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  1. #51
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    I actually think most people here are more or less on the same page ... IMO, the ones who say it's a "joke", myself included, are talking about all the "WYSIWYG Warriors" out there who have no idea how to tweak HTML, fix a minor scripting error, code a simple DB Connection and Results page, etc ... these people are just going to see demand and payment for their "services" keep dropping.

    For more serious and competent developers, webdev is not a joke, however, it will continue to be a challenge to adapt to our quick changing environment. This is where a solid understanding of business and the "art of the sale" is crucial for success. So instead of hoping for the big site payoff of 30K, you are able to sell a "service" for 5K to 10 or 20 businesses.

    Therefore, it's not about letting software get you rich quick or even understanding everything there is to know about your profession/technology, it's about understanding HOW your profession fits into the marketplace, HOW other professions/businesses "need" your profession/skills to further themselves, and HOW you are going to let these businesses know that you are the one they need to get there.

  2. #52
    SitePoint Evangelist jimday1982's Avatar
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    This thread has just warranted the pursuit of a marketing degree.
    Jimmy Day
    Senior Systems Analyst
    Piedmont Healthcare Corporation

  3. #53
    Non-Member mmi's Avatar
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    Unhappy I could accept being a lousy businessman myself if the quality weren't so widespread

    I interviewed for a job two days ago - advertised as "marketing - website" - turns out they want to hire an experienced e-commerce developer to build an auction site - they also need someone to back up the sales staff answering phones, etc - they'd like to combine these responsibilities into one position - to me, this sounds like "half-time surgeon/half-time janitor" - does that make any sense?

    the interview didn't go very well - the president seemed disappointed that I'm not the person who built and administers Ebay - but here's what gets me - their .com site (the e-commerce would be a .net with the same "company name," again if that makes any sense - sounds like a good way to confuse the public) needs a LOT of work - poorly organized, loads of horrible writing, and it's all generated from, you guessed it, FrontPage - when ya mouse over the shopping cart icon (or many of the other image links) in Mozilla, ... they dispppear?! - "ya wanna buy somethin'? - SORRY!!" - is that what M$ means by "dynamicanimation"? - one of the docs I looked at declared HTML twice, had two BODYs and three HEADs - "I create in FP, then just open the page up and 'tweak it' - that way I work much faster"

    so I sent the "webmaster" about fifty bucks worth of edits and code adjustments as a demonstration of my ability to help him get the .com cleaned up - politely noted that rollovers and popups are easy-to-write scripts (otherwise I couldn't do 'em! ) - said I'd be flexible about working on a short-term basis - (geez, shouldn't they be contracting with a consultant at the $40-50/hr required to get the auction site up anyway, instead of placing someone on the permanent payroll??) - no response - not even an acknowledgement that they received the email

    when I was driving home from the interview, the phrase that came to mind was "the thin air of incompetence" - oh, did I mention I waited a good four or five minutes in the "showroom" before anyone came out to ask if I needed help?

  4. #54
    SitePoint Enthusiast kgish's Avatar
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    Well, we all know that 99.9% of Websites Are Obsolete. Actually this is good, because at least there is alot of work for us to do out there, keep busy, and make lots of money. Unfortunately, once in awhile you come across such amateur sites, but the trick is to know early enough when to drop it and look elsewhere.

    I do not want to sound overly critical, but having to provide so-called "free support" in order to prove your worth should have been a sign to run the other way as quickly as possible.
    Kiffin
    Your average future-famous kind of guy...

  5. #55
    SitePoint Enthusiast MonsterZero's Avatar
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    Well, full-time web design job search is over for me, at least for the near future. I have sent out about 50 applications for various jobs, mostly full-time, got only 1 interview (with Norvax). I can't continue doing this, my time is worth money even when I'm sitting at home collecting unemployment checks.

    Hell, as much as I like designing them web pages I don't want to be put in a position where I'm supposed to feel guilty of being just a lowly website designer. I won't be a freelancer either; I mean if I can get a full-time job (any job) I can try freelancing after work but not full-time freelancing. Having a real job where you're registered with a company, even if it's a job selling bicyckles is not the invention of a retard, unlike a freelancer you have a real job and you're elligible for health care and real unemployment aid-should you ever need those (god forbid). In a worst case scenario, you won't end up sleeping in a park or ruined by medical bills after a car crash.

    Web design has been a fun thing to explore but it just won't work for me at this time of my life.

    I wish you best of luck folks, you're a smart bunch and I hope you'll be able to extricate your butts from this mess. Man, what a mess. I have full-time programmer buddies who actually envy me because I got laid off first so at least I can put my past behind me and do something. They had built their lives around those 60K-80K salaries, bought homes and stuff and for the past 14 months they've been waiting for the call to the HR manager's office and the pink slip.

