There are over 1.7 billion websites in existence today and over 4.4 billion internet users cruising the web across the globe, according to Internet Live Stats—and those numbers are steadily rising every day. What's more, internet transactions counted for more than 6.5 percent of the U.S. economy in 2016, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration reports. We have web developers to thank for all of this web activity.
Web developers are the architects of the internet. They combine creativity and IT savvy to design and create websites that are functional and visually appealing, drawing people to the site and helping them easily find information or complete their desired tasks. If you've ever come across a website that sparked your creativity and inspired you to create one of your own, a web developer job might be perfect for you.
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Web development in action.
Web developers meet with clients to discuss what they're looking for in a website, then they design a site that will meet the client’s goals and write the code that brings the site to life. Once a site is up and running, web developers test and optimize it to make sure it works as intended on all web browsers.
The IT side of web development involves three different types of work:
Back-end developers typically hold a bachelor's degree in computer science or information technology, though having a degree in cloud and systems administration on your résumé can show employers you're well-versed in foundational development techniques and up to date on emerging technologies.
Full-stack developers combine these two areas of web development to focus on how the operating system of a webpage influences the user interface. They're keyed into customer and business needs, and they have a functional knowledge of nearly all aspects of website development, Codeup says.
In large-scale web development projects, these different tasks are typically divided among multiple web developers who specialize in one area or another. On smaller-scale projects, you might be responsible for carrying out all of them.
Job prospects for web developers.
Nearly every organization needs a website to disseminate information and connect with visitors, so web developers can find jobs in every industry. You might work for a marketing agency or for a web development firm that designs websites for multiple clients. Or you might work for a large company that employs web developers to build and maintain its websites. You might even work for yourself, designing sites for clients you recruit.
The market for web developers looks good: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 13 percent growth in web developer jobs by 2028 and notes that the average annual salary of web developers was around $69,000 in 2018.
Becoming a web developer.
To be successful, web developers must be able to collaborate with team members and understand clients' needs, so they need strong communication and interpersonal skills. Website development projects often go through several rounds of revision; strong project management skills can help developers stay on top of these tasks. Creativity and an aptitude for design are essential skills that help successful web developers turn ideas into reality.
In terms of hard skills, all web developers should understand how computers and web servers operate. Prospective developers can further differentiate themselves and increase their earning power by obtaining certifications in database technologies. A bachelor's degree in computer science, software development, or cloud and systems administration can impart the technology skills you'll need for success as a web developer, such as programming, scripting, and database management skills.
With some degrees, you'll also be able to put your skills to work as an app developer, a professional who creates, tests, and manages applications and the software behind them. While web developers are responsible for building websites, app developers tend to specialize in areas such as mobile phone applications, productivity tools, graphics software, or other applications.
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Enrolling in an IT degree program could put you on a fast track to landing a web developer job—and soon you'll be designing and building professional websites for paying clients, applying technology skills that are in high demand while also flexing your creative muscles.