How to Become a Web Developer

If you pay attention to detail and have an interest in computer programming, you might wonder how to become a web developer. As businesses rely increasingly on the Internet for marketing, e-commerce and providing goods and services to customers, the web development industry has flourished. Web developers are the professionals who plan, code and modify websites for businesses and organizations.

Web developers may work for a company, or they may be self-employed. They begin new projects by consulting with company leaders or clients regarding the function and layout of the website. For example, a website used for e-commerce, which allows visitors to make purchases directly through the website, will be designed and coded differently than other kinds of websites. Web developers create a website by writing code in a programming language like HTML. They develop applications, or apps, that help the website function. Web developers may upload content, including images, audio files, videos and text. They report on the traffic the website is getting and make sure the site is functioning at optimal performance, loading pages and content quickly without experiencing errors. Some web developers specialize as webmasters, web designers or web architects or programmers.

While a few aspiring web developers manage to secure a position with only a high school diploma or an associate’s degree, employers typically look for candidates who have pursued a formal education. Students often pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer programming or computer science to prepare for this career. During their education, they will study programming languages, such as HTML, SQL and JavaScript extensively. Aspiring web developers will also learn the computer-based tools they can use to build websites. A background in graphic design may also benefit aspiring web developers, because it provides them with the knowledge and training to ensure the websites they design are not only functional, but also aesthetically pleasing. Because computer technology is constantly evolving, a web developer’s education is never truly finished. To keep up with the latest programming languages and tools, web developers must be willing to continue learning new technologies throughout their careers.

Web developers and the related occupations of security analysts and computer network architects earn a median annual salary of $75,660, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Experienced web developers working for the right company have the potential to earn a six-figure salary. Another perk of this career is fast job growth. The BLS anticipates a 22 percent rise in employment opportunities during the 2010 to 2020 decade, which is significantly better job growth than the 14 percent expected across all occupations. In fact, CNN Money ranked the career ninth on its 2013 list of “The 100 Best Jobs.” If you have the concentration to write complex programming codes without making mistakes and the creativity to design the function and visual appearance of a website, knowing how to become a web developer could be the start of a profitable new career in a rapidly-growing field.

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