Career Insight

Everything You Need To Know About A Career In Web Development

Man coding on two computers

In 2020, web development is an exciting and necessary field that makes living our best digital lives possible. 

Do you use the internet every day? Most likely, the answer is yes, so most likely, you’re seeing the work of a Web Developer… multiple Web Developers really. But what exactly do Web Developers do, and is web development a good career choice? These are the questions we’ll explore today as we dive into everything you need to know about working in web development.

Here’s what we’ll get into: 

  • What is web development?
  • What skills does a Web Developer need? 
  • Is being a Web Developer a good career choice? 
  • Are Web Developers in high demand? 
  • What jobs can a Web Developer do? 
  • How do you become a Web Developer? 

Web Developer Careers

What is web development?

Before we get into if you’ll enjoy a role in this field, how much you’ll make, and the job market in 2020, we need to define what web development is. To put it simply, web development is the process of developing web applications. Web Developers use code to make websites functional and bring a web designer’s designs to life. You might hear the cool kids call it “web dev” — it’s a fun little abbreviation for what is a large and lucrative field. A Web Developer will use HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other coding languages to create and structure a website’s content (more on that below). 

A Web Developer is responsible for tasks such as: 

  • Writing code to develop web apps
  • Quality assurance testing and troubleshooting websites across different browsers
  • Identifying and fixing bugs 
  • Developing and testing new features 
  • Creating Application Program Interfaces (APIs) to ensure performance in data exchange applications 

Within web dev, there are 3 different types of developers: Front End, Back End, and Full Stack. 

Different types of developers including front end, back end and full-stack and details of what each does.

Front End Developer

Front End Web Developers work on the client side of a website. You can think of the “client side” as the side of a website that users see. Front end developers make sure the visual elements of a website are functional. 

This kind of developer builds functional elements like: 

  • Buttons
  • Layouts
  • Navigation
  • Images 
  • Graphics
  • Animations
  • Content organization 

Back End Developer 

Back End Developers work on the server side of a website. That’s the side of a website that users can’t see. Back End Web Developers manage data and make sure a website is secure and performs well. 

A Back End Developer’s job duties may include: 

  • Building code
  • Troubleshooting and debugging web applications
  • Database management 
  • Framework utilization 

Full Stack Developer 

Full stack Developers work on both front end and back end development. These developers are well-versed in creating and maintaining all elements of a website. 

What skills does a developer need? 

Web dev is a highly technical field with an emphasis on teamwork and customer service. So developers should possess a combination of technical and soft skills in order to be successful in the industry. Web Developers must familiarize themselves with a variety of coding and markup languages so they can create functional and beautiful websites. Here are just a few examples of the languages and skills Web Developers need:

  • HTML: HTML is a markup language that adds structure to website content.
  • JavaScript: JavaScript is a foundational coding language. It’s used on most websites and enables them to become dynamic and for interactive elements to thrive.
  • CSS: CSS is used to style web page elements like fonts and colors.
  • PHP: PHP is fundamental in back-end dev. It is a server-side scripting language that helps a website tabulate its response to certain user actions. 
  • ASP.NET: ASP.NET is a server-side, open-source framework. It was developed by Microsoft and is largely regarded as an industry standard. It provides developers with tools to create dynamic websites. 
  • Angular.js: Similar to ASP.NET, Angular.js is another open-source, web application framework. 
  • Problem-solving:  Web Developers are responsible for repairing any issues on a site and therefore need to be good problem solvers and solution-driven workers.
  • Attention to detail: Coding is a very complex activity that requires much attention to detail. Developers need to be on their A-game so that they can get a project done with minimal bugs and errors.
  • Motivation: Developers have so much work to do that they cannot afford to procrastinate. They’re dealing with deadlines and need to be able to motivate themselves to finish a project in a timely manner.
  • Communication: Web Developers often work on teams and therefore need to communicate effectively with user experience designers and others on the dev team to ensure projects are completed well. They’ll also need to have solid communication skills in order to improve execution and understand their client’s vision. 

Is being a Web Developer a good career? 

