Wondering what do web developers do? Web development is a popular information technology (IT) career path in today’s digital age. College students spend considerable time surfing the web and posting on social media. Making a career out of one’s internet obsession sounds like a dream come true. Imagine getting a paycheck for working online at home every day. Students are likely tempted to turn their technological expertise into a full-time gig. Web development could be the perfect career match for young adults glued to their phones and computers.
Fortunately, web development is also an in-demand career that pays off with an above-average salary. Web developers will be in high need to create eye-catching websites that enhance brand recognition for client organizations. Creating functional, user-friendly websites that are aesthetically pleasing on screen is every web developer’s goal. Web developers build internet pages and platforms from the ground up to enhance users’ digital experiences. If you’re considering this occupation, read the full job description for what do web developers do below.
What Do Web Developers Do?
Web developers are responsible for creating an appealing layout and interface for new sites. Web developers pick every detail from font color to header size to determine how pages look online. Unlike web designers, developers go behind the cosmetic curb appeal of websites though. Web developers are responsible for handling the aesthetic and technical aspects of internet pages. Web developers use coding languages to tweak how online applications run. Web developers ensure sites have the capacity to meet performance goals and give visitors a positive viewing experience. Getting websites running without a hitch or 404 error is their duty.
Web developers don’t normally let their own imagination run wild without some guidelines. Web developers take direction from their clients. On a typical day, web developers can be found meeting with clients to discuss their unique website needs. Web development requests from fitness gyms would be very different than those from real estate agencies. Web developers use their clients’ specifications to determine an ideal appearance design. Web developers write epically long lines of code to generate new web pages. Web developers compress graphics, photos, animations, videos, and other elements to ensure page load speeds are fast.
Web developers make a client’s site vision become a reality. Web developers present an end product that fits clients’ orders effectively and make any necessary edits. A web developer’s projects never truly end though. Every live website needs ongoing maintenance to remain functional and fresh. Web developers keep monitoring their sites to measure incoming internet traffic. Web developers run performance tests and fix “buggy” code. Web developers stay up-to-date on trends to sustain relevant, well-performing pages. Web developers change faulty CMS and install better browser plug-ins. Developers also adapt designs for new mobile devices.
Are There Different Kinds of Web Developers?
Nonetheless, the answer to “What do web developers do” varies. There are three main kinds of web developers: front-end, back-end, and full-stack. First, front-end web developers are concerned with coding the visual aspects of websites. Front-end web development covers everything users see when clicking the URL. Front-end web developers are interface artists who make pages pretty. Second, back-end web developers focus on the more complex coding servers read. Back-end development involves everything users can’t actually see. Back-end web developers care more about how internet applications and browsers function than look.
Can’t decide between the two hot career options? Becoming a full-stack web developer is the solution. Full-stack web development covers the entire gamut of website needs. Full-stack web developers don’t choose between the server-serving and client-facing side. These jacks-of-all-trades have insanely vast skill sets for cross-functionality work on website projects. Full-stack web developers are qualified for virtually all client requests from the front to back end. Full-stack web developers can work more independently without demanding on anyone else. Full-stack web developers also produce a wider portfolio and have more ownership over project success.
Where Do Web Developers Work?
The U.S. Department of Labor counted 148,340 jobs nationwide for web developers in May 2019. Computer systems design firms employed the most web developers at 17 percent. Ten percent of web developers were self-employed on a contractual basis. Web developers can excel as independent contractors and consult with various clients right from home. Five percent of web developers worked in-house at publishing companies to design cutting-edge digital interfaces. Web developers also find employment opportunities with financial institutions, insurance carriers, software startups, schools, nonprofits, government agencies, and more.
Web developers can architect well-coded websites in nearly all industries from manufacturing to medicine. Web developers often carve out a niche for serving certain client types, such as entrepreneurs or marketers. The vast majority of web developers are employed on a full-time basis in normal, nine-to-five business hours. Freelance web developers have the greatest freedom in customizing a work schedule anytime 24/7. On-site web developers work behind a computer in a comfortable, climate-controlled office. Self-employed web developers can travel about and set up anywhere with an internet connection though.
