Occupational Outlook Handbook: Web Developers and Digital Designers

Occupational Outlook Handbook Web Developers and Digital Designers

Republished with the permission of the US BLS

Summary

Quick Facts: Web Developers and Digital Designers
2020 Median Pay $77,200 per year
$37.12 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Associate’s degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2019 174,300
Job Outlook, 2019-29 8% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2019-29 14,000

What Web Developers and Digital Designers Do

Web developers create and maintain websites. Digital designers develop, create, and test website or interface layout, functions, and navigation for usability.

Work Environment

Some web developers and digital designers work in the computer systems design and related services industry. Others are self-employed. Still others work in industries including publishing, management consulting, and advertising.

How to Become a Web Developer or Digital Designer

Educational requirements for web developers and digital designers vary, ranging from a high school diploma to a bachelor’s degree.

Pay

The median annual wage for web developers and digital designers was $77,200 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Employment of web developers and digital designers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand will be driven by the continued popularity of mobile devices and ecommerce.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for web developers and digital designers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of web developers and digital designers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about web developers and digital designers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Web Developers and Digital Designers Do

Web developers create and maintain websites. They are also responsible for the site’s technical aspects, such as its performance and capacity, which are measures of a website’s speed and how much traffic the site can handle. In addition, web developers may create content for the site. Digital designers develop, create, and test website or interface layout, functions, and navigation for usability. They are responsible for the look and functionality of the website or interface.

Duties

Web developers and digital designers typically do the following:

  • Meet with clients or management to discuss the needs, design, and functionality of a website or interface
  • Create and test applications, interfaces, and navigation menus for a website
  • Write code for the website, using programming languages such as HTML or XML
  • Work with other team members to determine what information the site will contain
  • Work with graphics and other designers to determine the website’s layout
  • Integrate graphics, audio, and video into the website
  • Monitor website traffic
  • Create prototypes and mockups of websites or applications
  • Design and develop graphics

When creating a website, developers and designers have to make their client’s vision a reality. They build particular types of websites, such as ecommerce, news, or gaming sites, to fit clients’ needs. Different types of websites require different applications. For example, a gaming site should be able to handle advanced graphics, whereas an ecommerce site would need a payment-processing application. The developer decides which applications and designs will best fit the site, and the designer focuses on the look and usability of these elements across browsers or devices.

Some developers and designers handle all aspects of a website’s construction, and others specialize in a certain aspect of it. The following are examples of types of specialized web developers or digital designers:

Back-end web developers are responsible for the overall technical construction of the website. They create the basic framework of the site and ensure that it functions as expected. Back-end web developers also establish procedures for allowing others to add new pages to the website and meet with management to discuss major changes to the site.

Front-end web developers create the technical features for a website’s look. They develop the site’s layout and integrate graphics, applications (such as a retail checkout tool), and other content. They also write webdesign programs in a variety of computer languages, such as HTML or JavaScript.

Web and digital interface designers are responsible for creating the look and feel of a website or interface with regard to photos, color, font type and size, graphics, and layout. They also are responsible for the functionality, usability, and compatibility of the website or interface.

Webmasters maintain and update websites. They ensure that websites operate correctly, and they test for errors such as broken links. Many webmasters respond to user comments as well.

Work Environment

Web developers and digital designers held about 174,300 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of web developers and digital designers were as follows:

Computer systems design and related services 17%
Publishing industries (except Internet) 10
Self-employed workers 10
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 5
Advertising, public relations, and related services 4

Work Schedules

Most web developers and digital designers work full time.

How to Become a Web Developer or Digital Designer

Educational requirements vary for web developers and digital designers, based on work setting and other factors.

Education

Educational requirements for web developers and digital designers range from a high school diploma to a bachelor’s degree.

Some employers prefer to hire web developer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in a specific field, such as computer science or programming.

Web developers need to have a thorough understanding of HTML programming. Many employers also want developers to understand other programming languages, such as JavaScript or SQL, and have knowledge of multimedia publishing tools, such as Flash. Throughout their career, web developers must keep up to date on new tools and computer languages.

Employers of digital designers may prefer to hire candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in a field such as web design, digital design, or graphic arts.

Web developers and digital designers may not need specific education credentials if they can demonstrate their abilities through prior work experience or projects.

Advancement

Web developers and digital designers who have a bachelor’s degree may advance to become project managers. For more information, see the profile on computer and information systems managers.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Web developers and digital designers need to communicate effectively with coworkers to coordinate work on projects.

Creativity. Web developers and digital designers often are involved in creating the appearance of a website and must make sure that it is appealing as well as functional.

Customer-service skills. Webmasters have to respond politely to user questions and requests.

Detail-oriented. Web developers and digital designers must focus for long periods and write code precisely, because a minor error could cause an entire webpage to stop working.

Problem-solving skills. Web developers and digital designers must check for coding errors and fix any that they find.

Pay

The median annual wage for web developers and digital designers was $77,200 in May 2020. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $40,750, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $146,430.

 

In May 2020, the median annual wages for web developers and digital designers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Publishing industries (except Internet) $123,870
Computer systems design and related services 75,450
Advertising, public relations, and related services 71,930
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 70,790

Most web developers and digital designers work full time.

Job Outlook

Employment of web developers and digital designers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

The employment of web developers and digital designers is projected to grow as eCommerce continues to expand. Online purchasing is expected to grow faster than the overall retail industry. As retail firms expand their online offerings, demand for these workers will grow. In addition, a rise in the use of mobile devices to search the web will lead to increased demand for web developers and digital designers. Instead of designing a website for a desktop computer, these workers will have to create sites and interfaces that work on mobile devices with many different screen sizes, leading to more work.

Because websites can be built from anywhere in the world, some developer and designer jobs could move to countries with lower wages. However, this practice may decline because the cost of managing workers in multiple countries can offset the savings to businesses. Furthermore, web developers and digital designers must understand cultural nuances that allow web pages to communicate effectively with users. U.S.-based developers and designers are better suited to this task, curtailing the work that may be moved to other countries.

Job Prospects

About 13,400 openings for web developers and digital designers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Job opportunities for web developers and digital designers are expected to be good. Those with knowledge of multiple programming languages and digital multimedia tools, such as Flash and Photoshop, will have the best opportunities.

Employment projections data for web developers and digital designers, 2019-29
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2019 Projected Employment, 2029 Change, 2019-29 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Web developers and digital interface designers 15-1257 174,300 188,300 8 14,000 Get data

Similar Occupations him

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of web developers and digital designers.

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