Web Development is the development, or creation,
of a website.
This can range from your own personal blog to
broader websites where you may sell products
(think eBay or Craigslist) to advanced social
networking sites, like Facebook or Twitter.
Companies and individuals are becoming more and
more dependent on the internet. It’s expected that
more than three-quarters of companies worldwide
will eventually become fully dependent on the web.
Learning how to develop websites for a living is a
smart career choice.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 21%
growth in web developers between 2010 and 2020.
The BLS also states that the median salary for the
job is $77,000, with the highest 10% earning more
than $124,000 a year.
If you’re looking to work for a company, you may
need a Bachelor’s degree in computer science,
information technology or a related field.
Experience is also a must. If you don’t have a
degree, consider getting certified in web
development. Types of certifications include a
Certified Web Developer, Certified Internet
Webmaster or a Mobile Application Development
Web developers can also choose to work for
themselves. Since you’re your own boss, you don’t
necessarily need a degree or certifications, but you
do need to know how to network and, of course,
know how to build a website from the ground up.
Other advantages of freelancing your skills are the
ability to work from home and the option to work
as often or as little as you’d like. You can take
time off when you please, set your own hours and
determine your pay, based on how much you want
Among the factors to keep in mind:
Learn The Trade
Developing a website requires an advanced
understanding of computer programming (which is
best learned in a classroom, but can also be self-
taught) and coding. Take classes, read books, learn
from others, learn from your own mistakes and
continue learning. The more you know and the
better your expertise, the easier it’ll be to begin a
career in web development.
Build Your Own Website
Practice makes perfect, right? Develop your own
website as a test subject to play around with.
Make mistakes and learn from them. Building your
own website is all about trial and error. Figure out
what works, what you like, what you don’t like
and perfect your skill.
Build Websites For Others
Contact family members, friends and small
businesses in your area and offer to build them a
website. You can do this free of charge (since
you’re still learning) or charge a small fee,
assuming your clients are willing to pay. Building
websites for others helps you fine-tune your skills
and teaches you the importance of communication.
Tip: In web development, plan on dedicating the
first year to learning (reading books and manuals,
taking classes, getting certified, etc.), the second
year to getting real, hands-on experience (building
websites for others), the third year to charging
others for your service and the fourth year to
growing your business.
Know Who You’re Building For
In other words, know your clients. What you like
may not necessarily be what they like. Set up a
few meetings to discuss their goals – what they’re
looking to get out of the website, color schemes
and overall appearance of the site.
Stay Up-to-date On Technology Changes
Technology is constantly changing, and if you plan
on working in the industry, you must stay up-to-
date with all the changes taking place. This includes
everything from technical changes to changes in
Network, Network, Network
They say it’s not what you know, it’s who know.
While this is true for a significant amount of
careers, web development isn’t necessarily one of
them. You must know how to build a website, and
how to build one well in order to be successful.
That being said, the next step is who you know.
The more individuals and companies that you can
associate with, the more work you’re going to
Make Short And Long-term Goals
Do you want to work for a company for a few
years? Or immediately start freelancing from
home? Is this something you’re going to do full-
time? Or will you start out part-time until you
grow your business? The most successful individuals
have a plan and know where they want to go
Starting out, it’s easy to think that it’s best to
take on as much business as possible and to always
say ‘yes.’ Great web developers know that they
need to start off slow and take time for
themselves, too. It’s a field that’s easy to get
burnt out in, and by overworking yourself from the
get-go, you’re more likely to not stick with it
Tip: Sometimes it’s best to step away from the
computer for a bit. Take a walk, go grab your
favorite coffee, or even call a friend. Small breaks
throughout the day allow your mind to refresh and
give you the ability to re-focus once your break is
Learn Graphic Design
Website development is different from website
design. Web designers design and maintain websites.
If you can do both development and design, you’re
setting yourself above the pack. Being able to both
develop and design a website makes you more
marketable than if you just know one or the other.
Create A Portfolio
With any creative-type job, it’s best to have a
portfolio showcasing your best work to show to
potential clients. Whether you’re a writer, an
architect, a graphic designer or a web developer,
having a portfolio is vital. For web development, it
can be something as simple as showcasing the home
pages of the websites you created.
If you really feel a career in web development is
for you, learn all that you can in the next few
years. Whether you wish to freelance or work for a
company, know that it is hard work, but that the
rewards are worth it.
Flexibility is high; stress levels are low. If you
think you have what it takes, start now