When you’re a web developer, the world is your oyster. The virtual world, that is. In this role, you write the code that takes websites and apps from idea to reality. You help build a world that people interact with every day for business and pleasure.
TRANSFORMING IDEAS INTO REALITY
Web developers bring ideas to life, building websites from the ground up. To do this, they need to fully understand the idea first. So before they get started writing code, web developers meet with their clients to learn about the goals of the project and the needs of the intended users. Then, to make sure they build something easy to use and easy on the eyes, they may work with user experience designers and graphic designers. Web developers may also integrate audio and video elements so they perform correctly on a site and code applications that will execute different functions, though the role of software app developer can be a full-time job in itself.
While there are lots of people working behind the scenes, as a web developer, you get the satisfying job of putting it all together to make something tangible. “It’s rewarding to create something out of nothing,” said Ivan Storck, a web programmer and advisory board member for the Certificate in HTML5, CSS3 & Responsive Design for Web Development.
SPECIALIZATION AS A WEB DEVELOPER
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 PHP, Ruby, Python and .NET to build the inner workings of the website. Key concerns for back-end developers are security and functionality. There are also those very knowledgeable people, known as full-stack developers, who do both front- and back-end development.
DEMAND FOR WEB DEVELOPERS IS BOOMING
The career outlook for web developers is strong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment growth for this role to be 20 percent nationally between 2012 and 2022, which is almost twice the rate of average job growth.
In Washington state, with its thriving tech industry, projected job growth is even higher — at 29 percent — according to the O*NET occupational resource website. A recent search on Indeed.com listed thousands of web developer positions, including openings at ESPN, Amazon, Accenture, Nintendo and the University of Washington.
Robson sees a bright future for web developers locally. “Seattle is growing by leaps and bounds. Technology companies are moving in, and all kinds of companies need web development — even if they're not a technology company,” she said. “There are going to be lots more opportunities for web developers.”
BECOMING A WEB DEVELOPER
Being able and willing to keep learning is incredibly useful in this constantly evolving field. “You can't learn everything,” Robson said, “So having exposure to many technologies and tools and expertise in a few, plus really solid computational thinking skills, is the best way to approach the field.”
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. Building a portfolio is also useful once you start job searching. “A lot of employers are looking for applicants who can show a side project with open source code,” Storck shared. “That way the employer can actually see the code and see whether they like your code style.”
ADVANCING YOUR EDUCATION IN WEB DEVELOPMENT
Ready to keep learning? If you want to start or continue your education in web development, UW Professional & Continuing Education can help. Explore our full list of computing and IT programs to find one that's right for you.