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Thread: Is the Web-Site Design Industry Dead?

  1. #1
    Thinker.... samsonknight's Avatar
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    Is the Web-Site Design Industry Dead?

    Hi,

    I am a 17 year old student, who web-design's at night. I am totally self-taught.

    I live in London and recently I was doing some research on how much companies are willing to pay web designers yearly to build and maintain their website. Over here they are willing to pay around 20-30k a year, which in brittish pounds is **** compared to other areas of the IT industry such as programming (who in turn get paid over 50k+) depending on the company you work with. And if your a freelancer (like myself), it tends to be even worst because of the competition of jobs that is being fought over by numerous designers, which in turn is only made worst by companies who are not willing to pay you a decent amount for the job you do as most are willing to spend around 100-500 pounds max on a site for the job you do - no matter how good it is.

    This is a problem for me and many others because it means I havent got a stable income and I dont know when my next job will be and how good the pay will be.

    Why is this industry so unstable?
    To answer this question, I came up with the following conclusions:

    1. Is it because web-designing has just simply become easier due to the ready made web design software thats on the market i.e. dreamweaver, and so businesses just tend to create a web site by themselves as its cheaper.

    2. Could it because there are just too many web designers in this industry and not that much demand?

    Web-Design is a passion for me , and if this industry was much more stable , I would have pursued it as a career...but as it is not, I will pursue a career into my dream industry programming...the same industry that is killing this industry by developing software that will make web designing easier for EVERYONE.

    Thanks for reading, and I will be looking forward to your replies.
    http://www.samsonknightdesign.com

  2. #2
    Lunch is for wimps. erova's Avatar
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    no offense samson but i think your experiences as a 17 year old student doing some freelance gigs skews your perception on the web site design industry as a whole, and as a result is a tad narrow.

    speaking from the perspective of someone who has a daily 40 hour a week job who has to hire contractors/employees and as someone juggling five clients on the side, i don't the industry is dead at all; in fact, i think it's starting to mature and grow.

    yes, the fly-by-night shops who could ink a lousy deal coupled with a lousy product are gone, but they should never have been in the game in the first place.

    and software is such a miniscule part of running a successful web design business or the ability to generate new business.

    in time you may very well realize that, if you stick with the industry, clients frequently will come to you looking for your work not based on how cool you make an alpha tween, but because you give them fair and honest service, which has very little to do with Flash 5 or Flash MX 2004 the Final Frontier.

  3. #3
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    You are only 17. Don't expect at that age that you are going to be a superstar designer and that you are going to pull in big jobs all the time. I hate to be honest but companies will look at you as nothing, regardless of your talent, because age is a big barrier and they don't see someone of your age to be able to handle project development, flow, and general management very well. Why do the big companies succeed? Talent is part of it, but the majority of it goes towards how to deal with and approach a project, algorithms, etc. They don't just sit down in photoshop one night and just bang out a website in a couple hours. I think this is an aspect that you haven't grasped yet.

    The design industry isn't dead.

  4. #4
    An Inconvenient Serving Size hurricaneone's Avatar
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    I've heard this argument before, that software is so easy to use that anyone can do a site and it's killing the market for pro-designers.

    Don't you believe it, my English friend. Look at it this way. Pretty much everyone can use a pen and a piece of paper, or even, heaven forbid, a word processsing app. But is everyone vying for #1 in the NYTimes best-seller list? Of course not, 'cause despite the ease of use, the tools do not write the book - and neither do they create the website. The people do, and the people who can make a decent site are in as limited supply as they have ever been.
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  5. #5
    poet and narcisist argonauta's Avatar
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    evryone can learn how to ride a bike. Easy, it's about balance, losing fear and there, ready, you ride a bike now. Only a few can do those amazing stunts you see on the X-games. Some cause they practice a lot, others cause they got lots of talent.

