There is a thread in the Treehouse group on Facebook at the moment that is discussing the impact that fledgling (or 'inexperienced') web designers/developers have on the industry. My response started to get pretty long (and I got sidetracked a bit) so I decided to turn it into a blog post instead.

Tl;DR I think that there is room for both seasoned web professionals and fledgling designers/developers in this industry.

The Argument

Inexperienced web designers/developers should seriously consider if they are 'good enough' before taking on a professional gig.

and...

The influx of inexperienced designers/developers is making it harder for web professionals to land projects.

I'm summarising a bit. You can read the full post here. You will need to be a member of the Treehouse group to get at that link.

My Response

In short, I have to disagree. I think there is room for all in this industry.

Lets start with the obvious. Some clients simply don't have the budget to pay a 'professional' web designer/developer to create a website for them which leaves open a great opportunity for fledgling designers/developers to get some real world experience. (Assuming that they are not charging the same prices.)

I understand the concerns that web professionals have with this. I think that everyone has had a moment of frustration when a potential client turned down a proposal to go with someone else just because they were cheaper. Sometimes you will get a phone call a few weeks later asking for your forgiveness and if that proposal still stands (that's happened to me once or twice). Other times the fledgling designer/developer will do an awesome job and the client will be over the moon. Never underestimate someone just because they are 'inexperienced'.

As professional designers/developers it is our job to educate our clients about the benefits of using a web professional. There will always be clients that focus solely on price but from my experience the majority of clients can see the benefits of using a professional web designer/developer (sometimes they need a little bit of help).

I've landed a number of projects where I've been the highest priced bidder for a project. On a few occasions, by a considerable amount. Every time this has happened the other companies bidding for the contract have had a fantastic portfolio of work. It wasn't that they couldn't deliver, but that they didn't understand what the client cares about. There sales strategy was too focused on price ("Go with us, we're cheaper!"). They failed to understand that clients don't just care about how much something is going to cost them (even if that's what they say when you ask them). Clients care about who you are and why you do what you do. They want someone they can trust. After all, you are going to be working together long after the website has launched. (This kind of ties in to a previous post I wrote on The Golden Circle).

Clients hire web designers because they need your help and want to take advantage of your experience. Don't wait until you've won a project before sharing your wisdom.

So in summary, it's your job to help a client understand the benefits of working with a web professional. Fledgling designers/developers are doing the right thing by getting out there and undertaking real world projects for clients. It's the best way for them to build up there skills, and a portfolio at the same time. If you are unable to convince a client that their decision should be based on more than just a collection of price-tags, then that client is just not for you. There's plenty more fish in the sea.

Matt West