If high starting salaries, flexible hours, and employment security sound like a healthy change, then a career pivot into web development could be the right choice for you. Ranging from a full-time job to freelance, to a lucrative side job, and everything in between, web developers have the potential to do very well in this high-demand economy.
There are many considerations to think about when making a career choice or change, but the top question of our time is: How much is a web developer salary? Since the jump into the tech industry requires time, learning, and practice, this is a valid question deserving of an answer. Specialized training from accelerated and intensive programs called "bootcamps" are popping up the large metropolitan regions across the country. Web searching for these, such as "coding bootcamp orange county", will place an aspiring web developer a couple of years ahead of other starting developers.
A simple web search for “web developer salary” will yield varying results from job boards and research companies that can vary substantially based on their sources. Factors like geography, specialty, freelance or employee, and years of experience can have a profound effect on how much a web developer can expect to make.
Geography – Tech hubs in California like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Orange County have more tech companies and thus have more demand leading to a higher average web development salary. Research shows that the current four-year degree system is not pumping out enough graduates to accommodate the current demand, much less the future demand for web developers. According to PayScale, a national average web developer salary is between $41,000 to $84,700, whereas an average web developer salary in California is $80,000. The increased average web developer salary found in these tech-centric regions is directly impacted by the increased demand because of the high concentration of tech-industry startups and staples. The research shows that this demand will continue to increase for the foreseeable future making this time to jump into a web development career.
Specialty – There are three specialties in web development: front-end, back-end, and Full Stack development. Front-end development focuses on the user interface that users interact with and manipulate, whereas back-end development is like the iceberg under the water consisting of servers, applications, and databases that keeps the website working. Full-stack development focuses on both front-end and back-end, a kind of Renaissance man type approach. Indeed.com lists the average starting front-end web developer salary as $61,512 and an average back-end web developer salary as $127,000. The more specialized a developer can become, the possibilities of increased average web development salary become limitless.
Freelance Or Employee – Web developer salary can also vary greatly in the freelance market. Working as a freelance web developer can be very fulfilling as it can be a chance to start making money for oneself rather than for someone else. Functioning in a self-made environment allows one to determine their worth, prices, salary, and hours. However, freelance work can be very hard with work and income being very sporadic at times. The stress can become frequent and severe, replacing all the headaches left behind at the old office with new ones. Careful and strategic planning and marketing will help increase income in various ways, from creating a steady stream of supplemental income to attracting and retaining new and repeat clients.
Experience – As in other fields, an increased experience will lead to higher salaries. This is especially true in the tech industry where the high-paced environment causes employers to offer higher salaries to capable developers who can get the job done right and on time. This is shown by Indeed’s average salary for those web developers that have gained three or more years increasing to $108,000. Exasperated by the high demand and low supply of capable web developers, this has translated into appreciatively higher employee salaries, hiring bonuses, and fringe benefits to those who are available to fill new and existing developer jobs.
Not too long ago, university graduates would enter the web developer candidate pool as inexperienced “junior web developers” and would typically be paid between $40,000 to $50,000 per year starting salaries. With the advent of accelerated-learning web developer bootcamps, graduates are now entering the workforce with practical working knowledge and experience earning $50,000 to $70,000 annually.
According to Liz Eggleston from CourseReport, “80% of graduates surveyed say they’ve been employed in a job requiring the skills learned at bootcamp, with an average salary increase of 51%.” Coupled with the rising demand and the inadequate supply of web developers with the success of these coding bootcamps, the forecast of web developer salary in 2020 and web developer job growth are very positive. As well, these accelerated-learning programs provide the experience at one-tenth the time and money it used to take to become a web developer.
Many factors are affecting current starting salaries for entry-level web developers, and they are all pointing in the right direction for web developer job growth. The size, growth, market, and location of the hiring company will play into the need to hire capable developers. Likewise, gaining expertise in technologies specifically desired by the company will improve salary offers. Years of experience in web development and software engineering along with a depth of knowledge in web development around specific technologies will provide employment security well past 2020.
Web developer job growth will continue to be favorable through to 2024 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2014, there were 148,500 positions available, and this figure should grow by 27% to about 188,000 positions by the year 2024. This growth rate far exceeds the 21% growth rate of other computer occupations, and when looking at jobs in general across the U.S., the figure is only 7%. Part of the reason for the dramatic increase in demand is the continuous and exponential growth of the global web and mobile consumer markets. More than ever before, Fortune 500 companies and micro-businesses alike rely heavily on their web and mobile selling platforms to market and deliver their new products and services. The numbers show this high rate of web developer job growth to be still increasing meaning now is the time to jump into the web development industry.