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[web] Web Design salaries?

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Hi, I am still not sure what career to go into yet, but I like web design and was wondering if they made a decent amount. I know I want a job that has to do with what I like. but, if computer science pays a whole lot more, then I may look into that. Computer science has a lot more math involved, so that is one reason why I want to stay away from it if I can. But, I also want a nice solid, good paying job at the same time. And how is web design as a career? fun? Is freelance one of the better ways to go? Thanks for any information (tried searching google but nothing really came up)

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Webdesign is a touch career for most people (unless your name is Zeldman or something [wink]). Competition is abundant and the market isn't great. Also, many clients lack the technical knowledge to separate the crud (sloppy MS-Frontpage "designers") from real knowledgable designers. It's all about the clients. If you think you can find enough clients to make a living then it might be worthwhile though.

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I think these days you'd need to be able to get into things like Flash and server-side scripting to be able to stay above water. As Sander said, you'll find anyone and everyone designing webpages - it doesn't help with the WYSIWYG tools like Frontpage and Dreamweaver being popular, even worse - with CMS like phpNuke/etc it allows anyone to sit down and put a site together in 20 minutes.

In order to cut it as a career, I think you'll have to show some real innovation in your designs. The guy who created the Donnie Darko site has a rep for creating bizarre Flash-driven sites which aren't to everyone's tastes, but he's made a very good living off it and snagged some high profile clients. I guess he did things differently to the rest and got business because of it.

Perhaps as part of your 'study' for innovation, you could look into the mobile web portal - I can see that as being a major player in the upcoming years. We're faced with smaller screens and bandwidth, as well as a different access and navigation paradigm.

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Working on a freelance basis is hard. I do freelance stuff in my free time, but still do ordinary design work full time. Basically 50% of my job is php coding, 40% is xhtml / css / javascript, and the rest consists of various other programming tasks like shell scripting and the like. Most of my work goes into developing our CMS and templating systems.

Note: You will NEVER be able to work by yourself doing 'just' design or 'just' programming. You may be a brilliant programmer, but if you can't make a site that looks decent, you won't get a job. You may be a brilliant artist, but if you can't make a site that is search-engine friendly, highly usable, and have no programming knowledge, you're useless.

That being said, if you're decent, you can probably get a job with those basic skills that'll pay somewhere in the $30,000-$40,000 range to start, depending on locale and the company in question.

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Or simply do as I do: Get a regular job, get a contract for 26-36 hours a week but work 30-40 (so you can save up for extra days off). Do freelance webdevelopment in your free time / evenings and make some cash on the side from it. As you get more clients and experience, you can start cutting down on your regular job hours and spend more time being a webdesigner/developer. Use the extra days off to find and meet (prospecive) clients during regular woprking hours or spend them if you have a dedaline coming up. You can also team up with someone that does the same, preferabely someone with different skills than you (e.g, if you are good at programming, team up with an artist).

This is what I am doing at the moment. You'll soon find that getting clients is hard, but once you have one or two it'll keep you busy for a while. You can' t handle many clients anyway in part-time. Once you delivered the websites you'll get more exposure, word-of-mouth, etcetera going which can bring you new clients.

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