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Average starting salary for web designer?



2:20 am on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I just graduated in the Spring with a BS in Computer Science and got an internship doing website design for a small to medium size company. I have no real corporate experience but have been running my own website for 6 years now and its been pretty successful overall. The company basically has no web presence whatsoever other than one site they outsourced. They have about 6 different companies under them that they want websites designed from scratch for. I'm the only one working on the websites under some guidance from my manager and marketing people about what content to put on the sites. My internship ends September 5 and theres a good chance they'd hire me full time. As of now I'm making $18 an hour for 40 hours a week which is about $38,000 a year. I've been talking to people and they say this is pretty low so I checked salary.com and according to them the median salary is $54,000 for my type of job with 1 year experience and an associates. It all sounds great except that when I was sending my resume in while job searching, I was getting very little response and most of them were crappy, just code basic html and make $27,000 a year type jobs. Am I really being grossly underpaid or is it typical for someone just starting out? If so, what should I ask for when we start negotiating a full-time contract? Thanks


6:01 pm on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jtara is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member

"Web designer" is an awfully broad description. And there are a lot of "web designers" that don't have (or need) your qualifications.

As a starting point, I'd suggest that you get a copy of the latest annual salary survey from Source EDP (one of the largest national IT industry employment agencies). (Oops, actually renamed to kForce a few years ago...) Just call up your local office. It's broken-out quite finely by job function, industry, and region, and gives a range of salaries by percentile rank.

Quite well done, and they've been doing it forever. I'd recommend it to anyone starting out in the industry.


2:07 am on Aug 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Ironically, $38,000 is exactly the number that has been floatin around in my head the last year or two if I would choose to expend from freelancing, open a shop and hire a designer full time. It's based on nothing other than instinct, but it's probably more accurate than $54,000. That seems awfully high for a starting salary. But then, your location, skills, etc factor in as well.

Good luck.


3:24 pm on Aug 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

It also depends very much on where you live. Speaking generally (not of web designers in particular), $50K would not be an outrageous starting salary in Manhattan— but of course that $50K will not buy you as much as $30K in Tulsa :) .


4:01 pm on Aug 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks for the info so far guys. I live in Nassau County, NY which is I believe is one of the most expensive places to live in the country. Though I work in Suffolk where cost of living is slightly cheaper but still way above average.


8:26 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

You're in Long Island, that explains a lot. The cost of living out there is insane compared to what it is in my city (I think my state is the most impoverished in the entire country). That being the case, my starting pay was about 24k a year when I worked at a firm, that's with a degree and about a year's experience. That was the same amount a teacher's starting pay was here, as well.

The median income in my area was as low as $12,000 in some places, so 38k a year seems like an incredible amount of money, I consider someone rich if they make more than 35k a year. If you applied for a design job down here, I'd be amazed if you were offered more than 30k a year.

It costs me just over $500 to rent a five room, 1100 square foot office in a great location, maintenance and electricity is free. That's what I enjoy about our profession, we can do this from virtually anywhere.


11:29 am on Aug 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I am surprized at the rent you are paying. Which city are you in where you get prime location at such great price.



4:50 am on Aug 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I live in the Deep South. The cost of homes, as well as apartment and office rent are extremely low here. But then again, people here aren't making that much money either, so its proportional to what people earn.


7:18 am on Sep 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

lucky to know, here in our place philippines

im a web developer includes my skills are web designing, php programming and i got paid only $160 converted to dollars because i live in philippines. imagine i took a 4 year course as a bachelor of science in Information Technology and my salary is $160 a month that would be $1920 a year.

thats why i take any freelancer job that i can do.


12:27 pm on Sep 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lorax is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

>> BS in Computer Science and got an internship doing website design

Hm.. that sounds like a conflict of interest :)

Techies do not designers make. In other words, are you a website designer or a developer? There is a very clear difference. Someone that does both is more like a jack of all trades and I might pay that person at your current rate but I certainly wouldn't pay them any higher. If you focused on one or other, then your more specialized skills deserve a better pay rate.

I should add that you should always carry a mix of skills that are compatable. Someone with your experience level is just getting an idea of what is possible. I'd offer that having a job that pays ok for now is a good thing while you hone your skills and explore all of the career options in this industry. There are so many to choose from.

BTW - I checked the site you mention and they don't have an entry for website designer. What title did you use to find the rate you mention?


11:44 pm on Sep 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

A bit off topic, but, I agree with Lorax. People who apply for a job at our firm and say "I can do everything" are pretty much always passed over. Jack-of-all-trades sites are rarely done well.. their is always a 'half-assed' feeling about them.


5:38 am on Sep 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

You're in the catbird seat. Apparently this company thinks a new graduate can fill all their IT needs. Take double what your taking now and then break the cold hard reality to them.

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