Today, web apps have to be platform-independent and work on all browsers. Also, their content should be able to display optimally on desktops, tablets, and smartphones with different screen resolutions.
Building such sites is the work of a web developer whose skills are in high demand and well rewarded in many companies. Nevertheless, those who love independence and prefer to choose their projects themselves also have good opportunities as a freelancer in the IT sector.
Tasks of a web developer
In contrast to the web designer, whose activities tend to focus more on the graphic elements of an app, the web developer mainly concentrates on programming.
In reality, however, the tasks of a web designer and a web developer are often carried out by one person. As a freelancer, in particular, a web developer should be able to cover both areas.
The tasks of a web developer include the development, advancement, and implementation of websites using the latest web technologies. Responsive web design, i.e. the uniform presentation of content on different screen sizes, is also an important topic in web development.
As a rule, a prototype is created for each project, which already contains all the important elements of the site. This prototype is tested with regard to important functions such as navigation, database connection, user interface, and feasibility before the actual task is carried out.
What skills does a web developer need?
Its hard to find a professional field with career options as large as web development. As a web developer, a high degree of further training is required, as the knowledge acquired in the training is usually not sufficient in the long term and technological progress here takes place very quickly.
The Internet is characterized by rapid changes and daily innovations that one has to learn continually. Therefore, being ready and willing to learn is very much emphasized in web development job descriptions.
Web developers mostly work in teams and are in direct contact with customers. Therefore, social skills are necessary.
Front-end technologies such as HTML5, XML, or CSS3 are often used in projects. Knowledge of SQL databases such as MySQL, Microsoft SQL, Oracle, Sybase, Adabas, and their client-server applications are also important.
So-called “No SQL” database systems are currently being particularly hyped, as compared to classic relational DBMS because of their very good scalability.
Due to the wide range of requirements that are often very high, some developers specialize in one or two areas, such as programming web applications with XY technology or creating high-performance database structures.
In addition to technical skills, a web developer should have creativity and perseverance and offer innovative solutions.
How do you become a web developer?
In most cases, applicants have a degree in computer science, specialist information technology, or media information technology. However, many come from technically oriented subjects or creative courses with subsequent further training.
Numerous institutes and educational institutions offer further training to become a web developer. The training could be done part-time through distance learning with or without a certificate awarded at the end.
Often, the training usually includes an internship at agencies and other companies. It is not uncommon for interns to be taken on directly after further training.
Where can I work as a web developer? What salary can I expect?
Website developers work as freelancers or as employees at startups, agencies, and medium-sized or large companies.
While a freelancer chooses his customers largely independently, the web developer as an employee gets the customers, projects, and deadlines assigned by his superior.
Regardless of the size of a company, job requirements are often very demanding and complex. The average salary of web developers in the US is about $75,000.
In large cities and metropolitan areas, earnings tend to be at the upper limit. However, web developer salaries largely depend on the career path and on the experience and specializations.
Experienced front-end developers can earn up to $70,000, while back-end developers generally earn a little more.
As a freelancer
The hourly rate for freelancers is agreed upon with the respective client. However, the competition among freelance web developers is increasing and costs arising from self-employment, e.g. insurance, must be taken into account when considering their income.
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