Top Tips From Design Experts on Starting a Web Design Career

A new class of Startup Institute grads is freshly graduated and ready to venture into new roles at dynamic tech companies in Chicago, New York, and Boston. We had a super-strong group in our web design program, and we're excited to see the remarkable impacts they make on the companies they join. Many of these emerging designers have accepted new jobs already, moving on to design for companies such as Booster, Intrepid, and Janeiro Digital, and some start their new jobs as early as this week.

In honor of these new beginnings, we asked some of our design instructors to share their top tips for new web designers and their first month in a new role. Here's what they had to say:[bctt tweet="Top Tips From Expert Designers on Starting a #WebDesign Career #careeradvice"]

How to start your career as a web designer:

Get on base—

Listen and learn.

Every job is different and what may have worked (design/dev processes) at your last job, or on your contract/freelance gig may not work as well at your new place of employment.

Learn from your co-workers, but also do your best to contribute whenever possible. Rarely does anyone expect a new hire to come in and immediately hit a home run, so don't succumb to that sort of pressure.

Instead, listen, learn, and find ways to get "on base" in your first month. If you can do that, you're following along with this strangely placed baseball metaphor quite well and helping your team in the process.

Scott O'Hara, UX developer at Fresh Tilled Soil;

[bctt tweet="New to #webdesign? Listen, learn, and get #onbase, says @scottohara"]

Seek mentorship—

Identify the person whose job you'd like to have someday. Take them out for coffee or a beer, and find out how they got there. People will talk about themselves all day.

David Delmar, Founder and Executive Director at Resilient Coders

For tips on building mentor relationships, read 6 Hacks for Attracting Life-Changing Mentors

[bctt tweet="Identify the person whose job you'd like to have + pick their brain, says @delmarsenties"]

Make feedback irrelevant—

When someone gives you feedback, work hard to make sure nobody has to ever give you that feedback again. I've found this to be an easy internal barometer to whether or not my design work is stagnating. If you're getting similar feedback, you're not paying enough attention to details and making your reviewers or peers have to remind you of those details.

Marco Morales, Designer at edX

[bctt tweet="Work hard to make #design feedback irrelevant, says @marcotuts"]

Keep on keeping on—

It's okay to be scared. You will be overwhelmed. You're going to feel like an imposter. You'll feel like you have no authority speaking up. But, keep going. Despite the fears and constant worry, you'll get to a place where you don't feel so lost anymore. And, you'll look back and laugh at how much you freaked out about being such a newbie.

Amélie Lamont, Product Designer at VenueBook;

[bctt tweet="Successful #designers have to persevere through #impostersyndrome, says @amelielamont"]

Put yourself out there—

Don't be afraid to ask as many questions as possible. Web design can be overwhelmingly complex at times with the sheer amount of tools you interact with on a daily basis, but once you understand the workflow it all gets better. You need to be willing to put yourself out there, though.

Lucas Mosele, Front-End Designer at Maxwell Health;

[bctt tweet="New web designers need to be willing to ask countless questions, says @l_mosele"]

Just start—

I've seen a few designers who have trouble getting started. My best advice to them is to just start sketching their ideas down on paper. Sketch and then sketch again. It doesn't need to be perfect, and it can help you get past the road block of getting started.

—Lara Cavezza, Front-End Designer at Startup Institute

[bctt tweet="New to #webdesign? Just start sketching, says @larcavezz"]

Best of luck to our web design course graduates! Go forth to build user-friendly products and websites.