Looking to dive into the web developer career path? Professional website developers are in demand in various industries like ecommerce, electronics, publishing, and software design. The best tech companies are hiring web developers, and the job description of a web developer doesn’t even require a formal degree.
In this article, we’ll guide you through how you can accomplish your web developer career goals in the tech industry. We cover the different web developer career paths that are possible, what milestones will take you to a senior position, and tips to land your dream job in web development.
Web Developer Career Prospects: Why Is Web Development a Good Profession?
Web development is a good profession because there are plenty of career prospects for both front end and backend web developers. You will develop both soft skills and technical skills while on your web developer career path. Overall you can expect a fun experience and positive job satisfaction.
Web Developer Salary and Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual median salary of a web developer is $77,200. Highly paid web developers with extensive experience in Internet technology and web development can earn more than $146,430, according to BLS.
Further, web development is expected to grow by 13%, with 224,900 projected job openings according to BLS. However, you should also note that your web developer salary can change depending on who you work from and the location you work in.
What Does a Typical Web Developer Career Path Look Like?
Stage 1: Web Developer
In the web development career path, an entry-level web developer is responsible for programming functional and responsive websites. You must be familiar with web developer processes and have the necessary soft skills for interacting with potential clients. A junior web developer makes an average annual salary of $50,958, according to ZipRecruiter.
Stage 2: Backend Developer
Backend developers work on a website’s server-side using APIs, web services, servers, application frameworks, databases, and programming languages. You will need to expand your knowledge of operating systems and database administration for this part of your career path. Backend developers make an average of $102,880 per year, according to ZipRecruiter.
Stage 3: Full Stack Developer
Full stack developers focus on the client side of web development. As a full stack developer, you can specialize in a development platform or programming language. You can also check out our detailed career guide to becoming a full stack developer to learn more. Full stack developers earn an average annual salary of $104,126, according to ZipRecruiter.
Stage 4: Software Architect
Software architect positions require extensive knowledge and a broad skill set. A software architect is a well-paid job title with an average salary of $116,780 per year, according to BLS. Software architects are involved in high-level software design, and they establish standards and develop solutions.
Stage 5: Senior Web Developer
Senior web developers supervise a development and design team. They train other web developers and are responsible for more complex parts of development. They have extensive knowledge and experience with a variety of web developer tools. Senior web developers earn an annual salary of $104,918 on average, according to ZipRecruiter.
Web Developer Career Path: Important Milestones
A web developer needs to learn quickly and gain skills over time. They might begin by developing simple websites for friends, and then move to designing websites for small businesses. By establishing the quality of their work, they are able to grow as professionals. Below are the important milestones in a web developer career path.
- Develop a website. Sometimes web developers work on parts of a website or work on a development team. When you complete a website development project entirely, that is your first accomplishment in your web developer career. Doing so will help you master the basic principles of web development.
- Land a big client. With the right exposure and a good pitch, you can land a client that will help your career. Big companies are often hiring web developers to create websites for their clients, audience, and customers.
- Earn a certification. Many professional web developers apply for certifications to demonstrate their expertise and the hours they have put in the field.
- Market your skills. Web developers are in demand and abundant, so you want to present your skills in an attractive package to grow your clientele.
- Set up a personal business. Established web developers can even become self-employed contractors or freelancers who work for important clients.
Planning Your Web Developer Career Path
Web developers can find work in any industry, including ecommerce, healthcare, information technology, manufacturing, or digital services. When it comes to a web developer career path, there are many areas that you can specialize in, such as web platforms, programming languages, or web developer tools for example.
It is a good idea to plan your career moves by discussing them with experienced professionals as well as your peers in the field. Below are some tips for planning your web developer career path successfully.
Online learning platforms like Coursera and edX now have online courses to help you learn from the comfort of your home. You will also earn a certificate of completion at the end to add to your resume. Vendor or technology-specific certifications like CompTIA certifications can give you a competitive advantage in the pool of candidates for popular career opportunities.
Build a Strong Foundation in Programming
If you want to build a career in software development, you must have a strong foundational knowledge of programming languages. You can pursue the educational route and complete certificate programs in web development, software engineering, graphic designing, or product development. In most companies, senior developer positions require the completion of certain degree programs, such as a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science.
Find a Professional Mentor
Talking to a mentor will give you insight into web development and systems design. A mentor can also help link you to career opportunities. Bootcamp programs often offer one-on-one mentorship and career resources to guide career changers, freelancers, and professionals.
Attending web development events that aim to teach and help you are also a great way to learn from professional web developers, software engineers, and development experts. In addition, such events provide important networking opportunities that can help you during a job search.
Assemble an Impressive Portfolio
A carefully curated web developer portfolio presents the highlights of your web developer career path, past employers, and accomplishments. It should be tailored to the kind of work you wish to do and your web developer career goals. For instance, if you want to pursue UX design, then you can demonstrate UX projects and responsive design examples in your portfolio.
Many software developers take the freelance route because there are plenty of web development job opportunities for freelancers. Freelancing allows you to show how well-versed you are with the basics. You also prove your performance in real projects, and show your ability to carry out a web development task to completion.
Popular Web Development Career Paths
|Career Path||Skills||Average Salary||Job Outlook|
|Software Engineer||Coding skills, problem-solving skills, interpersonal skills||$110,140||22%|
|Computer Programmer||Problem-solving skills, programming skills, analytical skills||$93,000||-10%|
|Animators||Creativity, programming, attention to detail||$78,790||16%|
|UX Developer||Creativity, coding skills, communication skills||$77,200||13%|
|Graphic Designer||Creativity, analytical skills, communication skills||$50,710||3%|
Next Steps for Aspiring Web Developers
The next step for aspiring web developers is to maintain a professional web developer portfolio. It is important to do relevant work with popular programming languages and stay updated with topics emerging in the online world.
Ultimately, web developers are paid according to their experience and the quality of their work. Entry-level web developers should explore different elements of web development and design after securing a development role.
Web developers can also follow alternate career paths that better suit their skills and interests. It can be rewarding to become a UX designer and enhance user experience. Some artistic developers and designers can even get into graphic design and animation. To start on this web developer career path, you just need to master basic design skills.
Web Developer Career Path FAQ
Yes. Front end web development is a subfield of software engineering. Software engineering involves developing applications, including web-based applications, mobile software, and operating systems. Front end developers use tools, programming languages, and interfaces to develop applications that are used directly by clients.
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With experience in a variety of software applications, web developers can indeed become software engineers. Web developers can expand the projects they are working on to include writing code for software outside of web applications. You can attend a software engineering bootcamp like Hack Reactor to learn basic knowledge about software engineering.
Prospective web developers will need soft skills like analytical thinking. Problem solving lies in the backbone of web development because you create websites that resolve client problems. Communication skills are also essential for understanding and catering to client needs to satisfy business demands. A skilled web developer should be able to explain technical topics to clients without actual programming knowledge.
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