Becoming a Web Developer: Salary Information & Job Description

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A web developer's median annual salary is $63,490, but is it worth the education requirements? Get the truth about the job duties and career prospects to decide if it's the right career for you.
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Pros and Cons of Becoming a Web Developer

Web developers design and develop content for websites utilizing a variety of software programs. They use programming and coding to build a website's structure and streamline information to create visually appealing, user-friendly websites. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of a career in web development.

Pros of Being a Web Developer
High salary (median annual salary was $63,490 in 2014)*
Web developers can work in a variety of industries (professional, government, scientific and technical)*
Excellent employment prospects (20% projected growth from 2012-2022)*
Some jobs allow you to work from remote locations*

Cons of Being a Web Developer
Possible long hours*
Eye, neck or back strain from sitting for long periods*
Continuing education is often required to keep up with advancing technology*
Workers must be able to multitask and work on several projects at once*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Essential Career Info

Job Description and Duties

Web developers usually work in an office and spend a lot of their time on a computer. They organize data based on user's needs and create a website using web design tools and software. Workdays can be long depending on the project deadline, but some jobs allow developers to work from remote locations. As a web developer, you will debug applications, write code, integrate graphics and monitor web traffic. Web developers can specialize in a certain area of web development, including web architecture and programming, web designing and web administration.

Job Prospects and Salary

The growth of the internet will increase employment opportunities for web developers, which are expected to grow 20% from 2012-2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, demand may be limited due to outsourcing of work overseas and IT consolidation. Web developers earned a median annual wage of $63,490, with salaries ranging from $33,790 - $112,680 (10th to 90th percentile) in 2014. The industries with the highest employment rates were computer systems design and information services.

What Do Employers Look For?

Although a bachelor's degree in computer science or web development can be an advantage, a 2-year degree and certification can get you the job depending on your work setting. According to the BLS, if you don't complete a lot of programming in your position an associate's degree is really all you need. However, technical web developers or architects require a bachelor's and extensive knowledge of web languages, such as HTML, JavaScripting and SQL. Additionally, skills that may be useful in a web development position include knowledge of photography, data visualization, multimedia integration and interactive design.

Job Postings from Real Employers

When job searching, some employers only require work experience along with excellent coding and software skills; however, others require candidates to hold degrees and experience with design software. To get an idea of what employers are looking for, here are a few job listings that employers posted in March 2012:

  • A bank in New York City advertised for a graphic web developer with a bachelor's degree and 5-7 years of work experience to design and implement graphics for web pages. Some requirements include advanced HTML, jQuery, JavaScript and Photoshop skills.
  • An Illinois company advertised for a web developer with a bachelor's degree in computer science, 2 years of C+ programming and SQL Server Database Development experience to supervise ASP.NET MVC implementation.
  • A Denver, CO, company looked for a web developer with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Ruby, SQL and Unix skills. No degree or previous work experience was listed as a requirement. Some ideal skills include UI/UX design skills, HTML5, Sass, CoffeeScript, jQueryUI and Rails.

How to Maximize Your Skills

Being a web developer can be challenging, but continuing education can help you keep up with advancing technology. Generally, employers look for candidates with plenty of software and coding skills. Some valuable skills for aspiring web developers include:

  • Excellent communication and analytical skills
  • Excellent problem solving abilities
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Skills with software such as Ajax, Adobe Photoshop, Java and Microsoft Visual Web Developer
  • Excellent coding and programming skills

Get Certified

While most jobs require candidates to have a bachelor's degree in computer science or web development, certification can also be beneficial. Web developer certification exams offered through the World Organization of Webmasters (WOW) include the Certified Professional Web Developer (CPWD), Certified Web Developer Associate (CWDA) and the Certified Web Developer Apprentice (CWDVA-apprentice). The CWDA and CWDVA exams are the same, but your exam scores determine the certification level. A score of 50% or greater is apprentice-level, while a score of 70% or greater is associate-level. The exams include the fundamental skills that web developers use on the job, including web programming, scripting and dynamic website technologies. The CPWD exam is for web developers with two or more years of experience, and it includes additional topics including CSS, internet basics, e-commerce, project management and tools.

Alternative Career Paths

Programmer

If you're more in writing code then creating websites, you can become a computer programmer. The code specifies what a program should do or how it should work. A few programming specializations include applications, systems and web programming. Most programming positions require a bachelor's degree in computer science, but some positions accept programmers with an associate's degree or certificate. The BLS stated that the average annual salary of a computer programmer was $76,000 in 2011.

Computer and Network Systems Administrators

If you want to work in computer administration instead of web administration, you could become a computer administrator. This career requires a bachelor's degree in computer and information science. As an administrator, you will install hardware and maintain networks and performance. While the wages are a bit less with a mean wage of $74,000, the job outlook is promising at a 28% growth from 2010-2020, stated the BLS.

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Featured Schools

The Art Institutes

  • Design & Media Management (MA)
  • Graphic & Web Design (BFA)
  • Graphic & Web Design (AAS)
  • Web Design & Interactive Communications (C)
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What is your highest level of education?

Georgetown University

  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Kaplan University

  • Master: Information Technology - Project Management
  • BBA: New Media and Internet Marketing
  • Associate: Information Technology

Which subject are you interested in?

Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • PhD in Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • MBA - Applied Computer Science
  • MSTIM - Computer Science

What is your highest level of education?

Full Sail University

  • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)
  • BS - Game Design (Campus)
  • B.S. - Web Design and Development

What is your highest level of education?

Virginia College

  • Associate - Network System Administrator
  • Diploma Program - Network Technician

What is your highest level of education completed?

Herzing University

  • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Technology Management
  • Bachelor: Technology Management
  • Associate of Science - Technology Studies

What is your highest level of education?

American InterContinental University

  • Master of IT: Project Management
  • Master of Information Technology - Information Assurance and Security
  • Bachelor of Technology: Information Assurance and Security
  • Bachelor of Information Technology - Digital Investigation

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