Ask DN: Let's Talk Salaries

almost 2 years ago from , Front End Developer

I'm new in the web development / design field. Working my way up and such.

Curious as to what salary you earn in this industry, what's your job role, how long have you been employed? I guess what country you're from is also helpful to gauge the salary.

23.5k. front-end web developer. Liverpool, UK.

(i know there are services for this sort of thing, I just wanted to start a conversation here with like-minded individuals.)


  • Jon MyersJon Myers, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )

    I'm 44, I have been doing this for over 20 years. I've started agencies, I've raised venture capital for a startup I co-founded and exited, and my company (of one, me) comes in as the lone wolf designer on projects.

    I prefer the lone wolf (freelancer) route.

    In my opinion, the way compensation (earnings) is being discussed and thought of here - "salary" - is a mistake. It's an employee mindset.

    There is nothing wrong with being an employee, however, even if you are working for a company, at the very least, many of today's company's need/ demand that employees function as your role as (UX, UI, digital product designer) ____________ coupled with intra-preneur.

    You must have equal business thinking.

    Yes, location can be important to some degree, however, there is one determining factor of earnings, which nobody has mentioned.

    Specialization and industries you're serving or pursuing as a designer.

    If you're working/ designing in Fintech, the desired economic impact and yield of your design efforts may be able to command higher earnings.

    If you're working/ designing in Biotech, wahlah, you may earn more money because the stakes are higher.

    If you're working for a poorly/ barely funded startup with a loose cannon founder who changes his mind every ten minutes, who is chasing the latest, greatest, gameified, mobile, social app, your compensation will likely reflect that fact.

    Earnings is about table selection.

    And, I know what many people's retort will be.

    Buttttttt, but, I don't have experience in that industry.

    That's permission based thinking. Stop asking for permission.

    Often, in the case of design, there are very few people in some industries that have "experience". If there is "experienced" people in that industry, often, it's exactly what the company does not want. Old ideas.

    Be a constant student and curious.

    Challenge yourself to dig deep into industries you're drawn to - consume yourself with information about those industries, approach those in those industries with succinct, sharp angles and insights.

    Sketch your ideas, "Sketch" your ideas, destroy them, build them up, rinse, repeat.

    15 points
  • Jake Lazaroff, almost 2 years ago

    26 year old straight white cis male, (web) software engineer, four years out of college but ~10 years professional experience, NYC — 105k USD / year.

    Question to everyone who says they can't discuss their salary, which apparently seems to be widespread: what's keeping you from doing so? Is it just because it's taboo, or is there actually a chance of reprisal from your company if you do?

    5 points
    • Ethan BondEthan Bond, almost 2 years ago

      It's illegal in the US for a company to retaliate for disclosing your salary "for the purpose of collective bargaining or mutual aid or other protection."

      1935 Wagner Act

      Most people don't know this, and even if they did they probably still wouldn't share due to taboo.

      4 points
      • Jake Lazaroff, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )

        Definitely good to know, but just because it's illegal doesn't mean companies won't do it. I'm sure that when faced with finding a new job and a lengthy legal debacle or just shutting up, a lot of people choose the latter.

        1 point
        • Ethan BondEthan Bond, almost 2 years ago

          Oh totally. And considering one of the penalties for terminating employment is to reinstate employment (at an employer who obviously doesn't want you there), it's an interesting choice to make.

          People should of course still be aware of their rights, though.

          1 point
    • Giulio MichelonGiulio Michelon, almost 2 years ago

      105k USD / year

      Is this a good salary in NY or is it "just enough"? Just curious.

      1 point
      • Jake Lazaroff, almost 2 years ago

        Even in New York it's still a good salary — I'm able to afford a recently renovated (albeit small, but most New York apartments are) place in a good part of Manhattan (the most expensive borough) with a decent amount of money left over to save/pay off my student loans/eat drink and play.

        1 point
    • Ix TechauIx Techau, almost 2 years ago

      Some contracts in the UK have non-disclosure clauses on salary.

      0 points
  • Account deleted over 1 year ago

    The one thing that always hurts these discussions is how much where someone is located (or more importantly, where the employer is located for those of you that work remote) impacts what someone makes. I guess it also goes without saying that it matters what you are doing too.

    I feel this is especially true with those with a half-dozen years of experience or less. As you climb the ladder, the salaries generally stay the same because that's the cost for your skill set. When you are newish, this is more in flux.