    The problem with web design is that it is so polluted by amateurs that learn some HTML and there "i know webdesign" (i'm not talking bout you dude, just in case, cause i don't think age has something to do with talent or knowledge), so most firms thinks it's easy, just get frontpage and design a site. There's more to it, color theory, knowing a little bit bout resolution, browsers, basic design, etc. As a matter of fact, a lot of people don't have any taste, so they think designing a site is making BIG red buttons with an orange background and grey letters, and lots of GIF animations. You know, there's a lot of firms not willing to pay for good webdesign, and hire someone for 300USD or some inhouse IT person that knows a lot bout programming but nothing bout design. Those eventually see that it's not working, and eventually come and hire a design firm to "correct" what thet did wrong. So, my truth is: web design is not dead, there's a lot of competition, but you gotta be patient and you gotta be good and you'll see you'll get lots of jobs.
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  6. #6
    poet and narcisist argonauta's Avatar
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    Originally posted by daninko
    You are only 17. Don't expect at that age that you are going to be a superstar designer and that you are going to pull in big jobs all the time. I hate to be honest but companies will look at you as nothing, regardless of your talent, because age is a big barrier and they don't see someone of your age to be able to handle project development, flow, and general management very well.
    i don't believe that. I'm 23, but i really look like 16. There's two phrases i hear from every person, no exception: "you don't like like a latin, it's impossible you're 23". So, i just can't wear suits cause i look like a baby . Anyway, I know i can't cause a good impressions in terms of image, i can't present me as a big executive salesman, Master experienced designer, or whatever. So I take advantage of my limitations. Me looking so young, helps me a lot in gaining the trust of my clients, cause i present a fresh innovative young image. It's a matter of how you work with your image. There are limitations, yes, for example, you can't raise your prices too much, cause there they are going to think: "you're too young to charge 12000 USD", but you can still get good contracts being young.

    As an annecdote, i just came from some meetings, a client introduced me to the regional manager of their firm,. He said he needs a presentation for tomorrow, he has a conference, and asked me if i can have it by 2pm. My answer: "it all depends. If i get up early tomorrow, then i'll have it done." he just hired me
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  7. #7
    Thinker.... samsonknight's Avatar
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    Yeah I totally agree with daninko who said that as I am 17 they see me as nothing...which is true, because in the past I have been given opportunities to design web sites for companies , but yet because of my age they try to pay me **** money like 100 pounds per site despite the complexity of it, saying that they were underpaying me cos of the simple fact that I havent got a degree in web design...its a pain but I have to live with it - I have had my projects (which tended to be much more better then the original site) scrapped due to arguments over decent pay.

    Argonauta, yeah I totally agree, but I dont think companies care especially the smaller ones, because I guess they see it as.....yes I got a web site. It wasnt time consuming to make and more importantly cheap and efficent at giving the company message. I do however believe the bigger company with money would be more likely to employ designers, but then again they would be likely to employ a established web design firm then a freelancer.

    I still have a lot to learn and would liek to learn more about this situation, and will be looking forward to your opinions.

    Thanks for your time.
    http://www.samsonknightdesign.com

  8. #8
    tell me, is this sellable..... OddDog's Avatar
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    Why is this industry so unstable?
    you answer your own question

    I am a 17 year old student, who web-design's at night. I am totally self-taught

  9. #9
    A very senior man mrpauly99's Avatar
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    i think its true that dreamweaver has made things so much easier (damn!) for people to knock out websites with a lot of companies doing it in house now but theres still room for all kinds of designers. admittedly at 17 you may not have the experience in the industry but i dont think a good designer has to be a certain age. im sure theres plenty of fresh and innovative ideas coming from younger people, probably more so that from people who have been in the industry for years and are running out of inspiration. im in the uk myself so i know how things are over here but good luck mate, keep going im rooting for u.

  10. #10
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    The market is far from dead, the market for crap quality produce is pretty much dead but clients still want a quality product at a competitive price.

    I would hazard the suggestion that it's now time web developers all over the world got a bit more reallistic about the market, the client expectations and their own wage packets.

    The days of being able to claim £40-80/hr for html design skills are long gone but it strikes me that some people still feel this should be the norm.

