Becoming a Webmaster: Careers, Salary Info & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a career as a webmaster? Get real job descriptions, career postings and salary info to see if becoming a webmaster is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Webmaster Career

A webmaster is not only responsible for developing and maintaining websites for clients, but also duties may include graphic design, data security, and web promotion of the site. The following are a few pros and cons to consider.

Pros of Being a Webmaster
Salary is higher than national average - webmasters made between $33,790 and $112,680 in 2014*
Faster than average job growth expected through 2022 - around 20%*
Telecommuting is possible with a high-speed Internet connection, making it possible to work from home as opposed to relocating*
Does not necessarily require a college degree*

Cons of Being a Webmaster
Requires long stretches of sitting, typing and looking at a computer screen, which can cause strain to the back, wrists and eyes*
Can have periods of high stress when a site goes down and a client is losing money*
Technology is constantly changing, requiring continual updating of your education, possibly at your own expense*
Many U.S. jobs are being outsourced overseas for cheaper labor, which may mean tighter competition for jobs in the states*

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

Career Information

Job Description

The webmaster's job duties may vary due to the needs of the employer. When working for a larger company, a webmaster's job may be limited to troubleshooting, integrating or creating widgets or tools and maintaining as well as updating the site. A smaller business may also require the webmaster to design and build the site from the ground up, answer messages sent by users through the contact form and promote the site through social media.

Webmasters may also be responsible for meeting directly with an outside client to discuss the needs and vision for the site, as well as coordinating with artists or content writers who supply the graphics and text. Depending on the size of the site, the webmaster may also need to communicate with network administrators to ensure the business' network is large and fast enough to accommodate both the site itself and the traffic that it may draw.

Salary Information and Employment Outlook

Websites are increasingly an integral part of every organization's marketing or day-to-day operation, regardless of its size, business or mission. The ubiquitousness of websites means the need for skilled webmasters is fairly high and will likely remain so through this decade and into the next. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that the field would grow around 20% through 2022 - much faster than the average for all occupations (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported the median annual salary for a webmaster was $63,490 in 2014, with the 90th percentile of earners made $112,680.

Education Requirements

Education and Skills

According to the BLS, many employers recognize the fact that the skills necessary for a webmaster career can often be gained without a traditional college education; because of this, it is not strictly mandatory that you pursue a college degree to get a job in the field. However, computer experience and an understanding of various types of software is important. A college degree in computer science or a related field may help. If you do choose a college education, you'll have plenty of programs to choose from. Many programs are available completely online, though the majority of them are offered by private, for-profit schools, which typically means they'll be relatively expensive. Some skills employers may look for include:

  • Creativity.
  • Attention to detail
  • Good organizational skills
  • Clear communicator
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • Ability to think clearly under pressure

Job Postings

As of early April 2012, there were a large number of webmaster positions posted on Internet job sites. The information posted in them suggests that employers are looking for applicants with strong communication skills and attention to detail who are experienced with JavaScripting, CCS, various content management systems (CMS) and jQuery. Many postings reflected the fact that webmasters often wear developer and designer hats as well. The following job posts are examples of some that were available and should not be interpreted as representational of the field as a whole.

