- JOB DUTIES
- JOB OUTLOOK
- EDUCATION AND TRAINING NEEDED
Web developers design and create websites. They are responsible for the look of the site. They are also responsible for the site’s technical aspects, such as its performance and capacity, which are measures of a website’s speed and how much traffic the site can handle. In addition, web developers may create content for the site.
Web developers typically do the following:
- Meet with clients or management to discuss the needs and design of a website
- Create and test applications for a website
- Write code for websites, using programming languages such as HTML or XML
- Work with other team members to determine what information the site will contain
- Work with graphics and other designers to determine the website’s layout
- Integrate graphics, audio, and video into the website
- Monitor website traffic
When creating a website, developers have to make their client’s vision a reality. They build particular types of websites, such as ecommerce, news, or gaming sites, to fit clients’ needs. Different types of websites may require different applications to work right. For example, a gaming site should be able to handle advanced graphics, whereas an ecommerce site needs a payment-processing application. The developer decides which applications and designs will best fit the site.
Some developers handle all aspects of a website’s construction, and others specialize in a certain aspect of it. The following are examples of types of specialized web developers:
Back-end web developers are responsible for the overall technical construction of the website. They create the basic framework of the site and ensure that it works as expected. Back-end web developers also establish procedures for allowing others to add new pages to the website and meet with management to discuss major changes to the site.
Webmasters maintain websites and keep them updated. They ensure that websites operate correctly, and they test for errors such as broken links. Many webmasters respond to user comments as well.
The median annual wage for web developers was $66,130 in May 2016. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $35,390, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $119,550.
In May 2016, the median annual wages for web developers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:
|Other information services||$70,090|
|Publishing industries (except Internet)||67,660|
|Computer systems design and related services||66,970|
|Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations||64,030|
|Educational services; state, local, and private||62,520|
Most web developers work full time.
Employment of web developers is projected to grow 27 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Employment of web developers is projected to grow as ecommerce continues to expand. Online purchasing is expected to grow faster than the overall retail industry. As retail firms expand their online offerings, demand for web developers will increase. In addition, an increase in the use of mobile devices to search the web will lead to an increase in employment of web developers. Instead of designing a website for a desktop computer, developers will have to create sites that work on mobile devices with many different screen sizes, leading to more work.
Because websites can be built from anywhere in the world, some web developer jobs may be moved to countries with lower wages, decreasing employment growth. However, this practice may decline because the cost of managing web developers in multiple countries can offset the savings to businesses. Furthermore, web developers must understand cultural nuances that allow webpages to communicate effectively with users, and domestic web developers are better equipped for this task, curtailing the work that may be moved to other countries.
Job opportunities for web developers are expected to be good. Those with knowledge of multiple programming languages and digital multimedia tools, such as Flash and Photoshop, will have the best opportunities.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING NEEDED
The typical education needed to become a web developer is an associate’s degree in web design or a related field. Web developers need knowledge of both programming and graphic design.
Educational requirements for web developers vary with the setting they work in and the type of work they do. Requirements range from a high school diploma to a bachelor’s degree. An associate’s degree in web design or related field is the most common requirement.
However, for more technical developer positions, such as back-end web developers, some employers prefer workers who have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, programming, or a related field.
Some employers prefer web developers who have both a computer degree and coursework in graphic design, especially if the developer will be heavily involved in the website’s visual appearance.
Web developers who have a bachelor’s degree can advance to become project managers. For more information, see the profile on computer and information systems managers.