    Thompson in San Francisco could say he makes 200K a year and Thomson in Detroit might only be making 100K. Cost of living, surrounding talent pool salaries, etc factor in huge.

    For me the key has always been pushing myself. I had a goal - be a CD by a particular time. I then jumped positions over time with that end goal in mind. Would the next position not only offer more money, but would it offer the experience to help me get to where I wanted to be?

    4 points
  • Duncan RussellDuncan Russell, almost 2 years ago

    Much like the others, I can't disclose my salary – but would anyone be interested in creating a UK tech/design salary map?

    4 points
  • Timothy McKennaTimothy McKenna, almost 2 years ago

    Interaction Designer at a startup incubator in Central Pennsylvania, USA. $75k/year with 6 years experience.

    2 points
  • Ix TechauIx Techau, over 1 year ago

    Not allowed to disclose my current salary, but my previous position was £90k/year as a UI designer in central London. Been doing it roughly ten years.

    2 points
    • Spencer HaizelSpencer Haizel, over 1 year ago

      What was your progression route like? That's pretty awesome.

      0 points
      • Ix TechauIx Techau, over 1 year ago (edited over 1 year ago )

        Freelanced for many years to build up experience and versatility, then down the startup route because it's just more fun than corporate gigs.

        1 point
    • Rhys MerrittRhys Merritt, over 1 year ago

      £90k as a UI Designer? That's impressively high.. When you say UI Designer, I think 'visual designer - works in sketch / photoshop / illustrator - does not partake in any kind of development work'... Is that accurate? Or have I assumed incorrectly?

      0 points
      • Ix TechauIx Techau, over 1 year ago

        Well no, my official title is creative director, but most of the work I do is software UI design and coding in Rails. Usability, UX, UI...all the way to product decisions, feature mapping...all the way to full-stack websites from idea to production. 50% working in Sketch, 30% coding, 20% meetings.

        3 points
  • Luke Bugbee, over 1 year ago

    This video is absolutely relevant to this thread.

    The social taboo of not discussing salary actually hurts everybody except the executives at your company. I understand not wanting to create awkward situations within family and social circles however.

    2 points
    • Ethan BondEthan Bond, over 1 year ago

      Yeah I don't discuss it because, for example, a good friend told me she "feels poor" because she's earning "only" $60,000 fresh out of school.

      She doesn't feel that way because of her paycheck but because of mine, so it's safer to just not discuss.

      0 points
  • Lucas EspinLucas Espin, over 1 year ago

    This was pretty insightful As for me I work at a fin tech startup as a product designer in Canada and I make 75k a year. my experience is 0 product design but 5 years of marketing.

    2 points
  • Dan CortesDan Cortes, over 1 year ago (edited over 1 year ago )

    Chicago, IL

    Lead Designer, Front End Developer

    4 years experience


    1 point
  • Diego LafuenteDiego Lafuente, over 1 year ago

    My advice is to go and search for salaries. You will find a much higher range of results than asking here.

    1 point
  • Vincent MillikenVincent Milliken, over 1 year ago

    There was a link posted on HackerNews a while back where people submitted their salaries to a Google Spreadsheet, could be useful;

    1 point
    • Spencer Haizel, over 1 year ago

      I've seen that before. I was more after a discussion regarding current salaries. Thanks though.

      1 point
    • Sam Pierce LollaSam Pierce Lolla, over 1 year ago

      One thing to note on that spreadsheet: experienced UX designers commonly make > $100k, and not just in CA.

      Know your worth!

      3 points
  • Daniel BaldwinDaniel Baldwin, almost 2 years ago

    Brand Design Manager at TINT in San Francisco, just hit my 1 year mark, and I make $88,000/yr. On top of salary, we get a lot of perks, such as free lunch ($190/mo), commuting benefits ($80/mo), and self-improvement reimbursement ($100/mo).

    Previously, I was working at a creative agency in Seattle for 1 year making $31,500/yr. No perks.

    1 point
  • Ollie BarkerOllie Barker, almost 2 years ago

    There must be a site out there for pure design / dev roles where people can submit their salaries anonymously right, then see the average in their area?