  6. #56
    SitePoint Enthusiast MonsterZero's Avatar
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    Cool

    Off Topic: did I tell anybody about my new broadband cable Internet access from AT&T?

    Woooo-hoooo.


  7. #57
    SitePoint Enthusiast MonsterZero's Avatar
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    I just remembered one more thing I've been thinking about.

    By the time I know all the things employers are requesting these days (advanced design/presentation skills AND advanced programming) I'd be retarded to work for a company and listen to their nerdy pep talk-doesn't matter what the state of the economy is.

    With skills like that, I can get as few or as many contracts as I want just by faxing my resume around the neighborhood. In addition, I can build a state of the art e-commerce website, import cheap but quality merchandise from Eastern/Central Europe (where I come from) and sell it online for 4 times the price.

  8. #58
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    MonsterZero, I totally agree with your opinion ... I am more of a self starter myself that is the way to go I think.

  9. #59
    SitePoint Addict elemental70's Avatar
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    I wonder what Brendon Sinclair would have to say on this? Anyone here got his kit yet? Mine's in the mail.....Cheers
    E

  10. #60
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonsterZero
    By the time I know all the things employers are requesting these days (advanced design/presentation skills AND advanced programming) I'd be retarded to work for a company and listen to their nerdy pep talk-doesn't matter what the state of the economy is.

    With skills like that, I can get as few or as many contracts as I want just by faxing my resume around the neighborhood. In addition, I can build a state of the art e-commerce website, import cheap but quality merchandise from Eastern/Central Europe (where I come from) and sell it online for 4 times the price.
    That's great, you must be a rich man!

    There are some realities that many people here seem to be dismissing:

    * Web Development / Design (and I mean anything that has to do with the public-facing web- not intranets/extranets/web applications) has a very low percieved value. Public Web sites are primarily marketing tools for companies, and while important, do not contain the direct revenue generation of a sellable app / service / product. Big companies know they got reamed on their Razorfish sites. Small companies often have zero marketing budget anyway.

    * Freelance is a dirty word. The word conjures up images of some scruffy photgrapher hiding out in J-Lo's driveway. Freelancers charging 25-50/hr for short projects have got their work cut out for them, chasing low dollar volumes. A thousand bucks here and there seems like a bunch of money, but try feeding a family on that.

    * Even developer / designers, even those with skills way beyond the Frontpage / Dreamweaver set, have got no guarantees. The fact is that most Web jobs are poorly defined, and poorly understood.

    You have to ask yourself what it is you're interested in doing. Do you like design? Then Web design is merely a *piece* of the skillset a top-notch designer should have. Enjoy programming? Get familiar with every language and system you can, because Web programming is not a field, it's just a *subset* of the much larger world of building software.

    It's not about 'Web' anymore. Career Software Engineers make web sites now- are you prepared to compete with them? Killer graphic designers transition to Web for a minute, using junior personnel to handle the HTML and stuff, and the next week they're making billboards or movie titles or whatever.

    I have worked as a 'freelancer' and as an FTE for a shop that makes web sites, and I can say, without a doubt, the 'Web Site Industry' does not exist. It's a loose collection of solo contractors and professionals with a couple employees battling against each other and the entire US software industry.

    If you are content working on low-end, low-visibility projects in your hometown and making a couple bucks at it, then hats off to you. But if you're looking to have a lifelong career, own a home or have children, you'll eventually need to become an expert at *something*, and be prepared to adapt to the rapidly changing demand for it.

    My guess is that many people here are young, and they have yet to aquire lifestyles which demand a real salary, so their measure of success is not on par with that of established professionals. If you want a semblance of security, work for a company as their web dev- you will get to use all your web skills to push beyond just the public-facing web, and that is a real asset to any company.
    Last edited by rolls707; Aug 8, 2003 at 13:49.

  11. #61
    SitePoint Co-founder Matt Mickiewicz's Avatar
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    It's not about building Websites, your skills, education or experience. It's about helping other businesses MAKE MONEY. Here's how you can get a great job in no time at all: http://www.tailored.com.au/getting-a-job.htm

    I love that article. So true!
    Matt Mickiewicz - Co-Founder
    SitePoint.com - Empowering Web Developers Since 1997
    Follow me on Twitter.

  12. #62
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    That article is OK- but it's obviously coming from a guy who's running a *very* small company, most likely *his* company.

