The Non-Technical Skills Needed to be a Web Designer

5 non-technical skills that no web design should be without

Book of job skills
Many of the skills you need as a web design are not in any book.

Success as a web designer requires mastery of a number of technical skills, including an understanding of HTML, CSS, responsive design, SEO, and more. In addition to these technical skills, however, there are also a host of non-technical skills that must be in the toolbox of any successful web professional.

While there are plenty of web design books, articles, and courses that focus on the technical needs of the profession, there are very few resources that address these non-technical requirements.

  To that end, here are some of the most important non-technical skills that you should work to add to your own skillset if you hope to succeed in the web design industry.

Customer Service

Whether you work as a freelancer, for an agency, or as an in-house resource at a company, your job will require you to work with people as much as with pixels and code. Being adept at working with these people, especially the clients who have hired you (or the departments you are working with if you are an in-house resource), is essential for long term success.

Great customer service keeps clients happy and coming back in the future when they need additional work. Since existing clients are often best source of new business, impressing them with great service makes sound business sense.
Those happy clients are also a great source for referrals, another wonderful source of new business for you.

For these business development reasons alone, it is very important to make customer service and client communication a key component in your skillset and to work to build positive long term client relationships.

Time Management

Time is money in web design. As such, being able to effectively manage your time is another key non-technical skill you must master.

Effective time management means being able to use the time you have to spend on projects wisely, of course, but it also means being able to balance your time inside and outside of the office.

Maintaining a positive work/life balance is important to your long term health and your effectiveness as a web professional.

Sales

Sales skills get a bad rap when it comes to web design, but make no mistakes – if you work as a web designer, you need solid sales skills.

Web designers must be able to sell themselves and their company to prospective new clients. Whether they are viewing your portfolio or sitting across the table from you in an interview for a position or project, you need to sell yourself and your skills to win that job.

Sales skills are also critical when it comes to selling your ideas to existing clients in a design presentation. You may not consider these presentations selling opportunities, but they are. Solid sales skills allow you to identify the challenges your clients face so you can present them with solutions to meet those challenges (this is what sales really is when it is done right).

Writing

Sharing your ideas and experiences through a blog or some other kind of writing is a great way to contribute to the web design community as whole. So many of the advances that this industry has seen have been because a web professional came up with a new solution and decided to share it with others.

Those ideas are then improved upon and advanced, making them even better and stronger than before.

Writing is also a wonderful way for you to work out some ideas that may need some additional thought or to come up with better ways to present concepts to others, including your clients. Many of the web design articles that I have written over the years have been the direct result of conversations I have had with clients and my attempt to best respond to their questions or concerns.

Mentoring

As you advance in your web design career and gain more experience, you are likely to encounter opportunities to mentor and teach newer web professionals. These may be opportunities to lead a web design team in a management position or they could be formal web design teaching positions at an educational institution.

Either way, these are chances that you should strongly consider if you hope to continue growing in your career.

From my own perspective, teaching web design has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my career, and it has actually opened the doors to other exciting opportunities as well – like writing for About.com!

In Closing

The list of skills presented here are not the only that will benefit you as a web professional, but they are skills that I have found particularly helpful in my own career.  Depending on your career needs, there will certainly be additional skills, both technical and non-technical that you will need, but the ones listed here should benefit you no matter which course your career moves in.