Web Developer Career Guide 2024

Table of Contents

Web Developer Salary in United States for 2023

Average Annual Salary: $78,580 Hourly Rate: $37.78

Data sourced from the U.S. Department of Labor via the ONET Web API. Updated at December 8, 2023

Best Colleges and Universities for Web Developers in 2023

Best College Majors for Web Developers in 2023

Projected Job Employment for Web Developer:

Estimated YearProjected YearEstimated EmploymentProjected Employment% ChangeProjected Annual Job Opening

Web Developer Career Path Overview

The field of web development offers a vast array of opportunities for anyone interested in pursuing this career path. As a web developer, your primary role is to design, code, and modify websites, from layout to function, according to a client's specifications. This role requires a mix of graphic design skills and computer programming abilities. In this career path, you will be creating visually appealing sites that feature user-friendly design and clear navigation. Web developers are categorized into three types: front-end developers, back-end developers, and full-stack developers. Front-end developers handle the aspects of the website that users interact with, back-end developers deal with the server-side operations, and full-stack developers can handle both.

Education and Skills Required

While it's possible to become a web developer without a degree, most employers prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field. However, practical skills and experience can often be more important than formal education. A successful web developer needs to have expertise in HTML/CSS, JavaScript, and depending on the role, server-side programming languages like Python or Ruby. Understanding responsive design principles and how to implement them on the coding side is also vital. In addition to these technical skills, a web developer should have good problem-solving skills, an eye for detail, creativity, and an understanding of good web usability practices.

Steps to Becoming a Web Developer

The first step towards becoming a web developer is gaining the necessary skills. This can be through a degree program or through self-study and online courses. Some choose to attend coding bootcamps that focus on specific web development technologies. Next, gaining practical experience is key. This can be done through internships or by developing your own websites or applications. Building a portfolio of your work is an excellent way to demonstrate your skills to potential employers. Certifications, while not mandatory, can also give you an edge in the job market. There are numerous certifications available that can validate your skills in various web development technologies.

Job Prospects and Salary

Web development is a rapidly growing field with high demand for skilled developers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for web developers is projected to grow 13 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Salaries for web developers vary widely based on experience, location, and specialization. However, on average, web developers in the United States earn around $73,760 per year.

Continuing Education and Advancement

Web development is a field that's constantly evolving with new technologies and practices. As such, ongoing learning is crucial. This can be through online courses, workshops, or conferences. With experience and continued skill development, a web developer can advance to senior or managerial roles. Some may choose to specialize further, such as becoming a user experience (UX) designer or a data scientist. Others might choose to start their own web development company or work as freelancers.

Web Developer Career Path Education and Training

The world of web development is dynamic and continually evolving. As such, the journey to becoming a web developer involves not only traditional education but also practical training and a commitment to lifelong learning. In this section, we'll explore the different educational paths you can take to become a web developer, the key skills you need to acquire, and the importance of continuous training in this fast-paced industry.

Formal Education

While it's possible to break into the field of web development with self-taught skills and on-the-job training, formal education provides a structured way to learn the fundamentals. Many employers prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field. These programs typically cover a wide range of topics, including programming languages, data structures, algorithms, and software engineering principles. Community colleges and technical schools also offer associate degrees or certificates in web development. These programs typically focus more on the practical aspects of web design and development, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and responsive design.

Coding Bootcamps

Coding bootcamps have emerged as an alternative route for those looking to fast-track their entry into the field of web development. These intensive, short-term training programs are designed to equip students with the necessary coding skills in a matter of weeks or months. They provide hands-on experience and often include portfolio-building projects. However, it's important to carefully research potential bootcamps as their quality can vary greatly.

Online Learning Platforms

With the rise of online learning platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and Codecademy, aspiring web developers now have access to numerous courses right at their fingertips. These platforms offer self-paced courses on various aspects of web development—from the basics of web design to advanced topics like full-stack development. Many of these courses also offer certificates upon completion, which can be a valuable addition to your resume.

