Career Profile: Web Developer
Almost every company, television show or hobby exists online as a web page, forum or content provider, but where do all these online items come from?
Web developers need strong interpersonal skills and communication skills, as they will regularly work in teams and deal with clients to create websites and manage projects. They also need to be detail oriented and have a good attention to detail for testing and debugging code. Web developers are often either part of a marketing team, or an IT team, depending on their expertise.
Typically, a web developer will work either in an office for a company, government agency or other organization, or they can work from their home as an independent freelancer. Web development is especially suitable for freelancing, since much of the work is project-based with a defined beginning and end, and nearly all of the development process can be done digitally and remotely.
Becoming a web developer doesn’t necessarily require a formal education, though in many cases getting a degree is still be a good idea. Web development is an accessible career path without the need for a degree because there are many online avenues to learn how to code, provided you are willing to dedicate the time and effort into teaching yourself the necessary skills. There are lots of free resources to help you learn to code websites, ranging from YouTube video tutorials, to online classes called Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs.
A college or university degree may still be beneficial, however; especially if you want to eventually advance your career into project management, supervisory or other leadership roles. Many post-secondary schools offer diplomas and degrees in web development, which will cover the necessary practical skills and coding languages, and also teach you topics such as graphic design, marketing, social media strategy, project management, and database management.
Most of these college or university programs will take between one and four years to complete, depending on the degree or diploma program, and whether you are enrolled full time or part time. Many of those degrees can also be done entirely online, so it’s not a requirement for you to live in a town or city that has a college campus.
Web developers usually start their career with a salary of around $35,000 per year, which breaks down to a bit more than minimum wage, at the hourly scale, for full time employment. As you gain work experience and seniority, salary can reach up to around $72,000 per year. The national average salary is about $49,000 to $50,000 per year. Your salary will also depend on the hours you work, and this can vary significantly depending on the individual job.
When employed by a company or government office, hours are likely to be regular daytime hours, but there will often be on-call or overtime hours during busy periods and important project deadlines. Freelance web developers can have more control over their hours, but certain projects may still require long hours, including evenings and weekends, in order to complete them on time.
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