The average salary for a web designer is right around $50,000 a year. While this by all means a decent income, there are several factors that determine your exact salary when working as a web designer. If you're interested in going after the real money in web design, you'll need to work towards a job as a senior web designer. While there is quite a bit more technical work involved with this job, the pay can be exceptionally higher than a starting web designer. The average senior web designer salary is nearly $85,000 some may receive $100,000 yearly.
Education is the key. There are many ways to get the education and experience needed to become a professional web developer, designer. However, there are some basics that you must know in order to get a job so that you can gain the experience needed for more advanced jobs. Like with nearly every job in this day and age, your education has an enormous impact on the income you receive as a web designer or developer. Clearly, receiving your degree from an accredited, high-profile university will land you a higher income than a degree from a community college, but the number of degrees held in similar fields can also increase your pay as a web designer.
Web designers should focus their education on design - graphics and layout. Most companies hiring designers want people who are visually artistic. If you get educated in classical design techniques and skills and then learn how to apply them to Web pages you will stand out as a designer. Focus your education on design and less on building Web pages specifically. You have to study color theory and composition and get a degree in visual arts or visual design. The sad fact is that most Web designers have spent a lot more time learning HTML and how to use Dreamweaver than they have learning anything about white space and creating a user friendly design.
Universities and schools need to advance a passion for design in their students. Students should be encouraged to learn current design standards and paramount practices after class. This way, even if teachers are not up-to-date, the students will be. These know-how students could then go by on there knowledge by bringing up standards and best practices in class when critiquing designs, and naturally spreading the knowledge to teachers and students in the class.
Web Programmer Education. Most companies looking for Web designers will want to see a portfolio of sites that you've designed. Be sure to keep screen shots and color prints of the designs you've worked on - even if they were just class projects or sites you built for yourself. Try to have a diverse portfolio that shows more than just the front page of any site. Don't focus on any one programming language. Chances are, by the time you finish school that language will be old and something new might be "in". The most common languages used by corporations on the Web are: PHP, JSP, and ASP. PHP is popular with smaller companies, but has a lot of security issues.
Web programmers do best when they get a computer science degree. Web sites demand highly skilled computer science professionals. Web programmers focus on the behavior of Web sites - many companies don't hire Web programmers specifically, but rather software developers who are skilled at a specific programming language. Companies follow trends as much as any other business, and Web programmers need to be aware of what's new and not. Some good bets right now are: ASP, JSP, and Perl.