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How to Become a Web Developer

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Web developers primarily create and design websites.You also may be responsible for maintaining a site and overseeing its technical aspects, such as speed and capacity. But your main job is to ensure that the website you create looks good, works properly, and is filled with appropriate content and graphics, whether you design it yourself or use writers and artists to create the content. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, web developers made a median annual income of $62,500 in 2012.

Start from a Number of Different Points

You can attend college and earn an associate degree in web design or go on to earn a bachelor’s degree, depending on where you want to work. Though you may be able to teach yourself how to code, formal training prepares you to create a wide range of web-design solutions you’ll need to work successfully with businesses. If you want to work as a web architect or develop more technical sites, you will need at least a four-year degree in computer programming, computer science or other related field. Many employers even look for graphic-design training in web development candidates.

Bring Basic Skills to the Job

You need to have a number of basic skills to become a web developer, including proficiency in HTML5, JavaScript, Java, Hypertext Preprocessor and jQuery. You must know how to convert a variety of copy formats into usable web formats. Soft skills required to be successful include the ability to communicate well with designers, writers and clients, and to analyze needs and create solutions. You also must be a stickler for details.

Work to Get Ahead

In 2012, about 25 percent of web developers were self-employed, according to BLS, working independently or in small owner-operated shops. When you work for a larger business, the main path to advancement is through management. With experience and a bachelor’s degree, you can move into the role of project manager, where you’ll have less hands-on work, spending more time planning, coordinating and directing web-development projects. BLS reports that, in 2012, computer and information systems managers earned a median annual income of $120,950.

Find the Right Fit

Creating websites is a rapidly growing field and, according to BLS, is expected to continue growing at a pace of about 20 percent through 2022. Much of the work is in companies that provide computer-design services for clients. Industries involved in data processing, website hosting, and information services also employ web developers. You can also find work in financial services and insurance companies, educational institutions, religious and grant-making companies as well as in professional associations.


About the Author

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."

Photo Credits

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