“Web development” is something of a catchall phrase that describes the process of building a website from the time it’s conceived through the time it’s launched. The term “Web developer” can apply to almost anyone who’s on the technical side of a project, regardless of what area they’re working on or which tools they’re using. In practice, the creation of a website is organized into several areas, each of which relies on its own languages and tools.
The components that users see and interact with are referred to as the “front end.” Developers here build the pages and menus used to navigate the site and implement the systems that format and display its content. The site’s behind-the-scenes technology is referred to as the “back end.” Specialists in this area work with programs and frameworks like Python, Ruby on Rails, and Django to build and maintain the site’s servers, databases, content management systems, and e-commerce engines.
How a project is organized, what tools and technology go into its development and exactly who makes up the team can vary from organization to organization. What’s clear, though, is that however you define them, Web developers are in demand as more organizations upgrade their Internet presence and look for new ways to take advantage of the network.
Among the most common job titles you’ll see:
Web Developer: A person whose primary responsibilities include the programming and development work involved in creating a working website. Though this is largely a technical role, a certain amount of business knowledge and communications skill is important to doing the job successfully. The reason: Web developers often work with stakeholders to define a site’s requirements, so they often need the ability to help businesspeople identify and organize features and content.
According to PayScale.com, the average Web developer’s salary ranges from $36, 000 to $80, 000, depending where they live and how much experience they have. The median is about $54, 000, but recruiters say demand for job candidates is pushing pay higher. Senior Web developers’ pay ranges from $52, 000 to $107, 000, says PayScale, and experience with technologies like C# and Java can result in even more money.
Back-End Developers concentrate on what goes on behind the scenes of a website. These are the people who build the databases that host the site’s content and implement the technologies that runs its search and e-commerce capabilities. Focused more on the website’s responsiveness and speed than what its pages look like, they’re skilled in languages such as Python and PHP, and frameworks like Django and Ruby on Rails. Their pay ranges from $43, 000 to $116, 000, PayScale says, with a median of $75, 000.
Full Stack Developers might be described as generalists: They’re familiar with the tools and technologies of both the front and back ends, but may not have the same depth of knowledge as someone who specializes in one or the other. While PayScale doesn’t track their salaries, Indeed.com puts the average at $102, 000 while SimplyHire.com cites it as $68, 000. As with other jobs, your skills, experience and location will affect the offers you receive.