What is the Average Web Developer Salary?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that web developers collect a mean annual wage of $82,370 or $39.60 per hour. Web developers make more than double the average associate degree salary of $38,376. In fact, web developers earn more than the average bachelor’s starting salary of $51,022. Web developers can reap solid earnings near or over the six-figure mark with less higher education debt. The bottom 10 percent of web developers have median compensation of $39,550 per year. Median annual pay is $142,080 for the top 10 percent of web developers though. Most web developers have a yearly income of $53,520 to $102,900.
Certain industries pay web developers more or less for their site-building strengths. For example, software publishers provide a mean yearly wage of $132,260. Computer systems design firms present a much lower average web developer salary of $79,520. Advertising agencies deliver a median annual income of $74,140. Data processors and hosts give web developers a $83,510 average paycheck. Investment banks reward web developers with mean annual earnings of $102,190. Washington is the top-paying states with a $134,310. Web developers in California and Georgia follow with $90,230 and $87,800 respective averages.
Are Employers Looking to Hire Web Developers?
In April 2019, the Pew Research Center found that only 10 percent of U.S. residents don’t access the web. Nine out of 10 Americans scroll through cyberspace on a regular basis. More websites are constantly being indexed alongside the over 2 billion URLs that already exist. People use websites to blog, bank, buy, and babble online. Virtually every business big or small needs a website to reach today’s tech-savvy consumers. Growth in e-commerce and online retail continues to skyrocket thanks to the increased use of mobile devices.
It’s an excellent time to consider becoming a web developer and meeting the needs of clients’ growing online audiences. The BLS predicts the employment of web developers will increase by 13 percent from 2018 to 2028. The 10-year job outlook shows 20,900 jobs created for 181,400 web developers in total. Job growth for web developers will outpace the already high hiring uptick of 12 percent in all information technology fields. Web developers frequently find the most jobs in Washington DC, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Chicago. California has the highest number of web developers at 20,920 statewide.
How Do You Become a Web Developer?
In most cases, the minimum academic requirement for web developers is an associate degree. Associate degrees are two-year, post-secondary credentials awarded by junior colleges or trade schools. Associate programs can be completed online or face-to-face for vocational preparation. Aspiring developers usually select associate majors in web development or web design. Closely related information technology or computer science fields would also be sufficient. Front-end web developers could even benefit from associate degrees in graphic design or digital media. Regardless of the major, students should elect as many web development classes as possible.
Committing to the 24-month time frame for a web development associate degree isn’t always necessary. Web developers are sometimes hired with a high school diploma or the GED equivalent. These self-taught developers must already have proficient coding skills. If not, future web developers can complete short-term coding boot camps online and in person. Web development boot camps, such as App Academy and the Flatiron School, usually last weeks rather than years. Immersive boot camps teach developers how to build user interfaces with project-based learning. Community colleges offer quick web development certificates too.
However, more technical positions like back-end web developer may prefer bachelor’s degrees. New web development candidates with four-year college degrees can stand out. Web development B.A. and B.S. degrees both follow a 120-credit, 48-month curriculum. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) lists 130 colleges with web development bachelor’s majors. Top-notch options include Arizona State, Liberty, Bellevue, Champlain, and Brigham Young. Otherwise, bachelor’s majors in computer science and programming would suffice. Take a wide range of information technology electives for an in-depth understanding of web architecture.
Which Skills Do Web Developers Need?
Web development is a high-paying job for introverts who prefer email and video chats to in-person meetings. Yet, web developers still need communication skills to update clients on the project process. Web developers must be articulate writers and good listeners who hear clients’ every specification. Great customer service skills help web developers accumulate a growing client base. Web developers are lifelong learners with a drive to keep mastering new scripts. Web development requires patience and problem-solving skills to fix unexpected glitches. Front-end and back-end developers need analytical skills to survey long code for itty-bitty errors.
