HOW TO BECOME A WEB DEVELOPER (2022 Guide)

Is Web Development a Good Career?

BrainStation’s Web Developer career guide is intended to help you take the first steps toward a lucrative career in web development. Find out if web development is a good career for you.

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Yes, web development is a good career. Mondo’s annual Tech and Digital Marketing Salary guide found “Web Developer” was the most in-demand job title in tech and one of its top-paying jobs. And, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the job market for Web Developers is expected to grow 15 percent by 2026.

Job Outlook for Web Developers

The job outlook for Web Developers as very positive because Web Developers are in high demand across a variety of industries, and a worldwide gap in software and web development skills has most observers forecasting high demand well into the future.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment of Web Developers to grow eight percent by 2029, much faster than the average for job roles. There is also no sign demand will wane. The expansion of e-commerce — online shopping is now expected to grow faster than the overall retail industry — and an ever-increasing reliance on mobile search will only create further need for talented Web and Software Developers. That means that even if many career changers from other tech disciplines decide they want to become a Web Developer, the job outlook should still remain positive.

On average, the U.S. expects about 13,400 openings for Web Developers, and others pursuing a related career in digital design professionals are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Web Developer Career Path

A Web Developer career path tends to follow two distinct routes, depending on whether you’re looking for the security of a salaried position or you prefer to have the autonomy that comes with being a freelancer.

In a full-time web development position, you’d collaborate with other developers and programmers as part of a larger development team, whether you’re working for an agency or a company. This route offers opportunities for getting into managing projects or teams and liaising with a client or stakeholders from other backgrounds outside of tech.

With programming skills in high demand, full-time jobs in web development are not scarce. A few years into a career in web development, you might qualify for a six-figure salary as a Senior Web Developer along with other employer perks and bonuses.

There are also many benefits to freelancing. Freelance Web Developers create their own schedules and are free to select projects that truly interest them. Self-employed Web Developers essentially run their own business, so it’s important to build strong relationships with their clients that could translate to a full-time job down the line. Since they set their own price, a freelance professional with serious programming talent could theoretically reach a higher pay grade much faster than an entry-level development would take to become a senior employee.

Freelance is also likely the way to go for any web development professional who wants to work remotely.

Why Become a Web Developer?

You might want to become a Web Developer because there are many high-paying jobs available, Web Developers can work from anywhere, and web development jobs tend to offer good work-life balance. Though there are obviously a number of different specializations within web development, the bottom line is most jobs in web development are considered great careers in terms of salary, benefits and perks, and opportunity for advancement.

Being a Web Developer is not without its challenges, however, as the field involves continuous learning, problem-solving, and critical thinking. This is a field that never stops changing as new technologies, best practices, and other innovations are introduced, which means Web and Software Developers have to work hard to keep current on the latest coding languages and industry trends to ensure they stay relevant over the course of their web development careers.

Here are some of the reasons why it’s worth it to become a Web Developer:

Demand for Web Developers

As we mentioned, there’s a dire shortage of skilled tech talent and Web Developers are among the most in-demand tech specialists, especially given the increasing need for companies to improve their mobile offerings.

More than 80 percent of American Web Developers are employed full-time, with another 10 percent working on a freelance basis or part-time according to Stack Overflow. That number isn’t expected to decrease, since virtually every company you could think of in every industry you could think of hires Web Developers. That explains in part why so many potential job changers are learning web development.

With high demand comes high average salaries for Web Developers. Web Developers make anywhere between $78,000 (Indeed) and $88,000 (Glassdoor) a year, with an easy pathway to more senior positions. According to Indeed, Senior Web Developers made an average salary of $103,069.

Web Developer Job Satisfaction

Aside from the myriad practical perks to possessing an in-demand skill set, there are many more non-monetary benefits to life as a Web Developer.

In Stack’s worldwide survey of developers, 72.8 percent of respondents reported positive job satisfaction (as opposed to only 18.9 who said they were dissatisfied, with the rest feeling neutral). And every year, many major media outlets respond to the question “Is web development a good career?” with a resounding yes. U.S. News and World Report ranked Web and Software Developer jobs in the top 5 for all jobs in the United States.

