It doesn’t take long for your skill set to become outdated in the ever-evolving world of web design. Whether you freelance or work for a design company, you need to stay on top of the changes in order to create the best possible websites for clients.
Thanks to the open nature of the Internet, you can brush up on your web design skills whenever time permits. Top colleges, industry experts and fellow designers offer both free and paid course options to help you stay ahead of the competition and make every project amazing.
From quick refresher courses to complete certificate programs, these learning options are offered entirely free of charge.
Videos and Podcasts
A quick search of YouTube, iTunes or any Android podcast app reveals a wealth of design-related content. Step-by-step video tutorials offer information to expand your knowledge in any design discipline. Regularly updated audio content helps you stay on top of industry trends so that you know where to focus your educational efforts.
Web Design Blogs
Designer and developer blogs like Smashing Magazine, Web Design Tuts+ and Six Revisions provide continuing sources of up-to-date information for both laymen and professionals. Reading posts from these blogs is a great way to brush up on your knowledge if you’re tight on time.
Just about every industry leader is sharing pertinent information on Twitter and Facebook. Fill your feeds with the best of the best so that you never miss an update. For more in-depth interaction, join design forums where you can pick the brains of others in the field and add your own expertise to the discussion.
Boasting a catalog of free courses in everything from website building and HTML to Python and Ruby on Rails,Codecademy is an invaluable resource for your design career. A library of articles and glossaries provides support as you make your way through your chosen courses.
Coursera partners with universities to offer high quality online courses for free. Check out their Computer Science category to brush up on programming, development or design. You’ll get peer assessments from a community of fellow students and the option to receive a certificate at the end of each course.
If you want to go more in-depth with your web design education, many websites and institutions offer complete certificate and degree programs that can be followed from the comfort of your home.
An affiliate of LinkedIn, Lynda.com offers hundreds of video courses on topics that include web development and design. New courses are posted every week, and unlimited access lets you work at your own pace. You can try the platform for free for ten days before deciding between the basic and premium plans for $24.99 per month or $34.99 per month, respectively.
Over 1,000 videos presented by experts in coding and other web design disciplines are available from Team Treehouse. Learning works in a step-by-step process that involves watching videos and applying your newfound knowledge through quizzes and “Code Challenges.” A basic account at $25 per month grants access to helpful forums, and $49 per month for pro adds bonus content, including workshops headed up by industry leaders.
Chock full of both free and paid courses and tutorials, Udemy is the place to go if there’s a specific subject you’d like to brush up on. Click on each course for a quick video overview and a list of the topics covered.
Online Degree Programs
Many colleges and universities now offer full certificate and degree programs online. Find an accredited school that meets your needs, and you’ll have access to the same high-quality education as students who attend on campus. Improving your credentials increases your earning power and gives you more credibility as a designer.
Offline Degree Programs
If you want to experience campus life as well as get a great qualification in some kind of creative technology there are also a new breed of degree programs offered by institutions such as Media Design School in Auckland, New Zealand. They accept students from all over the world, have an enviable reputation for producing graduates who go on to work in some of the best known studios (including Sir Peter Jacksons Weta Workshop which is in New Zealand). They offer a range of degree programs including Graphic Design, Game Art and Development and Interactive Design and App Development. Worth checking out.
You can access these online learning resources to enhance your web design skills any time you wish. Consider continuing education an investment in your career, and make a little time each day to catch up on what’s going on in the industry. Doing so allows you to keep working competitively in the design industry as the landscape of development and design continues to change.