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Web Programmer

Education and Training: Bachelors degree. Advanced degree preferred.
Average Salary: $69,620
Job Outlook: Good

Web programmers are IT professionals that create websites, software, and other computer applications for the web. These applications may be for use by companies, individuals, or both. Most web programmers are skilled in multiple areas, but many have a preferred niche or specialization such as video game development, creating business applications, or creating various types of operating and network systems.

Web programmers should be experts of computers in general, computing systems, software structure, and hardware uses. A key component of the job is the ability to analyze the needs of computer users and then create websites, programs, and applications that will meet their needs in a user-friendly manner. Web programmers incorporate designs and program languages; therefore they should have a complex understanding of different programming languages, including but not limited to PHP, JSP, ASP, ASP.net and Perl.

Web programming is an industry that can change rather quickly because of the constant explosive growth of technology. Web programmers must be adaptive and always ready to advance their skill set.

Education and Training Requirements

Web programmers often have bachelor’s degrees, but it is not uncommon for them to learn the profession at a vocational or specialty school. Many expert web programmers are even self-taught. It is recommended that students who wish to earn a college degree before beginning work as a web programmer should major in computer science, software engineering, or math. Outside of high-level computer courses, web programmers may also benefit from studying accounting, finance, other business courses, the sciences, or other technical subjects.

Depending on a web programmer’s place of employment, various professional certifications may also be required. Employers often value cutting-edge programming skills and will routinely pay for further education through certification programs, seminars, workshops, and conferences.

Getting the Job

Employers value experience, so web programmers should secure internships and apprenticeships when first starting out. Web programmers should also build a portfolio of their work. Many web programmers begin in entry-level programming positions before moving into senior roles.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

The web programming field is projected to grow by more than 20 percent in the next decade, which is faster than the national average for other careers. Rapidly evolving technologies are responsible for much of the new growth as companies try to keep up with each development. Companies constantly need web applications along with software to do everyday work tasks like creating spreadsheets and word processing documents.

The addition of handheld computers and smart phones to the marketplace means that web programmers are needed to write software and applications to run on them. This has created an entirely new sector of demand for web programming skills, especially those who can write software that allows programs to be integrated with existing computer networks. Yet another area with a growing need for web programmers is computer security.

Seasoned web programmers can typically move into a variety of positions, such as project managers, managers of information systems, chief information officers, systems designers, or independent consultants. Staying on the programming track, entry-level web programmers can also be promoted to lead programmers which supervise other employees.

A problem that that commonly faces web programmers is the outsourcing of their profession to other countries. Many companies have contracts with overseas programmers that are willing to work for lower wages as a means to reduce their payroll expenses.

Working Conditions and Environment

Web programmers usually work in comfortable office-like settings. Many have to travel occasionally, and most can telecommute from home. The standard work week of a web programmer is 40 hours; however, long days and nights and weekends are also possible, especially when up against a project deadline. There are some health risks involved with being a web programmer, including strained eyes, back discomfort, and hand and wrist issues.

Salary and Benefits

Web programmers’ average salary is approximately $69,600 per year, with software publishers often earning more than $80,000 per year on average. The web programmer salary ranges from $40,000 to more than $111,000.

Where to Go for More Information

Computing Research Association
1828 L St. NW, Ste. 800
Washington, DC 20036-4632
(202) 234-2111

The IEEE Computer Society
2001 L St. NW, Ste. 700
Washington, DC 20036-4928
(202) 371-0101

International Webmasters Association
119 E Union St., Ste. F
Pasadena, California 91103
(626) 449-3709

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesComputers, IT & Telecommunications