When it comes to career paths and the jobs we aspire to, it’s easy to feel like there are only a few options on the table. But actually, there’s a whole world of different types of jobs and roles out there, and we’re on a mission to bring them to light and explain what they actually involve. Ahead, a look at web developers—and over here, we’ve also got pharmacists, marketing managers, and architects.
Whether you’re reading this on a tablet, smartphone, or computer screen, one thing remains the same: there’s a web developer out there who built this very website.
So, what’s a web developer exactly? Put simply, web developers are responsible for building the foundation of a website. They program the code that makes the site function.
While web developers will often be college graduates, it’s not necessarily the only path. If you have proven, relevant experience, a degree may not be necessary.
This kind of role comes with a certain amount of responsibility. You might be the person solely accountable for ensuring a website runs without a hitch. You’ll also have to stay on top of software updates and data changes, so it pays to be comfortable with a fast-paced environment.
Here’s everything there is to know about being a web developer
If you love being challenged, being a web developer might be the right job for you. Here’s a little bit more about the job duties and role.
So, what does a web developer typically do?
The job description for a web developer will be specific to the company that employs you. You may be responsible for building and maintaining a single website or a connected network of sites for a single client. Or you may work for multiple clients, building one website after another.
In all cases, though, you will be responsible for building websites from start to finish. According to Stefania Stevens of Doomsday Tuna, your first task will be to “take time to understand the problem you’re solving.” This means chatting with your client to understand their needs and the needs of their customers or clients. These needs help you inform the project “from a technical standpoint.”
From there, you’ll work to code the website. Sometimes, you’ll work in conjunction with a web designer, who will make decisions regarding the look and appearance of the website.
Are there different types of web developer?
You bet there are.
A front-end developer codes the front-end of a website. This means writing code that ensures the design of the website actually gets implemented when it hits a web browser.
A back-end developer is someone who builds the technology that powers the back-end components: the server, an application, and a database.
A full stack developer is someone who works in both roles i.e. across the full “stack.”
Who is this job ideally for?
Brad Amos of Helium Creative says the role of a web developer is best suited to someone who loves “to find out how things work.” You’ll need an innate sense of curiosity and a desire to solve problems—and a passion for coding doesn’t hurt either. “Brilliant coders are as passionate about the lines of code they write as they are about the experience people will have on the sites they develop.”
What are the usual job requirements?
While some companies will require you to have a bachelor’s degree—usually in computer science or similar—it’s not mandatory.
At the moment, coding is extremely popular, and many people are teaching themselves to code or taking courses online. With a few certifications under your belt and proven, relevant experience—usually in the form of a portfolio—you can probably get away with being degree-free.
What’s the average salary like?
PayScale reports that the average salary for a web developer is $58K per year, while Glassdoor reports the average salary is $88K per year. The disparity can likely be chalked up to the location of the individuals who reported their data. According to PayScale, web developers located in San Francisco earned up to 43 percent more than the national average, while those located in Seattle earned up to 24 percent more. This likely comes as no surprise given both San Francisco and Seattle are considered major tech hubs.