Hot Jobs: Web Developer
Hot Jobs: Web Developer

There are literally millions of websites in the world, from massive e-commerce platforms like Amazon to modest small business websites. And there is someone behind each one: a web developer.


Web developers bring ideas to life by building websites from the ground up. But they often don’t do it alone. Before they start writing code, web developers may meet with a product manager or project manager to learn about the project’s goals and the intended users’ needs. Then, to make sure they build something easy to use and easy on the eyes, they often work with user experience designers, visual designers and content strategists.

While there are many people working behind the scenes, web developers get the satisfying job of putting it all together to make something tangible.

“There’s a certain amount of creativity to web development,” said Aaron Katz, a developer at and an instructor in the Certificate in Front-End Development With HTML, CSS & JavaScript. “You have these complicated problems that you need to solve, and you just tinker around the code until you make it work.”

FRont end, back end and full stack

Because of websites’ complexity, web developers sometimes specialize as front-end or back-end developers. Front-end developers develop what you usually think of when you imagine a website — the part you see and use. These developers use scripting languages such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript to build a site that meets the project’s goals and that you can easily navigate as the user.

Back-end developers focus on creating and connecting applications from the front-end of the website to a database on the back end. They use programming languages such as JavaScript, PHP, Python and .NET to build the inner workings of the website. Security and functionality are the key concerns for back-end developers are security and functionality.

Those who do both front- and back-end development are known as full-stack developers, and they are increasingly in demand.

"Companies are looking for front-end developers who can work all over the stack, or who at least conceptually understand what’s going on and have the desire to learn and grow their skillset,” said Bryce Benson, a senior developer at Graphiti Associates and an instructor in the Certificate in Front-End Development With HTML, CSS & JavaScript.


The career outlook for web developers is strong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment growth for this role to be 15 percent nationally through 2026 —more than twice the rate of average job growth.

    projected job growth

Nationally: 15%
Washington state: +50%

    Median Annual salary

Nationally: $67,990
Washington state: $87,190

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET

With its thriving tech industry, Washington state’s, projected job growth is even higher — more than 50 percent — according to O*NET. A recent search on listed thousands of web developer positions, including openings at Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Zillow.

Katz attributes a lot of that demand to the growth in cloud technologies.

“Everything’s moving to an online model, so there is huge demand for web developers,” he said.


Websites are built with code, so to begin a career as a web developer, you need proficiency in HTML, CSS and JavaScript as a start. But different jobs call for different technologies and tools, so it’s good to adopt a learning mindset.

Being able and willing to keep learning is incredibly useful in this constantly evolving field.

“One of the important skills you need is the ability to Google,” said Katz. “Being a developer you only spend about 30 percent of your time writing code. The rest of it really is in researching how to do new things.”

In the past, many web developers were self-taught. But with the complexity of today’s technology, it’s more common to have formal training, whether that’s through a computer science-related degree, a certificate program or one-off classes.

Formal training and an understanding of the technology can help would-be web developers build a portfolio, which is useful once you start your job search since web development is a “show me” job, Katz said.

“Junior developers really need to have a good portfolio to show to hiring managers — a really clean, simple website that's responsive with maybe a couple cool little animations, and if you do back-end, something interesting you did with the database,” Katz said. “It should get the point across really quickly of what you can do.”


Ready to keep learning? If you want to start or continue your education in web development, UW Professional & Continuing Education can help. Check out the programs below. 


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