When 'web design' began as a viable career, most of them were programmers with some artistic flair, because only they understood HTML, etc.
The advent of HTML designers, Shockwave (now Flash) saw the Photoshop set become the real designers, whilst programmers went back to real code. I know, because I saw the web go from text and the odd GIF, to what it is now, and I was one of those programmers who dabbled in web design. I can do complex web-based application software these days, but the arty side is not my forte though I try. :s3
So if you're a programmer, forget web design. If you're a digital artist with some good IT-type skills, then web design is for you. Keep in mind this segment of the IT job space is saturated because when the IT explosion happened, it seemed anybody and everybody was a 'web designer' so there are stacks of them out there. You'll need to be very good to stand out, so get yourself Photoshop/Paint Shop Pro and Macromedia Flash, and start learning now.
The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for a life. - Andrew Brown