    1 point
  • Lee Campbell, over 1 year ago

    1 Year Experience UI Designer & Front-End Developer 35k USD South Carolina, US

    1 point
  • Noah Conk, over 1 year ago

    I'm currently 26 years old and been in this industry for about 5 years. I've worked mostly in the Bay Area but my first gig was in Seattle.

    First internship - Printern: Free (don't take free internships) Second internship - Interactive design intern: About $4,000-5,000/m Third internship - UX design intern: $5,0000/m

    Seattle (corporate) First Job - UX Designer II: $110,000 raised up to $120,000

    San Francisco (agency) Second Job - Mid-Level UX Designer: $100,000 I decided to take a pay cut to work with rad people on cool projects and also to wield my skillset with speed and efficiency.

    Opinion: Don't make money the priority; make the quality of work and culture first priority. Figure out cost of living, cost of food etc and tax deductions — that will help you gauge your salary within a certain region. Also check glassdoor for the average within your industry. I usually tack-on an additional 10-15k to salary for negotiation purposes (to get closer to the glassdoor suggested salary). Also be aware that some companies have stock options that you should max our if they have an ESPP.

    I started off as a graphic designer and worked my way into carving a niche into interaction design with strong visuals and knowledge of user research etc.

    1 point
    • Rafael Rodrigues, over 1 year ago

      Nice I like your thinking Noah! Tacking on any extra income for negotiation purposes and then checking out the employers quality of work, culture, stock options and your coworkers skill sets!

      0 points
  • Matthew O'ConnorMatthew O'Connor, almost 2 years ago

    Freelanced for 2 years to learn web dev. Then joined a startup as my first ever role as a frontend dev/designer in London.

    Started at £18K. 3 years later I'm over double. I'm going to be asking for an increase soon.

    Since then I have become a 'Designer'.

    My job is mostly UI design. But then I also do a little bit of print work and a lot more HTML&CSS job to help out the frontend devs.

    1 point
    • Spencer Haizel, almost 2 years ago

      How did you make the transition from developer to designer?

      0 points
      • Matthew O'ConnorMatthew O'Connor, almost 2 years ago

        I was never really a developer. I stated learning HTML and CSS and got a job because I was competent (but not great) basic web stuff and design. I was the first hired in my company. So the more the dev team grew the less dev jobs I had.

        So now I just mostly design. Though the job I'm on is a web one as the other frontends have their hands full.

        1 point
  • chris mackintoshchris mackintosh, over 1 year ago

    freelance visual designer / ui /ux 10+ usa 6 figures

    0 points
  • P GBP GB, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )

    Like others have said, I can't disclose my current salary, but my last perm role was as a senior product designer, in Central London, at £80k/year. 10 Years exp.

    0 points
  • Aaron James, over 1 year ago (edited over 1 year ago )

    US related, but still relevant:

    0 points
  • devdes906 dev, almost 2 years ago

    Big tech designer in the south: 95k, three years of concrete work. Soon 115k at a start-up.

    0 points
  • firstname lastname, over 1 year ago

    senior product design, toronto, startup, $110k

    0 points
  • Darmau LeoDarmau Leo, almost 2 years ago

    22K USD/year, Shenzhen, China

    0 points
  • Mark WillsMark Wills, over 1 year ago

    30 Male, Chicago, IL Freelance Visual & Interaction Designer with 10 years of experience. I make 28,423.77 Boxes of Cracklin Oat Bran per year.

    0 points
  • Rhys MerrittRhys Merritt, almost 2 years ago

    I can't say what I am on at my current role, as per my employers request to not disclose my salary, but my previous role as a full time Product Designer (UX, UI) was £65K - London, UK.. I have about 7 years experience as a designer, but have only been a product designer for about 3 years.. I was previously a Graphic / Motion Designer..

    0 points
    • Spencer Haizel, almost 2 years ago

      That's really impressive. What was your progression to get to that role in 7 years?

      0 points
      • Rhys MerrittRhys Merritt, almost 2 years ago

        I would say I've had more of a 'fake it till you make it' approach! hahaha.. I feel like an imposter, because I've not studied like many of my colleagues have.. But it doesn't seem to have stopped me from solving problems, which is what design is all about.

        I got a lucky break from a friend who offered me a role at a startup 3 years ago, and I took his offer and never looked back.. I just felt at home in digital product design.. In another 5 or so years I would love to have created my own product, or started a product studio perhaps..

        1 point