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How to Start a Career in Web Development

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Are you looking to start a career as a web developer? If so, you found the perfect blog post. We delve into what web development is, highlight the lucrative salaries, and what lies in the future. The best part, however, is you pursuing a successful web dev career and benefiting from the tips we share today.

This article comes in handy whether you are just starting out, already holding a salaried job, or looking to revive your freelance web development career. Pick areas you need to improve, and get to work.

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Do you think you need to take a web development course? Go get it. Do you need to market yourself more? Just get started and you’ll be closer to your goal.

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What is Web Development?

If you’re a beginner, you might be wondering what web development is all about. Well, web development is all about building websites. Simple as that. It doesn’t matter what the website does, but if you can build a usable website, you’re a web developer.

The most employable web developer is the person who can take a mere idea and convert it into a functional website. As such, a web developer is someone who has the passion, skills, and capability to bring the client’s dream website into reality.

What if you’re not an absolute beginner?

Can you install WordPress (or any other CMS) and create a remarkable website using a theme and plugins? If so, you’re a web developer. Can you code a monstrous website from the ground up without using platforms such as WordPress? Again, you would be considered a web developer.

As long as you can build a usable website, you’re a web developer. Let nobody tell you otherwise. If you’d like to specialize in programming languages, that’s great. But in today’s world, where there are sophisticated and state-of-the-art website builders such as Editor X, you don’t need coding knowledge to build a website.

Practically anybody can be a web developer today!

But you aren’t here because you want to be a mere web developer. You are here because you want to be the best web developer possible and create a successful career. If we are on the same page, let us talk about the money.

How Much Do Web Developers Make?

How much you rake in as a web developer depends on your character, skills, and experience. If you’re a jerk as a person, your skills and experience won’t help you get or keep the job. If you’re a respectable person, but lack the skills and experience, somebody else will take the job.

So, it really depends on some factors that employers and clients must take into account, as mentioned above. If your a team player and you’re experience is acceptable, there’s a good chance you’ll be in the running for the developer project or job.

Still, how much do professional web developers make? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, web developers earn a median salary of about $78,000 annually. That offers you a nice picture of what the industry offers, keeping in mind the highest 10% of web devs make more than $125,000 per year.

But before you do the money dance, do you have what it takes to become a successful web developer? What skills do you need, and how do you go from zero to hero in web development? That’s why we are here, and so we will see you in the next section.

Best Tips for a Successful Web Development Career

From every nation on the planet, this world is full of self-taught freelance web developers, and many are killing it, but to rise up the ranks in a salaried job, you must take a different route.

Still, at the end of the day, there are steps you can take to start, revive and grow a web development career, whether you freelance or work for an agency. Without any further delay, let’s go over some important tips.

Get the Right Education

Whether you’re a freelancer or already employed, getting the right education is one of the simplest ways of starting and building a successful career in web development. You can self-teach yourself into a fantastic web development career, but let’s be honest, formal education gives you an upper hand.

Or as Maryville University puts it, “It’s an exciting time to build a future in the global design industry. Every advancement in technology changes the way creative professionals think and work — and pushes designers to new heights of sophistication. That means the design and digital media field is shifting to appeal to evolving sensibilities, and businesses are looking to build the modern aesthetic to thrive.”

In other words, an online degree in web development or a related field helps you to build a strong knowledge foundation in a structured setting. This quintessential foundation is vital when learning new skills to adapt to a changing work environment.

Gain Experience

Recruiters are infamous for always asking if you have the experience for the job. If you have a couple of web projects under your belt, you can prove your expertise. What if you’re starting out, and have zero work experience? What do you do?

It’s easy, to work on personal projects. Create your own website and get it going. Volunteer in your local community to help out charitable organizations. Work on side projects in your free time. Just practice amigo.

Eat, drink, and live web development. Clearly, you have the passion, but what is holding you back from gaining valuable experience by working on personal and side projects? If you want to work in an office, apply for internships and get experience.

Don’t just sit there doing nothing living a dream in your head. Instead, get to work whether you’re getting paid or not. Provided you have the tools (which is usually a computer), start building your own websites, and learning from your mistakes. In simpler terms, work on your skills daily.

That’s the only way you gain experience; by hours and hours of practice. This reminds me of the 10,000-hour rule that’s discussed in the Outliers book by Malcolm Gladwell. The principle says that if you put 10,000 hours into any endeavor, you’ll be successful.

Create a Portfolio

You create (or will be creating) websites, and nobody can find you online? You must be kidding me. Nowadays, potential employers use the internet to find suitable candidates. Well, and just to be fair, employers use other recruiting channels as well, but the web is somewhere at the top of the list.

Remember all those personal projects you worked on to gain experience? Did you volunteer to create a fabulous website for a cause dear to you? Did you contribute to an open-source project because you’re awesome like that? Post all these websites on your portfolio website.

Then make sure employers know you’re available for work by adding a contact or hire page. Basically, you’re a web developer, so create a fantastic portfolio website to market your skills, which leads us to the next point.

Market Yourself

Do you want to grow as a web developer? Then you must be comfortable selling your skills. It doesn’t matter whether you freelance or work a 9-to-5, if nobody knows what you do, nobody will hire you. Get your name out there whatever the cost. Just don’t be the annoying or spammy guy nobody likes.

Network with fellow web developers offline and online because no man is an island. Attend web development events and webinars, and strive to create your own network. Create an email list too while at it, because – as fellow marketers say – the real money is in the email list.

Make social media marketing, SEO, PPC, and other forms of marketing your friend, and let potential employers know you exist and are excited about more work. Guest blog, print business cards, write press releases, or send out snail mail if you must, just get your name out there.


A career in web development is as exciting as it is lucrative. It’s perfect for anybody with a passion, regardless of your current skill set. All you have to do is get the right education, gain experience, create an astounding portfolio, and market yourself as if your livelihood depended on it. See what I did there?

Then be an awesome person and a professional web developer. That means you must work on your interpersonal skills if you’re lacking in that area. Or time and project management. Or budgeting. Or whatever area you must improve. Just be an awesome web developer already; the world needs more.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. To your success!

John Culotta
John is the chief editor here at WebDesignDev. He is a creative who enjoys writing, research, and all things design related as well as (formerly) a full-time musician. As an entrepreneur, he has many years of experience in designing websites, packaging, logos, photo editing, and the development of his own top-selling products on Amazon and Shopify. You can see his motivational Instagram account or connect on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.

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