Career Profile: Desktop Publisher

Career Profile: Desktop Publisher

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Suppose that you wanted to write a book about your life or something interesting that you know about. If you know how, you could publish your own book and give copies to your friends and family. When you finish school, you could even consider turning those skills into a career.

Knowing how to use a computer is a fairly basic skill these days. People use computers at school and at work to write papers, reports, and other documents. Desktop publishers work with writers, editors, and graphic designers to produce everything from one-page reports to full-length books on various topics. Normally, other people do the writing and choose the graphics for the documents before the desktop publisher works to get them ready for people to read.

Unlike many other jobs, desktop publishing is normally project-based work. Deadlines can make the work very busy at times, and desktop publishers might have to work long hours when a project is nearing the end. At other times, they might have very little to do, especially if they work on their own with private clients. Some desktop publishers can find work with governments or other large organizations, but others work with people wanting to write their life stories or to publish other personal documents.

Becoming a desktop publisher normally involves learning on the job instead of taking any special training. Still, people in this type of work can benefit from taking courses in art, graphics, or computer programs. They need to know about the latest trends in publishing and be able to use publishing software for different types of documents. Publishers should know how to change documents from one format to another, depending on what the client needs.

People in this field spend a lot of time at their computers, but they also need to talk to clients to find out what they want. Attending conferences could also be useful for many desktop publishers, so that they can discuss new ways to do their work. Most of the time, however, people in this job tend to work on their own, even if they work in offices.

Salaries for desktop publishers can vary a lot. People who run their own businesses in this field might have only occasional work and need to find another job to earn enough money to make a living. In general, desktop publishers earn between about $33,000 and close to $60,000 per year. The work is not physically difficult, but it can be tiring mentally.

Almost anyone can become a desktop publisher, but certain characteristics can make it easier. Anyone who is careful about details but also creative is likely to enjoy working as a desktop publisher. Some topics that people write about can be fairly complicated, but good desktop publishers can make even the most obscure topic look interesting by using the right font, pictures, and colours. They can also help to proofread the documents to make sure that they are as accurate as possible.

Desktop publishing is the kind of job that requires both creativity and attention to detail. Does that describe you?


Careerjet.ca. “Desktop Publishing and Graphic, Ottawa, ON.” https://www.careerjet.ca/jobview/357580cfc5a8edf6e5f5839aadf480b3.html.

Learning Path.org. “Pros and Cons of a Career in Desktop Publishing.” http://learningpath.org/articles/Becoming_a_Publisher_Job_Description_Salary_Information.html.

Payscale Canada. “Desktop Publisher Salary.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Desktop_Publisher/Salary.

Truity.com. “Desktop Publisher.” https://www.truity.com/career-profile/desktop-publisher.

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