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What is a Web Developer?

Web DeveloperIf you are considering a career as a web developer, you may be interested to learn the necessary skills for the position, as well as how a developer spends a typical day. Additionally, you may wonder about the differences between web designers and developers. Do the two positions require the same skills? What are the differences between these jobs?

Web Developer vs. Web Designer

Some companies divide Internet development responsibilities into two categories: Web development and Web design. The Web designer is responsible for the graphics, fonts and text attributes, and placement of visual characters on visible Web pages. This position may also be referred to as the “front end designer.” The skills required for this position would be proficiency in graphic design and an advanced understanding of the needs and preferences of the end user. If your graphics skills are strong and you enjoy graphics work more than writing code, Web design may be a better career choice for you.

In addition to graphics skills, Web designers must be proficient in writing some code, such as the HTML, JavaScript and CSS that creates the design specified by the customer. In other words, the designer must take a design mocked up in Photoshop or even Microsoft Word, and then write the HTML and CSS code that transforms the graphic and text elements into a Web page that reflects the design of the desired mock-up. Therefore, the successful designer will have a thorough and up-to-date understanding of these languages and how to use them to generate specific effects.

Heavy-Duty Coding Required

The Web developer possesses the skills to program the “back end” of the application, or the code that connects the front end design to supporting databases. This means developers must know one or more of the complex programming languages such as PHP, Java, Python, Ruby or C#. However, Web developers must also be proficient with HTML, JavaScript and CSS. Generally, Web developers can develop both the front and back ends of Web applications in the absence of a Web designer whereas the designer is usually not the heavy-hitting coder who can fill in for the talented developer.

In addition to coding skills, the developer may also be the individual who mocks up the design according to customer specifications. Therefore, a cursory knowledge of graphics software like Photoshop is required. The developer must also possess a big-picture understanding of how the application is expected to operate when finished.

Web Developer Salaries

Skilled and proven web developers working for large corporations fare quite well with salaries on the high side. Glass Door reports the national average salary for developers to be $67,097. However, the salary range can be quite large. US News and World Report reports that the highest paid Web developer in a 2013 salary survey earned $110,350 per year while the lowest paid developer earned $33,320.

Related Resource: WSGI Interface

Developers often find that they work hard for the money they earn with long hours, difficult deadlines and stressful projects. If you love to write code to create Internet applications and enjoy becoming consumed in creative projects, you will probably perform quite well in the position of Web developer. If your skills are more inclined toward graphic design, you may want to consider becoming a web designer.