Web developers are usually software engineers or software developers who have selected to specialize in applications for the World Wide Web. These professionals typically have at least an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in a related field such as computer science. It is natural, during a degree program, to favor a particular specialty and there is no shortage of need for professionals highly skilled in software development and maintenance.
Salary Range for Web Developers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the average salary for a software developer is $90,530 per year or $43.52 per hour. There are currently 913,000 people with that title in the US. Just like other positions in the technology field, the expected job growth is 30% by 2020 which is well above the overall average of 18%. Most careers in technology are fairly stable, but there is also a lot of competition.
It’s important to bear in mind that although the average salary is high, that salary is not guaranteed. The BLS does not collect data on web developers since it’s considered a specialty within other careers. There are many software engineers and developers with PhDs and many years of experience which increases the average salary.
Working Environment for Web Developers
Web developers are critical to many corporations, government agencies, and businesses. However, unlike other fields, some companies might only need a web developer for an initial project or to build a website which means freelancing and contract work is common in this field. Usually only very large corporations, companies, and government agencies require full-time web developers.
Professionals should consider what kind of schedule, work environment, and salary is comfortable for them. Freelancing is not for everyone, but it can be very lucrative. It requires an entrepreneurial spirit, determination, and good business sense in order to succeed. Individuals who prefer a traditional, permanent career are better suited to looking at larger companies.
Education for Web Developers
A lot of competition means that web developers need to seek out ways to stand out. Degrees aren’t necessarily required for this job title, but many employers prefer to hire employees who have completed a course of study. An advanced degree, such as a master’s or PhD in Engineering, is a great way to increase career opportunities and salary ranges. Pursuing a degree is also an avenue for determining which specialties a person prefers.
Certification for Web Developers
Another way to stand out above competing web developers is with a certification. There are many certifying organizations and institutions. Most employers do not require a specific license or certification for web developers, but this is one way to validate a professional’s commitment and knowledge of their field.
One of the most sought after certifications is Microsoft Certified Professional Developer. Applicants for this certification require two to three years of experience with Visual Studio, the Microsoft .Net framework, and other Microsoft technologies. Microsoft certifications are a relatively costly investment but can prove invaluable to some professionals.
Skills and Abilities of Web Developers
People who are drawn to the web development industry have a passion for technology, solid math and science skills, a knack for picking up computer languages, and an eye for design. This career also requires great communication skills. Building and maintaining websites requires web developers to work closely with a range of people, from senior-level management to technicians, so developers must be able to work well with all personality types.