  • A Pennsylvania-based organization is looking for a webmaster/web administrator with skills in social media tracking and SEO (search engine optimization) as well as the ability to manage the organization's website and Intranet. This position requires applicants to have a bachelor's degree in web development or design or a similar amount of education and experience. Additionally, experience with Microsoft Windows Server Operating Systems and PHP are required.
  • A medical company in Maryland is looking for a webmaster to maintain and update its website, maximize the SEO, track and report on site statistics and work with the PR department to improve the site's press room information. In-depth knowledge of HTML, Java, PHP, jQuery and CSS is required. Two years of experience in site development is also a requirement.
  • An e-commerce company in Tennessee is looking for a webmaster/IT person to manage the company's 10+ websites and assist with occasional IT issues. This position would include creating and implementing a plan to bring back to the company's own servers all the sites that are currently outsourced. The company is looking for someone with creativity and extensive experience as a webmaster and would prefer someone with knowledge of Quickbooks.
  • An award-winning religious nonprofit in Chicago is looking for a webmaster/web designer to manage the websites, develop web applications and make/implement recommendations for improvements to the sites, as well as creating and sending emails as part of the marketing strategy. The ideal candidate would hold a bachelor's degree in web design, communications or a similar field or would have experience equivalent with that gained through such a program. They'd also have a minimum of three years of experience in designing websites utilizing multiple software applications.
  • A recruiting firm is seeking a webmaster for a Nashville-based client. The employer needs someone who is experienced in working with the DotNetNuke CMS. The employee would be responsible for maintaining a number of Internet and Intranet sites, coming up with user interface solutions, creating and maintaining legal documents in CSS/HTML and creating background images and logos for branded accounts.

Getting Noticed

As illustrated from the job postings, many companies consider a webmaster to be more than simply a coder and site fixer. According to the BLS, job prospects will be best for those web developers who are knowledgeable in digital media tools, such as Flash and Photoshop. Additionally, those with an understanding of various programming languages will also have an advantage. Accordingly, consider diversifying your skills through extra classes. Compile a digital portfolio of sites you've created to demonstrate your abilities. You might also create and add examples of work done with other types of software, such as the Microsoft office suite, for those employers who expect you to create reports and presentations regarding their websites.

Alternate Career Paths

Graphic Designer

Perhaps you'd like to focus strictly on the design aspect of web design. You might consider a career as a graphic designer. Degrees are available from art colleges that will train you in areas such as digital animation, web content design for mobile platforms and interactive content creation. Additionally, you'll learn the fundamentals of art, such as illustration, color theory and typography. While these programs may also prepare you for entry-level positions in website development, they will not train you in the technological side of website management. Graphic design is a field that expects to see about 13% growth through 2020, and the average salary ($48,690 in 2011) is above the national average.

Software Developer

If you think you want to focus more on the technology side of things, consider an information technology (IT) career. There are IT bachelor's degree programs that allow you to choose a concentration in a number of areas, such as network administration or software development. Many programs have a website development concentration in case you want to maintain a connection to the field. In general, IT-related jobs can expect to see good employment growth through 2020, with occupations such as network and computer systems administrators likely to grow about 28% and software developer jobs increasing around 30%. The pay for careers like these (2011 annual averages were $74,270 and $92,080, respectively) is somewhat similar to that of web developers as well.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: Information Technology - Project Management
      • MSM in Information Technology
      • Master: Information Technology
      • Master: IT/Information Security and Assurance
    Bachelor's
      • BBA: New Media and Internet Marketing
      • BS in IT - IT Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
      • BS in Cybersecurity
      • BS in Information Technology/Information Security and Assurance
    Associate's
      • AASIT: Network Admin
  • Campus and Online Programs
    2. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)
      • BS - Game Design (Campus)
      • B.S. - Web Design and Development
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
  • Campus Locations:
    4. American National University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Network Administration - Associate
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Penn Foster

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Career Diploma - Web Page Designer
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Tulane University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Online Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Management
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Post University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. in Computer Information Systems / Computer Networking
      • B.S. in Computer Information Systems
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Bridge to the M.S. in Information Technology Management
      • M.S. in Information Technology Management
      • M.S. in Instructional Technology
      • Master of Science in Cyber Security
      • Master of Science in Cyber Security (Bridge)
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. in Computer Programming
      • B.S. in Information Technology
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Information Systems
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  • Online Programs Available
    9. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • HS Diploma
  • Campus and Online Programs
    10. South University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Information Systems (MS)

Featured Schools

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

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

Grand Canyon University

  • Bridge to the M.S. in Information Technology Management
  • M.S. in Information Technology Management
  • B.S. in Computer Programming
  • B.S. in Information Technology

What is your highest level of education?