Being a web designer can be a fulfilling career and one that requires a diverse array of skills. But if you’re interested in expanding the scope of your work, there are plenty of other jobs that can benefit from your many talents. Coding and computer skills are in especially high demand, as any job search will reveal. Here are 4 great ways you can share you talents and foster vital skills in others.
Teach Digital Immigrants
As technology has become more pervasive, two terms have emerged. Digital natives, who are younger individuals who have grown up using computers and other high tech devices; and digital immigrants/older individuals who have faced a steep learning curve, with computers landing in their laps well into adulthood. The web design world consists almost exclusively of digital natives, but you know how computers work better than most, and you’re in the unique position to teach digital immigrants how to navigate this brave new world of technology.
What’s more, by teaching basic computer skills to older users, you can learn valuable things about how these web users think and work. This will allow you to design websites adapted to older users. Your design clients will be pleased that you’ve had this inside look into the minds of digital immigrants and those you teach will be pleasantly surprised when they encounter a website built with them in mind.
Teach Young Coders
Recently, President Obama committed $4 billion to bring computer science to American schools. This is just one of numerous public commitments to teach coding to even the youngest students, and you can be part of this move. Do a little research into the various programs developed to teach coding to children and advertise your services.
With younger children you can introduce specialized apps that make coding more intuitive, while older kids and teenagers can be introduced to more traditional coding languages. You could be the one who introduces coding to the next great mind in computer science.
Leverage Your Artistic Side
When people talk about the difference between graphic design and web design, the function of art may be the most important difference. As a web designer, while your visual art skills are important, they come second to the functional aspects of the site. As a graphic designer, however, you get to put the art first. If you’d like to spend more time using your artistic skills, you might consider freelancing as a graphic designer.
Graphic designers work for a wide range of companies – they make advertisements and pamphlets, work in publishing, and design company logos. You might even find a place for your skills in concept development for products or TV art direction. We live in a world where visual content is always in demand, so you should have no problem finding a job where your art skills are appreciated.
Hang Out Behind The Scenes
If graphic design sounds like the opposite of where you want to take your web design skills, then you might be tempted by the position of web master. Web masters are the behind the scenes talent that keep everything running. You’ll use your coding skills, do a little bit of design, and troubleshoot hardware. You may even stick a toe into the marketing side of things, depending on the company.
The web master is the person expected to fix things when a website crashes, who does the redesign when the company’s aesthetic changes, and who navigates problems with different operating systems and databases. It’s not a low stress job, but it will test your skills – and sometimes your patience.
Build Skills, Share Skills
With so many skills at your disposal, web designers are well positioned to pursue a range of alternative careers and odd jobs. If you’re struggling to decide what other roles may be calling, try charting your skills and seeing which ones are your favorites or where you have the most expertise. Then, bill yourself as an enthusiastic expert – everyone wants to hire someone who both deeply understands and deeply loves what they do.