How to Break Into the Web Development Industry – Experiences of a Senior Web Developer

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Developing programmer Team Development Website design and coding technologies working in software company office

Are you wondering what a web developer actually does and how you can become one? Think a career as a web developer is a possible career path for you? 

Well, you’ve clicked on the right article! We’ve talked to Bailey, a Senior Web Developer at Upgrowth, to find out what a typical day looks like, steps to becoming a web developer, and more. 

Let’s get started!  

Meet Bailey
What is a Web Developer?
Steps to Becoming a Web Developer
Future Outlook
Best Thing & Worst Thing
Advice for Aspiring Web Developers

Meet Bailey

Bailey Segail is a Senior Web Developer who has been working at Upgrowth, a digital product studio, for the past 2 years.

Studies and Experience

Bailey started-off his career immediately after his HSC! He worked as an App Developer for a retail point-of-sale company which allowed him to gain work experience within the industry and also provided him with useful insights about his future path, study options and more. 

“One of the people I was working with had a PhD in computer science… This felt weird to me because I was doing effectively the same job as him with no uni degree, completely self-taught. Originally, I was going to study Computer Science but because of this experience, I actually chose a Commerce degree at Macquarie Uni majoring in Marketing and Entrepreneurship,” he said. 

During his time at university, Bailey met a friend in one of his lectures who was running a website company. He needed some help with the coding and web development so Bailey hopped on board!

They eventually co-founded a company together and during that time, Bailey dropped out of uni to prioritise their business.

“To be honest, uni didn’t really help with my career… I found that whenever I learnt something in my business, it would be reflected in uni about 6 months later and it wasn’t as impactful as a lesson. I guess I had a much deeper knowledge having experienced it before myself,” he said. 

What made you want to work in this industry?

Something that inspired Bailey to pursue a career as a web developer is his love and passion for technology. From playing games on his computer to attending coding courses with the National Computer Science School (NCSS), Bailey discovered that he really loved programming which motivated him to work in the web development industry.  

Web Developer - Quote

What is a Web Developer?

Web developers use a range of programming languages, databases and technologies and collaborate with other professionals such as web designers to plan, create and maintain websites that meet the requirements of their clients. 

“A lot of web development is programming but there are a lot of soft skills involved as well like speaking to designers and coordinating between design and development… A lot of it is just negotiating requirements and communicating those requirements to the product owner or project manager,” said Bailey. 

Roles and Responsibilities

A typical day for Bailey mostly consists of meetings, catch-ups and a few hours of programming. 

“Typically my day will start quite relaxed with a coffee in hand! In the morning we’ll have a project stand-up to get an overview of how we’re tracking, and also use it to check whether anyone’s work load is blocked by another task.

“Usually at some point throughout the day you’ll probably need to chat to a designer, developer, or your product manager to iron out some requirements, or to collaborate and work together. After all your meetings, you’ll be able to squeeze in around 4-5 hours of actual programming time,” said Bailey. 

Which industries can this career be found in?

Web developers can be found working in just about any industry since almost all industries and companies need a website to support their business! 

Some common industries that employ web developers include:

  • Computer systems design
  • Social and digital media
  • Finance
  • Startups
  • Advertising 

Characteristics and Qualities 

Web Developer - Characteristics

According to JobOutlook, some of the top skills relevant to web development include: 

  • Programming
  • Operations Analysis
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Critical Thinking  
  • Active Learning

For Bailey, soft skills are just as important as your programming knowledge and he considers communication to be one of the biggest skills required in web development.

“Communication is probably the skill that’s developed the most… You need to be able to communicate requirements to your client effectively and guide them along,” said Bailey. 

Steps to Becoming a Web Developer

What should you study?

If a career as a web developer has caught your eye, you might be considering an undergraduate degree in a relevant field such as Computer Science or Information Technology.

Here are some degrees you could study to become a Web Developer: 

However, you don’t necessarily need a Bachelor’s degree to become a web developer and there are heaps of different pathways.

You might choose to get a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification or complete an online course instead. Bailey, for example, is a self-taught web developer and learnt most of his programming skills through the National Computer Science School (NCSS), online courses and Youtube! 

How long does it take to become a Web Developer?

According to JobOutlook, people aged 25-34 make up around 47% of the web development industry which means it can usually take a few years after high school and/or university to become a web developer. However, the amount of time it takes to become a web developer varies quite a bit depending on the path you choose!

Like Bailey, you might be able to launch into this career almost immediately after high school and gradually progress from an entry-level position towards more specialised roles. 

If you choose to study an undergraduate degree, it’ll take you around 3-5 years to complete your degree and most likely won’t take you too long to find an entry-level role as a web developer.

