Do I need a Degree?
One of the first things to know is that you do not need to pursue a degree. These days, having a degree in computer science is not a requirement to find a job in web development. There are many ways to teach you online to acquire the knowledge needed for starting out as a developer. According to a 2016 study by Stack Overflow, almost 70% of all developers are at least partly self-taught, with 13% of respondents saying they are exclusively self-taught. Less than half have a degree in computer science or a related field, and only 2% have a Ph.D. Almost half received on-the-job training (43.9%).
34.8% of web developers have a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science or related field (Stack Overflow)
Other industry professionals agree that, while not necessary, a university education can definitely be valuable. In lieu of the college route, a popular way to learn how to code is attending a boot camp. A coding boot camp tries to compress the essential parts of programming into an intensive course that will teach participants enough to start out in junior developer positions. One source is Udemy, an eLearning provider. They offer a Web Development Bootcamp for less than $200 taught by a professional instructor. The course is 42.5 hours of on-demand video. Udemy boasts that 94% of the in-person boot camp students go on to get full-time developer jobs.
Besides attending a boot camp in person, there are countless online courses that teach people how to code. One example is Code Academy, an online education site that teaches anything from HTML to Python and Ruby on Rails. With over 25 million students from around the world, they are one of the biggest online coding schools today. Another example is the Khan Academy. They offer courses on pretty much any skill a web developer needs to start out in a junior position, with many courses being completely free and others starting at around $10.
Where you should concentrate your education, regardless of the means, as it relates to web development jobs?
According to survey data at Stack Overflow, full-stack and back-end web developers comprise the most occupations. The former refers to the specialist who works both front-end and back-end development. A back-end developer builds and maintains the technology that powers those components, which, together, enable the user-facing side of the website to exist in the first place.
Full-stack developers consist of 28% of developer jobs and back-end is second at 12.2%. Front-end sits at 5.8% of web developer occupations (Stack Overflow).
Back-end developers use language tools to create or contribute to web applications with clean, portable, well-documented code. They use server-side languages like PHP (hypertext preprocessor), Ruby, Python, Java, and .Net to build an application, and tools like MySQL, Oracle, and SQL Server to find, save, or change data and serve it back to the user in front-end code. (SQL=structured query language)
Which Developer Job Pays More?
From a survey of over 50,000 employees, Stack Overflow compiled data on salaries. Of the occupations referenced in this article, back-end developers were #1 with an average salary of $108,580. Full-stack and front-end stood at $100,806 and 97,016 respectively.
In comparison, PayScale reports the median salary of a front-end developer at $69,000. This number increases by 25% with mid to late career experience. This employment site lists the median income for a web developer at $58,221. Web Developers can receive larger paychecks at Wells Fargo Bank ($95K), Amazon.com Inc ($88K), and Microsoft Corp ($73K).
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the median salary at $67,990 for web developers as of May 2017.
Why Web Development?
- You do not need a college education to be a web developer.
- Companies will hire you based on your portfolio of sites.
- Pay based on the knowledge you have, not your education level.
- Everything you need to learn is available online, some free of charge.
- The position of a web developer is in very high demand: 15% growth per the BLS.
- Every company and organization needs a website- you can work at a variety of places.
- There are corporate jobs, non-profit jobs, full-time hours, part-time hours, and even freelance jobs.
- U.S. News currently ranks the profession as #8 in Best Technology Jobs.