Web Design Job Market Trends

The, web design job market is complex and is diversifying into multiple streams from the common core studies. This is a major global commercial market. The commercial context is important for understanding job trends. Professional web designers need job options. Being a single stream specialist can backfire, badly. The advice from the professionals is to have multiple areas where you can work, and be flexible about how you work.

Web design is extremely competitive as an employment market, particularly for the higher end commercial jobs. The nature of the employment market is directly plugged in to the commercial market, and that market's very fluid. The ability to move into different areas of web design is invaluable.

The Commercial Market

The original web design market was literally designing web sites. That part of the industry still exists, but it's been overtaken by the more high value functions of web design. The primary benefit of web site design is broad exposure to the commercial market, and developing a skill set which will work across the market. The commercial market rapidly turned into a market for specialists on top of the basic design functions:

  • Graphics
  • Animation
  • Music
  • Mixed media
  • Advertising materials
  • Streaming functions
  • Databases
  • System design
  • Software

In effect, most of the major commercial media got into the market, and merged these primary business functions. The advantage of this situation for diversified web designers is that it drastically improves job and career options. If you're a web designer, you will have seen at least several of the functions in that list that you can do well. In the job market, it's a matter of getting the right mix of roles in the job for maximum returns. Each area can be a specialization, but if you have several specializations, you're in an excellent position to exploit opportunities in any area of web design.

Job Market Trends

Market "trends" in web design are usually developments of existing products and platforms, across media. They get a very high profile, but analysis will show that your own skills can keep up with them. Market demand is the real issue, rather than quasi-technical hype. To analyze market demand:

  • Analyze the products: These will show in detail the actual technical requirements.
  • Analyze the actual jobs in these fields: Some are excellent opportunities, some are line work where you won't actually add much to the portfolio but nominal pieces.
  • Look for employers in these fields: Avoid anything which doesn't look like solid business or is mainly buzzwords.
  • Check employment terms and contracts: Get legal advice if necessary, but make sure you're entering into a paying position.
  • Be careful: The web design business includes a lot of ephemeral jobs, lacking substance. Your time is much better spent looking for good career building work.