Web Developer Job Description, Salary, and Skills

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Are you interested in a job as a web developer? If you love web design and development and enjoy working independently, your job prospects are rosy; the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that industry demand is anticipated to increase 15 percent by 2026.

There are other pluses to working in web design. Many entry-level jobs only require an associate degree, which makes this an attractive field for workers who have the skills, but not the desire to spend four years preparing for a career. Plus, this occupation often allows workers to telecommute, either while working full-time for an employer or as a contract worker/freelancer. That means the potential for better work-life balance than many other professional jobs.

This job also pays well. The median salary for web developers was $32.69 an hour ($67,990 a year) in 2017.

Web Developer Job Description

Web developers build and shape a visitor’s experience at a website. They do this through the creation of page layouts (headings and paragraphs), website styling (colors and fonts), and page features (animations and pictures).

Web developers work closely with project managers and designers to ensure that the final product adheres to the predetermined budget, scope, and design. While a bachelor’s degree in computer science is not required for many positions, employers prefer numerous years of hands-on experience coding both websites and web applications.

Along with strong technical skills, front-end web developers must have excellent written and oral communication skills, a solid grasp of graphic design, and exceptional time management capabilities. They must be able to troubleshoot issues quickly and to stay up-to-date on current and emerging technologies, standards, and trends.

Web developers bring a website or web application to life using code, such as HTML, JavaScript, CSS, Python, and PHP. Continued testing, maintenance, and updates are handled by the web developer throughout the lifecycle of the website.

Web developers work for a variety of employers in the government, non-profit, and corporate sectors. However, many also work independently on a contract basis or for web development firms. While many web developer jobs can be performed within a telecommuting setting, those who prefer a traditional workplace will find the most opportunities in the states of Washington, California, New York, Texas, and Florida. The top-paying states for web developers in 2017 were Washington, the District of Columbia, California, New York, and Virginia.

Education and Training

Educational requirements can vary anywhere from a high school degree to a bachelor's degree, and are dependent upon the job and employer requirements. However, a bachelor's degree is typically required for advancement to a project manager role or for back-end development positions.

Web Developer Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, web developers earned a median annual salary of $67,990 in 2017. The bottom 10 percent of web developers earned a median annual salary of less than $36,830, while the top 10 percent earned at least $122,320.

Web Developer Skills

Looking for a web developer job? It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with front-end web developer skills, so that you can emphasize them on resumes, cover letters, and job applications, as well as during job interviews.

Technical Skills: Employers often emphasize the following top technical skills on their job advertisements for web developers:

  • Actively Seek New Programming Knowledge
  • Build Products Using HTML/CSS/JS and Other Front-End Technologies
  • Code and Deploy Applications in a Cross-Platform, Cross-Browser Environment
  • Document Project Build and Maintenance
  • Experience Building User Interfaces and Prototypes from Wireframes and Designs
  • Familiar with Development and Debugging Tools for Cross-Browser Issues
  • Follow and Implement Industry Accepted Best Practices and Tools
  • Solid Understanding of Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)
  • Update Current Websites to Meet Modern Web Standards
  • Write and Maintain Web Applications

Tools / Software Programs / Platforms: While many of these programs, tools, and platforms can be self-taught, you’ll gain a slight advantage over other job candidates if you’ve pursued formal training and obtained certification in their elements and use. Certification providers include Microsoft (MTA and MCSD), Amazon Web Services (AWS Certified Developer), and Oracle (APEX, OCP, OCM, OCE).

  • Experience with Git and Github
  • Experience with Photoshop
  • Familiar with Social Media and Third-Party APIs
  • Knowledgeable of REST-Based APIs
  • Knowledgeable of Web Application Development Frameworks
  • Proficient with Javascript
  • Solid Understanding of HTML5/CSS3, jQuery, and Responsive Design
  • UI / UX
  • WordPress, Theming, and Module Development Experience

“Soft” Skills: “Soft” skills are the interpersonal / “people” skills, personality traits, and work habits that enable people to work productively, both independently and in team environments. 

  • Detail-Oriented
  • Handle Frequent Feedback
  • Keen Attention to Details
  • Manage and Prioritize Multiple Projects
  • Self-Starter Attitude
  • Strong Problem Solver
  • Thrive in a Team Environment
  • Troubleshoot and Communicate Effectively
  • Work Well Under Pressure