Note also that nowhere in this list do the words “Photoshop,” “Illustrator,” “Dreamweaver,” or “Fireworks” appear. As I and others have observed plenty of times before, tools do not make a designer. Anyone can learn to use Fireworks or Dreamweaver in an hour or less, but nobody can be a competent Web designer unless they possess a foundation in the things listed above. Choose your own tools and learn to use them, but don’t let the tools define your abilities; tools won’t create a place for you in the profession.
If there is one thing that I can stress to new designers, it is the point above. Tools do not make you a web designer. Owning a copy of Dreamweaver and having all of P7’s extensions do not make you a designer. And I will add in that designations do not make you a designer. I’ve seen some piss-poor designers boast that they are “this designation” or “that designation”. Their portfolios literally looked as if they had never read a single book or even article on what good design is all about, nor had any instruction at all on basic design principles. Yeah there are good “(insert your ego designation of choice)” designers, I just have seen far more really horrible wankers.
One thing that new designers also need to understand, and it is brought out in Andy’s post, especially if they go solo, is all the business aspects of being a designer. it will bite you unless you understand that you are not just going to be designing web sites. You are going to be going out and talking to people, selling yourself, and then delivering the product as well. And following up after the sale. Things that successful businesses do every day. It will be most of your time suck. And then you also have to be the bill collector. That is a part of the job that really sucks. You have to be everyone in the big company, all rolled into one. Try being remarkable at all of that.
What other advice can you add that is not covered by Andy’s post?