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Professional Web Designer’s Roadmap – Killersites Web Design Magazine

Professional Web Designer’s Roadmap

The skills of a professional web designer are constantly changing because the Web is constantly changing.

This fast-paced nature of the Web is considered good by some (because it opens up opportunity) while others hate it because you have to be ready to learn new web design skills regularly.

… Personally, I see it as an opportunity with a headache!


The following list details what you CURRENTLY need to know to be become a professional web designer.

Basic elements of the Web:

  • Domain names
  • Hosting
  • FTP and HTTP

Web design skills


  • The core tags
  • Basic HTML concepts – properly formatted tags, doctypes etc.
  • What tags to NOT use.
  • HTML tables
  • HTML forms
  • Proper page and web site structure


  • The core CSS properties – margins, floats, padding, z-index …etc.
  • Basic CSS principles
    • Adding CSS to pages.
    • The cascade in CSS
    • CSS page layout
    • Getting around CSS cross browser conflicts – IE conditional comments
    • Understanding CSS limitations

Misc. Skills

  • Basic design principles – white space, fonts, alignment
  • Image types used on the Web (JPG, GIF, PNG). The pro’s and cons’.
  • Basic image editing/creation for the websites – sizes and optimization. Photoshop is a good place to start.
  • Web site usability – how to make websites more user friendly.
  • SEO – making websites more search engine friendly.
  • Basic PHP
  • Basic Javascript – Jquery
  • Web design software: Dreamweaver or Expression Web .
  • Understand the web design work flow.

Optional Skills

  • Flash for Web animation and web application development.
  • Get to know a blog or CMS engine. For example: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla.

I will be fleshing this list out with podcasts and videos over the next little while.

Thanks for reading!

Stefan Mischook

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20 responses to “Professional Web Designer’s Roadmap”

  1. Hi Stefan, This is exactly what I am looking; my website is parked for a year. I am working on it now, and you bring a very interesting subject. I will follow up.



  2. Thank you for putting this in writing for us. I am a web designer, fan of your site and video trainings, keep up the good work, it is well appreciated.

  3. I am raghavendra (Fine Art students) I want to become a Web designer,
    But I don’t have any basic knowledge about web designing so what should
    I do .. please give me a suggestion.

  4. thanks again stef, right on the dollar!
    Just wondering why they don’t teach this in web design school!

  5. Stefan this is good information that I’m sure others just starting out will appreciate. I’m not sure I would have ventured into web design if I had read the skill set you clearly identified here 🙂 but it is definitely a helpful article and it gives realistic expectations IMHO.

    Perhaps if I can add to your Roadmap one more point that is important and often difficult to handle… that is Client communication skills. It’s all well and good to learn web design but being able to communicate to the client is also fundamentally required. To get the information we need in order to successfully design a site for someone else can be a challenging marathon of email and phone calls that no innocent should be allowed to experience without fair warning – challenging is the polite adjective!

    There are of course different dynamics involved in dealing with small businesses versus clients with an HR and Purchasing department but your Roadmap addresses the typical client when web designers first start out. I like it!

  6. I would add to that list.

    Basic knowledge of web marketing techniques.
    Basic knowledge of social media platforms.