As technology advances, we’ve already seen some jobs disappear. The invention of machines to sort inventory and automatic checkouts replace workers. You may worry about pursuing a new career and whether it will be there in the future. Fortunately, web development is a good career to follow as it is likely to be around for decades, even as AI grows in use and changes occur.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, web development careers will grow around 8% a year through 2029. This is faster than the average growth rate, with a median annual pay of $73,760.
However, competition is fierce in the industry. It’s important to develop unique skills and keep adding to your abilities, so you remain at the top of your field. Say yes to every opportunity to learn something new and take on a challenge.
What Kind of Education Do I Need?
How much formal education web developers need depends largely on the company you wish to work for. Some require an associate’s degree in web development, while others want experience.
For specialized roles, such as back-end development, some employers look for bachelor’s degrees in computer science or programming. Some positions require knowledge in graphic design and web development. If your role is managing the company website, you’ll need skills in both areas.
What Skills Do I Need to Be a Web Developer?
No matter where you get your education or experience, employers seek specific skills when hiring for this position. Be sure to gain knowledge in these areas:
- Multimedia publishing tools
- Responsive design
- Testing and debugging
- Understanding of back-end structure
- Familiarity with content management systems such as WordPress
- Ability to adapt to new environments and technologies
Throughout your career as a web developer, you’ll need to stay updated on technologies. Consider part of your job description to be ongoing learning.
Should You Be a Front-End or Back-End Developer?
Decide if you want to work on the front end or back end of websites. For the most versatile career options, learning both is beneficial.
For back-end developers, they’ll need much more coding knowledge as well as an understanding of how servers and systems work. At a minimum, you need to understand ControlPanel, Ruby on Rails, PHP and how a server functions. You’ll need to understand DSL, SSL and how to install software on a server. You also should understand how to upload things via FTP and troubleshoot.
Front-end developers are much more likely to work with the aesthetics of the site. You’ll need a firm grasp of graphic design. You’ll need to understand how to add elements via HTML. Working in a content management system, such as WordPress, is almost a given. You also need an understanding of the types of content making for excellent SEO. You’ll need less technical knowledge, but an understanding of how everything works will improve your performance.
Average Pay for a Web Developer
According to Indeed, a web developer in the United States makes a base salary of $78,379 with additional bonuses each year. Your actual pay varies based on the geographic location of the job and how much experience you have.
If you go on job search websites, you can punch in your zip code and see the average pay for your area. Knowing general figures helps when negotiating a salary for a job offer or asking for a raise.
You’re likely to make more in a high tech city than a rural area, for example. However, the cost of living also impacts how far your money goes, so factor in everything when deciding where you’d like to work.
Where Will I Work as a Web Developer?
When first starting, it’s probably wise to take on a role within a company. You’ll more than likely work as part of a team and learn from people with more experience than you.
You can work for a company, the government or in a freelance capacity. Web developers can sell their services online or take on clients and manage their websites for them. You will likely make more as a freelancer per hour, but the income might not be as reliable or steady as working for a corporation.
You should also consider if you need healthcare. While you can certainly buy a policy on the private marketplace, it may cost a lot more than the benefits a larger company offers as part of your role with them. Weigh all the elements and decide what the best fit is for you.
Unfortunately, some employers no longer allow spouses on the healthcare program. If you expect to be part of your husband or wife’s plan while you freelance, you may find yourself without insurance.
Other Options in the Industry
Once you have some knowledge of web development, there are other areas you can work. You aren’t just limited to creating a website.
- Logo creation
- Debugging websites
- Fixing hacked sites
- Installing WordPress for clients
- Creating apps
- Managing servers
Look for underserved areas and think about how you might turn it into a career. For example, you could create website templates and sell them.
Build Your Career
Web development is a good career for someone who loves technology. Just learning programming languages isn’t enough, though. It is a highly competitive field. You need to seek out ways of differentiating yourself from others in the industry.
Look for new languages you can master. Seek out trends, such as voice recognition or augmented reality, and figure out how you can implement them into your own web design work.
Take courses to develop new techniques. Attend seminars and network with other web developers for a good career. The more you learn, the better you’ll be able to serve your employer or clients.
Is Web Development a Good Career for You?
If you enjoy problem-solving, web development might be a good career choice. Yes, you’ll need to read lines and lines of code. If you love taking a challenge head-on and figuring out how to debug a program, then you’ll adore this position.
Web development is a safe option because of the expected growth in the industry. If you’re thinking about making a career move, this is one area you can ride out for the rest of your working life. Plus, you’ll get to meet interesting people and stay on top of the latest tech innovations.
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