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Web development is an exciting, dynamic field that involves designing and building websites and web applications. Web developer jobs require a creative, problem-solver mindset and programming skills.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the addition of 45,400 new web developer jobs between 2021 and 2031, noting that there were already 197,100 of these professionals as of 2021. This 23% growth projection signals continued demand for web development skills.
In this guide, we explore the career outlook and salary trends for web developers and offer insights for anyone interested in pursuing this career.
What Does a Web Developer Do?
Web developers design, build, and maintain websites and web applications. A typical day on the job for these professionals includes creating user-friendly websites that meet clients' needs.
Work environments for web developers vary: They can work at small startups and large corporations or as independent contractors. Collaboration with other professionals, such as designers, project managers, and content creators, is often necessary.
In the digital age, the role of web developers is critical, as businesses need an online presence to stay relevant and competitive. As such, the work of web developers is vital to the larger industry landscape.
However, these workers can also face challenges, such as keeping up with rapidly evolving technologies and addressing accessibility and cybersecurity issues.
How Much Can You Earn as a Web Developer?
The average annual salary for web developers varies depending on location, industry, experience, education, and specialization. According to the BLS, web developers and digital designers in the United States earn an average salary of $78,300 as of 2021 — more than $30,000 higher than the average salary for all occupations.
The BLS also reports that, for this career, the lowest 10% of earners average $38,550 per year, while the highest 10% of earners average $168,200, with industries like software publishing, finance, and insurance paying the highest average salaries overall.
Median Annual Salary of Web Developers, 2021
Web Developer Salary by Experience
As is common across industries, web developers earn higher salaries as they gain more experience and expertise. For example, web developers with twenty or more years of experience average a salary more than $30,000 higher than their entry-level counterparts. These increases can result from performance-based raises as well as promotions into management and leadership roles.
We explore experience-related trends in compensation below. It is important to note the figures in the following table may include base salaries, bonuses, and other additional earnings from employers.
Web Developer Salary by Education
Education level factors into web developer salaries. Although formal education is not always required for careers in web development, having a degree in a field like information technology or computer science can increase earning potential and help aspiring web developers qualify for more jobs.
Similarly, a degree in computer science or a related field can result in higher pay than a degree in a non-technical field. Computer science programs provide a more comprehensive education in programming languages and other technical skills that employers seek when hiring web developers.
Completing a coding bootcamp — a program offering intensive training in web development — can also lead to higher wages. Though bootcamps provide valuable skills and experience, not all employers may value them as highly as traditional degree programs.
The table below, which draws from limited Payscale data, reflects the average salaries by degree level for web developers.
Discover which education path is right for you:
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Web Developer Salary by Location
Another factor impacting salary is location. Typically, web developers earn higher wages in areas with higher population densities and higher costs of living. Because expenses may be greater in these areas, however, the increased pay may not translate to increased purchasing power.
In addition, a region's demand for web developers' skills can also increase their earning potential. For example, tech hub cities that headquarter startups and large companies tend to offer these workers higher salaries than cities with fewer opportunities in this industry.
|State||Average Annual Wage||Percent Above the National Average|
|New York, New York||$78,030||25.7%|
|Los Angeles, California||$74,460||19.9%|
|State||Number of Web Developers Employed||Average Annual Wage|
Career Outlook for Web Developers
The BLS projects a 30% increase in employment for web developers between 2021 and 2031, much faster than the rate of growth projected for all occupations. Among the drivers for this growth is businesses' increasing need for robust online presences and the growing popularity of mobile devices, which require mobile-responsive websites and applications.
As with average wages, the demand for web developers varies by location and industry. Cities with a high concentration of technology companies, such as San Francisco and New York, may offer more job opportunities for web developers. Similarly, industries such as e-commerce, healthcare, and education may demand more web developers than others.
Factors that may impact web developers' employability in the coming years include the continued evolution of web technologies, changes in consumer behavior, and the increasing importance of website accessibility and cybersecurity.
Employment Outlook for Web Developers, 2021-31
Best Locations for Web Developers
According to 2022 BLS data, California, New York, and Washington are the three states employing the highest number of web developers. These states are home to areas like Silicon Valley and Seattle, where demand for web developers is high due to the presence of tech companies.
Rural areas tend to have fewer job opportunities for web developers than large metropolitan areas. However, the remote work trend — accelerated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic — has reduced locational barriers and allows more web developers to work without relocating to big cities.
|Top-Employing States||Number of Web Developers Employed||Average Annual Wage|
|State||Percentage Projected Change, 2020-30||Average Annual Openings|
Future Careers for Web Developers
Continuing education like advanced degrees and professional certifications can help web developers stay up-to-date on emerging trends and technologies. Alongside further experience, educational credentials can help these professionals qualify for leadership roles like managing teams of developers or overseeing large-scale web development projects.
Web developers can also work in areas like user experience design, digital marketing, and software engineering. To qualify for these roles, web developers may need additional skills and experience beyond web development, including project management, data analysis, or design.
Skills in high-demand areas such as mobile development, cybersecurity, or website accessibility can also increase employability and earning potential.
FAQ About Web Developer Salaries and Careers
How much does a web developer make right out of school?
According to March 2023 Payscale data, the average salary for entry-level web developers is $52,170. Actual starting wages will vary by company, location, and educational attainment.
Do web developers get paid well?
According to the BLS, the 2021 average salary for web developers was $78,300. This figure is more than $30,000 above the national average wage for all jobs in that same year. Thus, web developers earn higher-than-average salaries.
What industries need web developers?
Industries with the highest need for web developers include technology, e-commerce, healthcare, education, media, and finance. However, any industry requiring a website or web application can benefit from web developers' expertise.
Are careers in web development worth pursuing?
Data from the BLS indicates that the average wage for web developers in 2021 exceeded the national average wage for all occupations. The career is also projected to grow much faster than average from 2021 to 2031, which suggests continued demand for workers with these skills in the coming years.
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