Continual Training and Self-Learning

Given the fast-evolving nature of web development, continual learning and training are crucial. Web developers need to keep pace with new technologies, programming languages, and industry trends. This might involve attending workshops, webinars, or conferences; reading industry blogs and publications; or simply tinkering with new tools and technologies on your own. Web developers also often learn on the job. As you work on different projects, you'll likely encounter new challenges that push you to acquire new skills and deepen your understanding of the field. In conclusion, the path to becoming a web developer is flexible. It can include formal education, coding bootcamps, self-paced online courses, and continual self-learning. Regardless of the path you choose, the key to success in this field is a solid foundation in the basics, a commitment to continuous learning, and a passion for building and creating on the web.

Web Developer Career Path Progression

Being a web developer is an exciting and rewarding career path, with a clear progression route that allows you to advance your skills and position within the industry. The journey typically begins with an entry-level role, progressing to more senior positions as you gain experience and expertise.

Entry-Level Web Developer

As an entry-level web developer, you're at the starting point of your career. You'll primarily be responsible for creating and maintaining websites or web applications under the supervision of more experienced developers. This role is a great opportunity to apply your education in a practical setting while also learning from seasoned professionals. Key skills at this stage include proficiency in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and understanding of web standards and protocols.

Mid-Level Web Developer

After gaining some experience and further honing your skills, you can progress to a mid-level web developer role. At this stage, you'll have more responsibility and autonomy in managing projects. You'll be expected to write more complex code, troubleshoot and solve problems independently, and possibly guide junior developers. Familiarity with different programming languages and frameworks, such as Python, Ruby on Rails, or AngularJS, is often required.

Senior Web Developer

As a senior web developer, you're considered an expert in your field. Your tasks will involve high-level decision-making, leading projects, and coordinating teams of developers. You'll also be responsible for complex coding tasks and ensuring the overall quality of web projects. At this level, strong leadership skills and extensive knowledge of various programming languages, frameworks, and tools are crucial.

Web Development Manager

Beyond the senior web developer role, you can aspire to become a web development manager or director. This position involves overseeing all web development projects within an organization and managing a team of developers. It requires strong leadership and project management skills, as well as a deep understanding of web technologies and trends.

Specialization Opportunities

As you progress in your career, you may also choose to specialize in a particular area of web development. This could be front-end development, focusing on the user interface and user experience, or back-end development, concentrating on server-side operations and databases. Alternatively, you may opt for full-stack development, encompassing both front and back-end tasks. In conclusion, the web developer career path offers numerous opportunities for progression and specialization. With dedication and continuous learning, you can progress from an entry-level role to senior positions, expanding your skills, responsibilities, and career prospects along the way.

Web Developer Career Path Specializations and Subfields

In the world of web development, career options are not one-size-fits-all. There are a multitude of paths that you can take, with each one offering its unique opportunities and challenges. In this section, we delve into the different web developer specializations and subfields, giving you a clearer picture of where your web development journey can lead.

Front-End Web Development

Front-end web development focuses on the user interface and user experience. It's all about creating a visually appealing, intuitive, and engaging interface for users to interact with. This role requires proficiency in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, as well as an understanding of design principles. As a front-end developer, you'll be responsible for ensuring that the website's design is responsive, meaning it adjusts well to various screen sizes and devices.

Back-End Web Development

Back-end web development involves the server-side of web applications. Back-end developers work with databases and servers, focusing on how the site works, updates, and changes. This role typically requires knowledge of programming languages like Python, Ruby, Java or .NET. Back-end developers also need to be familiar with database management systems like MySQL or MongoDB. In this role, you'll ensure that data or services requested by the front-end system are delivered seamlessly.

Full-Stack Web Development

A full-stack developer has the skills to work on both the front-end and back-end of a website or application. This means they're capable of handling everything from database queries and server configuration to user interface design and client-side scripting. Full-stack developers are in high demand because of their ability to oversee all aspects of a project. If you're interested in having a broad set of skills and managing comprehensive projects, this could be a fitting path for you.

JavaScript Development

JavaScript development is a subfield that focuses on using the JavaScript programming language to create interactive web pages. JavaScript developers often work on the front-end, but with the advent of Node.js, a runtime environment, they can now also handle back-end tasks. This specialization is in high demand due to the versatility of JavaScript in web development.

WordPress Development

WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world, powering over a third of all websites. WordPress developers specialize in designing and developing websites on this platform. They need to be proficient in PHP, which is the programming language WordPress is built on, as well as HTML, CSS, and occasionally JavaScript. WordPress developers may also create and sell themes and plugins for others to use on their WordPress sites.

