A Blog Not Limited

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Findings From ALA's 2008 Survey: My Two Cents

Apr 12, 2009

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The results are in from A List Apart's 2008 Survey for People Who Make Websites. And the findings aren't all too surprising, not only based on the previous survey's results but also just from my own experience working in this field.

For example, I completely expected to discover:

  • 83.8% of respondents are male.
  • 84.7% of respondents are white.
  • 68.6% of respondents say they definitely do not perceive a gender bias in this field. However, there is evidence of some sort of gender bias: 41.0% of women with a Master's degree and 5+ years in the field make less than $60,000 compared to 28.7% of men.
  • The overwhelming majority of respondents are confident about their jobs and futures.
  • The majority of respondents (19.6%) have 10+ years of experience.
  • Job titles are all over the place, with 26% classifying themselves as "other."
  • Most everyone knows the basics of markup and CSS, with 88.6% and 85.6% respectively, while the narrower and hugely-important areas of accessibility (46%), information architecture (57%) and usability (61.3%) have comparatively smaller percentages (though not too shabby).

What Does It All Mean?

I, personally, don't get too caught up in statistics. For one, they can be easily misinterpreted and skewed. For another, I don't have the interest or energy to analyze them. That said, though, I do believe it is essential that this data is being compiled. As I mentioned previously, I think these sorts of surveys are invaluable for our relatively new industry.

It is exactly this sort of information that I can turn to when it comes time for my annual review and salary increase request. Executives and HR folks typically know very little about our field. Which isn't surprising considering data has only been gathered for the past two years. So it is up to me to have all the ammunition about job titles, salaries and education at the ready when I need to ask for more money. Or when I'm seeking new employment.

Take at least a few minutes to look at the results for yourself and, if you care to, draw conclusions. And the fine folks from ALA are offering the data for you to do with it what you will. If you are into it, go for it and see if you discover something they didn't.

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James Neal's Gravatar

James Neal opines:


“84.7% of respondents are white” ... Doing my best to change this statistic!  Give me a few years! :-)

Jason Beaird's Gravatar

Jason Beaird opines:


I once learned from a very credible television program that “knowing is half the battle”. It’s what we do with this information that will define how the web industry changes. I think the key is education…which is why I’m excited to see what comes of the WaSP interact curriculum.

Emily's Gravatar

Emily responds:


@Jason - Couldn’t agree more with you. Not only about what we do with the information, but also about being excited to see what WaSP Interact is able to accomplish. Knowing is half the battle ;)

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Emily Lewis

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I'm a freelance web designer of the standardista variety, which means I get excited about things like valid POSH, microformats and accessibility. I ply my trade from my one-person design studio in Albuquerque, New Mexico 87106 USA.

A Blog Not Limited is my personal blog where I pontificate about web design, web standards, semantics and whatever else strikes my fancy. Head on over to Emily Lewis Design if you'd like to see my work or, even better, hire me.


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