The Survey, 2008

Calling all designers, developers, information architects, project managers, writers, editors, marketers, and everyone else who makes websites. It is time once again to pool our information so as to begin sketching a true picture of the way our profession is practiced worldwide.

Possibly the most important invention of the past century, the web is undeniably one of the most robust engines of knowledge transfer, political and social change, artistic endeavor, and economic growth the world has seen.

Remove the web, and billions in trade disappear. Websites enable people who can’t walk to run to the store. They bring knowledge and freedom of thought to places where such things are scarce; make every person with a connection a citizen of the world; and allow every citizen to be heard.

Yet nobody bothered to conduct a serious inquiry into the working conditions of people who make websites until A List Apart launched its first survey in 2007.

Last year nearly 33,000 of you took the survey, enabling us to begin figuring out what kinds of job titles, salaries, and work situations are common in our field.

The responses to last year’s survey began teaching the world about the previously invisible profession powering its information economy. The responses also taught us what we did wrong in constructing the survey.

This year’s survey corrects many of last year’s mistakes, with more detailed and numerous questions for freelance contractors and owners of (or partners in) small web businesses. There are also better international categories, and many other improvements recommended by those who took the survey last year.

As we did last year, we will analyze this year’s data and publish the results for all to see in an upcoming issue of A List Apart. We will also, as we did last year, provide an “anonymized” version of the raw data, so that the highly motivated among you can do your own number crunching.

Enough talk! Please take the survey and encourage your friends and colleagues who make websites to do likewise. The world is watching.

45 Reader Comments

  1. If you have a full-time, salaried position, comp time is the time over 40 hours that you work which you are allowed to take off at a later date.

    So, for example, if you work 45 hours one week, you could get 5 hours comp time, which gets added to your paid time off or vacation time.

  2. I will take part in the surver, as I did last year, but with a very targeted viewership of business professionals of well over 30,000, surely it would be possible to attract a related sponsor who would provide some sort of prize for one lucky person as a further incentive to take part?

  3. Another word for comp time is ‘time-in-lieu’ (as in, in lieu of overtime) and it’s what’s used in several other places. Would it be worth adjusting the wording to help?

  4. I just started to take your survey,in second page the question is:

    In which global region are you located?

    – North and central America
    – South America
    – Europe
    – Africa
    – Asia
    – Oceania
    – Antarctica

    I’m from middle east, and in your list, middle east dose not exist
    Did you see ever anyone from middle east who using the web or doing web programming?
    Look at the order: North America!!, South America!! , Europe!!
    I’m suggesting to take a look to your geography books.

  5. I accidently clicked out of the page and would like the image and link to the survey. It was when you completed it. Any luck on passing it on? 🙂

  6. “Moshe said”:http://alistapart.com/comments/survey2008?page=1#10 :

    bq. I’m from middle east, and in your list, middle east dose not exist Did you see ever anyone from middle east who using the web or doing web programming? Look at the order: North America!!, South America!! , Europe!! I’m suggesting to take a look to your geography books.

    Actually, we used the “United Nations Statistics Division’s Standard Country and Area Codes Classifications”:http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/m49/m49regin.htm to group countries by continent.

  7. @Mohsen That’s definitely true, but look at it in terms of continental division. Australia is nearly the size of North America, but it gets a classification under Oceania.

    Division by religion and cultural flags can get a bit too political. I guess that’s why it’s been divided by continental groupings 🙂

  8. Still the same problem as last year – as a hobbyist web writer with a full-time job doing something completely non-web-related, I found it impossible to answer some of the questions.

    eg, when you are asking about salaries etc, is it just the salary for my web work (which is limited to a very occasional cheque from Google AdSense), or is it the salary for my full-time job?

  9. @ Mohsen:

    bq. Nice, middle east is part of Asia, but from usability perspective, it’s nice to consider it as different region. Some peoples don’t know that middle east is in Asia.

    Well, right, but if you’re working/living in the Middle East, don’t you probably _know_ it’s part of Asia? You said yourself you know the Middle East is part of Asia. Assuming one’s English is reasonably sound, I’m guessing any sensible adult can determine which _continent_ he lives on.

  10. Sorry, “Stephen”:http://alistapart.com/comments/survey2008?page=2#15 . If you selected the choice “I do most of my work as a student, hobbyist, volunteer, or other uncompensated role” then you should not have gotten any questions about salary– I didn’t get it when I did a test run and picked that option, though I did (appropriately, I think, at least in general) get questions about yearly income and hourly billing rates.