E-commerce Development

E-commerce development is a specialized field focused on creating websites and applications for buying and selling products or services online. E-commerce developers must understand user experience principles, checkout process optimizations, and security best practices. Familiarity with e-commerce platforms like Shopify or Magento can be advantageous in this role. In conclusion, your web development career path can take many shapes depending on your interests and skills. Whether you're drawn to the visual aspect of front-end development or the problem-solving nature of back-end work, there's a specialization in web development waiting for you.

Web Developer Career Path Job Market and Outlook

In today's digital era, the demand for skilled web developers continues to rise. Businesses from various sectors are investing more in their online presence, which has significantly expanded the job market for web development professionals.

Trends Impacting the Web Development Job Market

The web development field is constantly evolving. New technologies and tools are being introduced regularly, creating new opportunities and challenges for web developers. For example, the advent of responsive design has made it necessary for web developers to learn how to create websites that adapt to different screen sizes. Moreover, the growing popularity of e-commerce, online gaming, and mobile apps has increased the demand for web developers who can create dynamic and interactive websites. In addition, the increasing emphasis on data security has led to a greater need for web developers with expertise in cybersecurity.

Job Outlook for Web Developers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for web developers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for these professionals will continue to increase as ecommerce continues to expand and more businesses move their services online. Furthermore, as users demand more visually appealing and interactive websites, companies will require web developers who can meet these expectations. This means that web developers with a strong understanding of user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design principles will likely have better job prospects.

Geographical Variations in the Job Market

Job opportunities for web developers vary by location. Tech hubs such as San Francisco, Seattle, and New York City tend to have a high demand for web developers. However, with the rise of remote work, many companies are hiring web developers regardless of their geographical location. This trend provides more flexibility for web developers and broadens their job opportunities.

Continuing Education and Skill Development

To stay competitive in the rapidly changing field of web development, it's important for professionals to continually update their skills. This might involve learning new programming languages, keeping up with the latest web design trends, or gaining certifications in areas like cybersecurity or UX design. In conclusion, the job market for web developers looks promising. As technology continues to evolve and more businesses move online, the demand for skilled web developers is likely to continue growing. Therefore, pursuing a career in web development could be a smart move for those interested in technology and creativity.

Web Developer Career Path Salary and Compensation

As a web developer, your earning potential can be influenced by several factors such as your level of experience, specialization, location, and the industry in which you work.

Entry-Level Web Developer Salary

Starting out in your web development career, you'll likely be in an entry-level position. As of 2021, according to Payscale, the average entry-level web developer salary in the United States is approximately $50,000 per year. However, this amount can vary widely depending on the city or state you're working in. For example, high tech hubs like San Francisco and New York often offer higher salaries compared to other locations.

Mid-Level Web Developer Salary

As you gain more experience and skill in web development, you can expect to see a significant increase in your salary. Mid-level web developers typically have a few years of experience under their belts and are proficient in several programming languages. The average mid-level web developer salary in the United States is around $75,000 per year.

Senior Web Developer Salary

Senior web developers have a high level of expertise and often manage teams of junior or mid-level developers. They are responsible for complex coding tasks and project management. According to Glassdoor, senior web developers in the United States can expect to earn an average salary of approximately $105,000 per year.

Specialized Web Developer Salary

Specialized web developers who focus on specific areas like back-end development, front-end development, or full-stack development often earn higher salaries. For instance, Indeed reports that the average salary for a full-stack developer in the United States is around $113,000 per year.

Freelance Web Developer Salary

The freelance route is another option for web developers. This path allows for flexibility in terms of location and schedule, but the earnings can vary greatly. According to ZipRecruiter, the national average salary for freelance web developers in the United States is about $71,000 per year. However, highly experienced freelancers can earn much more.

Web Developer Benefits and Bonuses

In addition to a base salary, many web developers receive benefits and bonuses. These can include health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and performance-based bonuses. Some companies also provide professional development opportunities, like attending conferences or workshops, to their employees. Remember that these figures are averages and actual salaries may vary. Factors such as the demand for specific skills, your negotiation abilities, and the financial health of your employer can all influence your salary as a web developer.