The 21st-century web development profession has progressed since the first website went live in 1991. In effect, web developers need to know responsive design tactics to display sites correctly on all devices. Web developers must be proficient with search engine optimization (SEO) for page content that ranks well on Google. Web developers need experience with the popular WordPress system many clients use. Web developers should know the ins and outs of Adobe Photoshop to create crystal-clear site visuals. Web developers must be skilled multi-taskers to juggle several client invoices and organize finances for estimated taxes if self-employed.
Is There Upward Mobility for Web Developers?
Talented, dedicated web developers are frequently plucked for IT department leadership too. That’s especially true for web developers who hold a bachelor’s or 10+ years of experience. For instance, web developers may become information systems managers to control organizations’ computer networks. Many are promoted to IT project manager jobs and oversee teams working on computer creations. Most have suitable skills to segue into careers like software developer, webmaster, web architect, and database administrator. The most senior executive role available for ambitious web developers is Chief Technology Officer (CTO).
What are the Benefits of Being a Web Developer?
Web development is an appealing career for students who wish to minimize the time spent in school. Web developers earn big paychecks with little to no college tuition debt. Employers are willing to pay top dollar for developers to create multi-million-dollar e-commerce sites. Remote work is generally available to web developers who seek it. Web developers can establish a sizable freelancing business and assume full project control. Self-employed web developers won’t worry about office location closures or pandemics like the COVID-19 crisis. People aren’t giving up the internet anytime soon, so web development is future-proof and recession-proof.
Building websites from scratch is a fun, creative challenge for developers. Full-stack web developers flex the creative right brain and scientific left brain muscles. Web developers can work in isolation at home if desired. Nevertheless, web developers join a burgeoning tech community. Web developers interact with extremely diverse clients across Earth thanks to the internet. Web developers could create their own websites and make a side income from affiliate marketing. Web developers aren’t overly stressed because even broken links and faulty code can be fixed. Web developers can also devise new coding strategies to advance the field.
How Can Newbie Web Developers Get Started?
Feeling excited and enthusiastic about a new web development career? First things first, guarantee you have the above skills to pass muster. Show initiative by teaching yourself coding languages like Angular and Java. Finish post-secondary training in web development at the certificate or degree level. Next, prepare a stand-out web developer portfolio. Most clients seek digital portfolios of previous website work rather than traditional one-page resumes. Create a domain for exhibiting live samples of development projects. List clickable links to CodePen and GitHub design samples. Clean up social media posts, including on LinkedIn, to showcase a professional, go-getter attitude online.
Landing web development client contracts normally requires an interview. Shy or nervous web developers should prepare for common interview questions beforehand. For instance, clients often ask which projects best illustrate web developers’ abilities. Clients might inquire about work ethic to determine if their deadlines will be met. Clients could request information about a web developer’s inspiration and design style. Clients frequently want web developers to share their own most visited websites. Interviewers can make web developers walk them through a step-by-step project timeline. Web developers should also be able to discuss exciting new trends.
Overall, web developers strive to create easy-to-navigate websites that garner repeat visitors. Web developers accomplish this by designing, coding, and modifying the layout of websites. Developers take into account a clients’ targeted audience and unique specifications. Succeeding in CNN Money’s 14th best career requires programming expertise and attention to detail. Back-end web developers particularly need to know how web servers connect to pages for viewing. Designing the appearance and functionality of websites is hard, yet gratifying work. Now that the “What do web developers do?” question is resolved, you can determine if web development will be your future forte.
As growth in e-commerce and online retail continues to skyrocket thanks to the increased use of mobile devices, it is an excellent time to consider becoming a web developer. In fact, according to the BLS, employment for web developers is projected to grow much faster than average occupations at the rate of 20 percent, thus creating approximately 28,500 new jobs over the next decade. Web developers will be in high demand to utilize their technological expertise for designing and creating eye-catching websites that will enhance brand recognition for organizations on the World Wide Web. If you are considering this in-demand web design career, read on for a full job description for web developers for meeting the needs of a website’s audience.