Many people enjoy drawing and designing both by hand or using design software. In some cases, hobby graphic designers can develop their skills and increase their marketability to become professional graphic designers.

Perhaps one of the most important steps in turning a graphic design side-job into a full-fledged career is education. The technical and technological aspects of graphic design are constantly changing. This continuing evolution forces graphic designers to keep up with trends and developments.

Building a portfolio of successful projects is one of the main steps individuals should take in order to move to the next level. After building a portfolio, many graphic designers find it helpful to pursue an undergraduate degree.

Moving from a part-time graphic design hobby to a career requires education and professional skill development. Many graphic designers tend to focus on one type of design such as internet advertising, email marketing, user interface or logo and branding design. Having a wide swath of skills and knowledge can be the best way to move from amateur to professional.

  1. Mobile Designer

    Enrolling in a bachelor’s degree program can be a great way to move toward a career as a web designer. Mobile designers work specifically with the graphic elements shown on a mobile device like a tablet or smartphone. Like other graphic design careers, this position requires continuing education and skill development in the technology and techniques used. Mobile designers can work for companies or as freelance contractors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies mobile design in the “specialized design services” category of the graphic design occupation. The average salary is $49,430.

  2. Email Marketing Designer

    Like mobile designers, email marketing designers focus their design skills on a specific format and medium. Email marketing is a growing field that emphasizes readability and advertising through newsletters and email advertisements. This position can either be considered a specialized design service or an advertising service depending on the client. Email marketing designers make an average of $47,070 to $49,430 a year.

  3. Branding Designer

    Marketing and design come together in the position of branding designer, individuals who work to create marketing materials that convey a continual “message” and recognizable brand identity. An entry-level branding designer makes an average salary of $47,070 a year.

  4. Information Architect

    Information architects use marketing analytics and design skills to advise and define content and design strategy for their clients. This career requires research skills and the ability to design and create interesting and engaging content and interface that encourages interaction. This position requires knowledge concerning wireframes, process maps and mock-ups that convey usability. The BLS reports that the average salary for an information architect is $100,240.

  5. User Interface Designer

    A user interface designer combines graphic design with computer science in order to create the “front-end” of a website, software or app. Generally, graphic designers can acquire a full-time, permanent position with a company after they have built a portfolio through freelance projects and have an educational background in subjects like web design, digital media and analytics. User interface design is considered to be in the web developer category by the BLS. The average pay for a computer systems design web developer is $67,960 a year.