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Are Web Developers in Demand?

By DeVry University

February 27, 2023

5 min read

 

Are web developers in demand? Spoiler alert: they very much are.

 

Requiring a combination of technical, creative and interpersonal skills, web developers are among the fastest-growing careers and play an indispensable role in today’s digitally charged Internet-of-Things (IoT) and e-commerce economy. In this article, we’ll run down their job duties, the skills and education required to become one and the environments they work in.

Web Developer Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for web developers is projected to grow 23% on a national level between 2021 and  2031.1 That rate is much faster than the national average for all occupations.

The BLS attributes the strong projected growth in this area of computer science to the expansion of e-commerce, the increase in online selling by retailers and the continued use of mobile devices that requires designers to create websites and interfaces that work on all screen sizes.

How many people work in web development? According to BLS, web developers held about 95,300 jobs in 2021. Their largest employers were in the fields of computer systems design and related services at 19%, and state, local and private education services amounted for about 8%. Self-employed web developers made up 6% of the total. 

Web Developer Tasks and Responsibilities

Web developers are responsible for programming the code that tells websites and web applications what to do. Their programming languages create a series of commands that result in everything you see on your computer or mobile phone screen — text, images, graphics, menus, forms and other elements — looking the way it should and functioning as intended.

As a web developer, you would work on visual designs and layouts, integrate graphics and content, optimize website performance and test to be sure it works properly and delivers a positive user experience. This is where your technical web developer skills and creativity converge.

Your daily tasks as a web developer will likely vary widely according to the type of project you’re working on and the size of the team you work with. You might wear many hats or specialize in a specific area of web development. As a freelance web developer, you might take on a project and provide end-to-end development on your own.

On a daily basis, web developers are responsible for these tasks:

  • Updating, renovating or managing existing websites.

  • Translating wireframe designs into new code when developing a new website.

  • Creating a website’s architecture and content.

  • Publishing a new site on the internet.

  • Debugging a website (that’s web developer-speak for fixing errors and glitches that are encountered after a new site goes live).

Skill Requirements

To succeed as a web developer, you’ll need a sound education and a variety of technical and soft skills that enable you to anticipate and understand project requirements, collaborate with development team members or clients, respond quickly and confidently to changes in project scope or website functionality, as well as doing the actual development work that’s required. 

Education

If you’re preparing to pursue a career in web development, it’s important to learn the skills and techniques that will help you to create a broad variety of user experiences on computers, mobile phones and other devices. At DeVry, our online Bachelor’s Degree with a Specialization in Web and Mobile Application Development is built with our Tech Core curriculum and designed to prepare you for opportunities in today’s IoT economy. 

Technical Skills

Some of the technical skills required of web developers include:

  • HTML/CSS skills: Web developers use the markup languages HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to create pages. While HTML lays the foundation for the pages, CSS configures the fonts, colors, styles and other elements of a website’s design.

  • Responsive design skills: A website that is responsive functions well on any size screen, from a desktop to the smallest mobile phone. It’s important to understand how responsive design works and to build sites that automatically adapt to different screen sizes. This also has an effect on search results, as most search engines will actually penalize sites that aren’t responsive.

  • JavaScript: Knowing your way around the high-level coding language known as JavaScript can enable you to integrate complex features like search bars, videos and interactive maps into your websites to increase visitor engagement.

  • Analytical skills: Straddling the hard and soft skills categories, analytical skills are important to understand clients’ needs, being ready to respond to changes and to perform technical tasks such as ensuring code has been correctly applied to achieve the desired functionality.

  • Back-end basics: It’s important to know how the back end, or server side of a website works. You may collaborate with back-end developers or programmers who specialize in APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), SQL and databases, or be required to use those skills yourself.

  • Search engine optimization: Search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential part of web development to make the site as visible as possible to search engines and, in turn, increase user traffic. It’s important for web developers to know how to configure sites so they’ll show up early and often on search engine results pages.

Soft Skills

While it’s important for web developers to have the necessary tech skills, soft skills (often called interpersonal skills) can be equally important. They enable web developers to interact well with others, manage projects effectively, respond better to challenging situations and keep things moving forward toward achievement of goals. Useful soft skills for web or software developers include:

  • Communication: Interpersonal communication, active listening and public speaking are all aspects of communication. Listening, understanding, responding and presenting are all things you might be required to do as a web developer. Strong communications skills can help you be more effective in this role.