Web Developer Career Path Tips for Success

Embarking on a web development career path requires not only technical skills but also a clear understanding of the industry trends and best practices. Here are some invaluable tips to propel your success in this dynamic field.

Acquire Relevant Skills and Qualifications

Web development is a highly technical field that requires a robust set of skills. Fundamental knowledge in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is essential. Mastering programming languages such as Python, Ruby, and PHP can give you an edge. Familiarize yourself with frameworks like AngularJS, ReactJS, and Django to streamline your development process. Understanding database management with SQL or MongoDB is also beneficial. For front-end developers, proficiency in graphic design and UX/UI design can be advantageous.

A degree in computer science or a related field can be helpful, but it's not always mandatory. Many successful web developers are self-taught or have completed coding bootcamps. Certifications from recognized platforms such as Microsoft, Adobe, or Google can boost your credibility.

Build a Portfolio

A strong portfolio showcases your skills and expertise more effectively than any resume can. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced developer, having a portfolio website where you can showcase your projects is vital. Include projects that demonstrate your proficiency in different programming languages and frameworks. Don't forget to provide links to live versions of your projects and their source code.

Keep Learning

Web development is an ever-evolving field. To stay relevant, you need to constantly update your skills and knowledge. Follow industry leaders and influencers, join web development communities, attend webinars and workshops, and subscribe to relevant blogs and newsletters. Online platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and Codecademy offer courses that can help you stay abreast of the latest trends and technologies.


Building a strong professional network can open up opportunities and provide valuable insights. Attend industry events, join professional associations like the Association of Web Design Professionals or the Web Professionals Organization. Participate in online forums and communities like Stack Overflow or GitHub. Not only can you learn from your peers, but you may also find potential clients or job opportunities.

Gain Practical Experience

Hands-on experience is invaluable in web development. Consider internships, part-time jobs, or freelancing to apply your skills in a real-world context. This will not only enhance your technical skills but also help you understand client requirements, work within deadlines, and collaborate with a team.

Remember, success in web development isn't just about coding. It's about problem-solving, creativity, and continuous learning. Stay curious, stay dedicated, and success will follow.

What is a Web Developer?

A web developer is a professional who designs, creates, and maintains websites. They are responsible for both the aesthetic design and the technical aspects of a website, such as site speed and how much traffic the site can handle. Web developers may also create content for the site. They work in a variety of industries, from tech startups to large corporations, and can also work as freelancers.

What does a Web Developer do?

Web developers build and maintain websites and web applications. They usually work in a team with other developers and interact with designers, project managers, and clients to create a website that fits the client's needs. They use programming languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and others to create web pages. They also use tools like Adobe Photoshop to create graphics, and they may need to know how to use Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress.

How to become a Web Developer?

There are several paths to becoming a web developer. Some developers have a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field, but it's not always required. Many web developers learn their skills through online courses or bootcamps. Here are the basic steps to become a web developer: 1. Learn the basics of web development: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. 2. Build your own website or small projects to practice your skills. 3. Learn advanced skills like server-side languages and databases. 4. Build a portfolio to showcase your work. 5. Start applying for jobs or freelance work.

What skills does a Web Developer need?

Web developers need a variety of technical and soft skills to succeed in their careers. Technical skills include knowledge of programming languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and server-side languages. They also need to understand user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design, search engine optimization (SEO), and how to use a CMS. Soft skills include problem-solving, communication, time management, and teamwork.

What is the career path for a Web Developer?

The career path for a web developer can vary widely depending on their skills and interests. Some web developers start as junior developers and move up to senior developer roles. They may then choose to specialize in a specific area of web development, like front-end or back-end development, or they may move into project management or leadership roles. Some web developers also choose to work as freelancers or start their own businesses.

How much does a Web Developer make?

The salary for a web developer can vary depending on their experience, skills, and location. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for web developers was $73,760 in May 2019. Web developers in the lowest 10 percent earned less than $39,550, and those in the highest 10 percent earned more than $142,080. Freelance web developers may earn more or less depending on their rates and the number of projects they complete.

What are the job prospects for Web Developers?

The job outlook for web developers is very positive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of web developers will grow 13 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is driven by the increasing popularity of mobile devices and eCommerce.