I hear many hopeful web designers explain that if they had better tools they’d be able to create better work. Andy Rutledge’s great article The Employable Web Designer debunks this and provides a great list of skills one really requires if they want to succeed in website design.
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 you’re wanting to become a web designer it’s a must read. In fact if you’re wanting to hire a web designer it’s also a good read. Web design requires a broad range of skills, that if the designer doesn’t possess reduces your chances of a successful website.