What Does a Web Developer Do and How Much Do They Make?

Changing your career is a big step. Before you move forward, it’s important to know whether or not this prospective field is a good fit for you and if this career path will withstand our economy in the future. Luckily, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the web development field is expected to grow 27 percent through 2024, which is three times faster than other occupation growth averages. Here are some other key essentials to note before dipping into a career in web development.

What is a Web Developer?

There are a few types of web developers. There’s a front end web developer, which refers to working on what the user sees on the website; there’s a back end web developer, which refers to the server side of development focused on ensuring the right data gets sent out to the browser; lastly, there’s the full stack developer, which refers to developers who work on both sides and can comfortably work on the database and browser ends. For the purpose of this article, we’re focusing on the median of all three and web developers in a general manner.

What Does a Web Developer Do Exactly?

On a basic level, a web developer builds websites. More specifically, web developers ensure that the technical side of your new website comes together as you intended. A web developer should know how to create programs, applications, and how to build a website from the ground up. If you need custom code or a custom site layout with particular features and functions, a web developer should be able to create that for you. Web developers also make sure that the site is user-friendly for various audiences and ages. They have the client and consumer in mind and know how to showcase products in a way that makes your services easily accessible for your clients. A developer should be aware of the many caveats of web design, from creating a form to bring end user’s emails into the website’s client funnel, provide a newsletter, or thank their customers for their business. Once the website is built, they should also be able to maintain and update the site for you as needed.

Do Web Developers Have a College Degree?

The educational requirements to become a web developer vary depending on the company. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most common requirement for the position is a minimum of an associate’s degree in web programming. However, there have been cases where web developers  do have a college degree or teach themselves code online, though there is much more to web development than simply learning code.

How Much Do Web Developers Earn on Average?            

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2015 the median annual salary for web developers was $64,970, which, according to The Census Bureau is higher than the 2015 average American’s annual income of $54,462.

Who’s Hiring Web Developers?

Web developers generally work full or part-time in an office for an Information Technology (IT) department or choose to work as a consultants, independent contractors, or freelancers.

What Are Some Challenges of the Job?

A website is an ever-evolving product, which can be complex at times. When you think you’re finally done creating your site, there may be a glitch in the code or an extra element that the client wants to add. Even if you create the perfect site this year, it will be outdated 3 or 5 years from now. Beyond the aesthetic feel of the site, even a perfectly secure or structurally sound site may deteriorate over time.

What’s the Difference Between a Web Designer and a Web Developer?

Web designers create the overall look and feel of a website. A web developer takes the web designer’s work and turns it into a functional website. Developers are typically more analytical and concentrate on the website’s performance and may even work with stakeholders to prioritize strategic improvements and updates. Plus, web developers must be diligent about their continuing education since technology is ever evolving and it’s important for their careers to stay up-to-date on new techniques.

What Are a Web Developer’s Key Skills?

A web developer should have knowledge in HTML, JavaScript, and CSS since these are integral when building a website. HTML is the main language used to display a website or to appear in a web browser. JavaScript provides user interfaces and enhances interactivity to a website. CSS is used for the look and design of the website in spreadsheets written in HTML.

The developer must also be able to design and use a database to determine the accuracy and performance in website maintenance and design. Databases generally help avoid repetition within code for a client’s website or design. Some database management systems include Oracle, Structured Query Language (SQL), or MySQL. Oracle is typically used for corporations, government entities, and institutional intranets. SQL and MySQL are open-sourced platforms and are free to the public. The database enables end users to access order forms, information, or to capture credit card data.

It’s also important for web developers to be patient since customers may sometimes have elaborate, unrealistic expectations for the practical design of their site. At times, dealing with the client may be more complicated than the actual site design. You’ll also be interacting with an array of personalities and collaborators, such as designers, illustrators, copywriters, etc., and it’s important to hear everyone out and utilize each other’s expertise throughout this tedious process.

Most importantly, if web development is a field you’re interested in and have a passion for, then pursue it! We hope this helps clarify what a web developer does and how much they make. Thanks for reading and best of luck in your career hunt!

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