    Were I a prospective client and somebody quoted me £40/hr for work and I found out that to all intents and purposes their skill set is not specialist in terms of requiring a vocational qualification (eg. an engineer would have an engineering degree) and could be self taught, working from home in their spare time.

    What additional qualifications would you have for this £40/hr? Client Management/Account management skills gained in a corporate or business environment? Accounting skills? Sales Skills?

    The point I'm perhaps labouring to make is that for a long time I felt web developers were overpaid but I think it's now simply got to the point where the clients now realise this and know full well that market rates have fallen and should take every possible advantage of this competitive industry.

    Of course the top designers will still earn top whack, it's the same in any industry.

    I know (and I mean no offence here) that if I were a client looking for a web developer I would need some serious convincing to hire a 17 year old developer (although that said, I know there are some superb ones out there).

    The key these days is marrying value for the client with a strong sales pitch highlighting how you are the best for their project, why your quote should be accepted (ROI, exceeding KPI's such as search engine results, traffic etc etc).

    A strong sales pitch is a strong sales pitch, most clients will recognise this in any market.
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  11. #11
    FK's Woman Chess Grand Master Seldudet's Avatar
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    Actually you are quite wrong about other IT people like programmers over here, earning £50k+. That's a load of rubbish, unless you're a senior guy who's seriously seriously amazing. You check IT Week or PC Pro Magazines and you'll see what I'm talking about. There are companies there asking for someone with 7yrs+ experience,Masters or at least Bachelors degree, must know C++, SQL, Java, Visual Basic etc etc all together, and then offering em £28k-£33k. It's not the webdesigning market, it's the whole IT sector which is bad. I reckon it's cuz today EVERYONE goes and gets a Computer Science/Computing degree from a run of the mill university. Everyone knows this stuff. Demand and Supply....well we have excess supply in the webdesigning sector and whole IT field! Check the Yellow Pages for Webdesigning firms in your area, it's pretty sickening...there's competition and then there's being so totally overwhelmed that you get winded. But hey, if you love it, like you couldn't live without it, then it's worth a go. I mean £25-30k is well well above the poverty line, actually I think an average worker in Britain makes about £26k/yr anyway. Since you shouldn't be doing this for the money, but for the passion, you should be okay
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  12. #12
    Lunch is for wimps. erova's Avatar
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    let's also keep in mind though that the money is usually found in different pockets of the industry.

    the biggest dollars aren't going to be found in small design shops--the loot goes to the people working in the IT/Communication departments of established or solidly funded corporations, or freelance consultants.

    and then on top of that, those companies usually require solid communication skills, marketing and project management skills, all of which are not usually fully developed by people still in college or high school.

    it's not age-bias at all--this industry is a whole helluva lot more complex than how well you know your photoshop or flash, with a premium placed on services and skills that you just don't learn in a classroom or sitting in front of a monitor after you've done your calculus homework.

  13. #13
    Thinker.... samsonknight's Avatar
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    yeah i totally understand, I just wrote the thread to see what you more experience people have to say...As for the programming issue, well I was on some UK based internet job site, and I saw quiet a few jobs that required programmers...and were willing to pay like 50k+, are my eyes decieving me? And Odddog in response to your own point, well there is some truth into that...But there are also other 17 year olds or less that program in many of the hardcore languages; like I knew one that was doing Java and he was 15!

    I have heard that the Cisco based networking industry is where a lot of money is? Is there any truth into this?
    http://www.samsonknightdesign.com

  14. #14
    FK's Woman Chess Grand Master Seldudet's Avatar
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    yes your eyes were decieving you...the dotcom bubble crashed a few yrs ago now

    Examples:
    Damn I'm not learning C++ etc for up to 24k LOL



    30k MAX for Visual C++ and degree etc. Lol I'm not going to uni to make peanuts

    These aren't so bad, there are worse if you carry on looking in sites

    There are some decent ones, but you really gotta be the best to do it, not just be in it for the money or you'll burn.
    Last edited by Seldudet; 09-03-2003 at 12:26 PM.
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  15. #15
    Thinker.... samsonknight's Avatar
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    I have had a passion for computers from a very young age...started programming when I was 13...and so can easily adapt to any area.

