Web Developer Salary: Starting, Average, and Key Skills
What’s the typical salary for a web developer? The answer to that question could determine whether people jump into web development as a career. Although web developers are vital players on any technology team, overseeing the building and maintenance of websites and web pages, not every important profession necessarily pays well.
Fortunately, years’ worth of evidence suggests that web developer jobs are pretty well-compensated. In October 2019, for instance, U.S. News & World Report stated that web development was among the best low-stress, high-paying jobs in the United States (it arrived at that conclusion based on “interviews” and “research,” although the description of its methodology wasn’t extensive).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, meanwhile, has produced data suggesting that web developers in several states and metro areas earn sizable salaries.
Employers could pay handsomely for professionals who can deliver clean code and fast websites, in other words. But let’s break down those compensation numbers a bit more.
Are web developers in demand?
According to Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, web developer jobs could grow by 14.9 percent over the next decade. That suggests the profession has solid long-term prospects. In the near-term, the current time to fill an open position is 38 days (on average), which suggests that it’s taking quite a bit of time for employers to find suitable professionals—again, an indication of strong demand.
What is a web developer’s starting salary?
Web developers with 0 to two years of experience earn a median salary of $72,000 annually, Burning Glass suggests, although some can earn up to $83,000 (there’s a full breakdown of how experience impacts web developer salary below).
If you’re just out of school or a coding bootcamp, and anxious to secure your first web developer job, keep in mind that a lack of formal job experience doesn’t have to be an impediment to landing a position; in your application and job interviews, emphasize your work on independent projects as well as what you’ve accomplished in class (you never know if something you’ve built “just for fun” can land you a cool gig).
A web developer portfolio showing websites and web pages you’ve built is useful at every stage of your career.
What is a web developer’s average salary?
According to Burning Glass, the median web developer salary is $80,978. That can rise rapidly for those with the right combination of skills and experience; for example, those in Burning Glass’s 90th percentile for web developer salary can pull down $109,793 per year.
Meanwhile, the 2020 edition of the Dice Tech Salary Report lists the average web developer salaries at $77,615, down 4.5 percent between 2018 and 2019. That’s considerably below other professions such as cloud engineer ($128,347), security engineer ($121,228), and database administrator ($104,127), as well as below the overall average for all tech occupations ($94,000 in 2019).
However, it’s important to keep in mind that “average” takes into account the full spectrum of workers, from newbies all the way up to those with decades of web-development work; many web developers earn quite a bit more.
Tenure as a web developer has an outsized impact on how much web developers can earn, as you might expect. Here’s the Burning Glass breakdown of how experience correlates with pay over the long term:
Those with nearly a decade of experience as a web developer can pull down six-figure (or nearly six-figure) salaries. And how does education factor into all of this? Fortunately, Burning Glass gives us a breakdown of education and web developer salary, as well:
It’s important to note that 89.4 percent of web developer positions ask for a bachelor’s degree and nothing higher; in other words, you don’t need a master’s or doctorate for web developer positions, which opens up the sub-industry considerably.
What are the most valuable skills for a web developer?
Burning Glass suggests that the following skills pop up most often in job postings:
There’s also considerable emphasis on “soft skills” such as communication and teamwork; although many freelance web developers might spend the majority of their time working alone, it’s a simple fact that most of these developers operate as part of a larger team. Soft skills allow you to secure the team’s buy-in for your ideas, and can help you navigate the issues that inevitably pop up.
As with the bulk of technology jobs, keep in mind that web development evolves quickly, and that the tools you know today may iterate (or become outdated completely) in the months and years ahead. Make it a point to continually educate yourself, and you’ll find future employers impressed with what you bring to the table.