The term web development conjures up images of clever and sophisticated web pages that draw you in. Does the thought of creating something that everyone can see, share, and use excite you? If you are creative, computer literate, enjoy hard work, and are stimulated by the idea, then a career in web development might be what you’re looking for. Learn about what it takes to be a web developer, find out if you are suited to the role, and discover the typical web developer salary.
What Does a Career in Web Development Entail?
In simple terms, web developers create websites. If you chose a web development career path, you will be primarily responsible for how the website works. Starting with an initial webpage layout, you’ll convert this concept into a functional webpage. To do this, you write code that creates the page. More importantly, you develop the code that gives the page functionality so that when someone clicks on a link, a new page opens or a submenu appears.
Possibly the most critical aspect of web development is designing a web page that functions correctly. This is known as back-end design and refers to the coding that connects the page to the internet. It’s here where your real skill as a web developer becomes apparent. You need to be able to create webpages that can handle lots of queries and which don’t crash when there’s a surge in traffic, such as when the company puts on a special offer.
When you start your career in web development, you soon discover that web development is an ongoing task as you continually optimize your webpages, fix bugs, and ensure everything works as it should.
Web developers use programming languages to create their webpages, and you need to learn to use most of these. Some of the most common are:
- HTML – although this is a scripting language, not a programming language, it’s included in this list because of its importance to all other programming languages.
What Is the Average Salary for a Web Developer?
Research conducted by Paysa shows that the average salary for a web developer is $123k per year. This is made up of a basic salary of around $93k along with bonuses and other perks worth $30k. If you’re in the beginning of your career, you are more likely to start at a web developer salary approaching $60k. If you really excel and become good at web development, you can expect your salary to grow to more than $200k.
Where Do Web Developers Work?
As the world accelerates into the digital age, everyone needs a website. This means there’s a high demand for web developers, and you have a lot of choice over where you work.
Initially, you may start with a company specializing in web development and learn the ropes. There are several reasons why this is a good place to start a career in web development. Firstly, you will most likely be assigned a trainee role where you can develop your basic skills. Then, as your capabilities develop, you may be given greater latitude and more challenging work. You also develop the interpersonal skills required to compete in a fast-paced world.
Once you have developed a reputation, you can consider other options. There are many opportunities in the corporate and commercial world. Big businesses need good web pages, and retailers require slick and effective online stores. Other opportunities exist with big organizations such as Facebook, Google, and many others.
Thanks to the interconnected world we live in, it’s possible for you to work from home, and use this as a base to get work anywhere in the world. While it’s best that you first obtain a certain amount of experience before going on your own, this is a great option if you want to start a family or live in a small community.
Career Outlook for Web Developers
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for web developers is expected to grow by 13 percent between now and 2026. This exceeds the anticipated average growth rate for all other occupations and demonstrates strong demand for web developers.
Thanks to the flexible nature of working over the internet, web developers have many career opportunities. Those who wish to work independently can work from home or through online contracting agencies, while those wishing for a more structured role have many opportunities in the commercial, retail, and corporate world.
Are You Suited to a Career In Web Development?
Web development requires a range of skills. Firstly, you need to have the ability to write clean code. Secondly, you need great interpersonal skills so that you can work with a team, often under great pressure. These skills naturally divide into technical skills and social skills.
Technical Skills Required for Web Development
Here is a summary of the type of skill sets you need for a career in web development:
- Programming ability: You need to be able to write code using several programming languages
- Research: You need to know how to find information to solve problems
- Optimization: You need the ability to write efficient and effective code
While these are skills you learn as you study and gain work experience, if you have an interest in logical concepts and have played around with any form computer code, such as macros or basic HTML code, you are likely to be on the right track.
Strange as it may seem, this is not a field where you disappear off on your own to develop a web page. You need to be able to work with your clients to understand what they need. Important interpersonal skills required include:
- Be a team player
- Have an inquiring mind
- Possess good communication skills
- Ability to work under pressure
Although there are no formal requirements, other than your own ability, to become a successful web developer, there are several educational qualifications that will enhance your ability and open doors with prospective employers.
Some employers expect their web developers to have completed a computer science or web development course at a college or have a bachelor’s degree from a university. The benefits of formal qualifications are many, as the training you receive broadens your horizons and enhances your skills base. You are more likely to land a role with one of the tech giants if you have a degree behind you. However, for entrepreneurs or those that want to work for smaller companies and startups, or those who simply can’t afford a degree, a coding bootcamp is a good alternative.
Life as a web developer is stimulating and creative, but it’s not an easy career, even if you really love to code. You need solid logic skills, tenacity, and patience. Those who have a keen interest in UI, front-end web development or web design may be the right specialty for you, whereas those who are more interested in functionality and UX may find the back end development is the best path. Alternatively, if you want to maximize your earning potential, full stack development, which incorporates both front and backend work, is the optimal career path. If you’re seriously considering a career in web development, be sure to read our expert interview with Isaac Moan of Web Symphonies for a fascinating personal account and valuable professional insight. Explore your earning potential as a web developer using our salaries calculator.