Web Programming and Engineering Careers: Salary & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of pursuing a career as a Web programmer? Read on to learn about salary information, career prospects and real job postings to see if this career is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Web Programmer Career

Web programmers--sometimes known as Internet application developers, Web developers or software developers--design and create Web-based software programs. Continue reading to know the pros and cons of being a web programmer.

Pros of Becoming a Web Programmer
High average pay (about $99,530 per year in 2014)*
Rapid employment growth (19% between 2014 and 2024)*
Good job prospects for those who can use new programming languages
Some employers allow programmers to telecommute

Cons of Becoming a Web Programmer
Must keep current on programming languages and Web-based technologies
Pressure to meet deadlines
Long hours are common
Pressure to meet the demands of clients

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Essential Career Info

Job Duties

Web programmers may have many responsibilities, but their primary goal is to write code computers can use to carry out tasks. Programmers typically create Web-based programs that run on Internet or intranet systems. Some programmers work as website designers; designing, creating and testing applications used specifically on websites. They often incorporate multimedia applications into their sites for audio and visual output. Many programmers work within a team of creative and technical professionals to design Internet applications and, in some cases, the development and the programming are completed by different individuals within the team.

Your daily job duties as a Web programmer might include finding errors in software code and correcting it, improving the performance and efficiency of applications, testing validation procedures, maintaining documentation and collaborating with systems analysts. You could also be in charge of storing and retrieving performance data, supervising the work of other programmers, coordinating application installation or preparing cost estimates for development projects.

Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), software developers who worked with applications, which includes Web programmers, earned an average annual salary of $99,530 in 2014 (www.bls.gov). Those working in software publishing averaged $109,030, while developers in computer manufacturing averaged $115,140 annually. The top paying state for developers in 2014 was California, with an average salary of $119,970, according to BLS data.

Career Outlook

The BLS reported an expected employment growth rate of 19% for software applications developers between 2014 and 2024. New jobs would be created due to an increasing number of consumer and commercial Web-based products that would require application software. Increased employment opportunities for Web programmers would also be driven by a growing number of businesses moving their operations online.

Requirements

Education

The minimum educational requirement for software development jobs is usually a bachelor's degree in software development or computer programming. Employers may accept a degree in a different computer science field if you can demonstrate your expertise in programming. At the undergraduate level, a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in computer science with a concentration in computer programming could prepare you for this career. Master's degree programs are available as well and could qualify you for senior positions. You can take classes in areas such as database design, Web-based business strategies and programming languages to better prepare for this career.

Job Postings

Employers looking for Web programmers often ask for familiarity with a specific programming language. You may also be asked to present a portfolio of work. Some jobs require you to maintain one large website or a group of websites, while others may require you to create many new websites, which may be especially true if you work for a firm that contracts Web programming services. Take a look at the following job postings from real companies in June of 2011 to get a feel for what employers are looking for.

  • A trade show registration service in Illinois sought a Web programmer/developer to create and maintain their online registration sites. Duties included creating registration applications according to client specifications and creating database back-up systems for the sites. Requirements included a bachelor's degree in computer science and knowledge in HTML, SQL and JavaScript.
  • A software development company in New York wanted a Web programmer who could demonstrate programming expertise. Applicants needed to provide work samples that were live on the Web. This job required a background in database management and debugging.
  • A Web development firm in Illinois needed a programmer with expertise in PHP programming and a background in CSS and JavaScript. This employer preferred candidates who could also analyze and interpret business requirements.

How To Stand Out

Advance Your Education

If you want to stand out and beat the competition, one option is to earn a graduate degree or a certificate in your field. You can earn a master's degree in computer science with a concentration in a number of different areas, such as a programming, software development or information security. There are also certificate programs, available on-campus and online, in a variety of programming specialties, including advanced SQL, Java Web development and Web development with Ajax technology.

Get Certified

You can also earn a professional certification in programming and Web development to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in a specific programming area. Professional organizations offer a large variety of certifications in areas such as Web security, programming languages and servers. Certification typically requires passing a skills assessment examination that may be available online or in a proctored setting.

Alternative Careers

Computer Research Scientist

If you want to continue your education until you earn a terminal degree, consider becoming a computer and information research scientist. This career typically requires a doctoral degree in computer science, which can take up to six years to earn following your undergraduate education. Professionals in this field spend most of their time inventing new computer and software technologies. According to the BLS, the average salary for computer scientists in 2011 was $103,160. The 2010-2020 employment growth rate for this field would be 19%, which is slightly slower than the field of applications development.

Computer and Information Systems Manager

Also known as information technology (IT) managers, computer and information systems managers plan and direct the information technology operations of an organization, including hardware installation and information security. Similar to a programming career, IT managers typically need a bachelor's degree in a computer science discipline to enter this field. The average pay is slightly higher than that of programmers, at $125,660 in 2011. This field would experience an average employment growth rate of 18% from 2010 to 2020, according to the BLS, which is slower than the rate for programmers.

Popular Schools

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Featured Schools

ECPI University

  • Bachelor's - Network Security
  • Associate's - Network Security

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • Master: Information Technology - Project Management
  • BBA: New Media and Internet Marketing
  • AASIT: Network Admin

Which subject are you interested in?

Full Sail University

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

What is your highest level of education?

Georgetown University

  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

American National University

  • Network Administration - Associate

What is your education level?

Penn Foster

  • Career Diploma - Web Page Designer

What is your highest level of education?

Tulane University

  • Online Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Post University

  • B.S. in Computer Information Systems / Computer Networking
  • B.S. in Computer Information Systems

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