Hope someone can advise on what is the best way to get started in Web Design. I need a career change, and have decided to persue Web Design, I am very artistic i.e drawing, painting, computer graphics using Corel,Adobe in-design and just teaching myself Adobe CS2. I know very little about the industry, but am keen to learn, there seems a minefield of courses/qualifiaction which do not mean a lot to me! Can anyone advise on where to begin, would really appreciate any help/advice.
Work speaks louder than qualifications. Get yourself Frontpage 2003 and/or Net Objects Fusion 9 and get practising! Also do a lot of reading, such as the W3C tutorials. Understand the standards, too; accessiblity, etc. There is not much need to try to learn Dreamweaver unless you intend either to work for a company that uses it. I would advise working as a sole practitioner if you are willing and able to promote yourself and look for business.
If you have design talent, and are used to working with graphics/imaging software you have already crossed some of the bridges. Learn about server technologies, and look at as many sites as you can - see what appeals to you, and analyse why. Copy other peoples' ideas until you have plenty of your own - the internet is awash with design-plagiarism.
One way to success in today's web-design market is to specialise - find an area of design/development in which you feel comfortable, and develop your skill-set. Offer your services to other designers/developers on a freelance basis, and provided you do a good job you'll see your client network developing - people will pass your name around. Don't worry too much about formal qualifications - clients are far more interested in what you can do for them. Practice, and develop a portfolio - get a domain name and have it hosted, publish some examples of your work, and tell everyone you know to mention your name whenever the talk turns to web sites. You will not be an overnight success - it doesn't work that way - but if you're any good you'll definitely get work.