Techlife

What Does a Web Developer Do? Career, Salary, Reviews

October 28, 2020

Since the booming of the Internet at the end of the 20th century, we all have witnessed a resulting rise in websites. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected growth rate for web developers in the U.S. from 2019 to 2029 is 8%, doubling the average change of all occupations. This indicates that web development is becoming a promising and sought-after job in the market.

You may think of becoming a web developer and plan to learn one or two coding languages. However, do you ensure that you fully understand this occupation? This article will detail the main role of web developers and provide a comprehensive guide to start this career path.

What is a Web Developer?

Web developers are programmers who engage in the development of websites and web applications by using programming languages such as JavaScript, Java, PHP or Python that make sites operate properly. They build websites that not only satisfy demands of end users but also enable them to be attracted and navigate easily. Companies now can employ either full time, part time or freelance web developer for different projects.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Web Developer
What is a web developer? (Source: Techfern)

When web developers perform the behind-the-scenes activities that particularly focus on web servers to deliver database information to browsers, they are called back-end developers. Meanwhile, front end web developers work in browsers and identify what end users will see in the interface part. Besides, those working on both client and server sides are known as full stack web developers. 

What does a Web Developer do?

Going further into what a web developer exactly does, you’ll find out his or her main duties and daily routines. However, roles of web developers may vary in different companies they work on. Today’s post will list the main and daily responsibilities you’ll take, regardless of web developer jobs.

Main Responsibilities

  • For back end web developer: Use back end server languages (e.g. PHP, Python, Ruby or Java) to construct databases and design architecture of websites or web applications; 
  • For front end web developer: Use front-end Javascript frameworks and libraries (e.g. Vue.js, React Native, Backbone.js or Angular) to add functionality to sites and design smooth UIs; 
  • Meanwhile, a full stack web developer is liable for those tasks above;
  • Fix bugs and issues regarding performance of websites or web applications;
  • Peer view a development team’s work and deliver prompt feedback to guarantee the code cleanliness.
  • Develop Application Program Interfaces (APIs) to make sure the fluent data exchange between applications;
  • Work with different stakeholders to check the project’s progress and add new features to websites (if any) to ensure their performance;
  • Perform maintenance and improvement activities to avoid unpleasant user experience;
  • Update new and advanced technologies, frameworks and trends, then share with colleagues.

Daily Tasks

  • Receive new projects, analyze client requirements and suggest possible solutions;
  • Create parameters for new web applications or websites;
  • Cooperate with other development team members such as business analysts, web designers, project managers and other stakeholders to develop functional websites;
  • Test bugs and performance errors;
  • Receive feedback from clients and testers, accordingly fix bugs or errors
  • Maintain and update websites regularly to improve user experience;
  • Proofread coding of coworkers;

How Much does a Web Developer make?

Web developer salary depends on various factors such as locations, companies you work for, your technical background and even your gender. The BLS reports the 2019 median pay for web developers is $73,760 if they hold at least an associate’s degree and work full time. Besides, those working for publishing companies can earn the massive $121,160, followed by the median annual wage paid by firms that provide computer systems design and related services ($72,050). 

According to Glassdoor, a front end web developer in the United States receives an average amount of $76,929 per year, whereas that of those working on the server side is rather lower at $68,524. Web developer salary will increase when you have more working experience. 

Web Developer
Median annual salary of front end web developer updated on Oct 11, 2020 (Source: Glassdoor)

Even a freelance web developer in the U.S. can have an average earning of $75,430. However, beginners without an impressive web developer portfolio or enough experience may struggle to find a well-paid project. 

How to Become a Web Developer?

Similar to other occupations, those who wish to become a skilled web developer need to devise a detailed plan in pursuit of this career, ranging from choosing their favorite programming languages, preparing for essential qualifications and skills to identifying when they can complete a course and seek a job. Here are four fundamental steps you should follow to become a web developer in the future:

Determine What Kind of Web Developer You Prefer

Which web developer jobs are you aiming at? Front end, Back end or Full stack web developer? Key roles and necessary coding languages for kinds of web developers are rather different. For example, a recruiter who needs a full stack web developer may require applicants to show their proficiency with both front end languages such as HTML, CSS or JavaScript and server-side languages such as Python or Ruby. If you have experience with only client-side technologies, you cannot be chosen for the position. Therefore, you initially should determine which aspect of web development you’re more interested in and good at.

Required Qualifications

Many companies don’t require which qualifications you should have to apply for a web developer position. They value your outstanding knowledge and skills over bachelor’s degrees. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that no web developer certification and qualification are important, especially for freshers. 

https://www.onlinecoursereport.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/EDU-CourseReport-30BestOnlineCoursesforWebDevelopment-1-UniversityofMichigan-1280x707.jpg
Learn web development courses online from University of Michigan (Source: Online Course Report)

Accordingly, entry-level web developers should hold at least a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Management Information System (MIS) or related fields. If you don’t spend much time on tertiary education, you can enrol for short-term courses or bootcamps to get some web developer certification.  

Soft Skills

Working on computers doesn’t mean you don’t need to communicate with human beings. Therefore, a web developer today is required to have decent soft skills to interact with his/her team members and clients effectively. These skills include:

  • Detail-oriented skills;
  • Decision-making and problem solving skills;
  • Logical analysis;
  • Can work independently and work in groups;
  • Ability to do multitask – that is, to participate in several projects at the same time;
  • Ability to have responsibility and capability for getting projects done on time;
  • Communication and negotiation skills to discuss with colleagues, customers and superiors;

Promote Yourself with Online Portfolios

Saying is much easier than doing. This means you cannot persuade recruiters that you’re an excellent candidate by only showing your academic results. Web developer portfolio is always essential to prove your capabilities. Like a website, it should facilitate navigation and provide sufficient information for companies to know your well.

Web Developer
Web developer porfolio of Pierre Nel (Source: FreeCodeCamp)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Difference Between a Web Developer and a Web Designer?

Their roles differ. A web developer uses coding languages to build the structure and layout of the website, while a web designer is more responsible for improving user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) by designing appealing websites. In other words, web developers will bring creative ideas of designers to life and make sites more functional. 

How Long does it take to become a Web Developer?

The answer relies on how you learn to become a website developer. Normally, companies may prefer employing prospective applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science or related majors. So it takes them around four to five years to complete those programs. Meanwhile, some can choose online courses (with or without tuition fees) from universities (e.g. Southern New Hampshire University or Hodges University) and learning platforms (e.g. Udemy, Coursera or Edx), or participate in bootcamps. Those courses shorten your study time to even approximately 6 months if you devote yourself to learning everyday. 

Are Web Developers in High Demand?

Definitely yes. Employment of skilled web developers is estimated to always grow because various startups or even large corporates now all have a high demand for webs and progressive web apps to attract and attain customers. However, some website developers now still struggle to find a job because existing expertise and skills cannot fulfil requirements of recruiters. For example, a company that needs a LAMP dev is unable to use a candidate who only knows MEAN stack. Therefore, becoming a high-qualified developer and understanding what recruiters need will undoubtedly secure a job.

Is it Hard to Become a Web Developer?

The answer depends on various factors such as your faculty for learning coding languages and tech stacks, time and efforts channeled into study, or even a good teacher. Please bear in mind that the technology world is always changing, so you, as a developer, have to keep learning not to fall behind their coworkers.

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