Many programmers look down on those who are employed to write ("code") HyperTextMarkupLanguage because HtmlIsJustaMarkupLanguage?. Writing HTML, whilst admittedly being nowhere near as skilful as programming, is nevertheless a trade which requires much knowledge and skill if one is to overcome the obstacles set by the poor-quality software that will be displaying what you produce (contrast the large amount of the WorldWideWeb that is crud [maybe complying with SturgeonsLaw] - those are web pages produced by people with insufficient knowledge of HTML and browser issues).
People who describe themselves as "HTML programmers", though, can be chuckled at safely.
What's important about this job isn't the ability to code HTML; it is the ability to understand the end-user's view of the world and to persuade browsers, servers and programmers to service that view. A good HTML coder should also have a thorough and intricate knowledge of WebsitePatterns. After a sufficient amount of time getting to know the tricks, workarounds and ins and outs of browsers, you will achieve HtmlZen.
I think of HTML coding as analogous to typesetting by hand. It is a job that requires focus, attention to detail, intelligence, and specific skills. It is also a job that you probably don't want to do for too long.
One of the reasons I think good HTML coders are hard to find is that it's a difficult position, but not necessarily rewarding. If you're smart enough to be a good HTML coder, you probably won't be one for long.
The above is very insightful indeed. Surely this applies to lots more things too?
Based on what I've seen, there are plenty of people who are smart enough to be HTML coders but not smart enough to do much else related to computers. Lots of them start freelance businesses and then stop these embarrasedly when money fails to pour in. There are certainly things which "if you're smart enough to do, you probably won't for long", and when they're important to society, they command high salaries... -- DanielKnapp
I tentatively add much of commercial programming to that category. Much of what may be in demand commercially doesn't involve anything that is algorithmically interesting, or at least anything 'new'. There are problems introduced by large scale projects, etc. but after a handful of years to get those under your belt, what is left? I think a lot of truely talented programmers/software engineers/whatever-you-want-to-call-them-this-year gradually migrate out of certain application domains. Why? Because the work is fundamentally boring, once you are on top of the inherent complexities. Without exception, all of the first rate coders I know have been at least somewhat interested in the comp. sci. aspects of this, not just design or methodology. If your best members continue to leave for greener (more intellectually interesting) pastures, it is very difficult to maintain a top rate team.
Some people say that HTML coding is needless because there are WYSIWYG editors, such as MacromediaDreamweaver. But if you have to write dynamic/automated HTML pages, then you must understand and edit raw HTML code. With dynamic/automated HTML pages I mean when you create on-the-spot generated pages with PhpLanguage, JavaServerPages, ActiveServerPages etc., or when the otherwise static pages will be preprocessed before publishing with preprocessors as HTP (http://htp.sourceforge.net/) or FMPP (http://fmpp.sourceforge.net/). So HTML coding will probably never be gone...
Dealing with HTML + CSS for different browser versions/bugs can be a royal pain in the anterior end. It's a specialty in itself and if you master it your skills will be valued.