Web Developer

How to Become a Web Developer
Web Developer Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of a Web Developer
Web Developer Salary
Influential Professionals in the Web Developement Field
Leading Organizations for Web Developers
Top Cities for Web Developer Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Web Developer

Web developers train and educate themselves in any number of ways. Some apprentice at software and programming companies, while others enter educational programs at local community colleges, in educational outreach programs or at most any college and university across the US. Those who matriculate through these sorts of educational programs frequently major in Computer Science, with special emphases on programming languages, distributed systems and algorithms. Since there is so much crossover with web production, many Computer Science students will also take classes in graphic design, writing and even business management.

Other web developers turn autodidact and teach themselves the skills necessary to be a successful professional. These individuals then continue in the profession as freelancers, at programming/software companies, as entrepreneurs or as members of corporations and organizations. The relative affordability of the modern computer and the availability of any number of excellent books on computer programming, means it has never been easier or less expensive to learn advanced web development. Of course, the contacts one makes as part of a structured training program, either as an apprentice or as an undergraduate, will likely prove crucial in establishing oneself in the profession. Nevertheless, one can certainly develop the pure skill and knowledge required to be a successful web developer at home, with minimal financial investment.

What does a Web Developer do?

Though they frequently have knowledge of programming languages like C++ and Java, web developers are essentially proficient server-side language (PHP, ASP) and/or client side language (JavaScript, ActionScript) coders, who create web applications. These drive and frame the content of social networking sites, online wikis and discussion forums, ecommerce retailers and database-driven network systems.

Possessing a demanding and diverse set of skills, most web developers are also proficient in web design, information architecture, usability engineering, web content management systems, IT administration, including servers and databases, software engineering, project management, network security and search engine optimization (SEO). The lines that divide web designers and web developers frequently blur and because of this overlap, most work in both fields, even if only partially.

Nevertheless, those who work as web developers frequently specialize in either "front-end" or "back-end" work. Front-end web developers create "client-side" applications, which are, applications that allow clients to interact with web servers, databases and networks, and they therefore work heavily with mark-up languages like HTML, CSS and object-oriented scripting languages like JavaScript and ActionScript. Back-end web developers tend to focus more on server-side architectures and processes, including databases and network applications. As such, they work with server-side languages like Perl, JSP and .NET.

Because of the important role the Internet plays in contemporary life, almost every organization in both the public and private sector and many marquee individuals, such as celebrities and politicians, maintain websites. While not every website requires dynamic server/client-side features, many major ones, including those of banks, retailers, politicians and mass media outfits, couldn't operate without them. Moreover, most Internet-based companies and startups, like Netflix, Fandango and Facebook, couldn't engage in their chosen forms of commerce without complex web applications.

Web developers, therefore, work for a diverse range of employers, including media firms, financial institutions, non-profits, public service organizations and retailers. Web developers also frequently work as full-time or part-time freelancers and in partnership with other web, graphic and art designers at design firms and with other coders at programming and software companies of all sizes.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Web Developer?

An effective web developer must have a mind for computation and mathematics, a methodical, exacting nature and the patience to test, troubleshoot and perfect their applications in any number of browser, operating systems and server environments. Since they often work with and oftentimes under, business managers, customers and programming teams, web developers must also be able to accept constructive criticism and communicate effectively.

How much does a Web Developer make?

In most major markets, freelance and small design houses, web developers may expect to make around $75/hour, while those employed at large corporations and other organizations in those same markets will be salaried in the $75-95,000 range. Of course, were one to develop a popular web application that was acquired by a technology company, found wild sales success on its own or allowed the developer to build a business around it, they could stand to earn significantly more, into the millions and billions for the most successful applications.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

The phenomenal rise of the web during the 1990's and 2000's has brought a number of influential web developers. Mark Zuckerberg and Tom Anderson, founders of Facebook and MySpace, respectively, would stand among the most influential. Their projects ushered in the so-called Web 2.0 phenomenon that led to the birth of a number of social networking sites, including Twitter and Goodreads. Other influential web applications include the bookmark management service,, created by Joshua Schachter and the content sharing service, Digg, created by Kevin Rose, MSNBC's Newsvine and Technorati, created by Dave Sifry.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

As a web developer, or for someone planning a career in that field it is wise to be familiar with some of the professional organizations available to give advice and up-to-date information, along with training and certification.

The HTML Writers Guild is a very large community of web development professionals, which provides training resources on all the latest aspects of the work. Similarly, the International Webmasters' Association provides certification and education standards.

Another prominent organization in the world of web development is W3C (the Worldwide Web Consortium). This well-respected organization attracts members from all professions linked to the web. It provides an interface to leading individuals, companies and groups working in the field.

What are the top cities for Web Developer work?

Web developers work in nearly every city in the US. Therefore, while traditional programming centers like San Francisco and Boston remain favored places, almost any major city would offer an abundance of opportunities for people in the profession to maintain and develop web applications for clients and employers. The rise of application-heavy sites, like ChaCha, outside traditional programming centers, suggests the possibility for web programmers to flourish as entrepreneurs and innovators almost anywhere one can connect to a server and the Internet.

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