What does a web developer do? (With salary and skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 20 September 2022

Published 3 January 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Most companies require websites and applications to reach their target market. Web developers are responsible for writing codes that allow websites to function. Understanding the requirements to work as a web developer may improve your application for the role. In this article, we review what a web developer does, discuss the duties of web developers, provide steps on how to become one and outline the skills that developers possess.

What does a web developer do?

The answer to, 'What does a web developer do?', is typically they design, maintain and update websites and applications for companies. Web developers may work independently or as part of an organisation. The duties of a web developer include:

Writing code for websites

Web developers write codes that allow a website or application to function. Web developers may write front-end code that controls what the viewers or end users can access and experience. Front-end web developers manage the website's layout using coding languages such as HTML, CSS and Javascript. Some web developers write back-end code that handles the technical framework of the website or application. Small companies hire full-stack developers that work with both front-end and back-end code.

Related: What is a full-stack developer? (And how to become one)

Monitoring the website

Web developers are responsible for the overall maintenance of the website or application. They also handle user complaints and feedback. They monitor the performance of the website and check for broken links or other errors. They also test its speed and functionality. They ensure that the website is compatible with various browsers.

Securing the website

Web developers create parameters and checkpoints while designing the website to prevent it from being attacked. They ensure that the website has properly updated encryption and authentication methods that protect the sensitive data it holds. Web developers may install server-side and client-side protection that prevents hackers from inputting harmful codes into the website or application. Web developers may regularly review the Web Hacking Incidents Database to understand how people hack various websites.

Related: 10 essential web developer skills

Collaborating with other employees

Web developers may work with other employees in the company, such as content creators and project managers. They typically work with web designers who use tools such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to improve the user interface. Developers collaborate with web designers to ensure that the website's elements, typography, and layout are suitable for users. They also work with project managers to understand the goal, scope and budget of the website. Working with other employees to build the website ensures that the website structure and design are cohesive.

Related: Collaboration skills: definitions and examples

Updating and expanding the website

Web developers are responsible for modifying and expanding the website or application according to the client's instructions. Developers regularly update the website to make changes, fix errors, ensure web security and improve the user experience. Regular updates also allow web developers to improve the site's content, remove duplicate pages and handle user complaints. Web developers may collaborate with other employees to improve the effectiveness and online presence of the website.

Related: Web Designer vs Web Developer

Backing up files

Backups are necessary for the recovery of information when data loss occurs. Hardware or software failure, viruses and data corruption can lead to data loss. It's the responsibility of the web developers to back up and store information from the website appropriately. Web developers also back up files to ensure the security of the website and make updates possible. They also prepare contingency plans to provide for any unexpected problems.

Related: What is contingency planning? (With steps and examples)

Managing software documentation

Web developers write software documentation to help end-users, clients and other developers understand how to use their applications or website. Software documents also contain details regarding the design, functions, goals and specifications of the proposed website. These documents allow the developers to revise and update the website as necessary.

How to become a web developer

Here are the steps you can take to become a web developer:

1. Earn a degree

Formal education may not be compulsory for a role in web development, but employers typically prefer candidates with a diploma, foundation degree or bachelor's degree in computer science, web design or another related field. You may decide to take online courses if you don't have an educational background in computer science or programming. The job description of the role determines the educational level required of candidates.

Related: Web developer qualifications: a guide with tips and FAQs

2. Familiarise yourself with codes

A web developer is familiar with HTML, Javascript and CSS codes. You may attend a training program or online course to learn about these codes and how to use them. You may also participate in a coding boot camp to understand how to write codes and apply them to projects. Coding boot camps are usually more intensive than other training programmes.

You can also familiarise yourself with front-end and back-end web development. Most companies host training sessions for new employees to educate them on company policies and design expectations. These sessions can serve as opportunities for you to learn how to build websites according to client specifications.

Related: 10 of the most in-demand coding languages and their uses

3. Obtain certifications

Certifications verify your skills to potential employers. These certifications may offer training sessions that can help you gain knowledge of both foundational and advanced aspects of web development. These certifications also show employers your motivation for the job and your willingness to learn. You might earn these certifications physically or virtually. Certifications typically help you to update your knowledge and make advancements in your web development career. Certifications such as the Learning Tree Web Development Certification are valuable additions to your portfolio.

4. Build a portfolio

A web developer's portfolio showcases their professional work, skills and certifications. Complete training programmes and attach samples of your work to your portfolio to demonstrate your competence and capability. Ensure that the samples and skills you include in this portfolio are relevant to the job description. You may also highlight your achievements in previous positions to make your application stand out.

Related: How to become a web developer (with roles and salary)

5. Gain SEO skills

Search engine optimisation (SEO) skills are essential for web developers. They help them build user-friendly websites using structures that improve the site's ranking, generate more traffic and improve conversion rates. Web developers regularly update their knowledge of the best SEO practices for building effective websites.

6. Apply for positions

Search for positions that match your education and skill level. Review the job description and application guidelines. Make sure your portfolio contains samples of projects and certifications that are relevant to the role. These positions also help you gain experience, learn more skills and improve your CV.

7. Prepare for interviews

Hiring managers may invite you for interviews after reviewing your CV. They may conduct these interviews physically or virtually. Prepare to answer questions concerning web development and design to show hiring managers your competence in the role. You may also describe the project samples listed in your portfolio.

Related: 35 web developer interview questions (plus sample answers)

The average salary of web developers

The national average salary of web developers is £37,119 per year. This salary can depend on the size of the company and the work hours that the role requires. The complexity of the job and the level of experience and education of the web developer may also affect the salary. Some companies hire web developers on a contractual basis, and typically pay once the project is complete, depending on the terms of the contract.

Skills of web developers

Here are some common skills that help web developers perform their duties effectively:

  • Creativity: The job of a web developer involves more than building functional websites. Web developers are creative enough to build websites and applications that are unique and can attract customers.

  • Attention to detail: Developers write code to build websites. It's essential for them to be alert enough to note any errors that may prevent the site from running smoothly.

  • Numeracy skills: Some website codes might require basic mathematical skills. It's crucial that web developers are knowledgeable in basic arithmetic to write such codes.

  • Technical skills: Web developers are familiar with various coding languages such as HTML, CSS and Javascript. Employers might also prefer candidates that know how to test and debug websites to fix potential errors.

  • Time management: Web developers may work on several projects at once. Time management skills help them know how to prioritise their tasks and schedule them appropriately.

  • Problem-solving skills: Problem-solving skills help developers understand the best way to execute a website design idea. These skills also help web developers handle error messages or complaints from users.

  • Interpersonal skills: Web developers typically discuss the website design and development process with clients and colleagues. Mastery of interpersonal skills helps them to communicate effectively.

  • Willingness to learn: Web development is a constantly evolving field. It's important for developers to update their knowledge regularly and learn new techniques.

  • Flexibility: Clients may request changes to the website or application structure. Web developers are flexible enough to modify their designs as necessary.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salary may vary depending on the hiring organisation, candidate's experience, academic background, and location.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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