Become a Web Developer

 Become a web developer Median wages in 2013 were $30.37 hourly and $63,160 annually[v]

Salary Potential if you become a web developer

Become a web developer Median wages in 2013 were $30.37 hourly and $63,160 annually[v]

Does becoming a web developer interest you?

Web developers often have the ability to influence how users interpret information on a website, what path they take through the various pages of a site, and even whether or not they make a purchase! Basically, these professionals conceptualize, build, and make changes to websites in order to create the best visitor experience. If you have ever appreciated the design and accessibility of a website, you have benefitted from the work of web developers.

This career path often has two main concerns –creating the look of the website and also handling its technical aspects, such as speed and capacity to handle traffic. A web developer often has design knowledge and may work with other types of designers to create graphics and layouts for a site. They also usually have web programming skills and understand how to build not just webpages but also forms, databases, and other related components. Keep reading for more information on typical web developer job duties, salary potential, educational requirements, and more.

Web Developer Job Description

Whether they work for employers or as freelancers with a variety of clients, those who become a web developers are usually responsible for turning an organization or individual’s ideas into “virtual” reality. A new company, or a company in the process of rebranding, often wants a website that reflects everything the organization has to offer – from their corporate philosophy to the products they sell. Therefore, websites could serve purposes ranging from content delivery to ecommerce. A web developer typically designs a website’s structure and appearance to make sure it conveys the customer’s vision but is also functional and secure. Below are some typical duties web developers may be responsible for.

  • Meet with clients to understand the proposed website’s goals, requirements, and audience
  • Design websites, often creating wireframes to depict site organization and navigation
  • Build responsive websites or applications that work across multiple devices, such as smart phones and tablets
  • Perform testing and seek customer feedback; use results to make changes and fix bugs
  • Perform information security procedures, such as backing up web files and implementing CMS updates and patches
  • Work with creative professionals, such as writers and web designers, to write, design, and create graphics or videos for websites
  • Research and understand new web development trends, tools, innovations, and industry concerns

What Should Know to Become a Web Developer

Web developers often have both technical and design knowledge in order to build websites that are functional as well as intuitive and visually appealing to users. Here are just a few of the qualities and skill sets someone who becomes a web developer may be expected to have:

  • Knowledge of web development languages such as JavaScript and HTML; development environment software like Microsoft Visual Basic and Android SDK; databases such as MySQL; content management systems (CMS) like WordPress and Drupal
  • Experience with graphics and photo-editing software such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop
  • Design knowledge and principles, such as creating models and wireframes or even graphics and color schemes
  • Knowledge of front-end User Experience (UX) development; an understanding of how users navigate a site and retrieve information
  • Communication and customer service skills – web developers must work closely with customers to translate their vision and goals into a website that is cost-effective and user-friendly
  • Creativity – web developers may be responsible for creating layouts and graphics, or they may need to find inventive solutions to tricky challenges

How to Become a Web Developer

Education[i]

Education requirements vary widely for becoming a web developer. Some employers may only require a high school diploma as long as candidates have the necessary skills and qualities, while others require a bachelor’s degree. The most common requirement is an associate’s degree in web design or a related field. For more technical career paths such as web architect, however, employers may prefer a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a similar area.

Web developers may continue to learn throughout their careers as design trends and technological advances take the place of old techniques. They may also take graphic design courses if they are interested in designing the visual appearance of websites.

Training and Career Enhancement[i]

Web developers who earn a bachelor’s degree sometimes pursue enhanced career opportunities, such as Project Manager. An IT project manager may oversee a large-scale project that involves multiple web developers and other IT professionals.

Web developers may be able to enhance their preparation for career opportunities by honing skill areas such as programming languages and multimedia publishing tools like Flash. They may also wish to earn certifications offered by software vendors such as Adobe and Microsoft. Certifications may indicate to a prospective employer that you are knowledgeable in a particular area of web development. Here are several to consider:

  • CMS: Standard certification programs don’t exist for Drupal or WordPress but  to be  successful in web development, extensive knowledge on both popular web development platforms is a valuable asset.
  • Adobe Dreamweaver Certification – this credential certifies your knowledge of Adobe Dreamweaver software, which may be used to design and build websites.[ii]
  • Adobe ColdFusion 9 Certification – this certification covers your knowledge of designing and building internet applications using concepts like database architecture, SQL queries, and more.[iii]
  • MCSD: Web Applications Solutions Developer – offered by Microsoft, this credential covers critical areas like programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3, developing web and mobile applications, and more.[iv]

Web Developer Salary Potential and Job Growth [v]

So how much could you ear if you become a web developer? If you take a look at various job descriptions, you’ll notice that earnings potential can vary widely, depending on the opportunity.  Here is some information about web developer job growth and potential salary that may give you an idea of what the potential salaries and growth potentials are in this field:

  • Median wages in 2013 were $30.37 hourly and $63,160 annually.
  • Job growth between 2012 and 2022 is projected to be faster than average (15 to 22%).
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that an increase in demand for mobile web development could lead to job growth in this field. Web developers designing for mobile devices have to create websites that fit different screen sizes, increasing the scope of the work.[vi]

Check out some degree programs that could be useful to you if you want to become a web developer! 


Sources:  bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm  |  onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1134.00

[i] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm#tab-4|[ii] training.adobe.com/certification/exams/dwcs6_cert.html | [iii] training.adobe.com/certification/exams/coldfusion-9.html|[iv] microsoft.com/learning/en-us/mcsd-web-apps-certification.aspx|[v] onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1134.00|[vi]bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm#tab-6

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