The better question is: are Web Developers in high demand? The short answer is yes. So much of our world takes place online, so companies need to make sure users have access to well-organized and easy-to-navigate content and information. It’s crucial to their bottom line. Who’s going to make this happen? Web Developers, of course! 

Web Developers also have the option of working freelance, starting their own companies, or doing dev work in a variety of industries. Having these kinds of options is great for someone who enjoys switching things up and wants to merge their technical work with another passion. For instance, a developer who also knows and enjoys fashion could put their skills to use doing web dev work for a clothing retailer. 

How much do Web Developers make? 

As always, it depends. 

Salaries for Web Developers are dependent upon location and experience level (just like every other career path). In the United States, the average salary for a Web Developer is $68,524, according to data from Glassdoor

Glassdoor lists the average salary range as $44,000 to $111,000. But, you’ll likely find compensation higher than that at tech giants like Google. 

You’ll also need to take into account the type of developer you are to get a better idea of the salary you’ll receive. According to ZipRecruiter, Front End Developers might earn an average salary of $79,725, while Back End Developers earn an average of $100,281. And further, Full Stack Developers earn an average of $102,744 per year. 

Finally, you’ll earn more the more experienced you become. So your starting salary in an entry-level position is not what you’ll be earning after 5, 10, or 20 years in the profession. It’s important to keep this in mind when you’re considering a career in web dev. 

What jobs can a Web Developer do? 

Web Developers can operate in the front end or back end of a site (or both!). So you can consider becoming a Front End, Back End, or Full Stack Developer. They may also work as webmasters — maintaining websites, updating content, and fixing bugs after a website is already launched. 

Some Web Developers choose to freelance while many more work for large and small companies as salaried employees. Both freelance and salaried work come with their own advantages and disadvantages, depending on what you’re looking for. For example, freelance work offers a bit more freedom and flexibility but lacks the healthcare benefits and stability of a salaried position. 

How do you become a Web Developer? 

The most effective way to become a developer is to take on an educational program in the subject. You could look into coding bootcamps, higher education programs like a bachelor’s degree in computer science, or go the self-taught route. Web Developers need certain certifications or coding experience and bootcamps are a cost and time-effective way to earn both of those things. 

At Kenzie Academy, we offer a 9-month Software Engineering program. In this program, you’ll learn front-end and back-end development. You’ll graduate with a full-stack certificate, and be well prepared to work in any sector of web dev. With cohorts beginning in January, April, July, and October, you have several chances to start the program each year. 

We also support you with a career preparation curriculum and we’ll connect you with our network of Employer Partners to help you land a job upon graduation. If you’re looking to launch a Web Developer career, you should seriously consider taking on a certificate course like our Software Engineering program where you’ll learn the following programming languages, and back end and front end web dev skills:

  • Breaking apart interesting problems and designing engaging solutions.
  • Designing, creating, and modifying static web pages that conform to HTML5 specifications.
  • Analyzing the client-side performance of a web page to better understand the consumer experience.
  • Imagining, creating, and deploying interactive and mobile-friendly applications for the web using the latest web technologies; including HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript (ES6+), and React.
  • Pairing those skills with back-end technologies like databases and Node.js, as well as developer tools like Bash, Git, and automated tests.
  • Understanding how to effectively work and collaborate on a software project, and how to interview confidently.
  • Creating web applications with Express that interact with SQL and MongoDB databases.
  • Becoming adept at interacting with behind-the-scenes technologies, like databases and servers, and at solving more complex sets of problems.
  • Identifying and fixing performance bottlenecks in a web application. Proposing a viable fix to a specific bottleneck in a provided sample application.
  • Learning to make applications faster, more secure, more stable, and more capable.
  • Developing an engineering mindset toward problem-solving and receive support in your job search.

Think a Web Developer role sounds like a dream job for you? Apply now for our next cohort, or contact us to talk about your personal career goals. Attend our next Online Open House or check out our upcoming webinars to hear from Kenzie graduates about their experiences in the program. 

Learn more about what it’s like to become a developer: 


Ready to jumpstart your career as a UX Designer or Coder? Learn more about our Software Engineering and UX Design programs, or check out our free beginner’s coding program Kenzie Free.

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