So what does a web developer do?
Web developers design, build, implement and maintain new websites or upgrade existing sites in line with client specifications. They can be responsible for the entire development cycle or brought in to deal with a particular phase. Web developers work in a wide variety of sectors including IT, local government, mobile communications, education, tourism, finance, media, marketing and commerce. Freelance work is also common.
A web developer's projects vary depending on the employer's focus, but examples include:
construction of company intranets and extranets - web based networks, accessible particular groups of users such as company employees or company clients
creation of web portals - links which open one site within another and allow end-users to personalise content and structure
development of interactive information databases, such as placing local government services online
building virtual learning environments (VLEs) for training providers and academic institutions
development of e-commerce facilities for retailers.
Common tasks on all projects include programming, database administration, functionality and interface design, content management and site maintenance.
A typical brief begins by discussing client requirements from which prototypes and site simulations are produced to determine which proposal best suit client needs. Once agreed, the developer constructs the necessary framework or architecture of the site, including any functionality, for example, user interfaces, online payment systems and video/sound/animation capabilities. They also need to ensure that the site integrates smoothly with the client's existing network. The developer may also be responsible for the visual or graphic design of the site, or they may work on this with a designer.
Developers also implement procedures for access, security and authentication of users. A site under construction will be continually tested to eliminate any problems. On completion, the developer carries out error-checks or works with a testing company to make sure the finished product is fully functional and meets all the client requirements.
Depending on the contract, the developer may continue to manage and maintain the site once it is up and running.
What's the working environment like working as a web developer?
Web developers employed by a company or organisation normally work 37 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Some evening and/or weekend work may be required to meet deadlines. Self-employed developers work the hours necessary to complete their workload.
Developers work indoors in an office environment. Those employed by a company or organisation are normally based at one site, whereas self-employed developers may work from home, an office base or from clients' premises.
Freelance developers are often respeonsible for providing their own software packages and computer equipment.
What does it take to become a web developer?
As a web developer, you should:
have excellent web and database programming skills
have good appreciation of design, functionality and interactivity
be able to interpret client ideas and present complex concepts in a clear manner
have excellent analytical skills and able to provide innovative solutions
be able to work flexibly but in an organised manner
be able to work to exact specifications
be aware of international web protocols and standards
be able to work to strict deadlines
be willing to keep up to date with developments in technology and methodologies
have an appreciation of commercial pressures
have excellent interpersonal skills
work well as part of a team or alone.
Project management skills may be required for more senior roles or for freelancing.
Web developer career opportunities
Opportunities for web developers are excellent as the expansion of digital interactive media is set to grow over the coming years with the convergence of IT and telecommunications. Developers who are multiskilled in some of the applications mentioned in Training are likely to have more options.
Developers can specialise in a particular area, such as e-learning or e- commerce or move to higher level positions, for example, lead programmer or project leader. There may be opportunities to move into other IT roles such as systems analysis or IT project management.
Promotion options depend upon the size of the company. Defined pathways may be available in larger concerns, whilst developers in smaller companies or freelance workers will cover many roles within the same job. Web developers with fluent language skills may find opportunities both overseas and in the UK, for companies with international operations.
Ever thought of developing computer games?
Steve Bennett works for Super Punk Games and does just that. He chatted to us about how the industry is changing for developers...
'I’ve been working in games for around ten years and during that time there have been several sea-changes in the industry. Social gaming, mobile gaming, free-to-play games and digital distribution have all played a major part in shaping what the games industry is today. We’ve seen an empowerment of independent developers over this time for various reasons. They can now fund themselves through crowd funding, they have ways to get community validation of an idea through things like stream greenlight, and they have been given direct access to their customers through app stores, digital distribution and social media. The audience for games has never been larger.'
Watch our video
Jade and Oscar talk about what education is needed to become a web developer...
If you would like to know anything about Web Developer that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.
1 Castle Lane
British Computer Society
1 Sanford Street
World Wide Web Consortium (WC3)
CIW (Certified Internet Webmaster)
Tel: 08080 300 900 for England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Tel: 0808 100 8094 for Scotland