Should I Be a Web Developer? 7 Signs You’d Find Success
2020 has pushed our classrooms, workplaces, and shopping centers all online. While some might be feeling a little screen fatigue, the increased presence of the internet in the functioning of our daily lives has been making you think about seriously pursuing a career in web development. You’ve always had an interest in web design—but maybe now is the time to make the move up from the hobby blog and just-for-fun tutorials you’ve been tinkering around with?
While COVID-19–related economic shockwaves will likely add an extra layer of uncertainty to our economy for at least the near term, it appears a pursuing a career web development is still a solid option long term. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects web development jobs to increase by 13 percent from 2018 and 2028.1 Pair that with a 2019 median annual salary of $73,760 and it’s easy to see the appeal.1 But how do you know if a career in web development is really a good fit for you?
To help answer that, we spoke with experienced professionals in web development on the most important qualities and characteristics to succeed in the field. As you consider a career change, take a look at these seven signs you should be a web developer.
7 Signs you should be a web developer
While obviously there’s no one size fits all answer to whether or not you should be a web developer, these signs based on the insights of web development professionals should give you a better idea of whether or not you’d be a fit.
1. You’re a problem solver
Web development is all about problem solving. If you enjoy the process of exploring creative ways of addressing new problems, web development might be a good fit. Sometimes the layouts and functionalities you’ll build as a web developer just won’t cooperate on the first try—so it helps if you enjoy the “figuring it out” part of the process. As time goes on, your experience makes this process easier.
“As a developer, you will no doubt encounter challenges in your day-to-day,” says Greg Gerard, lead web developer at Blue Laser Digital. “Problem solving develops with time and experience. Successfully solving problems exposes you to different programming patterns and or strategies. This experience will help you tackle future problems and become more independent and efficient as a programmer.”
“A good developer is a naturally logical thinker,” says Jesse Schoberg, co-founder of DropInBlog. “Some of that can be learned, but a lot of it is natural talent. Being able to work on your own, and problem solve on your own is key to becoming successful. Bosses and clients like developers who can get it done without a lot of micro-management.”
2. You enjoy working by yourself
Were you the type to prefer working independently instead of in a group for school work? That’s a sign you may enjoy the day to day of web development. That doesn’t mean the job is devoid of collaboration and communication, but much of the technical work of web design is done best in a quiet, solo workspace.
3. You know how to listen
The website you’re working on needs to fulfill your client’s needs. The only way to make a good website is to really understand what those needs are. If you are an active listener, you have a huge advantage going into web development.
“The most important skill to being a web developer is to listen,” says Jessica Rhoades, owner and designer at Create IT Web Designs. “Most web design and development is a result of a customer having a particular problem that they would like solved.”
Rhoades says the best skill is to listen and ask clarifying questions when needed. Clients want to work with developers who actually take the time to listen to their needs instead of just telling them what they need to do.
“You can consult and give advice but they really want someone to listen to them more than anything.”
4. You don’t give up easily
It takes a certain level of determination to be successful in this role. Troubleshooting issues can sometimes be a difficult slog to get through, and tough client feedback can sometimes result in a good amount of your effort getting tossed out the window as you pivot to accommodate. It comes with the territory, so you’ll need to be able to handle it well.
“In a web design career, you may receive negative feedback from your clients,” says Willie Greer, founder of The Product Analyst. “While it may be frustrating especially if you're stuck on a problem, it really helps to take a step back and breathe.”
5. You enjoy learning new things
A lot can change in a relatively short amount of time in this field—remember when it was common for site navigation menus to be on the left hand side of the screen? If you want a lasting career in web development, an interest in learning new ways of doing things is essential.
“Development is a fast-moving industry,” says Slava Vaniuko, CEO and co-founder of Softermii. “To stay on top of your game, you must always pick up emerging skills and learn how to use new tools. When new languages come out, you should be aware of them. Above all, you’re trying to understand what your customers will expect and what will keep them satisfied.”
6. You like to imagine new possibilities
Web development is both a technical and a creative field. If you are curious about doing things differently, web development might be an excellent way to explore new ideas.
“Most of the time, web development is all about thinking out of the box, imagining new things that have never been done before, and trying out new things,” says developer Yoann Bierling.
Though not every project is going to call for reinventing the wheel, there are occasions where you’ll need or want to go out on a limb with a new approach. Being comfortable with asking, “Is there a better way to do this?” and finding out the answer is an asset.
7. You love coding
If you’re new to coding, it’s important that you give it a try before committing to a new career in web development. Like any skill, coding takes time to learn and can be taught even if you find it initially challenging. However, if you try a few online tutorials and hate the process, web development probably isn’t the right move.
“If you don't love the code, if it doesn't excite you, find another career,” says Schoberg. “The truly successful developers love the code.”
Schoberg says one of the best ways to tell is to just get started learning—taking on online tutorials, videos and challenges can all provide a nice test run. If you find yourself itching to learn more, you’re well on your way.
Want to learn more about becoming a web developer?
Do the descriptions above sound familiar? Then maybe you really should consider taking the steps needed to get started as a web developer. Learn more about the process in our article, “Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Web Developer."
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [career accessed May, 2020] www.bls.gov/ooh/. Information represents national, averaged data for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.