Making a web site pretty is just the start ...
I have been a web designer/developer since EARLY on. Posted my first web page to the internet in 1992. In general I agree with the separation between developer and designer... think backend vs frontend. But making something pretty is only the beginning of the web design. To be really good? You need to know more than a little about Information Management practice (what goes where and more importantly, why?) Human/Computer Interaction (what are the most common expectations and challenges our user face? how do they deal with them?), and to get deep into it you will study Cognitive Psychololgy (what is the role and use for color and shape in visual interaction? what about visually impaired users? [sec 508 compliance] and Cultural Cognitive Anthropology (how did your users' cultures shape their expectations about information and how it is presented - - localization and internationalization). Skilled graphic artisans are needed, but skilled graphic artisans with a foundation in Art, Art History, and Art Theory are as hen's teeth and paid handsomely. There is one org I know of that tries to address this and more ... formerly the World Organization of Webmaster, now: World Organization of WebProfessonals. http://www.webprofessionals.org.
Short version: the days of a bit of code knowledge to build html/dhtml site, a bit graphics and the basics of site navigation / site management are GONE. We have become highly skilled, well paid, well educated professionals.
Welcome to the fold!:cool:
Making a web site work ...
True skilled developers are highly employable. To me as a project lead and system architect I look for people who have indepth knowledge of at least one programming language and a solid working skill with related frameworks. For example: Java using J2EE or C,C+, C# using .Net. Building site functionality, effective functionality requires a firm grasp of OOA, OOD, OOP (Object Oriented Analysis, Design, and Programming). There is more than one way to 'skin a cat' but which way is flexible, scalable, maintainable? Calling a database for data is easy, but what techniques support tracability and scalability? You need a solid grounding in process, too. Agile, RAD, Iterative Waterfall, etc. You will need to know/learn how to plan, build and test effective services from a Use Case, and in many cases how to write a Use Case, tied to a Requirement. Which of course means you need to know/learn Requirement Management, Code Management (Source Safe, CVS, etc).
Try this analogy (very loose). When you build a car one team researches, designs, and builds the body and interior - - the designers. Another team researches, designs and builds the rest, engine, transmission, braking system, etc. -- the engineers (developers).
Each has its virtue, each is a skill. Corporate employers tend to concentrate on recruiting developers, too often with the belief developers are designers. IT Service companies look for both - - most of the really effective corporate web sites (e-com) are build by IT Svc companies ... very few corporations, not specifically in the IT business, build their own sites.
So how to start? Intern at a IT service or software house. Take the entry level job at either - - work crazy hours, LEARN. The upward curve in compensation is quick as your skills increase. Find a mentor - - then LISTEN and LEARN.
To quote an old sales axiom: "The only place Success comes before Work is in the dictionary."