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Online Degrees

Part of Western Governors University

November 26, 2019

Information Technology

What does a web developer do and how do I become one?

Web developer sitting at computer looking at screen

What is web development?

Every website and webpage you see on the internet is created by someone. The people who do this programming work are web developers. Individuals, government agencies, businesses, hospitals, schools, and every organization you can think of likely has a website. Web developers are responsible for the ins and outs of coding, all website technology, UX, and UI of a website. Web development involves creating websites for anyone who needs one. This is also often called web design. Developers can work for a specific organization, or for a company that is hired out to do websites by companies who don’t have their own information technology or web team in-house.

What does a web developer do?

Developers have many responsibilities in their job description. They communicate with clients about their needs and desires for a website, they code in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP, they make decisions about the layout and construction of the website, and more. When developers use HTML and CSS on the job, they are creating the outward appearance of the website. HTML and CSS both focus on the layout, text, images, and aesthetic elements of the site. JavaScript and PHP are used to change how a user interacts with the web design. From buttons to videos, JavaScript and PHP are used to give the user a more pleasant experience beyond the basic look of the site. Developers are in charge of the user’s experience on a website; they make sure the technical aspects and programming software of a website work, as well as ensure that it’s aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate. They use a combination of JavaScript. HTML, CSS, PHP and other programming languages to achieve this goal. Thus coding is a major part of a web developer's job.

Web development daily responsibilities is largely based on who they work for. Large organizations have extensive websites with large needs. Smaller organizations may have websites with just a few pages. Some web designers code every element of the website, while others utilize web programs to create websites and do more front-end coding to create the site. Regardless of the organization you work for and the kind of website they have, it’s crucial to have the right knowledge to make sure you can deliver what the client needs. 

Often web designers will work with marketing and other organizations to create a website that’s cohesive with advertising and consumer needs. They help other teams understand what is possible within the website, and create pages and campaigns that fit around what the other teams are doing to promote the website. 

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What is the average web developer salary?

Web designers often have high technical training and so can expect to make a good salary. There are factors that will help determine a web developer salary, like your experience level, the organization or client you are doing work for, the size of the website and the technical requirements, etc. 

Entry-level web developer salary on average.

According to PayScale, the average lower-end salary for web developers is about $40,000 per year. This will greatly vary based on the location and clients a web developer has. For example, a web designer with no education working for smaller clients may get a lower salary. But web developers working for a software organization or large business building out a large website system, the salary may be much larger. Your education will also play a big role in your salary potential. The more education a developer has, the higher their average web developer salary will be.

Web developer salary on average.

On average a web developer salary is about $70,000 per year according to the BLS.This amount is much higher than the national average salary for other occupations, but is slightly lower than other information technology occupations. Again, you education and experience will directly translate to the salary you can expect to make in this career. The more experience you have, the more responsibilities you can expect to take on. If you’re ready to take on more responsibilities, you can expect to work for a larger organization. The larger organization you work for, the more you can expect to make. And thus the cycle goes on.

Freelance web developer salary.

Sometimes web development professionals opt to work as freelancers, taking on clients on a case-by-case basis. Instead of working for a single company’s website or for a firm that takes on a variety of clients, freelancers choose their clients. They don’t earn a salary, and instead will charge clients based on the work they are performing for them. Freelance web developers can make a wide range of money, just based on the number of clients they have, where they are located, and what kind of projects they take on.

How to become a web developer.

Some web developers opt to attend a coding boot camp to get the training they need for coding and technical web elements. While coding boot camps can teach some of the basics needed for web developers, a bachelor’s degree is the best way to be competitive in the job hunt. A bachelor’s degree will give you the programming languages as well as other technical skills you need. It will also give you additional training in leadership, communication, and management that can immediately set you apart. Similarly, at WGU we offer certifications along with our bachelor’s degrees. So you can get every credential that will set you apart from other potential candidates for a job. 

Web developer skills.

Web developers need a variety of skills to be successful. From coding to software development, there are crucial skills that web developers must have. Web designers need knowledge in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP as the basic programming languages. These languages are the building blocks of coding in both the front end and the back end. These beginning programming languages are key to helping web developers understand how web-based coding works, and are key to building websites.

Developers also need a good aesthetic intuition, patience, good communication skills, and experience in UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) are huge benefits. User experience knowledge helps web developers be able to understand how users interact with a website. Similarly user interface looks at how users see and experience the website as a whole. Web developers are instrumental in making sure users have a positive experience with a website; both the look and the feel of navigating the website.

If you are interested in becoming a web developer, consider getting a degree from WGU to help propel you forward on your career path. The right degree and certifications can do wonders for your resume and give you the skills you need to find success. WGU offers a variety of programs like computer science and software development that are key in helping you be prepared for a web development future.

The things you'll learn and the knowledge you gain will be key in helping you be prepared for your dream job. It will also help you stand out from the competition when you're in a job interview, or when employers look at your resume next to other potential candidates.

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