Industry Knowledge

Needless to say, the web development industry requires a strong knowledge of computers and electronics including hardware, software and different programming languages. Bailey also told us that programming languages are always evolving so web developers need to constantly update their industry knowledge. 

Web developers also use a range of different softwares and programs including a code editor, web browser and various cloud technologies such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, or Azure

What will this career look like in the future?

How in-demand is this career?

Web Developers are very in-demand right now and career prospects are expected to grow even further in the next few years!

According to JobOutlook, the number of web developers grew from 7,100 in 2011 to 8,600 in 2016 and this number is predicted to continue to grow over the next 5 years.  

In the web development and software development industry, we’re hiring like crazy! You just can’t get enough good talent, there’s just not enough out there and it’s very in-demand right now,” said Bailey. 

Are there opportunities to grow or specialise?

Bailey told us that there are definitely opportunities for career progression and specialisation within web development!

“In terms of a typical career path, you’ll start as a Junior Developer then progress to Mid and Senior Developer. You can then go down the Management route or continue down the development route but at a higher, more specialised level such as Solution Design,” he said. 

“There’s also a lot of areas to specialise in. Some people specialise in Front-End Development and they deal with how a website looks and functions. Then there’s Back-End Engineers as well and they focus on servers and databases… There are heaps of areas to focus on,” he added. 

Salary

Annual Salary Future Growth Skill Level Rating
$82,000+ Very strong over the next 5 years Very high skill

Influential Trends

Technologies and trends such as digitisation and artificial intelligence are undoubtedly very influential when it comes to web development! Thinking about the long term influences on this industry and the broader software development industry, Bailey told us that there’s going to be a strong push towards AI and data processing. 

The Future of this Industry

In terms of the future of the web development industry, Bailey said, “In the past few years there’s been a huge shift towards the web, so a lot of traditional applications have been moving towards that space like how we had Excel but now we’re moving towards Google Sheets… There’s been a lot of movement into web technologies.”

Best Thing & Worst Thing

What do you enjoy most about this job?

Bailey describes the best thing about his job as a ‘flow state’. 

Flow state is basically when a task is challenging but not too challenging, and doable but not too easy… It’s kind of this ‘just right’ medium and eventually you can get into a flow where the world just aligns in your sphere and you’re completely transfixed on what you’re doing and nothing else matters!” said Bailey. 

“It’s like if you’re playing a video game and you’re stuck on a really hard level and you just keep going and keep grinding and eventually you sort of become ‘one’ with the game… That’s the kind of feeling I get when I program,” he added. 

What do you feel is the worst part of this job?

For Bailey, the worst part of being a Web Developer is that it can get quite unpredictable at times. 

“I think sometimes when you’re in a project, your requirements can’t really be defined until you actually get to those requirements… It can actually make it really hard to quote and give time estimates of the work you’re doing.

You might not know how much work there is to do until you get there… It can potentially squeeze you into awkward positions with clients!” he said. 

Advice for Aspiring Web Developers

What do you wish you had known before you started working in this career?

One thing Bailey wished he knew before starting is that you don’t need to have everything figured out! It’s okay to gain clarity and figure things out as you go. 

I would’ve told myself that it’s okay to not know what direction you’re headed in… As long as you’re moving forward in some capacity, it’s okay,” he said. 

Why should people consider taking on this career?

Bailey recommends a career as a web developer for those who love programming. 

Web development is very fun if you like programming and it also pays quite well too. You don’t need to be an expert in mathematics either! I think that turns a lot of people off but programming actually doesn’t require a lot of maths,” said Bailey.  

It’s very fun and it’s very rewarding when you build something for someone and they like it, or when you help build someone’s business for them,” he added. 

Job Flexibility

Working as a web developer is a pretty flexible job, especially when it comes to working from home! For work days and/or hours, Bailey told us that it usually depends on your company since some will be really flexible while others require you to be online in the 9-5 bracket. 

What is the workplace culture like?

Bailey said that the workplace culture varies depending on your company but it’s usually pretty relaxed and fun. 

“It’s a really fun workplace and I think that’s quite common in a lot of different companies. Programming is one of those fields where your company really values your employment… They try to keep you happy!” said Bailey. 

“That being said, it can also be a really demanding job. I haven’t experienced that at my company but you can get pulled in late at night for support if the code doesn’t work or something like that,” he shared.


Maitreyi Kulkarni is a Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is currently studying a Bachelor of Media and Communications (Public Relations and Social Media) at Macquarie University. She loves writing just about anything from articles to poetry, and has also had one of her articles published with the ABC. When she’s not writing up a storm, she can be found reading, bingeing sitcoms, or playing the guitar.



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