Since mooonths I've stopped posting, why? Getting certified! I did the adobe certification in an Adobe authorized training center, if you want to do the same you can chek on adobe's website the nearest school, BUT it will cots you more than another simple training.
So, today I would like to talk about how to become a web designer, the first thing is "what does a webdesigner do?"
We can separate in 3 different classifications:
1. The DESIGNER: who really designs the pages.
2. The web STANDARD: who's going to cut this design and do the html/css code.
3.The web developper: who's going to make codes as php and asp.
But if you do all the 3, you're a webmaster.
OK NICE! So I want to be guy who CREATES, you're going to need:
Lots of creativity and knows a lot about graphic design, that means, who to use colors, fonts, photos and make things attractive.
Instead of this you need to have these skills:
Photoshop (the god of photoshop)
Fireworks (it's a mix of photoshop and illustrators BUT it's all focused in webdesing, you can do an entire website in fireworks without to know a line of html or css)
Some countries still use COREL (maybe you've never heard)
Flash (with or without actionscript, doing banners can be your job too)
Basically is this, but it's really better if you know a lot about photography and video too, Illustrator and some 3D tool as Blender can be useful too.
If your wish is to do this job first advice: GOOD LUCK!
As being a graphic designer today (or a photographer what's worst) you're going to have thousand of good ( and maybe million of bad) people who do the same, maybe because it's nice and easy doing this kind of work, what does the difference:
Your portfolio and a big skill of selling your banana.
If you want to do the web standard you'll need to know:
Photoshop and Fireworks( you just need to know how to cut designs)
Dreamweaver (just how to do the html and css code more quickly, add some jscript code and work with templates)
Html (more you know better you're going to be, if you know Dhtml, Xhtml and the new HTML5, THE DIVA OF HTML!)
Actionscript 2.0 or 3 (the bases, if you're going to work with flash, how to link pages make movieclips...)
Cms (wordpress, joomla...)
And be the master of the GODs in CSS, why? Because you're going to be 90% of the day doing css codes.
The web developper is the one who has the most difficult job and need to have good skills in:
Html/css (the base to understand how the page was made at leeeast)
SQL(Mysql for example)
Xml (and sometime xslt)
Php (better have object oriented)
ASP :-/ some people still insist
Cms ( the bases of wordpress, joomla)
Jscript (and jquery!)
Actionscript 3 if you're working with flash
Some agencies asks also for drupal, ruby on rails, flex, silverlight...
For the 3 I think that's good to know the standards of the web, that's means how to do pages that are pratical and light. If you're going to do all the job that means you shoul learn ALL. That doesn't means that you need to be the master of all this, ask me "why?"
Because in an agency it works like this:
Someone of the marketing (sometimes with the designer) sells a website. Then they plan how it's going to look like and the navigation, the tools it's going to have and all the project. Ok, that guy most of time knows what is what but don't really know how to do a **** in webdesign. So the designer (who the other two really hate) will do a design, for example, on internet 7 fonts are safe (that means if you put another one maybe the visitor of the website is going to see something else, imagine you're entire site in "comic") and for sure this guy will choose another font because he finds its better (never ask a designer why he choose a font, he's going to talk hours of bullshit) this is just an example of the kind of problems an agency have, so ok, design is ready then it goes to - webstandard.
Webstandard has to transform a drawing in a web page, and he's going to have to make changes just because the way the designer did is really not pratical and light, this happens because the designer don't know nothing about codes...
So these 2 fight and give the website without programmation to the webdevelopper, who's going to make the site completely dynamic, and what happens? Design will change again because dynamic pages should be a little bit more flexible, and the designer didn't imagined this, and the standard neither because they don't really know how to code, and the app that the client asked is sometimes impossible to do...
So the programmer will take the mistakes of all 3 before him, and usually it's going to be him who will upload on the sever.
So what happen if you do all alone? You're going to imagine a website, since the begining, very pratical, simple, light, useful, and that's going to be easier for doing each step, that means a design for web or A REAL WEB DESIGNer. Are you scared about learning all this? Dont worry it's easy, it will just take some time.
Ok first: Learn about design for web, theory(how to use colors, fonts, make things attractives) and pratical (screens resolutions, pixels, tools...), how to use photoshop and fireworks, dont need to be the master, but just have good taste, if you take some intensive lessons during one month you're done.
Learn Html/css, the cms (like wordpress) if you work alone you can do more impressive works more easy. At same time learn the bases of dreamweaver(it will help you to understant html and css too)
If you want to work with flash, learn the bases of flash, as3 and xml (enough for doing a site or a banner)
Then learn sql( how to use data bases) and the bases of programming (logic)
So you can learn the bases of php(and asp if you see that clients ask to), as3 and jscript.
Then you can learn how to use dreamweaver for doing dynamic sites working with databases.
When you arrive here you can be a webdesigner, a real one, because you know about colors, pictures and codes. You're not goint to do a page with a light gray font and white background, what web developpers love to do.
So you can continue with ajax, html5 or dhtml, flex and silverlight.
If you like to design, go further with 3D: blender, cinema 4D, 3DS max and wirefusion (some people say that is going to be the future of internet, as for tv and cinema, they just forget that today websites are seem on mobile phones until tvs, how they gonna handle this with 3D), and be a good photgrapher and film maker (aftereffects, final cut or premiere) because videos are very important in internet today.
If you want to program you need: Object oriented, with php, c sharp, python, learn codeigniter, ruby on rails, sencha touch and phonegap(with this one don^t need to learn how to do an app with each mobile os language) but then you're not really a web designer, but more a programmer(and you earn more too).
Most of web designers of today came from graphic design, marketing, visual arts - these people do beautiful sites. Some of the web designers came from IT schools - and those do useful (and most of time the ugliest) websites.
So I'm jus waiting the day that webdesigners are going to be webdesigners since the begining (there are some and they do a really better job)
What you should remember is that in this area things change quickly, flash was on the top one day, 10 years ago css didnt exist, we used tables, asp is desappearing, adobe wants to control the world and hackers have diploms, so, you must learn everytime, do lessons, buy books, go to conferences...
Some jobs offers ask everything (all this ***** languages and tools) for a webdesigner (and more 10 years of experience) don't worry, customers are everywhere and if you want to be a freelancer just have to learn a bit about business, and anyway send your cv, the worst thing you're going to receive is a NO. Hope this is going to help! See you! (As the other posts I did it on my mobile phone, sorry for mistakes and all the mess in the post, if you don't agree with me comment please!)