Web Developer jobs(Also known as Website Developer, Interactive Media Developer)
A web developer develops websites to fulfil the specific needs of his or her employer or clients. A web developer’s role is to fulfil the on-line requirements of their employer or client. This could involve building a website from scratch, or adding to or adapting an existing site. The developer’s responsibility might encompass everything from designing the site, building it, testing it and fixing glitches to the everyday maintenance of the site once it is ‘live’. On the other hand, the developer may be part of a team and be responsible for only one element of a larger project. In recent years, the need to have a strong, on-line presence has become increasingly important for public and private organisations and businesses of all kinds. For many, a good website plays an essential role as the public ‘face’ of their organisation and an important point of contact with customers or members of the public. This, coupled with the phenomenal growth of internet shopping has driven the need for skilled, web developers. There are many opportunities in this expanding field. A developer could work for an agency that specialises in offering multimedia solutions for clients or he or she could be employed in-house for any of the numerous organisations that run websites. Usually, the developer will work in his or her employer’s office, but occasionally, an employer will allow the developer to work from home at least part of the time. Many developers work freelance on short-term contracts, either from home or on site. Web-development, like other areas of the IT industry, tends to be male-dominated but increasingly women are making their presence felt in this area. There is a lot of technical hardware and software used in this job. The basics include a computer with graphics and sound cards, monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, modem and telephone line with broadband connection. Additionally, a developer might need to use video recording equipment and a printer. A developer would also need various software packages, including web-browser software, a web-developing package such as Dreamweaver, used in the design, construction and maintenance of the site, anti-virus software, database/server development software, software for creating and reading PDF documents, software for creating and editing graphics, video and photography, internet security software as well as other tools and applications as necessary.
SalaryThe salary of a web developer can vary enormously, depending on the location and nature of the job, and the experience and qualifications of the developer. Typically, an entry-level position might offer £15,000 pa (more in London), but with a few years’ experience, this can rise dramatically to around £30-40,000. Senior developers, particularly those that combine developing with project management, can earn in excess of £60,000 pa.
ResponsibilitiesThe responsibilities of a web developer depend on the needs of his or her employer or client. A developer working for more than one client will often find that their everyday tasks will vary from project to project. Some developers specialise in specific areas of web development, but most are required to have general, all-round abilities. Typical tasks of a website developer could include:
- Liaising with the employer or client to discuss the project requirements and desired outcome
- Working on the design of a website/webpage, in conjunction with a web designer
- Constructing the website/webpage, including layout, text, adding video, image and graphics and command buttons. The developer could be asked to create interactive functions that allow users to shop online or give feedback.
- Linking the website to existing client servers or databases. Additionally, the web developer might be involved in liaison with the website hosting provider.
- Making sure the website is secure.
- Testing the website before it goes live to make sure it fulfils all the requirements in the brief, is attractive and user-friendly. The developer would then fix any bugs and make adjustments as necessary.
- Maintaining the website. This could include regularly updating the site, fixing broken links or applications and amending mistakes.
- Putting in measures to increase traffic (the number of visitors) to the website.
Qualifications and ExperienceThere are many courses offered at further education colleges and universities in subjects related to web development or IT in general. Most employers are looking for graduates with an IT background as basic knowledge of IT concepts such as programming and networking are key to web development. However, some are willing to take on applicants who have no formal IT training but are experienced. Many web developers are self-taught, picking up the necessary skills by building their own websites or working on sites for others on a voluntary basis. Evidence of previous web developing experience, such as a portfolio on CD or DVD, would be very useful when applying for jobs.
SkillsThe key skills and abilities a good web developer should have include:
- A creative flair for design.
- The ability to work under pressure to deadlines.
- Good problem-solving skills.
- Excellent communication skills – with both clients and other web professionals.
- The ability and willingness to learn on the job and keep up-to-date with the constantly changing face of technology.
Working ConditionsThe hours a web developer works varies depending on the volume of work. Normally, a developer will work from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, but these hours can increase dramatically just before deadlines or on particularly large projects. The job is not generally physically demanding, but a developer is often required to spend several hours working on a computer, which could cause backache, repetitive-strain injury, or visual problems.
EmployersThere are no typical employers of web developers. Many large businesses and organisations across all sectors have departments devoted to creating and maintaining their websites. There are also many agencies offering interactive media solutions to clients. Other major employers of web developers tend to be new media companies, such as marketing and adware (online advertising) agencies, news websites and search engines, which need to create, update and maintain web pages continuously. Leading names in web development and interactive marketing include:
- LBi – a global digital marketing agency employing 360 people in the UK alone.
- Sapient – a US-based firm offering interactive marketing strategies and consultancy, with offices in the US, Canada, Europe and India.
- Conchango – a London-based interactive design and build agency employing 285 people.
- Amaze – an agency offering online solutions and consultancy, employing 150 people in the UK.
Career ProgressionApplicants for web developing jobs often have experience in a related field, such as web design or programming. With experience and training, a web developer can go on to specialise in a particular area of development, become a project manager or team leader or even become technical director. There are also opportunities to go freelance, become a consultant, or set up a web solutions agency.