Steered by e-commerce and the convenience of online shopping, the number of available jobs for qualified web developers is expected to grow by 20 percent in coming years. This anticipated employment spurt will open doors of opportunity for an additional 28,500 professionals, whose key responsibilities include creating websites. The average annual salary for these specialists surpasses $70,000 in Los Angeles, with top developers earning six-figure paychecks. Experts say those entering this field will be met with some notable challenges.

(Photo Courtesy of Alex Harwood)

(Photo Courtesy of Alex Harwood)

“Keeping up with the changes in technology can be difficult,” said Alex Harwood, Director of IT Client Support Services at California State University, Los Angeles. “It’s critical to be aware of and experienced with new technologies, as well as current design principles, accessibility requirements, responsive design and the science regarding web traffic.”

How has the need for developers progressed since 2013?

“Increasingly, users are not using their laptops or desktops to surf the web. They’re depending on their mobile devices. So, developers are now creating websites that better adapt to smartphones and tablets.”

How will a developer’s role change by 2022?

“Content management systems, like Drupal, are making it much easier for content owners to maintain the images and messages on their sites, while web developers work on overall functionality, the site map and provide back-end support. Web developers will continue to provide more content self-capabilities to their business partners.”

What is the best way to prepare for a sustainable career in this field?

“Web developers must make sure they have a strong foundation in HTML, Java and PHP. I encourage them to pick a content management system and learn it backward and forward. They should also get involved in community meet-ups, build their soft skills, understand how to write a resume, and have sites they have developed and are proud to show off.”

What is your message to aspiring web developers?

“I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to know the technology, and possess the ability to be confident and comfortable with communication. Would-be web developers must be able to communicate effectively and understand time and project management skills.”

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.

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