  13. #63
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Mickiewicz
    It's not about building Websites, your skills, education or experience. It's about helping other businesses MAKE MONEY. Here's how you can get a great job in no time at all: http://www.tailored.com.au/getting-a-job.htm

    I love that article. So true!
    Good link Matt. I love Brendan's writing style

  14. #64
    Shiny Content! Pandrogas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucifer
    I agree with jazz. Who cares what the kid next door can do?
    Anyone dumb enough to put a major advertising tool into the hands of a kid or the secretary deserves all he gets.

    Need a new catalogue or magazine advertisement? Who needs marketing professionals? Get some kid to do it. Get another to do the signwriting on the window of your shop or do your income tax return. Getting married? You don't need a professional photographer. "Uncle Harry" can take a few snaps with his instamatic.
    Interesting sentiments. And not too far from what many companies are doing out there today.
    However, I do feel that the market is starting to shift again slightly,
    especially as companies have begun to realize one very important thing:
    You get what you pay for. If you payed $10.00, then that's what you'll get back.

    Though it is a buyers market, there are ways around it. Consistently reminding people of the above point helps.
    Also, establishing connections in your local area will help.

    Also, there was a case study recently about a company using refferals to boost business.
    I'm actually trying that advice out with a local database applications company and I hope it works out well,
    they certainly were very receptive to the idea.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I myself am a designer. Yes, I use Frontpage. Am I ashamed? Not really.
    I don't focus on the coding aspect as much as I focus on the Design of the page.
    I could care less about the code as long as I can read it.
    Though if I actually sit down and write a program, you bet your bottom dollar it will be neat.
    I'm not a CS major for nothing.

    Unfortunatly, the same advantages that allow me to do what I do, allow everyone to do what I do.
    Good thing I got some Photoshop skills eh? In any case, I do believe it will come down to the factors of: Who is better?
    The designer with 5+ years of experience? Or little Timmy down the street who just got a new computer and read a primer book at the library?
    And also, of course, the human factor.

    Best said as: "It's not who you know, it's who knows you."
    - From Secrets of The Wizard of Ads

    So yes, perhaps this whole profession is a joke.
    I get paid $10.00 an hour to freelance for a company.
    I think I can afford to laugh at myself for a little longer.

    Thanks,
    Matthew Gowdy
    Seer Interactive
    Matthew Gowdy---AKA---Pandrogas
    SeerNET: Various Geekery All Around

    Contact Information: E-Mail - AIM: Pandrogas

  15. #65
    SitePoint Wizard dethfire's Avatar
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    i think everyone here is forgeting that programming and designing jobs have no future in the US. Move to mexico, india and china.
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  16. #66
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dethfire
    i think everyone here is forgeting that programming and designing jobs have no future in the US. Move to mexico, india and china.
    Maybe for large, private enterprises. The small business will almost always go with a person or company that they have quick access too, and that usually means someone residing in their immediate area. Governments can't afford to let foreign programmers write their software for security reasons. And since many non-profits get a lower average quote than their private counterparts, in most cases outsourcing their software development wouldn't be very cost-efficient. It's a matter of finding niche markets and filling the gap, as Jeremy said earlier in this thread. The worst designers and programmers can still get a ton of work if they talk to enough of the right people.

  17. #67
    SitePoint Wizard Mike Borozdin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vgarcia
    Maybe for large, private enterprises. The small business will almost always go with a person or company that they have quick access too, and that usually means someone residing in their immediate area. Governments can't afford to let foreign programmers write their software for security reasons. And since many non-profits get a lower average quote than their private counterparts, in most cases outsourcing their software development wouldn't be very cost-efficient. It's a matter of finding niche markets and filling the gap, as Jeremy said earlier in this thread. The worst designers and programmers can still get a ton of work if they talk to enough of the right people.
    Well, well! I'm an outsources developer of a small company whose clients are mostly non-profits! They clinic, state courses and so on. And they pay me nearly nothing.

  18. #68
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mika
    Well, well! I'm an outsources developer of a small company whose clients are mostly non-profits! They clinic, state courses and so on. And they pay me nearly nothing.
    Is an American company outsourcing their jobs to you? If so, then my whole argument just went out the window .

  19. #69
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Wow, what an old thread.

    In the year or so since this thread first appeared my opinion of web design as a job as plummeted even further.

    1. Template sites are taking off left and right. You can get a really nice template for $50, and while its not unique the chances of anyone ever realizing that is slim to none. The quality of these designs are such that you'd likely be charged thousands by some businesses for them.

    2. There is an absolute glut of design supply out there. If you know where to look and don't mind not going with a local company/person you can get work done real cheap.

    3. Contests here or at places like DesignOutpost can get you a customized high quality design for about $150. These designs are top notch.

    4. I just saw on TV yesterday where some people living in the slums of Nairobi were learning how to design websites. Tell me any one in an industrialized country could compete with someone in a third-world country on price?

