Are UX and HTML second languages to you? A web developer job may be worth a look. The growth rate of this field is much faster than average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Read on to learn more about what web developers do, how much they make and where you can find jobs.
Overview: What Does a Web Developer Job Entail?
Web developers create and maintain websites. They can work for themselves, independently or for a company as part of a collaborative team. As a web developer, you might:
- Meet with clients to discuss website needs and goals
- Collaborate with graphic designers and programmers on projects
- Develop and test web applications
- Code web pages, debug and deploy content
- Monitor and maintain websites
- Coordinate intranet web updates and changes
- Troubleshoot and fix bugs
Do I Need a Computer Science Degree to Work in this Field?
Most web developer jobs require at least a minimum of an associate’s degree in web design or a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Either way, you should have an arsenal of computer networking courses under your belt and a portfolio of websites you’ve designed. You can also obtain a certification in web development in addition to a college degree.
Are you seeking a senior web developer position at a large company? If so, a master’s degree in business or web development might be required. You can probably land gigs without a college degree if you’re working for yourself and have a good amount of experience and customer referrals.
Types of Web Developer Jobs and Titles
There are different kinds of web developers and roles. Any of these roles could be performed independently or as part of a larger corporate team. Let’s take a look at some job titles and descriptions that fall under the larger web developer category:
Entry-Level Web Developer Jobs
Entry-level web developers collaborate with other web developers to develop computer applications and code computer programs. Other job duties might include debugging applications and running tests.
Relevant job titles: Junior web developer, junior web designer, entry-level front-end developer
Web Designer Jobs
Web designers either build websites from scratch or redesign existing websites. The websites they design must be visually appealing as well as user-friendly and functional. Design elements a web designer might consider include color, font and layout.
Relevant job titles: Lead web designer, web developer, website developer
Software Engineer Jobs
Software engineers develop, design, test, maintain and evaluate computer software. Typically, software engineers work on projects in government, industrial, manufacturing, and education sectors. Software engineers might develop computer software from scratch or make updates to existing programs.
Relevant job titles: Computer engineer, software developer, software test engineer
WordPress Developer Jobs
WordPress developers work with people who want to customize their blog or website using the WordPress platform. WordPress provides generic themes for users, but those who want to add more of their personality and style need assistance from WordPress developers. These developers code websites so they function as users would like based on their needs.
Relevant job titles: WordPress web developer, WordPress web designer
Front-End Developer Jobs
Web designers are responsible for the look and feel of websites, front-end developers create user experience and activity. When you visit a website, click tabs and enter information, the end result is the responsibility of a front-end developer.
Sample tasks include tailoring user experience, adding search engine optimization (SEO) keywords, developing and maintaining user interfaces and meeting with designers to bring their concepts to life.
Relevant job titles: Front-end web developer, client-side developer
Back-End Developer Jobs
Back-end developers are responsible for the design, implementation and performance of software and systems and how they work behind the scenes. They integrate data storage systems, email systems and databases so they all work in sync to create a user-friendly website.
Relevant job titles: Server-side developer, back-end software developer
Full-Stack Developer Jobs
Full-stack developers handle both the front and back end of websites, including design, user experience, implementation and performance. They’re tasked with creating a website that’s fully functional and operational.
Relevant job titles: Full-stack web application developer, full-stack PHP developer
Video Game Developer Jobs
Video game developers create video games from scratch and update and improve existing games.
They specialize in video game design, programming, art, coding and testing. Video game developers might work for a large video game company or work independently.
Relevant job titles: Video game designer, 3D game developer/coder
Salary Ranges and Expectations for Web Developer Jobs
The average annual salary for web developers in 2018 was $69,430, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That figure is based on candidates with an associate’s degree, so those with a more advanced level of education could start with a higher salary. Web developers with certifications in specialty areas such as content management systems would likely also earn more money.
Projected Growth Rate of the Web Developer Field
The projected growth rate for this field is 15%, much faster than average. From 2016 to 2026, more than 24,000 web developer jobs are expected to be added.
Web developer jobs are great springboards for related jobs such as computer programmers, database administrators and information system managers.
How to Get a Web Developer Job
Here are some tips to help get you started:
- Build up your portfolio. Even if you’ve only worked on one or two websites, you should showcase your work on your portfolio. Showing what you’ve developed will demonstrate your creativity and technical skills to prospective clients.
- Target your job search. Make a wishlist of the companies you’d like to work for and research their career sites.
- Refine your resume. Make sure your resume is current and highlights your technical skills, including computer languages, software programs and web design certifications.
- Take on freelance projects. Whether you’re creating websites for family members, friends or local non-profit organizations, you’ll gain experience and credibility the more projects you complete. You can also sign up for sites like Upwork and iFreelance to find paying freelance gigs.
- Keep learning. Even if you have a college degree, it pays to keep current with the latest industry news and read computer science books in your spare time.
- Network to get work. Join a Facebook or LinkedIn group for web developers, professional organizations such as www.webprofessionals.org, or online communities such as GitHub to connect with like-minded people and discover job opportunities.
- Attend technical seminars, workshops and meetup groups. Groups such as meetup.com sponsor low- or no-cost meetup opportunities for web designers and other related professionals.
- Choose a specialty. The more tailored your web development services are, the more in demand you’ll be. For example, if you decide to become a full-stack developer, you’ll be more versatile to employers.
- Register with a staffing agency. Until you land a full-time job, you can work as a contractor for an employment agency. They’ll help you find a job that pays well and might even offer benefits.
Top 8 Skills to Be Successful in Web Development
Now let’s take a look at the skills you need to be successful in this field:
1. Technical Skills
Computer coding, website design and programming are all complex technical concepts you should be familiar with. It’s not enough to be good at math so you can understand algorithms — you need to be savvy with dozens of software programs, systems and programming languages.
2. Creative Skills
Websites are more than just functional sites for individuals or companies. They need to be unique and competitive, requiring a creative flair, so creative skills are just as important as technical skills. You should keep up with design trends in the industry and spend time looking at competitor websites.
3. Analytical Skills
Assessing and analyzing user needs, requirements and potential issues are all common tasks for a web designer. You’ll often be required to analyze large amounts of data efficiently.
4. Problem-Solving Skills
Employers value employees who can identify problems and develop solutions quickly. Being adaptive is a part of solving problems effectively because things change in the technical environments at a fast rate.
5. Time Management skills
Web developers juggle multiple projects at the same time and require a good handle on prioritizing. You need to be able to work well in a deadline-driven, sometimes chaotic environment. You should also be experienced using project management tools such as Trello.
6. Communication Skills
Whether you work for yourself or a large corporation, you’ll need good communication skills as you might be collaborating with other developers, graphic designers, clients and other business partners.
As a subject-matter expert in web development, you’ll be the go-to person in that area, so you should be good at explaining technical issues so everyone can understand them.
7. User Experience Skills
As a web developer, you should try to put yourself in the shoes of the end-user so you can give them the best user experience possible.
Meet with them to determine how they will be using the site and what features are needed to meet their expectations.
8. Visual Design Skills
Web developers or designers need to be familiar with typography, color theory and grid systems, as well as be comfortable using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Sketch.
Web Developers Have a Fun and High Paying Job
If you’re creative and web-savvy, a job as a web developer gives you the best of both worlds. You can tinker on websites and perform technical functions and also create innovative and unique features.
You can work remotely as an independent contractor or work for a large company as part of an IT team. Plus, you’ll never be short on work — everyone wants a website.
Look for good benefits and a beneficial plan for retirement so you can save your money wisely.
About Laura Hipshire
Expert-level knowledge of Medicare Advantage plans and regulatory guidelines