Web Developer Salary and Career Outlook
| Kathleen Swed
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 8% job growth for web developers and designers from 2019-2029, double the national average for all occupations.
Web developers and designers can enter the field with an associate degree or even a high school diploma. However, some employers prefer to hire those with a bachelor's degree in computer science or digital design.
On this page, readers can explore web developer salary information and job prospects throughout the United States.
What Does a Web Developer Do?
Web developers use programming languages like HTML to write website code. These professionals also fix bugs, manage upgrades, and install security measures. Sometimes they create content and contribute to a website's design and layout.
The BLS reports that the largest employers of web developers are the computer systems design and publishing industries. Many web developers are also self-employed. Web development teams typically comprise members specializing in user interface, back-end development, and maintenance. Job duties often include collaborating with executives to understand their organization's web presence goals.
What Is the Average Pay for Web Developers?
According to the BLS, web developers earn an average annual salary of $77,200. With experience and education, web developers can increase their salaries. As internet-based business grows, the need for skilled web developers also increases. Employers look for candidates with proficiency in programming languages and familiarity with internet publishing tools.
Location also affects a web developer's earning potential. Aspiring web developers might look for work in up-and-coming tech hubs like Texas and Colorado or established tech centers like California and Washington.
The sections below provide further details on how education, experience, and location can impact a web developer's salary.
Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Web Developer Salary by Experience
Employers value experience when hiring web developers. A portfolio of quality work from previous jobs can increase a candidate's job competitiveness. A resume with years of experience also signals proficiency in the job.
Web developer salaries can increase along with experience. PayScale reports an average annual salary of just under $51,000 for entry-level web developers as of August 2021. In contrast, late-career professionals with over 10 years of experience earn over $72,000.
Annual Salaries by Experience for Web Developers, 2021
|Years of Experience||Average Annual Salary|
|Entry-Level (<1 year)||$51,690|
|Early Career (1-4 years)||$58,380|
|Mid Career (5-9 years)||$67,530|
|Late Career (10-19 years)||$72,910|
|Experienced (20+ years)||$81,680|
Web Developer Salary by Education
Web developer salaries can also increase based on education level. Pursuing an advanced degree allows web developers to follow their interests and hone skills in programming languages, digital design, and publishing tools.
Bootcamps can also help aspiring web developers build necessary career skills. Coding bootcamps provide intensive, career-focused courses across a short time period. Prospective web developers can enroll in bootcamps offered online, in person, or in hybrid formats.
The table below explores the difference in web developer salaries across education levels.
Average Salaries by Education, 2021
|Education Level||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Wage|
|AAS in Web Development||$17/hour||$54,000|
|BS in Web Development||$20/hour||$67,000|
|BS in Web Design and Development||$21/hour||$63,000|
|MS in Web Design and Development||$22/hour||$68,000|
|MCS in Web Development||$29/hour||$92,000|
Some web developer programs, particularly online and hybrid programs, encourage students to continue working while studying. Working students can continue to earn a salary and gain experience while completing their degrees. Some employers may offer tuition reimbursement to their workers to help fund their education.
Aspiring web developers can also earn a certification through the International Web Association's certified web professional program.
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Web Developer Salary by Location
Location also influences web developer salaries. According to the BLS, web developers in Washington earn the highest salaries nationwide with an annual mean wage of $133,790. Amazon and Microsoft are both headquartered in Seattle, offering job opportunities for web developers.
California ranks second in the nation for web developer salaries. The state serves as the home base for Apple, Intel, Facebook, Oracle, and Google.
According to the BLS, web developers in Washington earn the highest salaries nationwide with an annual mean wage of $133,790.
Aspiring web developers should consider the cost of living when choosing a location. California, for example, ranks as the second most expensive state in the nation. The rise of remote work means that web developers can often choose where to live. Metropolitan areas offer many job opportunities for web developers, but salaries may stretch farther outside of major urban centers.
Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Web Developers, 2020
|Metropolitan Area||Number of Web Developers Employed||Annual Mean Wage|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||5,990||$113,910|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||3,110||$112,440|
|Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA||110||$99,260|
Top-Paying States for Web Developers, 2020
|State||Annual Mean Wage||Percentage Above the National Mean Wage ($85,490)|
Web Development Career Outlook
Data from the BLS indicates a positive job outlook for web developers. The organization projects an 8% increase in jobs between 2019-2029. Related positions also show promise. The BLS projects 11% growth across all computer and information technology occupations during the same period.
Aspiring web developers can take advantage of the strong job market. According to Projections Central, 46 states and U.S. territories will see growth in web developer jobs above 5% between 2018-2028. The web development field also allows for career mobility. Professionals with relevant degrees or experience can advance into jobs as senior web developers or software engineers.
The following sections cover the top locations, salaries, and industries for web developers.
+8% from 2019-2029
Best Locations for Web Developers
Web developers benefit from strong demand across the country. Regardless of location, businesses of all sizes need functioning websites.
Some areas maintain particularly strong tech reputations. Ambitious tech professionals can seek out exciting opportunities in these hubs. According to the BLS, metropolitan areas in California, New York, and Washington employ especially large numbers of web developers. The area around Washington, D.C. also ranks high.