In addition, Web and Software Developers have the choice of working for an agency, in-house for a company, or becoming their own boss and working freelance. Web Developers often get the chance to work both independently as well as cross-functionally between design and product teams. There’s also flexibility on the work-life balance front, as Web Developers can essentially work anywhere that has an internet connection, especially those who freelance for a number of clients.

Web Developers Are Always Learning

Technology changes quickly, which means Web Developers have to stay on top of any important new programming language, web development software, or trend. Even coding experts with advanced computer science degrees will need to continually upskill in this field to stay ahead. Unsurprisingly, Stack’s survey found a direct correlation between technical competency and salary. Thriving as a Web Developer does require a commitment to continuous learning, which is a good thing for most professionals in the field.

According to the BrainStation Digital Skills Survey, the top three resources Web and Software Developers use to explore new ideas or learn web development techniques were online forums, digital skills training options, and blogs. When it comes to learning opportunities and training, Web Developers cite online courses as the most frequent format for improving their web dev skills.

The top trends on the horizon that Web Developers will have the biggest impact on web development over the next five years, according to the survey? AI (86 percent of respondents) and machine learning (84 percent), so any aspiring Web Developer would be well-served looking at how these technologies could change development forever. For a good Web Developer, that’s a fun challenge to consider.

That helps to explain the increasing popularity of web development certification and training programs among seasoned developers and those hoping to break into the industry. BrainStation, for example, offers a Web Development bootcamp and courses, both online and at our campuses. These web development courses were designed to be collaborative, replicating the kind of working and learning experience Web and Software Developers would experience in the field.

Jobs in Web Development

Web Developers usually specialize in either front-end development – to put it quite simply, everything a user sees when they use a website or web application – or back-end (server-side) development, while those versatile enough to do both are called Full-Stack Developers.

For those who don’t work in tech, the distinction between those roles and the other various roles relating to web and software development can be quite confusing. Here’s an overview of some of the job titles in web development:

  • Web Designer. This might sound obvious, but if “designer” is in the title, the job involves designing for the web. Web Designers literally decide and implement how websites and web apps look, feel, and work. Specific skills necessary for Web Designers would include design tools, HTML, CSS, and some JavaScript.
  • Front-End Web Developer. A Front-End Web Developer focuses on HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and light back-end work, not just design. In some cases, a Front End Developer might implement the creations of a Web Designer. In some Front End Developer roles, there will be some design included but deeper skill in the other technologies is also demanded.
  • Back-End Web Developer. The work of a Back-End Web Developer is invisible to users but crucial to the functioning of a website. Back End Developers tend to work with a variety of programming languages such as Python, Ruby, and SQL. Other Back-End Developers are focused on developing mobile apps using coding languages like HTML5, C++, and Java.
  • Full-Stack Web Developer. To put it simply, Full-Stack Developers are comfortable and skilled working on both the front end and the back end. It’s important to stress that to be a good Full-Stack Developer, you can’t be mostly strong on the front end and a little weak on the back end, or vice versa. You truly have to be a master of both to master full-stack development. If you can accomplish it, you will be handsomely rewarded – Full-Stack Web Developers are in high demand and tend to have high salaries to match.
  • UX Designer. UX (User Experience) Designers specifically focus on studying and researching how people use a site, then completing changes for the better through the system and testing the results. Every web development professional on this list needs to consider user experience, but UX Designers live and breathe it.

Do Web Developers Work From Home?

Yes, many Web Developers work from home. The nature of the job gives Web Developers the ability to work remotely, or anywhere with an internet connection, but depending on the kind of work, you’ll be presented with different employment options, including:

  • Contract work
  • Working full-time
  • Freelance work

Many freelance Developers work for themselves and do so remotely from home.

Depending on the agreement, contract Web Developers may work in-office, at home, or a combination of the two. Make sure to stipulate those guidelines upon signing a contract.

If you work full-time for a brand, you’ll often be required to work in-office during working hours. Some professionals prefer to have a designated place of work and to have work and client interactions face-to-face. However, there are also many companies that provide flexible work-from-home policies.

All in all, when looking for web development jobs make sure to choose a schedule and work-life balance that suits you.

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