Learn more about careers in web development. Find information on web development careers, job outlook, salary, and recommended schools. View popular schools that prepare students for careers as web developers.
The next time you visit websites such as Facebook or MySpace, you can thank the work of web developers for your user experience. Web developers work to develop web applications that can be used on the internet. Professionals that are successful in this field will be able to command high pay, prestige and respect.
Although web development appears to be similar to web design it is important to note that careers in these two areas are notably different. However, successful web developers require a wide range of skills that may include web design. In order to create applications for the web, developers must have an understanding of programming languages (e.g., Java or C++). Additionally, web developers must be able to integrate web design, information technology architecture and network security in their programs in order to ensure that they are effective an comprehensive.
This can be well illustrated in the case of Facebook. In addition to having an appealing layout that can be easily accessed by the user (design) the site includes features that protect important user information (security) and use various tools to enhance the user experience (information technology). In this respect, web developers must be a jack-of-all trades, integrating a wide range of IT, network and web skills to create an effective user experience.
Careers in web development typically focus on either “front-end” or “back-end” operations. Front-end web developers develop what are known as client applications that focus on specific technologies and programming languages. In particular front-end developers create applications that allow users to interact with various databases and networks (e.g., Facebook). Back-end developers, on the other hand, focus more on server-architectures needed to drive IT operations. In these roles back-end web developers use languages such as Perl and JSP to provide applications that, for example, enable networks to communicate.
Although the specific areas of specialization create a means for differentiating between web developer positions, a review of available positions in this field does indicate that there are a plethora of job titles that include web development along with other areas of specialization. For instance, professionals seeking employment in this field can be hired as web developer designers. In these positions, professionals will need to combine development and design skills.
Salaries for web developers are contingent upon the individual’s level of education, experience and area of specialization. In terms of education, web development is one area in which advanced education can make a notable difference in salary. Professionals that obtain a Bachelors of Science (BS) in computer science typically command average annual salaries of $54,024 to $69,420. Professionals that acquire a Masters Degree in computer science will be able to command average annual salaries between $57,170 and $76,129. Experience in the field will also increase earnings for web developers. Professionals that have experience in web development will be able to acquire management positions in the organization. Senior web developers make average annual salaries of $90,000. In large companies these professionals will command well over $100,000 annually. Web developers also have the option of working freelance. Self-employed web developers can provide consulting services to organizations, commanding high salaries for their expertise.
In general the job outlook for web developers is quite good. Professionals seeking employment in this field should have no difficulty finding a job as a result of the continued expansion of computer and internet technologies. Increased demand for computer applications will increase the need for web developers. Organizations seeking to expand their operations through e-commerce will require front-end web development services to help enhance the user experience. Organizations using information technology to improve internal operations will require back-end web developers to help them achieve their goals. The proliferation of the internet and increased demand for online services will continue to prompt the need for professionals in this field. Professionals with advanced degrees in computer science will have access to a larger range of web development jobs as will professionals with experience in application development. Professionals willing to establish their own businesses will also have additional opportunities for employment in the field.