  • Emotional intelligence: When responding to challenging situations in the workplace, emotional intelligence can help you retain your focus, keep your cool in the face of professional challenges and respond appropriately and professionally when you encounter unforeseen circumstances, budget crises or difficult situations.

  • Adaptability: Closely related to emotional intelligence, adaptability is the skill that allows you to modify your approach in response to changes in technologies or project requirements. It helps you to change gears smoothly to a new design theme or process. 

  • Problem - solving: The ability to anticipate and identify problems and fix them efficiently can be a useful skill for you as a web developer. Strong problem-solving skills enable you to analyze your work, determine the source of a problem, fix a glitch or install an application to enhance a website or application’s performance.

  • Time management: Whether working as a freelancer or a member of a development team within a large organization, sharp time management skills help you to create schedules and timelines based on project requirements and deliverables and hold team members — and yourself — accountable for finishing tasks and projects on time. 

Types of Web Development

Web developers typically specialize in either front-end or back-end development. Those descriptions mean that front-end specialists are responsible for developing the elements of a website that the user sees and interacts with, while their back-end counterparts engineer the functionality of a site. While you don’t actually see back-end developers’ work, — hence the name “back-end” — you experience its effects every time a website functions properly.

Let’s take a closer look at five web development roles:

  • Web designer: This job involves designing a website’s layout, or its look and feel. Using design tools like HTML, CSS and JavaScript, web designers are responsible for making the design decisions like how text, graphics, images, videos and other elements will appear on the site, and how this will contribute to a positive user experience.

  • Front-end web developer: While sharing some of the design responsibilities, front-end developers work from the designer’s vision to build the site’s pages. Using HTML, CSS, JavaScript and other programming tools, they transform the designer’s sketches and wire frames into code that web browsers can read and display on your screen. They also make sure the site is responsive — meaning it will display correctly on all computer and mobile device screens.

  • Back-end web developer: While the back-end developer’s work is unseen by the user, it is crucial to a website functioning properly. Back-end developers use a variety of programming languages like Python, Ruby and SQL. When developing mobile apps, they may be likely to use HTML5, Java and C++.

  • Full-stack web developer: This role is simply a mixture of both front-end and back-end development. Full-stack web developers and software developers must be proficient on both ends and typically have a very high level of experience and technical skill.

  • UX designer: UX (User Experience) designers study how people use websites and work with developers to make the user experience better, encourage users to stay on sites longer or meet other objectives. Their work involves the use of technologies like heat mapping to plot how users interact with sites.

Work Environment

If you work as a web developer, your environment will vary depending upon the type and size of organization you work for and your employment status — as an employee, or a self-employed contractor or freelancer. Web developers work in a broad variety of industries such as software development, government, finance, healthcare, publishing, marketing and others. They may work in an office environment or remotely. The job requires working at a computer and attending meetings in person or via telephone or video conference. As a web developer you may work independently or in close collaboration with other members of a development or UX team.

Experience Required

While web developer job descriptions vary from employer to employer, you will typically need to demonstrate the following skills and qualifications:

  • Proficiency in programming languages.

  • Strong interpersonal skills.

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.

  • Ability to work independently and manage time efficiently.

  • Understanding of search engine optimization practices.

  • Ability to troubleshoot and optimize web pages for security and responsiveness.

  • Understanding of network diagnostics and analytical tools.

Another important step when pursuing a career as a web developer is to prepare a strong resume that will grab the attention of recruiters and hiring managers. Work experience, education, industry-recognized certifications and academic or professional accomplishments should all be included on your resume.

 

Whether you’re responding to online job postings from potential employers or looking to work as a freelancer, it’s also a good idea to prepare an online portfolio that will demonstrate your web development capabilities. After your portfolio is complete, promote it through your social media channels and link to it from your resume. 

Ready To Pursue a Career as a Web Developer?

At DeVry, we can help you gain hands-on experience with IoT, cloud, software and security technologies and systems so you can prepare to pursue a variety of careers related to web development. Our Bachelor’s Degree with a Specialization in Web and Mobile Application Development can teach you to create the online and mobile user experiences that inform, influence and entertain consumers and drive today’s IoT economy. As a graduate of this program, you may consider positions like software application developer, mobile device software developer, software systems developer and web program analyst.

Let’s talk about your career goals and how you can get started in our next session.

1Growth projected on a national level. Local growth will vary by location. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm

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