When choosing what hosting company you are going to use for your website there are some key things you need to take into account. One major factor is if you are going to want more than one domain name in the near future. For this reason it is better to look at small reseller packages, which will let you have multiple domain names, email accounts and databases. As a web designer it is a good assumption that you will be designing and coding some websites for friends and family, so having a reseller account works out much cheaper than buying individual hosting packages and allows you to cover your hosting with some freelance work.
So choosing a right type of hosting package is the first important thing along with the price. Compare how many domains, POP3 accounts, databases, online help, FTP accounts etc you get for the yearly fee. It is also a good idea to do some research into how reliable the company is, for example the company Fasthost have major adds in nearly all the web magazines and on the Internet but it is guaranteed your website will be down at some point during the week and cost you a fortune. A good place to look for a price comparison for hosting companies is in Web Designer magazine, which has a list of all the major hosting companies and what they offer.
Another thing you need to consider is the type of websites you will be hosting. For example if you are going to be doing a lot of Joomla! or WordPress sites then you will need databases and a larger amount of hosting space, and to get SEF urls working on your Joomla! website the hosting companies server will have to be Apache or offer support for an ISAPI rewrite on a IIS 6 server. For example Liquid Six hosting company use IIS 6 servers but do offer ISAPI rewrites for domains. Another hosting company Host Monster offer something called simple scripts which allows you to install Joomla! or WordPress with the click of a button onto your site, saving a lot of time uploading it through FTP.
So the main things to think about when getting your hosting is how many domains/sites you are likely to want over the next year and what type of site/sites are you going to have.