What Does a Web Developer Do?

Web developers, also called web designers or webmasters, design and maintain websites. You might design and develop basic website layout or advanced interactive website features. Read on to learn more about the job duties, skills and education required of a web developer. Schools offering Graphics & Multimedia Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Duties

Your job as a web developer is to present your clients' products and services to a wide audience by creating attractive, functional websites. You will likely be asked to identify potential site users and design a website to appeal to these constituents. Your work may include meeting with clients to discuss their desires for a website or discuss how to keep their website functioning and up to date. You might construct the layout of a website, creating a visually interesting home page and user-friendly design. You may also write the content for the website. After a website is up and running, you'll make sure that the site is functional on all web browsers, periodically testing and updating it as needed. A client may also need you to include interactive capabilities on their site using Visual Basic or Java programming languages.

Important Facts About this Occupation

Work Environment Office environments; many are self-employed
Similar Occupations Computer systems managers, support specialists, programmers
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 27%, which is faster than the average for all occupations
Average Salary $68,670, as per the BLS in May 2014

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Essential Skills

Since this is a very client-based, project-oriented field, you must be able to communicate effectively, set goals and meet deadlines. You must also be creative and have a grasp of art and design principles. You should also be able to concentrate, work on a team and pay attention to small details. You need to have familiarity with technology and understand how computers and web servers operate. You also need to be familiar with many software programs, web applications and web programming languages. Specific technologies you may need to know include:

  • Hypertext markup language (HTML)
  • C++
  • JavaScript
  • Flash
  • Structured Query Language (SQL)

Education and Certification Options

While it is possible to qualify for entry-level work without it, a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as computer science, will help you to learn the skills you need and may qualify you for better paying positions. You can expect to complete your bachelor's degree in four years and you may study topics in web security, programming languages and web design. You may also desire to pursue optional certifications to demonstrate your professional competence and understanding of the field. Several organizations offer certification exams, such as Oracle and the International Webmasters Association (IWA).

Work Locations

Web developers may work for large corporations, small companies or as freelancers. Most positions will have you working 40 hours a week, while others - especially freelance positions - allow flexible schedules. Occasionally, you may be required to work during the weekend or other non-standard business hours in order to perform website maintenance or assist during emergencies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some common industries for web developers include:

  • Computer systems design
  • Information services
  • Data processing and hosting
  • Advertising and public relations
  • Management, scientific and technical consulting

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS reports that e-commerce will fuel growth for web developers over the 2012-2022 decade (www.bls.gov). While outsourcing may lead to companies hiring workers overseas, the BLS notes that some companies are instead hiring workers in parts of the United States where costs are lower. Wages for web developers vary by industry and location. According to the BLS in May 2014, those working in the computer systems design industry earned an average wage of $70,280, and those working in the category of independent artists, writers and performers earned the highest average pay of $89,360. The highest paying states at that time were Washington, Delaware, Virginia, California and the District of Columbia.

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