Becoming a JavaScript Engineer: Careers, Salary Info & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a JavaScript engineer career? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming a JavaScript engineer is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Becoming a JavaScript Engineer

JavaScript engineers, also known as 'web developers', work with scripting languages that enhance the interactivity of web pages. They design and develop websites, evaluate code and respond to users' needs.

Pros of Becoming a JavaScript Engineer
Faster-than-average growth predicted (27% between 2014-2024)*
Above-average annual wage (median annual wage around $63,490 as of May 2014)*
Professional experience may sometimes be substituted for education**
May work across all types of industries (finance, insurance or telecommunications)*
May be able to work from home**

Cons of Becoming a JavaScript Engineer
Must understand many programming and scripting languages as well as publishing tools (HTML, SQL and Flash)*
Although work experience may sometimes be substituted for education, some employers prefer a bachelor's or even a master's degree in computer science or a related field*
May require long hours in front of a computer*
Must stay updated with respect to new technology and computer languages*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Job postings from September 2012.

Essential Career Information

Job Description

Web developers work closely with designers, project managers and engineers in implementing solutions to web development problems. They must have coding expertise and an understanding of web technologies, such as JavaScript, CSS, HTML and SQL. They're typically responsible not only for the look of a website, but also for a its technical aspects. As a web developer, you may work with clients to determine the needs of a target audience, which will enable you to build a website according to their specifications. You may also be in charge of monitoring website traffic.

Job Growth and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that employment opportunities for web developers would increase 27% from 2014-2024, which is markedly faster than the average for all occupations. The BLS reported that, in May 2014, there were 121,020 web developers in the nation who earned a median annual wage of about $63,490. The agency predicted that electronic commerce would be the driving force behind the employment growth for web developers.

Career Skills and Requirements

Web developers have varying types of education. While experience or an associate's degree may be sufficient for some employers, others prefer candidates who have a bachelor's or even a master's degree in computer science or a related field. Knowledge and experience related to programming and scripting languages, such as JavaScript, HTML and XML, may be required for some positions. Additionally, some employers may also want applicants with a background in graphics and design. Typically, employers look for applicants with these attributes:

  • Analytical skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Creativity
  • Concentration
  • Customer-service skills

Job Postings from Real Employers

Employers looking for JavaScript engineers emphasize that applicants should be willing to work in a challenging, fast-paced environment. Strong analytical skills are necessary, as are up-to-date coding skills. Some employers require a degree, and most require web-development experience. Here are a few real job postings found in September 2012 that may give you an idea of what employers were looking for:

  • A U.S.-based company was looking for JavaScript engineers to work on mobile gaming platforms. The company wanted someone with expertise in JavaScript who could work on both client and server development. Exceptional written and verbal communication skills were required. A Bachelor of Science in Computer Science or an equivalent amount of experience and two years of experience in the field were preferred.
  • A U.S.-based company sought a JavaScript front-end developer to lead the design of client-side engineering solutions. The job required hand coding of web-based applications and integrating code with other technologies (such as Flash, Web Services and others). The employer did not mention a specific degree requirement, but did want applicants with extensive experience in the field.
  • A company based in San Francisco advertised for a JavaScript engineer to work closely with designers, project managers and back-end engineers to solve difficult Web-development problems and launch versatile front-end solutions. A bachelor's or a master's in the field of computer science or four years of equivalent experience in the field was required. Experience with scripting languages, such as Python, was also required.
  • A San Francisco company looked for a JavaScript engineer to work 100% remotely or in San Francisco or Long Island. The perfect candidate would be able to build and test new products, services and application frameworks, and lead in the design and development of applications for background processing, asynchronous processing and queuing systems. No requirement for a degree was mentioned.

How to Stand Out in the Field

Based on job postings and information from the BLS, communication and customer-service skills are important in this industry. In this career, you may find yourself working with clients and in-house teams, making good communication skills vital. Thus, while in school or on the job, you may want to brush up on your written and verbal communication skills by taking classes or completing a certificate program in communications at a local community college.

In addition to proficiency in JavaScript, knowledge of other scripting languages and popular applications frameworks may be beneficial. Employers are looking for applicants who are well versed in Python, Ruby, Backbone.js, spine.js, Knockout.js and Sencha, among others. Community college courses are offered in client-side scripting languages, the knowledge of which may give you an advantage when job seeking.

Alternative Career Paths

Graphic Designer

Perhaps you're interested in computers and website design, but your passion lies more on the artistic side. If that's the case, you may wish to consider becoming a graphic designer. According to the BLS, job opportunities for graphic designers will increase 13% during the 2010-2020 decade.

These designers work both by hand and with computer software to design graphics for websites, publishers, advertisers and other related services. A bachelor's degree is usually required, and possessing artistic talent and creativity can create an advantage when seeking employment. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for graphic designers in May 2011 was around $44,000.

Technical Support Specialist

Perhaps you're more interested in working in a computer maintenance role as a technical support specialist. This job requires testing and evaluating network systems as well as performing regular maintenance to ensure that networks are operating correctly. In this job, you troubleshoot and correct network and Internet system problems, typically in an organization's in-house information technology department.

According to the BLS, a bachelor's degree in the field of computer science, engineering or information science is usually required to work as a technical support specialist, although an associate's degree or post-secondary classes may suffice. The BLS predicted that job opportunities for technical support specialists would grow 18% during the 2010-2020 decade. As of May 2011, these specialists earned a median annual wage of around $48,000, according to the BLS.

Popular Schools

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    1. Purdue University Global

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    2. Full Sail University

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      • Bachelor of Science - Software Development
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    5. CDI College

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    6. Herzing University

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Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • BS in Information Technology/Multiplatform Software Development
  • BSIT: Network Admin
  • AAS in Information Technology - Multiplatform Software Development
  • AASIT: Network Admin

Which subject are you interested in?

Full Sail University

  • Bachelor of Science - Software Development
  • B.S. - Mobile Development

What is your highest level of education?

Penn Foster High School

  • HS Diploma

What is your age?

Northcentral University

  • PhD in Business Admin - Management of Engineering and Technology
  • Doctor of Business Admin - Management of Engineering and Technology
  • MBA - Management of Engineering and Technology
  • MSTIM - Engineering Magagement

What is your highest level of education?

CDI College

  • Diploma in Programmer Analyst / Internet Solutions Developer LEA.9C (Programmeur-Analyste Orient Internet LEA.9C)

What year did you graduate high school?

Herzing University

  • B.S. - Software Development: Computer Programming Concentration
  • B.S. - Software Development With No Declared Minor or Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Software Development

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