Industry of the Web

I’d like to expound some more about my view of the money machine called the web. I’ve touched on this before, but I was replying to a newsgroup post today that was asking for opinions and ended up with some good stuff that I wanted to pass along. The question was if a graphic designer could call him/herself a web designer just because he/she already knows graphic design. Here is my reply plus some more of my thoughts on the matter.

I think that there are 2 classes of web people: the techie programmers and the front end designers. Unfortunately the web industry is still very immature and flat, so the lines of who does what are very blurry. I am trying to change careers from Mac tech to web design and it has been very difficult so far.

The web is still cloaked in so much mystery to most of the public (and businesses) that all the HR people know to do is ask for every known web skill and throw lots of money at these 20 year old web designers/hackers, then hope for the best. I have a friend who is one of these 23 year old high end designers with 5 years experience who just got rid of a $55k per year job because the job is so far below her level of expertise it’s laughable. The HR person HAD to have a high end designer with server programming skills–so that the well paid programmer could do some web design and a lot of vanilla graphic design for POWERPOINT presentations!! I kid you not. $55k to do freaking powerpoint crap.

You see, here is the rub: people who are crossing over from other kinds of graphic design or whatever are overlooked because we don’t have years of WEB experience. Nevermind that we can do the job. It’s all about how much web programming you know and how much Flash you can cram into your online portfolio so you’ll impress the HR people who have absolutely no idea what they are hiring for in the first place.

What an immature industry! In a few years, when the web is no big deal, the industry will mature and have layers like all other industries and the job descriptions will start to solidify. Then, someone who wants to join the boundless energy and creativity that IS the web will be able to get an entry level job that doesn’t require 3-5 years of Java application programming. (!)

It’s a clusterfuck right now, with everyone trying to cash in on the web and precious few people who really know what’s up, so you see job descriptions that cover 3 different jobs and skillsets. And of course no one in HR wants to risk hiring a crossover talent because HR doesn’t know that Photoshop is Photoshop and layout skills CAN translate to the web. Or that doing press release updates does not require backend server support skills.

I know this is ragging HR mercilessly, but come on, now, people, how many HR and/or recruiters have you ever met that have a clue about what the hell they are recruiting for??? Personally, I have only been helped by ONE and hindered by too many to count.

I have proof (via a very talented web geek friend) that these idiotic hiring practices are being perpetuated. This friend is the one who is ditching the well-paid but stupid position at an unnamed large company and the silly woman who is hiring to refill the position is AGAIN hiring a very over qualified web designer/programmer to do their stupid shit. Amazing.

Meanwhile, there are hoardes of us wannabes who would happily do the grunt work for half the pay just to bask in the glow of the web’s movers and shakers.

But, you know, despite the craziness, I’m still hot for the web and I’m gonna jump in with both feet! I know that one way or another, I’m gonna find my web niche!