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Job Demand of a Site Designer

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You can think of a site designer as a high-level Web developer. Often, they have been or are currently involved in Web development. Therefore, the availability of site designer positions is not as plentiful as those ofWeb developers. Even so, a visit to an Internet job site turned up over 11,000 job openings in the United States. Of course, this need will increase as more companies take their business online.

A particularly lucrative niche for site designers is in the small office/home office (SOHO) market. These are small businesses that cannot afford the time or expense of creating their own site in house and must enlist the help of a Web design consultant. These projects are typically small Web sites that provide information and some minor e-commerce functions.

On the flip side, being able to translate the business needs of a client into technical solutions that the Web development team can use is challenging as well. Again, this requires the knowledge of both sides to effectively communicate these issues back and forth.

With the increased demand for site designers, some community colleges may have Web development programs as well as many continuing education schools, technical schools, and universities. For certifications, you'll find a few options listed in the "Courses and Certifications" section later in this chapter. Of course, having the education, knowledge, and training is essential for this position, however, ultimately, it's all of these factors combined with experience in Web development that gets you a site designer position. As suggested for Web developers, for those who do not have the benefit of a job placement program, it is recommended that you create a personal Web site that showcases your abilities. Many ISPs, like America Online (AOL) and Earthlink, offer their members personal Web site space as part of their service agreement. This Web site space provides you with the ability to create an "online portfolio" of sorts that will give a potential employer a good idea of what your skills as a site designer are.

Training Options and Resources

Because of the intangible qualities of a skilled site designer, the training and certifications available to potential site designers is even further limited than those for Web developers. The only way to become qualified as a site designer is by spending a lot of time and gaining experience developing Web sites. However, there are a few certification options that can be sought after.

Courses and Certifications

Even though certification options for site designers are somewhat limited today, do not expect this to be the case in the near future. Microsoft and Prosoft both offer site designer certifications that have become very well known to potential employers. Look for many other vendors ofWeb oriented products to release their own product specific certifications as well as other vendor neutral companies, such as iGeneration or CompTIA, to create valuable certifications for this career path.

Careers in Internet Technologies and Web Design

The Internet is a valuable tool when searching for this information-try searching by using the keywords "site design" to see what you come up with.The following list contains a couple of certification options:
  • Microsoft Certified Professional + Site Builder (MCP+SB)-This certification tests a candidate's abilities to engineer, deploy, and administer Web sites using various Microsoft products. Successful candidates must pass tests on FrontPage 2000, Visual InterDev, and Site Sever Commerce Edition. In addition, candidates must attain MCP+I (Internet) status before attaining MCP+SB status. The MCP+I process involves passing tests in TCP/IP, Internet Information Server (IIS) 4.0, and either Windows 98 or Windows NT. For more information, visit

  • Prosoft Master CIW Site Designer-This vendor neutral certification requires successful candidates to pass a Site Designer exam and an E-commerce Developer exam. Additionally, candidates must have passed the Foundations exam (outlined earlier in this chapter) in order to qualify for the Master Site Designer certification. For more information, visit certifications/ciw_mcd.asp.
Online Training

Because of the multifaceted nature of being a site designer, online study options are a bit limited compared to those available to Web developers. Many of the online schools listed in the "Web Developer" section also offer courses in site design. Some additions to that list are as follows:
  • Proflex CIWTmitiing ( site is dedicated to Web paced training for the Master CIW Site Designer certification.

  • Web Monkey ( site has some nice tutorials on the basics of site design, even though it is listed as a Web developer's resource.
Additional Resources

The following sections outline some of the most commonly used terminology for site designers and also provide some additional print and online resources.

Site Design Jargon Buster

The field of site design is complete with its own laundry list of terms. Fortunately, many of them are useful terms and not just acronyms.
  • Generation Web sites-These Web sites are purely informational and do not incorporate many of the graphical or functionality technologies available.

  • 2nd Generation Web sites-These Web sites focus on a more commerce related approach. Often they incorporate more technology and functionality, which adds to the sales approach. Five areas that have been added to these sites are interactivity, e-commerce capability, dynamically generated Web pages, database connectivity, and Web site analysis.

  • 3rd Generation Web sites-These sites take second generation Web sites and add elements that are not purely functional, but provide users with a more visually engaging experience. Often, these sites use themes and metaphors to attain a user's attention.

  • World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)-This not-for-profit organization is responsible for reviewing new Internet technologies for standardization. Although many companies develop new technologies for the Internet, only those that are approved by the W3C are considered standards that should be supported by other Internet technologies. You can visit its Web site at

  • Deprecation-Deprecation applies to technologies, especially HTML tags that are being pushed aside for better options. These technologies are not necessarily unusable, but it is recommended that you use newer standards.

  • Inverted Pyramid Layout-This describes the standard layout of most Web sites. It illustrates the technique of providing an entry point to all of the information available on a Web site with very little summary or description of the various topics. As users travel down into the site, they find greater amounts of data on a particular topic. This technique can be found in most newspapers.

  • Usability-This refers to the ability of users on your site to efficiently navigate your site and find the information they are looking for. Usability comes into play with navigation, design, and organization of the site. A particularly new front in this arena, established by the W3C, is extending usability to users with disabilities.

  • Navigation-One of the most overlooked areas ofWeb design is the ability of users to traverse a site to find the information they are looking for. There are many techniques and technologies available to accomplish this task.

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