How to be come a good 'level designer'.
Learn, observe, and practice. A lot.
Much like art, you need to know the fundamentals to really shine. Art fundamentals is a good place to start. Learn about lighting, color, etc. Next you want to learn about architecture. Try to dabble in all the aspects of it. This is vital as it teaches you how to make proper structures that every one is so familiar with. If not your structure doesn't look natural, and hence your map wont.
Now so far, you've been learning architecture, but also you've been making small assets for practice. Like a structure, a pillar, anything that interests you as you learn about architecture, you make it in an editor.
Learning modeling. Learn the basics. You do not need to be able to model characters, or weapons. This isn't the goal. You want to be able to model objects. Like a boulder, or a lamp. Maybe even structural elements, like pillars. Again, if you want to be pro, this is 100% needed.
Once you know how to model, you learn basic texture art. Learn how all this works, and even make a few examples.
Woah. This is already sounding like a lot of work for one person. Well yes, but keep in mind that you don't need to be an expert at all of them. But you do need to know the basics of each.
Don't make a level before you know all of this. Hone these skills first, and you'll be 100% better than any first time mapper with your first map.
Now once you learn how all this works, you need to learn how to make a fun level. This is the hardest part and there's only one way to learn it.
Make maps, all the time. Big, small, complex, simple. Make lots. Find out what makes them fun, and what makes the boring. Do not limit yourself to one game, or engine. Make a CS:S level, make a Crysis level, make a level for descent, quake, or any classics. Play these games too. Find but instead of playing them, pay attention to the level design. Learn what makes them fun, and what not.
TLDR: It's fucking hard, just like anything. It takes practice to be good, just like anything.
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