Web developers need a combination of graphic design skills and technical computer skills that will allow them to create particular designs on web pages. In addition to looking nice, websites need to be functional and secure. It is the responsibility of web developers to create such sites that meet the requirements of employers or clients.
Web developers often implement ideas from less tech-savvy colleagues who lack the know-how to turn their vision into an actual, functional website.
Web Developer Duties & Responsibilities
This job generally requires the ability to do the following work:
- Create and test applications for websites
- Present design specs
- Work with graphics and other designers
- Troubleshoot website problems
- Maintain and update websites
- Monitor website traffic
- Stay up-to-date on technology
Web developers build and shape visitors’ experiences at websites.
They do this through the creation of page layouts (headings and paragraphs), website styling (colors and fonts), and page features (animations and pictures). Interactive features, such as submitting online payments securely, are a necessary feature of e-commerce sites.
Web developers work closely with project managers and designers to ensure that final products adhere to predetermined budgets, scope, and designs. Web developers sometimes need to be able to show employers or clients a prototype of a website to help them understand what the finished product will be.
Website maintenance also is an important element of the job. As new features need to be added or old features need to be updated, web developers need to make sure these changes are implemented smoothly and that they do not disrupt the website’s features.
Web Developer Salary
Web developers who can create and maintain attractive and user-friendly websites are in high demand, and those with proven ability have higher earning power, as expected.
- Median Annual Salary: $77,200
- Top 10% Annual Salary: $146,430
- Bottom 10% Annual Salary: $40,750
Education, Training, & Certification
In some settings, web developers can get started with no more than a high school diploma, but an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree typically is needed to advance in the field.
- Education: Many high school classes cover the basics of web design and graphic design necessary to the field, and some web developers are self-taught. Many employers still will seek candidates with associate’s degrees in web design or something similar. Some more detail-oriented positions will require at least a bachelor’s degree in computer programming, computer science, or something similar.
Web Developer Skills & Competencies
In addition to the technical skills necessary for the job, there are several soft skills that can be very beneficial to anyone looking for a career as a web developer:
- Detail-oriented: One line of code can have a significant impact on a website’s functionality or appearance, and web developers need to be sure they aren’t missing key details. When troubleshooting, they need to be able to know where to look for the problem.
- Multitasking: Projects aren’t always handled one at a time, and one client’s emergency sometimes can push another project to the backburner. Web developers need to be able to juggle multiple projects without missing deadlines.
- Self-motivated: The work can be solitary at times. Web developers need to be able to stay on task without anyone standing over them.
- Problem-solving: Websites need to be functional as well as attractive. Web developers need to figure out how to translate a client’s vision into an actual, functional website.
- Good under pressure: Tight deadlines are common when designing or updating websites. Developers need to be able to handle the pressure of having work done when needed.
Job opportunities for web developers are expected to expand by about 13% or the decade ending in 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Growth is attributed to the increasing popularity of e-commerce and mobile applications for multiple tasks.
Web developers work for a variety of employers in the government, nonprofit, and corporate sectors. However, many also work independently on a contract basis or for web development firms.
The majority of the work is on a computer, so it’s important to be comfortable sitting at a desk for long stretches of time. Not all work is in front of the computer, however.
Web developers often have to consult with employers or clients about the needs of the site and to review progress.
Work generally follows a typical business work week, but web developers working remotely for clients in other time zones—especially those overseas—need to be available to talk or otherwise correspond at times convenient for those clients.
How to Get the Job
WRITE A RESUME: Review advice on creating the best possible resume.
APPLY: Apply directly with employers or research ads on sites like Authentic and Stack Overflow
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