Thursday, 11 September 2014

Web developer

Work activities

Web developers design, build and maintain websites and website applications in line with their clients' needs.
As a web developer you could work for a variety of businesses and public sector organisations. Examples of the projects you might work on include:
  • creating a secure online shopping website
  • developing a virtual learning environment (VLE) for a college
  • setting up a company intranet for staff.
On a typical project, you would:
  • work with the client, using test sites to see which ideas best suit their needs
  • build the framework – or 'architecture' – of the site and add the command buttons, payment systems and video, sound or animation
  • make sure that the new site can be smoothly integrated into the client's existing network, for instance linking with a customer database
  • work on the site's appearance, often with a web designer
  • put in measures to deal with user access and security
  • test the site under construction to find and fix any problems – or 'bugs' – before it goes live.

Once you have built the site, you may continue to make minor changes to make sure the site is working properly and meets all the client's requirements. Depending on the contract, you may continue to maintain the site once it is up and running.

Working hours and conditions

You would usually work 37 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Some evening and/or weekend work may be needed to meet deadlines. If self-employed, you would work the hours necessary to complete the job.

The work is mainly office-based. If you work for a company you would normally be at one site, but if you are self-employed, you might work from home or on the client's premises.


  • Starting salaries for junior roles are between £19,000 and £22,000 a year
  • With experience, this can rise to between £25,00 and £35,000
  • Lead developers may earn up to £45,000 a year.

Entry requirements

You would normally need a foundation degree, HND or degree in an IT-related subject. Relevant subjects include:
  • web development or web design
  • multimedia design
  • digital media development
  • web content management
  • business information systems
  • computer programming.

Training and development

Once you start working, you would normally receive on-the-job training, especially if you have joined a company through a graduate training scheme.
Web technology is constantly evolving, so whether you are freelance or employed by a company, you should continue to update your skills throughout your career.
Depending on your job, you are likely to need a working knowledge of one or more of the following: Java, C#, Perl, PHP, JavaScript, ActionScript, Ajax, HTML, XML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).
An understanding of SQL and MySQL databases, and application frameworks such as ASP.NET may also be required.

Skills, interests and qualities

As a web developer, you will need:
  • excellent web and database programming skills
  • a good appreciation of design, usability and interactivity
  • creative skills to turn clients' ideas into workable plans
  • excellent problem-solving skills
  • a willingness to work flexibly but in an organised manner
  • the ability to follow exact instructions
  • an understanding of international web development standards
  • the ability to work to deadlines
  • a commitment to keep up to date with developments in technology
  • an appreciation of commercial pressures
  • excellent people skills
  • the ability to work alone or as part of a team.

You may need project management skills for more senior roles or freelance work.

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