    All in all I see the cottage web design industry as doomed. In the future it will be dominated by large firms who will cater mostly to corporate clients that need alot of hand holding, automated site-building services that are growing more sophisticated every day, and general web development contractors.

    Thats what I more or less do now (when I rarely do work for people -- working for yourself just pays so much more). I act as a contractor for clients and just contract the work out to someone for cheap.

    When web design is a commodity, small design firms cannot survive.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  20. #70
    SitePoint Wizard Mike Borozdin's Avatar
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    It's an American company. We met on RentACoder, they told me that it was too expensive for them to have a full-time developer.

  21. #71
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    I agree with most everything aspen said. It's not looking good for the average freelance designer/coder nowadays.

  22. #72
    SitePoint Enthusiast webmonster's Avatar
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    Aspen makes some good points, but I still say there is a future in web desing/development. The trick is to not only create great designs, but to also offer web hosting and other things that can bring you steady income. I am currently working for a company 40 hours a week for my steady check cause I got a family to support and I cant afford to plunge right into my own business. I am however working on getting my own business up and going with a partner of mine. We are doing pretty good and have had a steady flow of jobs coming in without no advertising what-so-ever. Word of mouth is a wonderful thing!

    Something we recently started is a web service that offers custom website design, hosting, and use of our content management system for maintaining the site, all for one low monthly price. Once we are up and running with this service, we will have a steady flow of income coming in without doing any work for it, thus freeing up our time to quit our regular jobs and work on developing our own business. This is the plan anyway. I think we are off to a great start with our new service. We just launched about a month ago and already have 6 clients signed up.

    I would say we are going to need to get in the 50-60 client range before we can consider quitting our jobs, but I think 50 clients in the next year is an attainable goal for us. My fingers are crossed!

    So to summarize, I do think you can make money on your own as a web developer but as Aspen said, not on design skills alone. You need to bring steady cash flow by offering more than just design services.

  23. #73
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Jeremy W.'s Avatar
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    All aspen's saying is common sense: web design is being commoditized. In such a market skill is less important than in the past.

    There is still a lot of room for high-end services in such a market (networking is one of the most commoditized markets in the world, and there is a massive market for high end services), but most of the "lowest common denominator" areas will be taken over by the low-priced competitors.

    In design these happen to be 16-year olds, template sites, etc. In development, these are, often as not, Indian developers with huge skillsets and lower fiscal needs.

    The "key", really, is to either get out of the commodity market or to offer something worth your weight in gold.

    The key isn't (not to be argumentative with webmonster, this is just my opinion) to offer more and more products which already are (as in hosting) or soon will be (as in development) commoditized.
    SVP Marketing, SoCast SRM
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  24. #74
    SitePoint Enthusiast webmonster's Avatar
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    Jeremy, I am not looking to argue either cause as you said it is only a opinion. I still think by offering more than just one service such as design you are more inclined to do better than the competition. Why? Well as I am sure you know already, you can have some 16 year old kid design some amazing website for $50 but you still need to have it hosted somewhere, right? Well if this turd that designed it for that cheap has no clue about webhosting or cannot recommend a host, that sucks! By offering everything under one roof, you have a better chance at selling your service first of and second of all you have that steady cash flow I was talking about. It would be very hard in a such a saturated industry to make it as a designer alone even if you got paid well.

    Lets say you get anywhere from $500-$2500 for a website design, that all good, but what happens when the next job you get does not come in for another 2 months. That is why you need a steady monthly subscription type income or something like webhosting to help you through the dry spells. That is all I was trying to say. Monthly income with very little work involved is the way to go!

  25. #75
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Jeremy W.'s Avatar
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    And I wasn't arguing

    Personally, I find maintenance contracts to be far more valuable than web hosting or even coupled with webhosting.

    50$/month for basic updates to your site as well as hosting is something more companies than not would buy. Also, if you are really worried about your monthly income and are tired of consistently going after big jobs, have you considered financing for your clients? It can lead both to more income and more jobs, as clients which find you too expensive are drawn to the convenience.

    As far as hosting, I hear what you're saying, and to some degree I agree, but what happens when any 16 year old can get a reseller account and start a hosting company as well. Then you have to find a third or fourth product, and then you are spendnig a considerable amount of time supporting a wide array of products and services.

    Again, I'm not arguing, it's just that I, personally, would prefer to do one or two things really well and get paid appropriately for them than to do 5-6 things "okay" and get paid appropriately.

    Contrary to the popular web mantra, it isn't best to be a jack of all trades and master of none (or few).

    Being a generalist rarely pays off

    (please preface all of this with "in my opinion"!)

    J
    SVP Marketing, SoCast SRM
    Personal blog: Strategerize
    Twitter: @jeremywright


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