Name: Dave LaFlam
Job Title: Owner, Freelance Web Designer/Slackbax Media
Where: Santa Monica, CA
Years of Experience: 5+
Salary: $40,000 – $80,000
Web Designer Job Description:
What is your background?
My primary background is being a trained musician on both upright (double) bass and electric bass. I studied music in college and received a BFA. However, web design really just fell in my lap.
How did you become a freelance web designer?
I was the only computer literate person in my band. By helping my band create an online identity, I found another creative outlet, building web sites. This knowledge and passion for online graphic design is what prompted me to learn more. I became a freelance web designer back in the late ’90s when the internet was just starting to leak into homes.
Did you take classes or are you self-taught in web design?
Both, I have taken a ton of classes and have a library of books. However, I truly believe that if you want to set out and do something you just have to get out there and make it happen. Find ways to learn, either by reading a book, taking a class or watching a seminar. Life is learning and the more you get out and explore, the richer in knowledge you’ll become.
What do you like most about being a freelance web designer?
I love being my own boss. I enjoy the people that I get to meet everyday and, most importantly, I get to spend quality time with my family.
What advice would you give to those who want to go into web design?
Learn as much as you can and never stop. Web design is using technology that is always changing. If you think that you can just go to school, get out and be set for life, you are totally wrong. You have to realize that you will always need to be up on your game. Books are a great web designer resource.
What are some good books to learn web design?
There are quite a few good books to learn web design from. I would really recommend: Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML (Head First) by Elisabeth Freeman and Eric Freeman, Macromedia Flash Professional 8 Hands-On Training by James Gonzalez, Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Hands-On Training by Rosanna Yeung, Flash 8 Essentials by Glen Rhodes, Todd Yard, Tink (aka Stephen Downs), and Craig Swann, Beginning PHP and MySQL 5: From Novice to Professional, Second Edition by W. Jason Gilmore and PHP and MySQL Web Development (3rd Edition) (Developer’s Library) by Luke Welling and Laura Thomson.
What can you tell us about salaries for web designers?
Salaries for web designers really depend on the designer’s experience and skills. For professional web designers using HTML coding with CSS and graphic design skills, that web designer salary range would be $25 to $30 an hour. For a freelance web designer with flash, PHP and graphic design; their pay rate would be $40 to $50 an hour. For a flash web designer with advanced skills in flash, PHP and graphic design, that salary range could be in the $75 to $100 an hour range.
How does your salary compare to the typical web designer salary? Find out with our salary calculator.