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Web designer woes

Published on Thursday, 10 Feb 2011
Illustration: Bay Leung

For Web designer Carl Leung, having to keep abreast of the latest technological developments is the best and worst part of his job.

"Just two years ago, people used laptops to get online, whereas many of us now surf the net using our iPhones and iPads," Leung says. "I love learning new skills but it is frustrating to see one's brilliant [inventions] being phased out in such a short time."

Leung says a Web designer usually meets with clients and builds a mock-up for them. If the client decides to assign the job to the company, the designers will start building the framework, inserting features such as videos and Flash software.

The website will then have to be tested several times to ensure it runs smoothly.

Leung says most Web design companies in Hong Kong are small, with no more than 20 employees. Also, many designers work on a freelance basis, he adds.

Junior Web designers usually start with a monthly salary of about HK$7,000. They may then become a Web designer after a year and earn more than HK$10,000. Those with more than four years' experience can expect a salary of about HK$20,000, while outstanding designers with more than eight years' experience may move up to become an art director, earning more than HK$25,000.

Knowledge of programming and graphic design is essential. In Hong Kong, universities and private institutes offer courses on software such as Dreamweaver, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Flash.

Leung says having a good portfolio is important. "If you know somebody who owns a business, volunteer to build a website for them. Web designers' reputations rely on word of mouth," he says.


Requisites

  • Willingness to learn
  • Familiarity with programming and design
  • An eye for beauty
  • Attention to detail

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