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WunderLand
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October 10, 2013

A Career as a Web Developer: What You Need to Know

web developer

You navigate the Internet like a pro. But creating and maintaining your own website---that's another story. You need a web developer.

Web developers start at ground zero to build a fully functioning website according to their clients' requirements, using industry standard technologies. They usually work with a visual web designer, but sometimes design the site as well as code it.

Web development takes on a broad range. Some positions require back-end technical skills while others need employees who are both creative and technical. Then there are positions that target product management and content. But all developer roles require mathematic and logical expertise.

JOB TREND/JOB OUTLOOK

No matter which area of web development you are interested in, one thing is certain. As technology continues to advance, the need for web developers continues to climb. According to a chart from Indeed.com, the job trend for web developers has had its ups and downs since January 2006. However, job growth hit a high in 2010 but started to descend in 2011 and 2012. Six months into 2012, job growth shot up 20 percent only to head back down in the beginning of 2013 then rebound, heading back up 10 percent. The number of jobs are expected to continue to climb in 2014.

BREAKDOWN OF A WEB DEVELOPER

Planner, designer, builder, programmer and manager. Those are some diverse job requirements of a web developer we’ve seen. A web developer's ultimate goal is to optimize the user experience through coding a functional and compelling website. Here are some of the responsibilities expected from a web developer:

-- Setting up the server and deciding what technology, including programming language(s), that will be the best fit.
-- Creating an effective design and navigation that will grab the users' attention and have them return to the site multiple times.
-- Implement coding that covers positioning page elements, files, styles and font sizes,and connecting to APIs (Advanced Programming Interface). Some developers use scripting languages to create code snippets, custom plugins and open source script alterations.
-- Fill the website with content, often through the use of a Content Management System like Wordpress, Drupal or Joomla.
-- Brand and market their clients' website and support the website.
-- Add tools like social media links, community discussions and newsletter sign-up capability.
-- Set up reporting tools and databases to track users to the site.

The life of a web developer typically involves working long hours. Job opportunities can be found almost anywhere, such as within an organization, an agency, consulting firm or on a contract basis. A web developer with 1 to 2 years of experience can expect to take home, on average, $40,000-$60,000. Add work as a web software developer, or have more than 5 years of experience, and the amount can go up to $70,000 to $90,000.

EDUCATION

Learning about web development can be done in the classroom or on your own. If you choose the classroom, certifications, two and four year programs specializing in web design or e-commerce, are popping up more and more. Also, in many major cities, there are training companies, such as The Starter League, Treehouse, or Codecademy (plus many others), that offer intensive 6 to 12 week courses.

A web developer must have knowledge of scripting and markup languages such as HTML5, XML, CSS and JavaScript. Whether or not you choose the education route, web developers must learn new skills because technology keeps evolving. Classes, trade shows, seminars and periodicals can help them keep on top of the ever-changing computer world.

PORTFOLIO

A web developer needs to show a prospective employee what he or she knows. That's why web developers need to have a dynamite portfolio. You can work on projects on your own or do an internship that will give you exposure to all aspects of web development, including group collaboration. Web developers today can also setup a code library to show off their work at https://github.com.

JOB OPENINGS

The WunderLand Group specializes in placing experienced web developers and designers in jobs with companies in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. If you are interested in a career in web development, we have a number of positions waiting to be filled. For more information, check out our current job openings here.

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