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What software do I need to become a web designer

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Last response: in Work & Education
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October 13, 2009 3:28:30 AM

I would like to become a free lance web developer. what software would be best to learn?

More about : software web designer

December 17, 2009 9:31:41 AM

Dreamweaver is among the best, and learning actual HTML/XML/CSS code is a must.

Try to find a colourcoded text editor like skite.

Other things worth knowing about will be javascript, and flash.
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December 17, 2009 10:54:56 AM

I'd strongly recommend you actually get some proper training first - this isn't as easy at it seems.

There's a lot you need to know about the technical underside of how this all works, where things have come from and where they're going. You'd need at least some basic understanding of HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) which in itself can be a Masters-level degree.

Then there's the visual design side to consider as well although that's down to having an eye for design and talent, not something that can necessarily be taught.

And then when you have all this underlying knowledge only then should you really get into the specific languages and tools to create for the web: XHTML, CSS, JavaScript with W3C and WAI compliance at a minimum, but that restricts you to being purely a front-end developer. You should also look into server-side programming too, but there's a lot out there: PHP, ASP, .NET, ColdFusion, JSP, Perl, SQL, etc., etc. And then there's Flash, Silverlight, Java for multimedia.

And even after all that, if you want to freelance then you need to have some kind of business acumen too to make sure you survive and don't get shafted.

This isn't something you can just go "well I know HTML so I can do web sites now". If you want to get into this industry then do it properly and get trained and get smart so you stand out amongst the thousands of people who all said "I would like to become a free lance web developer. what software would be best to learn?".
December 17, 2009 11:02:19 AM

You seem to interchange the phrase "web designer" and "web developer". I would say they're typically very different roles.

If you're a designer you're typically involved in the front-end visual elements. This may or may not include client-side programming (in which case some JavaScript libraries such as jQuery would be worth learning). This also may or may not include usability and navigational analysis/design. This also may or may not include considerations for accessiblity laws in your area.

If you're a designer then the Adobe Creative Suite is one of the best investments you can make. Photoshop, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, etc.

If you're a developer you're typically involved in the back-end elements. This normally involves languages such as PHP or JSP, or technologies such as .NET or ASP. This may or may not include database design and development but will normally include data access technologies of some kind (even if you're not actually in charge of implementing them).

If you're a developer then you'll need development tools for whatever technology you want to work with. This might include versions of Visual Studio or SQL Server for deployment to Windows servers. This will probably include the requirement to stage up applications either on your own systems, or somewhere rented. This'll depend on the technologies you're capable in but will mean some sort of web server (IIS/Apache, plus modules you need, etc).

[Edit: LePhuronn mentioned most of this above]
December 17, 2009 11:10:50 AM

I guess because I've spent many, many years trying to convince people that I'm a developer I slip up and keep interchanging the two.

What I will say though is you really don't want to be a web designer because nobody likes them! Web designers, in my experience, have no concept of the technical underpinnings of the web and the restraints it places on what can and cannot be done. As a result they sit there in Photoshop and Illustrator creating beautiful designs that are entirely unusable as an actual web site and then bitch about not expressing contemporary design and techie nerds who "just don't get it" when you point things out to them, which in turn pisses off management because the wonderful imagery that they're convinced will skyrocket the company can't be used and the techies are the ones to blame.

Clients are stupid. Period.

The best designer is somebody with technical knowledge too who will express their creativity within the (admittedly dwindling) restraints the web imposes, and a lot of these people I know call themselves developers because they do more than design.

Still, that's just my corner of teh intarwebz
December 17, 2009 11:18:30 AM

LePhuronn said:
I guess because I've spent many, many years trying to convince people that I'm a developer I slip up and keep interchanging the two.

What I will say though is you really don't want to be a web designer because nobody likes them! Web designers, in my experience, have no concept of the technical underpinnings of the web and the restraints it places on what can and cannot be done. As a result they sit there in Photoshop and Illustrator creating beautiful designs that are entirely unusable as an actual web site and then bitch about not expressing contemporary design and techie nerds who "just don't get it" when you point things out to them, which in turn pisses off management because the wonderful imagery that they're convinced will skyrocket the company can't be used and the techies are the ones to blame.

Clients are stupid. Period.

The best designer is somebody with technical knowledge too who will express their creativity within the (admittedly dwindling) restraints the web imposes, and a lot of these people I know call themselves developers because they do more than design.

Still, that's just my corner of teh intarwebz


I concur wholeheartedly. My response was to the original poster. But by the time I'd gone through the toms hardware signup routine it appeared after yours.

