Do I have the skills to move on in design?

Helen is thinking of trying to get into web design

I have been working in a design agency for the last three years after re-training to become a designer. This is my first job in the industry and feel that although I have learnt a lot here I don't feel I am able to make any more progress. I feel that I have come to a point where I need to decide what my next step is. Unfortunately though I don't have a lot of confidence in whether I have the skills I need to move on.

Ideally I have been thinking of trying to get into web design, as most of my work in my current job has been to design websites, emailers and web banners. When I look at job adverts though most of them want you to be able to write html, css and javascript etc.

I have been teaching myself html and css and, although I can build a website in this way, I don't think I am very comfortable just yet. I also have been learning Wordpress and have been on a couple of courses but again not hugely comfortable here yet either. Writing code doesn't come easily to me but I'm not sure if this is just because I'm fairly new to it without much experience or whether I'm heading in the wrong direction.

I'm mainly chosing this because I feel design work is growing rapidly in the digital side of things and it makes sense to go that way. 

So I guess my question is what should I do from here? I could just apply for jobs anyway and see what happens. Or I could bide my time and learn more, but I feel that it would be good to go somewhere I can work with people with more experience. 

Any suggestions would be welcome.


— Helen

Expert answers

James Robinson 's reply:

Hi Helen

Lots of questions within that question – but I'll try and and answer the main thread.

It sounds as though you could be following your perception of the (job) market, rather than what it is that you really want to do. You shouldn't feel that you need to commit to something due to a perceived growing trend (digital) – after all, you state that writing code doesn't come easily to you.

May be another way to look at this situation is as follows… For a digital job, we usually have a distinct division of labour / responsibilities: being that a designer will design 'pixel perfect' templates in collaboration with the client. A programmer / developer will then take the approved templates and in effect code them to be a live / working site. The main advantage is that a designer is not designing to the limits of their coding skills, nor is a coder expected to be a great designer.

Perhaps as it still early days since you re-trained that you should look for another position elsewhere, which gives you the opportunity to develop your designer skills further, as opposed to your current screen based tasks. You'll then be more informed to consider which direction you want to go.



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