Web developers

What Web Developers Do

Web developers design and create websites. They are responsible for the look of the site. They are also responsible for the site’s technical aspects, such as performance and capacity, which are measures of a website’s speed and how much traffic the site can handle. They also may create content for the site.

Duties

Web developers typically do the following:

  • Meet with their clients or management to discuss the needs of the website and the expected needs of the website’s audience and plan how it should look
  • Create and debug applications for a website
  • Write code for the site, using programming languages such as HTML or XML
  • Work with other team members to determine what information the site will contain
  • Work with graphics and other designers to determine the website’s layout
  • Integrate graphics, audio, and video into the website
  • Monitor website traffic

When creating a website, developers have to make their client’s vision a reality. They work with clients to make sure it fits in with the type of site it is supposed to be, such as ecommerce, news, or gaming. Different types of websites may require different applications to work right. For example, a gaming site should be able to handle advanced graphics while an ecommerce site needs a payment processing application. The developer decides which applications and designs will best fit the site.

Some developers handle all aspects of a website’s construction, while others specialize in a certain aspect of it. The following are some types of specialized web developers:

Web architects or programmers are responsible for the overall technical construction of the website. They create the basic framework of the site and ensure that it works as expected. Web architects also establish procedures for allowing others to add new pages to the website and meet with management to discuss major changes to the site.

Web designers are responsible for how a website looks. They create the site’s layout and integrate graphics; applications, such as a retail checkout tool; and other content into the site. They also write web-design programs in a variety of computer languages, such as HTML or JavaScript.

Webmasters maintain websites and keep them updated. They ensure that websites operate correctly and test for errors such as broken links. Many webmasters respond to user comments as well.

How to Become a Web Developer

The typical education needed to become a web developer is an associate’s degree in web design or related field. Web developers need knowledge of both programming and graphic design.

Education

Educational requirements for web developers vary with the setting they work in and the type of work they do. Requirements range from a high school diploma to a bachelor’s degree. An associate’s degree in web design or related field is the most common requirement.

However, for web architect or other, more technical, developer positions, some employers prefer workers who have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, programming, or a related field.

Web developers need to have a thorough understanding of HTML. Many employers also want developers to understand other programming languages, such as JavaScript or SQL, as well as have some knowledge of multimedia publishing tools, such as Flash. Throughout their career, web developers must keep up to date on new tools and computer languages.

Some employers prefer web developers who have both a computer degree and have taken classes in graphic design, especially when hiring developers who will be heavily involved in the website’s visual appearance.

Advancement

Web developers who have a bachelor’s degree can advance to become project managers. For more information, see the profile on computer and information systems managers.

Important Qualities

Concentration. Web developers must sit at a computer and write detailed code for long periods.

Creativity. Web developers are often involved in designing the appearance of a website and must make sure that it looks innovative and up to date.

Customer-service skills. Webmasters have to respond politely and correctly to user questions and requests.

Detail oriented. When web developers write in HTML, a minor error could cause an entire webpage to stop working.

Job Outlook

Web Developers

Percent change in employment, projected 2012-22

Web developers

20%

Computer and mathematical occupations

18%

Total, all occupations

11%

 

Employment of web developers is projected to grow 20 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.

Employment of web developers is projected to grow as ecommerce continues to expand. Online purchasing is expected to grow faster than the overall retail industry. As retail firms expand their online offerings, demand for web developers will increase. Additionally, an increase in the use of mobile devices to search the web will also lead to an increase in employment of web developers. Instead of designing a website for a desktop computer, developers will have to create sites that work on mobile devices with many different screen sizes, leading to more work.

Because websites can be built from anywhere in the world, some web developer jobs may be moved to countries with lower wages, decreasing employment growth. However, this practice may decline because of a growing trend of firms hiring workers in low-cost areas of the United States instead of in foreign countries.

Job Prospects

Job opportunities for web developers are expected to be good. Those with knowledge of multiple programming languages and digital multimedia tools, such as Flash and Photoshop, will have the best opportunities.

Employment projections data for Web Developers, 2012-22
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2012 Projected Employment, 2022 Change, 2012-22 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Web developers

15-1134 141,400 169,900 20 28,500
  Occupation Description Entry-Level Education 2012 Median Pay
Computer and information systems managers Computer and information systems managers

Computer and information systems managers, often called information technology (IT) managers or IT project managers, plan, coordinate, and direct computer-related activities in an organization. They help determine the information technology goals of an organization and are responsible for implementing computer systems to meet those goals.'

Bachelor's degree $120,950
Computer programmers Computer programmers

Computer programmers write code to create software programs. They turn the program designs created by software developers and engineers into instructions that a computer can follow.'

Bachelor's degree $74,280
Computer support specialists Computer support specialists

Computer support specialists provide help and advice to people and organizations using computer software or equipment. Some, called computer network support specialists, support information technology (IT) employees within their organization. Others, called computer user support specialists, assist non-IT users who are having computer problems.'

Education requirements vary $48,900
Computer systems analysts Computer systems analysts Computer systems analysts study an organization’s current computer systems and procedures and design information systems solutions to help the organization operate more efficiently and effectively. They bring business and information technology (IT) together by understanding the needs and limitations of both.' Bachelor's degree $79,680
Database administrators Database administrators

Database administrators (DBAs) use specialized software to store and organize data, such as financial information and customer shipping records. They make sure that data are available to users and are secure from unauthorized access.'

Bachelor's degree $77,080
Graphic designers Graphic designers

Students who want to be graphic designers can start preparing in high school by taking classes in art and design where possible. They may also have to submit examples of their work before being admitted to a degree program. Ultimately, graphic designers usually need a bachelor's degree in their field. Coursework involves traditional artistic training alongside computer design skills and other computer-based education. Over the course of their career, designers will need to keep current with new computer software and technology as it evolves.

Bachelor's degree $44,150
Information security analysts Information security analysts

Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organizations computer networks and systems. Their responsibilities are continually expanding as the number of cyberattacks increase.'

Bachelor's degree $86,170
Multimedia artists and animators Multimedia artists and animators

While it is not required, it doesn't hurt for artists to take classes in high school dedicated to art, design, and computer skills. Generally, a bachelor's degree is required, typically in fine arts, computer graphics, or related field; some schools offer more specialized degrees for a particular aspect of artistic media. Education in these programs may combine traditional art and design coursework with computer skills and programming.

Bachelor's degree $61,370
Software developers Software developers

Software developers are the creative minds behind computer programs. Some develop the applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or other device. Others develop the underlying systems that run the devices or control networks.'

Bachelor's degree $93,350
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Ref: bls.gov
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