As the internet and e-commerce skyrocket, the demand for web developers continues to grow exponentially. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that web developer employment will increase by 15% from 2016 to 2026. The digital age marks a prime time for those entering the web development field. If you have an eye for detail, a mind for algorithms and are a naturally creative thinker, you may be interested in pursuing a career in web development.
What is a Web Developer?
Web developers work to design, create and manage websites using programming languages that allow users to see designated content and graphics at an efficient performance and capacity. These sites are usually made compatible with other web programs and applications for further functionality. Once the websites or applications are built, web developers make desired changes for updates and fix issues to maintain the website’s or app’s integrity.
Many web developers specialize in a specific programming language that allows them to code using different methods to achieve a desired effect or work in different environments; they typically work in either front-end or back-end environments. Back-end coding is what other programmers view when they are writing or viewing the website’s code; front-end coding is the presentation that the average web user will see and use when they are visiting the website or application. The front-end must be user-friendly to ensure that what is on the site or page is communicated effectively and is easy to understand and use, while the back-end must be organized and easy to read enough for others to work on it in the future. Full-stack developers, however, have no specialty and are knowledgeable about a variety of languages from the front-end to back-end.
Where are Web Developers Employed?
Because of the rise of digitized content, the work environment for web developers continues to expand to newly-digitized fields. Online retail and social media make up a large bulk—the U.S. Census Bureau reports that e-commerce comprised 10.5% of the total retail income in the fourth quarter of 2017–and several other businesses have websites simply to inform web users. Since it mostly involves computer work already, web development jobs can be done virtually anywhere with a computer and an internet connection.
According to the BLS, web developers earned an average annual wage of $74,110 in May 2017. Because salary potential and employment opportunities may vary depending on factors such as a candidate’s education and experience, as well as regional market conditions, prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research.
Education and Other Qualifications
Naturally, computers, programming and electronics are major topics when it comes to becoming a web developer; developers must know the working of both software and hardware to fully comprehend their roles. Other subjects vital to the field include the English language and mathematics, since spelling and correct algorithms can be the difference between functional and useless code; and writing for communication practices and methods. Most web developers typically have at least a bachelor’s degree, although some may only have an associate’s if they have the right technical skills for the position.