Does web design have a future in 'high wage' countries? (was RE: [thelist] RE: Template Monster [WAS: A Beginner Freelance Question])

Joel D Canfield joel at
Fri Jul 23 14:35:28 CDT 2004

> Do we of the high wage countries have a future in this field? And if 
> so, what will it look like?

I've also given this quite a bit of thought, which is why I'm getting a
realtor's license. I'll take we and database work if it comes along, but
I don't have the time to get and maintain cutting edge skills, and
that's where the future of web dev is, in 'high wage' countries.

I suspect beginners will always be able to sucker someone into a $49.95
site, and there will be a certain amount of work for folks at my skill
levels, but not enough to live indoors and eat regularly. The
freelancers will fall more and more into very specialized categories.
How can a generalist compete with a specialist? A PHP expert can always
do the job faster, cheaper, and probably better than I. Someone who
works with shopping carts every day can certainly outperform someone who
only does it occasionally.

We've had quite a few discussions on this list about encouraging
prospects and clients to demand the best, in order to improve the
general quality of the web. Once the average web client knows the
difference between bad design and good design, it's a small step to
appreciating the difference between good design and great design.

I really love web and database work, but in the last year, I've realized
I don't have the time to develop *great* design skills, and I don't want
to spend the rest of my life struggling with mediocrity. As is common in
economic circles, web dev will polarize into inexpensive, badly designed
sites, and expensive, well-designed sites.

Perhaps if I could decide on a single thing to become an expert in, I
could still see myself in the picture.


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