Anyone thinking about becoming a Web developer probably has a general idea of the responsibilities of the position, but the specific details of a career in Web development may not be as widely known. Here's what you can expect working as a Web developer:
- Meeting with clients to discuss the purpose, design and technical details of a website
- Writing code to create Web-based applications and test them in a secure environment
- Working with designers, animators and other artists to produce a site's layout
- Creating an implementation plan for the visual and interactive elements of the site
- Monitoring traffic and other activity on the site to ensure it's working properly
Where do Web developers work?
Web developers typically work as part of an enterprise IT department, although approximately one in six operate their own businesses as sole proprietors. Here's a list of the industry sectors where the largest percentage of Web developers find work:
- Computer systems design and related services
- Information services
- Management, scientific and technical consulting
- Advertising and public relations
How to become a Web developer
It isn't essential to earn a Web development degree before setting out on your career path, but having specific preparation for the challenges and opportunities of the field can help quite a bit. Web developer degree requirements vary from employer to employer and tend to overlap significantly with those in certain other disciplines -- namely computer science, computer programming and software development -- and a portfolio of previous work is vital to the application process. Read about the top schools for Web development degrees and find more insight on our related program page.
Exams and licensing
No state-mandated professional licensing program exists for aspiring Web developers, but earning professional certifications can make you a more attractive candidate to employers and prospective clients. Here's a quick list of certifications that can give a boost to your career in Web development:
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Web Applications
- Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)
- Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD)
- Zend Certified PHP Engineer
- Adobe Certified Expert (ACE)
Some Web development degree programs may include certification opportunities in their curriculum, so check with a program advisor for details. Online courses are often available as well, for career-changers and busy working pros looking to expand their skillset.
Important skills and abilities for Web developers
- Programming may only be a part of what Web developers do, but it's essential to the creation and maintenance of scripts and interactive page elements.
- Complex problem solving comes into play regularly in IT development, particularly in terms of determining an implementation approach and debugging finished code.
- Operations analysis is the process by which one analyzes the needs and requirements of a project and creates a design to address them.
- Near vision is a must for professionals who spend a majority of their working time in front of a monitor at a computer workstation.
- Oral comprehension can help you better understand what your clients or managers are looking for from an app or site you're asked to design
Web developer salary and job outlook
No matter the career, technology-based or not, salary and career outlook can vary by state. In general, however, here's an idea of the type of salary you might expect working as a Web developer. You'll also find job growth data to match:
|Career||Total Employment||Projected Job Growth Rate|
|Web Developers and Digital Interface Designers||148,340||13%|
Professional organizations for Web development
Any successful professional knows that learning doesn't stop when you graduate from college, and connecting with a professional organization can give you access to invaluable resources that can help you continue to develop your knowledge and skills once you're officially on the job. Not only that, but many organizations also release trade publications, offer financial incentives such as discounts on important professional services and produce regional, national and international conferences and other industry events. Here's a short list of professional organizations for Web developers in the U.S.:
- World Organization of Webmasters: WebProfessionals.org, offers online professional development training and assistance with Error and Omission (E&O) insurance
- International Web Association: International Web Association features employment resources, proprietary skills courses and numerous certification tracks for Web developers, designers and managers
- Association of Software Professionals: Association of Software Professionals provides private online discussion groups and discounts on software tools and components to its members