Six certifications to boost your web design skills
Posted on
March 28, 2016
Web design can be a valuable and lucrative IT skill.

In 2016, it's essentially impossible to have a business of any sort and not have a website. For many if not most consumers, a website serves as the primary means by which they gather information and make buying decisions about a business and its products. As a result, it's never been more important to have a website that is aesthetically and functionally pleasing.

That's one reason that "web design" is an increasingly prominent domain of IT that more and more people are paying attention to. Let's examine what web design is and look at some of the essential certifications that an aspiring web design professional needs in order to enter this long-established field.

What is Web Design?

Web design encompasses all of the components of producing and maintaining websites, including (but not limited to) interface design, user experience design, search engine optimization, and web graphic design.

Because web design encompasses everything involved in planning, producing, and updating websites, it has both technical and visual components. The technical component involves programming the front-end of the website and writing the "mark-up" code. The visual component involves incorporating classical aspects of design such as coloring, balance, the use of icons, and many visual elements.

To be successful, web designers generally need a solid grasp of web programming languages, an understanding of the main web design applications, and good creative skills. Additionally, web designers ought to have exceptional problem-solving skills, the ability to keep pace with changes in software and technology, and strong verbal and written communication skills.

Because web design is so broad, professionals in the field generally specialize in particular aspects of web design. There are a large number of web design jobs available. Some of the more well-known include SEO specialists, graphic designers, sever managers, and user experience professionals.

With widespread acceptance of the need to have an attractive and user-friendly website, job prospects for certified web designers are excellent — according to, salaries for web design professionals are 15 percent above the national average in the United States.

Web Design certification

As in other IT realms, there are numerous certifications available to those looking to acquire or refine web design skills. Here are some of the core certifications useful to an aspiring web design professional as they get started in the field:

Adobe Certified Expert (ACE)

Adobe is a global leader in graphic design and interactive web development tools. Their products have become a staple in web design and as a result, becoming Adobe certified is an excellent way of signaling one's competency and knowledge in web design to employers.

Adobe offers certifications for specific Adobe products such as Dreamweaver and Photoshop, as well as specialist tracks that test for a broader competency in the various sub disciplines of web design. Specialist tracks include Web Specialist, Design Specialist, and Rich Internet Application specialist certifications with each category having a total of three to four required exams.

Adobe certifications are widely recognized throughout the Industry. Additionally, exams are reasonably priced and are valid for two years until recertification is required.

Microsoft Developer Certifications: MTA & MCSD

Microsoft Developer credentials are both useful and sought after in the industry. There are two primary credentials, one at the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) level, and one at the Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) level.

The MTA: HTML5 App Development Fundamentals credential is an introductory certification covering all of the fundamental skills, tools, and knowledge needed to program websites in HTML5, the most widely used programming language in web design.

The MCSD: Web Applications certification is a much more in-depth and comprehensive credential. It certifies specialized knowledge in planning, building, and maintaining complex web applications. The MTA HTML5 costs $115 USD to take while the MCSD costs roughly $150 USD and requires re-certification every two years.

W3 HTML5 Developer Certificate

The W3 HTML5 Developer Certificate is a widely recognized credential that demonstrates skills and aptitude in writing HTML5, XHTML, and CSS. Many aspiring web design professionals obtain the W3 HTML5 Developer Certificate as their first web design credential, as it tests the fundamental knowledge that is absolutely necessary to advance to more complex and specialized fields of web design.

The test costs only $95 USD to take and the W3 Schools website offers plenty in terms of free study material to help you succeed. W3 offers other useful web design certifications in CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery among others as well.

CIW Web Design Specialist Certificate

CIW is a reputable web technology education and certification provider that offers recognized accreditation in virtually all aspects of web design and development.

Web design can be a valuable and lucrative IT skill.

The CIW Web Design Specialist Certificate develops and demonstrates competency in the major aspects of web design. The skills it tests for include all web development essentials (site development process, customer expectations, and so forth), web design elements (user experience, website usability, etc.), a variety of popular website production tools such as Dreamweaver and Microsoft Expression Web, various scripting languages such as CSS and XML, and a variety of web technologies including HTML, GUI site development applications, and server-side technologies.

The CIW Web Design Specialist Certificate is excellent for demonstrating a deep and broad understanding of the elements of proper web design.

Udemy Certified Web Developer Certificate

Udemy is a leading online educational provider offering coursework and credentials across a wide variety of IT sub disciplines.

Udemy's Certified Web Developer Certificate includes instruction from LearnToProgram Media and demonstrates aptitude in the major languages used in web design programming, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP.

The course includes 12 hours of instructional videos and over 184 lectures that prepare you for the certification exam, making it an exceptionally accessible option for people just starting out in web design. The course is reasonably priced at $199 USD and the certification exam costs $59 USD.

A reliably employable skill set

Web design is a dynamic and evolving field with excellent job prospects in a wide variety of engaging capacities. As functional and aesthetically pleasing web design becomes continues to be a major element of business development across all sectors of the economy, job prospects for web design professionals are likely to remain strong.

Taking the time to get certified in this domain will differentiate you and demonstrate that you have the skills and knowledge to deliver exceptional web design.

About the Author

Nenad Dumanovic is the founder and principal of Impressify, a PR company that specializes in delivering PR, content marketing, and business writing services for startups, entrepreneurs, and not-for-profits. He is the editor-in-chief of Konstantine News, a digital politics magazine launching in April 2016.

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