    We did try to tune the questions a little bit better for hobbyists, but perhaps we fell short. Like the profession itself, the survey itself evolves from year to year, so we’ll always have another chance to make it better with help from the community.

  11. Thanks, everyone, for taking the survey, and for sharing your feedback. A couple of quick points:

    bq. I will take part in the surver, as I did last year, but with a very targeted viewership of business professionals of well over 30,000, surely it would be possible to attract a related sponsor who would provide some sort of prize for one lucky person as a further incentive to take part?

    For a survey like this, it is important to avoid commercial sponsorship, lest the commercial relationship influence (or be perceived to influence) the neutrality of the data. At least one organization I respect runs a survey like this with backing from a commercial sponsor, and I in no way mean to impugn that organization. I’m just saying what feels right _to us._

    A List Apart, An Event Apart, and Happy Cog paid for the prizes last year. Our companies also paid the considerably higher expenses involved in hiring the best data analysts we could find, and will do so again this year.

    Given the overwhelming community response last year, it didn’t seem necessary to do giveaways this year.

    bq. Some peoples don’t know that middle east is in Asia.

    As Eric “mentioned”:http://alistapart.com/comments/survey2008?page=2#12 , we used the “United Nations Statistics Division’s Standard Country and Area Codes Classifications”:http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/m49/m49regin.htm to group countries by continent.

  12. Might be an idea to have an “other” otion on question 20.

    I came into web after about 4 – 5 years as a Mechanical Design Engineer – hardly a “non-technical” job, but not IT either….

    Otherwise – it’s nice to see someone giving a **** about web developers!!

  13. Regarding question 31… should the ranges in days for vacation overlap?

    0 days
    1-3 days
    4-8 days
    9-11 days
    11-13 days
    13-15 days
    More than 15 days

    I get 11 days thus I am unsure which to select.

  14. It’s been amazing following your guys and reading your stuff. You have enhanced my life and work.

  15. “What is your gender?”

    Just a little note, if the socially constructed gender and/or the biological sex is important, at least have an option like “None of the above/individual” for all the people in the middle… 🙂

    And race…. huh?

    Reactionary and a bit offensive.

  16. Let me be the one that stirs this year’s ethnicity debat: I think most defined groups are pretty complementary, but Indigenous/Native is not. I guess many, if not most black, white and asian people in the world will be natives as well.

    I’m a native white European for instance and I’m definitly not an exception over here 😉

  17. Just a little note, if the socially constructed gender and/or the biological sex is important, at least have an option like “None of the above/individual”? for all the people in the middle”¦
    It’s been amazing following your guys and reading your stuff. You have enhanced my life and work.

  18. @James:

    I second your thought on the Career History question. I worked previously a Civil Engineer, and found the available choices didn’t quite fit me either. “Other” would be great.

  19. This is great! I used to look into and take the AIGA surveys, however they were targeted to the North American professionals only, which left out the rest of the world.

    One thing I ran across as I was filling out the information, was that Kosova wasn’t on the list of countries. Web Design is picking up steadily in Kosova, with few solid companies in Prishtina and it would be great for these guys (us) to be able to enter the data. I lead the interactive team at Ogilvy Kosova (www.ogilvyks.com) and am surprised at how much work and interest there is here – compared to my 9 year stint in the US working for some major clients, i.e.: NBA, Oxfam, etc.

    Cheers to this great undertaking & looking forward to seeing Kosova on the list.

    Valon.

  20. The survey won’t progress past “Page 2 of 18” (which shows question 0). Are specific undisclosed browser settings required, such as cookies, Javascript and so on?

  21. MJ, I’m not aware of any undocumented requirements. I have had this reported very, very, _very_ rarely with other surveys using the UCCASS software. I’ve never been able to recreate the problem to diagnose it, unfortunately. Which browser/OS/plugins/extensions are you using?

  22. Hi all, i am so glad to have participated in this survey. However, i wish and i request u to takes me towards a better horizon of new and advanced learning which will help me improve my design skills.

  23. I know it’s a ton of work, but is there any word on when the results will be published? Just curious as I will be using them in a school project this semester if they are published in time. If not, that’s fine. Thanks for the great survey!

  24. Though we don’t have a specific date for publication, Brad, we’re getting close—and if I may be permitted a small bit of egotism, I think that this year the publication will be nearly as interesting as its contents.

  25. Hi guys,

    Time’s are busy, I know. I don’t want to pressure you, but any update on the results release?

    Keep up the good work!

  26. FYI – It’s July and no results on the survey. Better hurry before it is 2010! Just kidding, looking forward to seeing the results.

    Frank

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