Becoming a Web Software Developer: Salary Info & Job Description

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A web software developer's median salary is $93,000, but is it worth the educational and training requirements? Get the truth about job descriptions and career outlook to decide if becoming web software developer is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Web Software Developer Career

A web software developer is a type of software engineer who uses computer programming to create web-based applications and modify websites. Evaluating the pros and cons of being a web software developer may help you decide if this is the right career for you.

Pros of a Web Software Developer Career
Employment is projected to grow 23% from 2012-2022*
Pay is relatively high ($95,510 median salary in 2014)*
Work usually occurs in clean and comfortable offices and computer laboratories*
Technology often allows for telecommuting*

Cons of a Web Software Developer Career
A bachelor's or master's degree is usually required*
Industry certifications may be necessary*
Long work days (15% of computer engineers and 11% of programmers work more than 50 hours a week)*
Susceptible to work-related conditions (eye-strain, back pain and carpel tunnel syndrome)*
Must constantly keep up with advances in technology*

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

Career Info

Web developers use various computer programming languages to create, update and modify websites and web-based applications. A developer may be in charge of a small piece of programming for a large website, or they may be responsible for programming an entire website. Developers directly employed by a company may handle programming for all of the company's websites. Web development and technology consulting firms also employ software developers as part of their service team.

Job Prospects and Salary

The career outlook is excellent for web software developers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment is slated to grow by 23% from 2012-2022. The projected job growth is attributed to the increasing demand for computer software; outsourcing is not expected to interfere with jobs. In 2014, web software developers earned a median salary of $95,510.

What Are the Requirements?

Career Skills

Up to date technological knowledge and problem-solving skills are a necessity. You need to have excellent tech skills and the ability to troubleshoot software and applications by assessing and modifying computer codes. You also must to be able to analyze and adapt to the needs of the people who use each website and application.

Education Requirements

Most employers want web software developers who hold a bachelor's degree in computer science, although many employers will also accept a related degree, such as information technology (IT), engineering or mathematics. Knowledge of computer programming is essential, and it's recommended that you gain experience in the industry for which you plan to develop software.

What Do Employers Look For?

Employers want web developers who have the ability to program in the specific programming languages that the company uses to develop their web software. Other requirements may include a degree in computer science or a related area of study and skills in database administration and website maintenance. Here are some sample postings from March 2012 job boards:

  • A California IT company advertised for a web developer to help maintain the company's core products of high-traffic website applications. The employer asked for programmers with bachelor's degree in computer science and the ability to program with Java, XHTML and Maven.
  • A retirement provider in Georgia was looking for a web developer to develop web portals for clients and create applications for the business' use. Applicants were required to hold a bachelor's degree in computer science, information systems or engineering.
  • A California IT company wanted a senior web developer capable of creating multi-tiered Software-as-a-Service web-based applications. The employer requested applicants with seven or more years' experience and a computer science degree.
  • In Maryland, an aerospace systems supplier advertised for a web development engineer able to develop programs to meet the government's requirements. Applicants were required to have eight years' experience and the ability to program in C++, Java or comparable languages.
  • A New Jersey Department of Defense contractor advertised for a web software developer to create and modify applications for government use. Qualifications included two or more years experience and the ability to pass a security examination.

How to Stand Out in the Field

Different employers require you to use different programming languages, so you should become proficient in as many languages as possible. Keep up to date on the latest technological advances and be able to adapt your programming to these advances. To help stay on top of technology trends, you may want to join a tech institution or society that offers professional development classes and seminars.


In addition to traditional education, you many want to get certified in specific software, languages and applications. Software vendors and product developers often offer certification in their programs, either directly from the company or through professional computing societies.

Alternative Career Paths

Database Administrator

If web software development doesn't seem like the right fit, you could consider some similar occupations. Database administrators use programming skills to create and modify the software that maintains a business' data. Employers usually require database administrators to hold a computer-related bachelor's degree or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with additional technology certification. Employment of database administrators is projected to grow by 31% from 2010-2020, rapid growth compared to all other occupations. According to the BLS, database administrators made a median salary of $75,000 in 2011.

Computer Scientist

Computer scientists conduct research and create new computer technology. They typically hold doctoral degrees and are usually employed by academic institutions and the government. Employment of computer scientists is projected to increase by 19% from 2010-2020, about as fast as average. Computer scientists made a median salary of $101,000 in 2011.

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