Career guide: Web developer

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	Web developers work with clients to bring their sites to life.
    Web developers work with clients to bring their sites to life.

    Career guide: Web developer

    The internet impacts virtually every aspect of daily life, with websites dedicated to everything from shopping to banking and dating to health care. But who are the professionals responsible for bringing these often vibrant and user-friendly sites to life? The answer is web developers. 

    For recent graduates of STEM fields, and particularly the information technology sector, a career as a web developer can be exciting and lucrative, offering an outlet for the implementation of both technical expertise and creativity. 

    Are you interested in pursuing a career as a web developer? Read on to learn more about this booming career path:

    What does a web developer do?
    According to an article from U.S. News & World Report, web developers are professionals who are responsible for creating websites as well as monitoring and modifying their online presence. These professionals will typically work with clients, identifying their unique needs and vision for their site, before bringing those ideas to life. The source elaborated that there are two major components of web development: front end and back end. While some talented web developers will be able to handle both front and back end web development, it is more common for professionals to specialize in one area or the other. 

    Front end web development, as explained by web design site Treehouse, involves the design and creation of the visuals on a webpage, from the images to the text to the overall design. Front end web developers are proficient with programs such as Photoshop, as well as coding languages including Javascript. HTML and CSS. As noted by The Odine Project, front end developers are primarily concerned with the usability and functionality of the site, ensuring that visitors can navigate the pages with ease. They may or may not take charge of the actual artistic design, which in many cases is reserved for professionals who work exclusively in web design. Conversely, back end web development involves the side of a website that you can't see – the part below the figurative surface. As detailed by Treehouse, the database, application and server are found in the back end, and developers who specialize in this area work to ensure that it all functions properly to bring a website to life. 

    U.S. News & World Report explained that web designers can be found within organizations, as well as independently. For example, a web designer may work for an advertising or marketing agency, or they may work as a freelancer, taking on solo contracts. 

    Typical duties
    Given that web development is more of an umbrella term for several kinds of jobs, duties vary between professionals, contingent on their job description, expertise, level of employment and so on. Still, there are a number of duties that are common across the board. As explained by Rasmussen College, a typical web designer will take charge of: meeting with clients to develop project goals, designing web content, producing web content, using languages such as HTML and CSS, working with platforms such as Photoshop and monitoring and correcting problems that arise during the design stages.

    The source also explained that web designers may be required to make routine updates and changes to websites. This is important, as technology is always advancing and design trends progress over time.

    How to become a web developer
    An advanced degree isn't a prerequisite to enter the field, but a master's degree in IT, for example, can help improve skills and widen a candidate's net in terms of job prospects. Web developers do need a nuanced understanding of HTML and CSS, as well as software programs including Photoshop, U.S. News & World Report stated. An aptitude for creativity and design is also essential. 

    Employment prospects
    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that web development is a field that is continuing to grow – by 2024, employment is predicted to increase by as much as 27 percent from 2014 levels. 

    Salary levels
    Compensation for web developers is reasonable and in some cases lucrative. Payscale explained that the median national salary stands at close to $58,000 per year, with salaries approaching $85,000 not out of the question for more experienced professionals. 

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