Trust me, I know a number of people that've gone down this route. Their nature is either design or development. Once you couple that with the strain of running a business (sales, accounting, account management, etc) the other element tends to suffer. You won't have time to learn the other element. Not to any great degree. If you can afford it you may want to look at subcontracting the development (say) to a third party you trust. I know a lot of smaller development and design companies band together, helping each other out with services and to increase their manpower at meetings.

It's very rare these days that you get a site that doesn't require any development and, unless you plan on writing middleware or web services, virtually nothing that doesn't require any design. Concentrate on making your BUSINESS a success and doing whichever you find comes naturally. If you're lucky enough to have feet in both camps, good for you, but I think you might struggle.

Craig.
March 8, 2010 9:30:43 AM

HTML, CSS, PHP, ASP.net, Flash, java, java script and lots of experiance. and so many other things.
March 8, 2010 2:08:16 PM

Well, if you want to become a web developer you need to know the basics of the web, and how you can use dynamic languages to manipulate them. A web developer is not the same as a web designer, but having some of the skills of a web designer, or at least understanding them, will help you work together with web designers on projects. Now then first of all you need to know the basics of programming, focus on clean code, and understand the benefits of Object Oriented programming.

At the very least you must learn HTML/XHTML and CSS since that is what you will use to present the data generated by your code. Learning XHTML (it's not hard, it logic, really..., please be logical if I someday have to work on your code) will also help as you start developing more advanced web software. From there you can focus on some dynamic language such as PHP, ASP, Pearl, Java, Flash, Ruby, or even Groovy. Personally I think it would be best for you to start off learning PHP and MySQL because it easy, hosts that support it are cheap, and they can complement other languages.

As for software you need an IDE to program in. Dreamweaver shines here, but as a Freelancer you may not be able to afford a copy of CS 4 ^_^. If you're running Windows you can try Blue Fish (which is free) as an editor

http://bluefish.openoffice.nl/

There are of course some others if you search the web. If you're using Linux there are a few more free alternatives, often included with the Distro, such as screem (yes that's the way it's spelled). I also find Kdevelop very useful for managing PHP and Javascript code, but anyway, the best way to learn is by doing so get to it. As you get more into it you can focus on either the backend or the frontend of things, and as you become a better programmer you will see why the separation is important.
December 28, 2012 9:01:44 AM

Hello, You need photoshop software if you have just started
January 2, 2013 10:15:41 PM

LePhuronn said:
I guess because I've spent many, many years trying to convince people that I'm a developer I slip up and keep interchanging the two.

What I will say though is you really don't want to be a web designer because nobody likes them! Web designers, in my experience, have no concept of the technical underpinnings of the web and the restraints it places on what can and cannot be done. As a result they sit there in Photoshop and Illustrator creating beautiful designs that are entirely unusable as an actual web site and then bitch about not expressing contemporary design and techie nerds who "just don't get it" when you point things out to them, which in turn pisses off management because the wonderful imagery that they're convinced will skyrocket the company can't be used and the techies are the ones to blame.

Clients are stupid. Period.

The best designer is somebody with technical knowledge too who will express their creativity within the (admittedly dwindling) restraints the web imposes, and a lot of these people I know call themselves developers because they do more than design.

Still, that's just my corner of teh intarwebz


Just wanted to chime in, I agree with your view on your comment about designers and how they are hated (sometimes deservingly so), but I think your complaint is more about "designers" than "web designers".

The problem is that there's a ton of designers out there like to claim they're "web designers" and they're not. Photoshopping and making pretty designs with images and type is unspecialized as far as skills go and a dime-a-dozen, but "web" means you must have some technical knowledge about the web along with design skills.

Just my opinion: to be a true "web designer" you must know a minimum of HTML and CSS and be able to code it without a WYSIWYG otherwise you're just a "Designer" and nothing more. Throw in some light PHP and basic javascript and you've certainly earned the title "web designer" and might be pushing the definition of "front-end web designer". One can't properly design for the web unless they know the basics of the technology used to build it, so that they're aware of limitations and web standards. Developing goes even further into the programming and technical side, but a lot of really good web designers are hybrids.

Unfortunately I've run into tons of design school douchebags who call themselves "web designers" who are anything but and they have been the bane of my existence. On the bright side, most employers where I live/work have caught on and a technical test for HTML/CSS is standard along with a job interview to filter the poseurs from the riff-raff (sadly my employer doesn't seem to think that vetting skills is important so I have to work with the said douchebags).
August 5, 2013 11:10:15 PM

jitesharora said:
Hello, You need photoshop software if you have just started


yes you are right..start learn with HTML, CSS and JAVA Script. its basic things learn for designing. then start photoshop.
you can do it yourself in your spare time or trying it at work.
!