If a career as a web designer sounds appealing to you, you may be curious exactly what you should do to become qualified for the job. Tech has the reputation as being the type of career you can enter without a degree, and while that can be true, it doesn't always make sense to try to kick off your career this way. An investment in a degree pays dividends on your future employability and income.
Finish Your Degree
Stories abound of people being hired for high-paying jobs at big-name companies with no college degree. While that can happen, the likelihood is low. By not having a college degree at all, you put yourself in a difficult spot to even get an interview. Individuals who find employment without a degree are often on their second or third job and can show through their job experience that they know what they are doing. The other option is that they have a contact in the company who helps them arrange an initial screening.
A problem with trying to find employment without a college degree is that there are often filters in place that will discard your resume and application if you do not have a degree listed. This is an automated process, meaning you will not even get the opportunity to showcase your skills because an actual human will never see your work. While a degree is important, it does not have to be in computer science, math, or software engineering. Having a bachelor's, along with strong coding skills, is often enough to get your foot in the door, and your resume past automated screeners.
If you have not finished your degree, that should be your first step in gaining employment in the tech industry. Even if you think it is too late and your unrelated degree path will be useless, finish your coursework. Apply for a private student loan, they make it easy to borrow money to pay for your education, and they make a great choice for borrowers with good credit. This is a smart choice, as someone working in the tech industry is unlikely to qualify for any sort of loan forgiveness through the federal government.
Strong Coding Skills are a Must
A degree is not enough to gain employment in the tech industry. Even if your degree is in a related field, you should still expect to show off your coding skills as part of the interview process. This type of test environment can be very stressful, so it makes sense to practice before you even begin the interview process. There are many free sites on the internet that allow you to complete coding challenges.
A Portfolio Shows Your Strengths
Nothing replaces a strong portfolio. While your education and coding skills are important, being able to pull up a website of your design, that you handled from sketch through going live, shows that you understand all parts of the development process. It doesn't have to be fancy, but it should be clean, intuitive, load quickly, and provide relevant information to keep visitors on the site longer. If you have completed projects for friends, non-profits, or as part of school assignments, include links to these sites as well.