While the tools for web design are getting more sophisticated, the need for really GOOD web people is growing like mad.
Part of the problem in determining the value of a web guy is that web development is a combination of aesthetics, engineering, and just plain monkeywork that anyone with a copy of ‘HTML for Dummies’ can do.
There are layers of complexity to web development. If you are happy with a read-only page that lists some things about you and your company in a template format, you can do it yourself with the help of a $200 programming tool like MS Frontpage or Macromedia Dreamweaver.
The list goes on. On the artistic side there are no rules. Some of the topflight web design firms will charge you $20,000 for a 10-page web site with no database connections or anything else fancy. Just good artistic design. Is $20,000 too much for 10 pages of artwork? I dunno. NBC paid millions for a stupid logo.
So… If you want to make money as a web developer, don’t think it’s going to be easy. The market is flooded with wannabe’s who think they know what they are doing and will build complete web sites for $200. But there is a real shortage of true professionals who know what they are doing, and these guys can charge $75/hr and up.
‘True Professionals’ fall into two categories - artistic and engineering. If you have real artistic talent and are an expert at using programs like Adobe Photoshop and the like, you can find work for high pay. To get a job like that, build a portfolio of stuff you’ve done and take it around to interviews with you.
There are also positions available for web site managers, and for that something like an MCSE with experience in Windows NT server operations, or serious Linux experience, along with requisite knowledge of Microsoft IIS, Apache, MS Transaction Server, firewalls, etc.