How to Become a Web Developer
This creative career is an indispensable part of the workforce.
It’s nearly impossible for a business to thrive without a website. They rely on web developers to put their creativity, attention to detail, and technical skills to work to build functional and visually appealing websites for their users. When you learn how to become a web developer, you’ll be an indispensable part of the workforce.
Not only does a career in web development offer good pay, but it’s also in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 8% increase in new web developer jobs over the next 10 years.
It takes a certain type of person to be a web developer. You must have both a creative and technical mindset to translate the abstract needs of a client and its audience into code. If that sounds like you, then let’;s dive right in.
What Is Web Development?
Web development is the process of constructing and maintaining websites. It happens both behind the scenes in creating and updating a website’s functionality and on the interface, which controls the website’s user experience. A website that’s developed well is accessible and easy for users to navigate.
What Does a Web Developer Do?
Web developers are responsible for the functionality, usability, and speed of a website.
Before developing a website, web developers meet with clients to discuss the appearance and functionality of a website, then build the site based on the client’s specs. Not only do they create the site, its applications, and its plugins, they also maintain them over time by troubleshooting glitches and updating layouts to meet their audience’s evolving needs.
Web developers often utilize:
- Server-side scripting languages such as PHP, ASP, and Ruby on Rails
- Database programs such as MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle, or IBM’s DB2
- Web 2.0 programs such as WordPress
In learning how to become a web developer, you also need to determine what kind of work you'd like to do. The most common types of web developers include:
- Back-end web developers who construct the framework and functionality of a website, allowing users to add and manage their own content.
- Web and digital interface designers create the look, feel, and interface of a website, which includes its images, color, font, text size, graphics, and layout. Additionally, they create interfaces that are compatible with desktops, tablets, and mobile devices.
- Webmasters are responsible for maintaining, updating, and troubleshooting websites.
Check out Monster’s web developer job description to get an idea of what else web developers do.
Where Can Web Developers Work?
Many businesses and organizations rely on skilled web developers to create and maintain high-quality websites. Web developers can work for small businesses or large firms or on a freelance basis. According to the BLS, 10% of web developers are self-employed. The largest employers of web developers are in:
- Computer systems design and related services (17%)
- Publishing industries (10%)
- Management, scientific, and technical consulting services (5%)
- Advertising, public relations, and related services (4%)
How to Become a Web Developer
Although you don’t need a special license, certification, or even a college education to land a web developer job, top employers prefer to hire a candidate with a web developer degree, web development certification, or a few completed courses. You can certainly learn a programming language or build websites on your own to gain hands-on experience, but formal education, such as an undergraduate degree in computer science, a coding boot camp, or online web development courses, will push your resume to the top of the pile.
When pursuing an undergraduate degree or web developer certification program, you can expect to take the following types of web development courses:
- Programming fundamentals
- Web building
- Web and mobile programming
- Database management
- Web information systems
- Interface and graphic design
- Application design
- Web analytics
- Search engine optimization
Searching for a way to pay for school? These computer programming scholarships can help.
Aside from having a solid educational background, web development employers look for candidates who possess problem-solving skills, keen attention to detail, creativity, communication skills, and customer service skills.
How Much Do Web Developers Make?
Pay also varies depending on your industry and area. For example, web developers who work in publishing industries make an average of $121,160, according to the BLS. In contrast, those who work in advertising and public relations make an average of $68,050 per year.
You can look up the average salary for web developers in your location by using the Monster Salary Guide.
How to Find Web Developer Jobs
So you’ve completed web development courses and mastered all the soft skills employers are looking for. Now what? To land your first web developer job, you’ll need to pitch your skills and qualifications to potential employers with a solid cover letter and resume.
Check out Monster’s sample web developer resume to learn the most effective ways to present your experience to top employers. Never written a cover letter before? No problem. Monster’s web developer cover letter offers writing tips for showing off both your technical and creative capabilities.
If you’;re not sure where to look for your first web developer job, the BLS offers a list of the top five states with the highest levels of web developer employment:
The top five U.S. metro areas with the highest levels of web developer employment are:
If you don’t live in any of these areas, no problem. Web developers are needed all over the country. Take a look at Monster’s web developer job listings when you’re ready to apply.
Build Your Framework for a Successful Web Developer Career
Now that you know how to become a web developer, Monster can help you interface with top employers to land your first job. To stay up to date with new job listings, sign up with Monster for free. We’ll send you job search hacks, interview tips, and job alerts to help you find a web developer job that best fits you.