 2 year program in web design will earn you the "student" title.
    For starting out, being able to bill yourself as a student makes it much easier to get your foot in the door. I had started learning web design on my own, but until you have a good portfolio no one will take you seriously. If you say you are a student, people are willing to give you some grace. Schools tend to give you a good foundation, but in this field, expect to learn new skills/technique on your feet - web design changes so rapidly that no school's curriculum can keep up.

    Look for contract work/Network with recruiters.
    Once you have even a basic portfolio put together, you can start finding short-term (anywhere from a few weeks to 9 months+) work contracts. A lot of companies with web design departments will hire short-term workers to help with keeping on top of their work queue. Companies are willing to take a chance on less-experienced contract workers, since by nature they are temporary and disposable. Once you've landed a few contracts to pad your resume, you can move to the next step.

    Start looking for permanent roles with the companies you'd want to work for
    Once you have enough experience that you are considered for full-time positions, you know you've become fairly proficient. Take notes on how professional companies do things from acquire clients, manage work flow, set up dev environments, et cetera. Once you feel like you can do what a web-design company can do on your own, start reaching out for clients to work for individually, as a side-job.

    Once you have enough work to support yourself, you can step out into the wide-world of freelancing with confidence that you'll succeed.

    Best of luck!
  4. JakClark

    JakClark New Member

    I'm starting out on the road to freelancing. I quit College because the Computer Science course I was taking did not allow me to unleash my creativity to the extent that I had hoped. My quantity of work produced suffered because I spent wayyy too much time on presentation, etc. I can't help it - it's an obsession.

    But hey - I'm not arsed! I really enjoy web design, and the development side of things too. I've the best of both worlds and shall continue to hone every one of my skills.
  5. Jewel

    Jewel New Member

    I went to college and got a web and graphic design degree in 2008 after a 17 year career in jewelry design and manufacturing. I actually started my business while I was still taking classes because I'm a very hard worker and care about what I deliver. Since there are so many people out there that don't care about their job I figured, even if I don't know something, I can learn how do to it when the time comes and still deliver a good product.

    I know, that sounds funny but that's how I did it. And I didn't really have the choice of taking a non-paid internship either so I went to smaller shops and offered them websites at a very small price so I could get portfolio work but still not work for free. ( Of course now looking at those sites, I would like to redo most of them... ;) )

    The most important part is that you keep on learning because just taking a webdesign class and learning a WYSIWYG system will only get you so far. If you want to make good money at this, you will have to learn xhtml, a content management system and some programming for sure.

    Now, I knew I wanted to work for myself from the beginning but at that point I had management experience from my previous career already which I think is very important to be on your own.

    I would recommend anybody to work at a firm first but if you have looked around in the US, the requirements for jobs are pretty much unreachable for jobs that pay $9/hour :0

    Long story short, if you go into freelancing, don't underestimate the power of networking with other people of your profession because that is where a lot of my work comes from....
  6. beelzebomb

    beelzebomb New Member

    I looked after the content side of the Nissan Fleet website when I worked for Nissan, no coding though, on being made redundant I bought the brilliant Head First book on HTML with CSS & XHTML, worked through it and then launched a career!

    Those books are great, I found that online courses (especially free ones) can provide you with the wrong information which you will then spend time having to unlearn.

    The thing to remember with designing for clients is that the site must be secure and stable on all platforms - letting yourself down and making judgement errors on your own stuff is ok, but as a designer you then have a duty of care & responsibility to your client - and that starts with learning how to code properly.
  7. Edge

    Edge Member

    Yep, I did. Self taught - but it's getting to the point now where I've nearly taught myself everything I know.

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