Aspiring web designers can also find a wealth of opportunities in up-and-coming states that encourage tech business.
Best States for Web Developers
Thanks to high demand nationwide, web developers can ultimately decide which state best fits their preferences.
The states with the highest employment rates for web developers include California, with 22,020 web developers, and Washington, with 16,220. Both locations also rank among the top-paying states. Web developer jobs in these states center around metropolitan areas like Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
Web developers looking for the highest-paying jobs in nonmetropolitan areas might consider Northwestern Ohio with an annual mean wage of $74,540. Web developers in West Central-Southwest New Hampshire earn an annual mean wage of $71,300.
Aspiring web developers can also find opportunities in states with up-and-coming tech industries. Projections Central projects high growth levels for web developers in Utah, Washington, Colorado, Nevada, and Texas between 2018-2028.
Top-Employing States for Web Developers, 2020
|Top-Employing States||Number of Web Developers Employed||Annual Mean Wage|
States With the Greatest Projected Increase in Employment for Web Developers, 2018-28
|State||Percent Projected Change, 2018-28||Average Annual Openings|
|Greatest Projected Percentage Increase|
|Most Projected Average Annual Openings|
Best Cities for Web Developers
Web developers can also narrow their location search to a particular metropolitan area. The best cities for web developers include Seattle, New York City, and Los Angeles.
Washington, D.C. also employs many web developers, with the BLS reporting 6,450 as of May 2020. The metropolitan area extends to Arlington, Virginia and Alexandria, West Virginia.
While the cost of living can run higher in cities, web developers might choose a metropolitan area for its amenities. Sporting events, restaurants, museums, and concerts may draw young professionals to urban centers. Another major benefit is that web developers enjoy higher salaries in urban areas.
The tables below illustrate some of the top-employing metropolitan areas for web developers as of 2020, along with web developer salaries in these cities.
Top-Employing Metropolitan Areas for Web Developers, 2020
|Metropolitan Area||Number of Web Developers Employed||Annual Mean Wage|
|New York-Newark-Jersey City, New York, NJ, PA||13,380||$ 91,290|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA||7,760||$84,680|
|Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC, VA, MD, WV||6,450||$90,280|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||5,990||$113,910|
Top Industries for Web Developers
Web developers can choose to work in a variety of industries. Potential sectors include healthcare, finance, and software publishing.
Job-seekers might consider which industries provide the highest salaries or positive job outlooks. For example, the BLS projects that rising demand in online retail sales and mobile applications will drive demand for web developers. As the table below illustrates, the top-paying industries for web developers include software publishing, finance, and credit intermediation.
Large companies can offer many benefits, including larger teams. These environments may provide more focused job duties and greater advancement opportunities than smaller environments. Some web developers may prefer to work for smaller companies where they can take on a variety of duties. The BLS reports that 10% of web developers work for themselves.
Top-Paying Industries for Web Developers, 2018
|Top-Paying Industries||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities||1,250||$106,690|
|Credit Intermediation and Related Activities||2,180||$102,200|
|Monetary Authorities-Central Bank||150||$100,860|
|Scheduled Air Transportation||100||$100,010|
Employment by Industry for Web Developers, 2018
|Industries with Highest Employment||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|Computer Systems Design and Related Services||30,290||$83,070|
|Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services||9,490||$75,200|
|Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services||8,320||$77,830|
|Other Information Services||8,220||$88,830|
Upward Mobility for Web Developers
Web developers can take advantage of advancement opportunities as they gain experience in the field. As of July 2021, PayScale reports that senior web developers earn an average annual salary of $87,920. With 10 years of experience, a web developer's salary can increase to an average of $92,460.
Senior developers often need a bachelor's degree and four years of experience in the field. The job involves user interface design and back-end website construction. These developers also manage teams and resolve problems.
Software engineers may come from a web development background. According to PayScale, these tech professionals make an average annual salary of $87,530 as of August 2021. Software engineers with 10-19 years of experience can earn an average salary of $106,190.
Software engineers need strong knowledge of computer programming languages. They usually hold at least a bachelor's degree in computer science. Because employers prefer practical experience in the field, web development can act as a stepping stone into software engineering positions.
Learn More About Web Developers
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How to Become a Web Developer
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Web Development Degrees
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Web Development Certificates
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Frequently Asked Questions
While salaries vary by location, PayScale reports that entry-level web developers earn an average annual salary of $50,690 as of August 2021.
According to the BLS, web developers and digital designers make an annual median pay of $77,200. Salaries vary and can increase based on factors like experience, education, and location.
Yes. The BLS projects 8% growth for web development jobs between 2019-2029, double the national average for all occupations. Projections Central projects much higher growth for web development jobs in Washington and California between 2018-2028.
As with all occupations, web developers must choose positions that suit their preferences. Jobs at large companies may carry more stress than those at smaller organizations. Web developers enjoy many choices in industry and can also work for themselves.
Featured Image: Luis Alvarez / DigitalVision / Getty Images
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