    I just want to be paid well for the work I do and so before its too late , I would like to know which field in computing is best to work in pay wise, as I want to live comftably if you know what I mean. Because some aspects of computers are hard, especially programming, and to be paid 24k is rediculous for all the logic and hard work people put into it.

    I want to make the right choice while I am young as I still have time to decide my future.
    Last edited by samsonknight; 09-03-2003 at 12:41 PM.
    http://www.samsonknightdesign.com

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    ...the same industry that is killing this industry by developing software that will make web designing easier for EVERYONE.
    Industry doesn't exist to serve itself. It exists to serve the consumer. As soon is it stops doing that, it should die.

    Have you ever heard of an ice harvester? Before there was refrigeration, ice harvesters gathered large blocks of ice from higher elevations and sold it to the townspeople. I'm sure they complained that refrigeration was "ruining their industry," but aren't you glad that it did?

    The same industry that made web designing easier for everyone also made it easier for you. It also made it possible for you to own a computer and all of the technology you use for web design.

    The interesting thing about the ice harvesters is that they were replaced by large ice factories, which were in turn replaced by refrigeration for the masses. Neither the lone ice harvester nor the factory owners had the foresight to see the change coming, so they were made extinct by the new technology.

    Technology always produces changes, and even more so in the information age. Don't be one of those that complains because things aren't staying the same. Look for new opportunities in the midst of the change.

  17. #17
    Lunch is for wimps. erova's Avatar
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    hell, don't say the software makes it easier for your competition to enter the market, think of it that you can finish three jobs for three clients in the time it would have taken you to complete one job.

  18. #18
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    I dont konw about the Brit's, or anywhere else for that matter, but in the US, 85% of all IT guys (or gals) are working in a deli or Home Depot making a third of what they used to, not becuase they arent good, or even great, but because of the flooded industry.

    Same is true in design. The design industry is just the opposite of dead, it is on a major up-turn (world-wide) because as the flood receeds and the crap washes away, the clients will hire the better quality designers to redesign the crap they over paid for when Mr. Wanna-be-designer learned frontpage. It isnt about the tools you use, (see my footer), it is about the talent behind the tools!

    All industries go through cycles where they are flooded by people who think they can get rich quick (dot com in 90's, IT in late 90's, etc.) when the market is flooded and all the 17 year old passionate people are scared they won't have a future they need to press on and follow their passions. They (you and I) are the ones who stand up after the flood and all the crappy workers go to the Home Depot.

    Keep working and playing and don't worry about getting rich and hone in on your skills and network your ass off - the more people you konw the more people know you.

    I work full time as a designer for a small studio and it is growing like crazy, 4 new people in the past 6 weeks. As a freelancer, when I want work I go out to get it and don't expect to buy a new porsche with the $ but instead get a chance to try something I might not be able to do between 9 and 5 and meet some new clients and get introduced to a new industry and the more clients I make happy now the more clients I will have when I am ready to go and do my own studio.

    stick in there, have some tea and play cricket or something!

  19. #19
    >| Insert Random Quote Here|< Flash Kev's Avatar
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    Originally posted by steveguberman

    stick in there, have some tea and play cricket or something!
    Grrr I hate that sterotype, i bet you think we al have posh voice "old chap" or we are from london "sound geezar" and buses are all red.

  20. #20
    FK's Woman Chess Grand Master Seldudet's Avatar
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    stick in there, have some tea and play cricket or something!
    I despise that quote also, it disappoints me that the yankeedoodles still think of us like that, but you guys well...your policemen always seems to be just a little overweight and eating s like chief wiggum in the simspons!

    Now for that game of cricket....
    Last edited by Seldudet; 09-03-2003 at 08:51 PM.
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