Web development is one of the fastest growing and most in-demand occupations to date and, with no sign that this train will halt anytime soon, there’s no better time for new up-and-comers to get into the field. Even if the demand for strong developers weren’t as high as it is, there are even more reasons beyond the high demand to consider web developer careers, from freedom of scheduling and choice of employer to working/living locale and unavoidable on-the-job training.
Let’s explore just a few of the multitude of reasons that web development careers is a sure bet for many years to come!
First, How Much do Web Developers Make?: Generous Salaries and Rapidly Growing Demand
As our modern society moves deeper and deeper into the digital age, fewer of the standard offline methods of doing things will remain the norm, while instead these methods transition into their more streamlined online counterparts. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of web developers is projected to increase 20 percent within the decade between 2012 and 2022, nearly doubling the growth of all other occupations:
The expansion is largely based on the ever-increasing drive toward eCommerce, as online purchasing is expected to grow faster than the retail industry.
An overwhelming surge of mobile device usage is also largely a cause of this projected growth, with a great deal of both new and existing websites requiring designs and development that support a mobile platform. In fact, according to the 2015 Internet Trends report, which is published annually by the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, mobile device usage for digital media consumption has handily surpassed that of traditional desktop platforms with no sign of slowing.
Perhaps just as critical to those looking to get their feet wet in the field of web development is the pay: How do web developer salaries match up to other similar occupations?
According to the BLS, the median annual wage in the U.S. for a web developer in May 2012 was $62,500, which as seen in the diagram below, is roughly middle of the pack for similar computer-related occupations, and well above the median across all occupations at $34,750.
Being Choosy: Web Development Offers Unparalleled Freedom
Beyond the financial benefits of a development position are the less measurable but equally important freedoms offered by such a career path. Unlike most traditional occupations, web development positions are so numerous and in such high demand that developers or prospective employees are given far more choice when it comes to factors like living area, hours, working environment, and more.
Self-Employment or Corporate Employment
While there are no shortage of development firms or even corporate businesses looking for talented web developers for hire, due to the digital nature of the work being performed, web developers are often free to choose whether to work for a larger development firm, become contracted by a corporate business, or even become self-employed and begin a small little development business outside of their own garage. According to the BLS, roughly 25 percent of all web developers are self-employed.
Similar to choosing whom to work for, web developers are often given far more freedom of where to physically do the day-to-day labor of their craft compared to traditional occupations. A 2015 survey of more than 16,000 developers using the very popular StackOverflow discussion platform shows that 29% of developers work remotely at least part-time and often from home — a sizeable increase from the 21% the year prior.
Perhaps surprisingly, the same 2015 StackOverflow survey also indicates that developers who work remotely full-time earn roughly 40% more than developers who are purely office-bound.
Brain Power: Constantly Improving Your Technical Prowess
Perhaps one of the least tangible benefits of a career in web development, but certainly one of the most beneficial, is the constant and unavoidable personal growth throughout your career.
Both while initially learning the ropes and after being in the industry for many years, web developers will naturally find themselves continuing to grow their breadth of knowledge and technical prowess as new technologies emerge and become popularized, or various coding methodologies are adopted and later thrown by the wayside.
While some may view this constant evolution of personal growth as a bit overwhelming or even scary, it brings with it a great deal of job security and stability that other non-technical positions simply cannot provide. As a relative example, looking back just five years to mid-2010 using Google Trends (a measurement of relative search term frequency), we can compare two currently popular languages of PHP and AngularJS: Based solely on relative search trends, we can see that PHP has dropped in search frequency by roughly 38% over the past five years, while the new technology of AngularJS took hold in late 2012 and has since risen dramatically with roughly 11% of the relative search frequency of PHP.
While these are dramatically different technologies and PHP remains a very popular language, it is a strong indication of the rapid rate of change and evolution within the web development space. As new technologies emerge and frameworks take advantage of those technologies — such as the popular MEAN framework that utilizes AngularJS — then employment and job opportunities will be quick to follow.
Intelligent web developers will stay abreast of these latest trends and technologies, thus always ensuring themselves a place at the table of employment for years to come.