Web Developer A Creative Career Choice

Web Developer A Creative Career Choice
Web development is a fast growing form of artistic expression that uses computer programming and technical writing skills to create Web sites. Web developers earn an appealing salary that increases as specialized skills are introduced. Formal education and training play a vital role in the preparation and experience of a developer. A survey indicates that most companies today have a Web site and need the skills of developers. Legal issues for developers and employers are introduced. The steps needed to follow a career choice in Web development are outlined. Recommendations and educational needs are discussed. For high school students, this career focuses on aspects of the Web development industry from programming to graphics. Web Development Project
I propose to reflect how the fast growing industry of Web development offers a creative and diverse opportunity to work in a field that fulfills the needs of the employers of today. I will address why Web development is a dynamic career choice for high school students, and how to get started in this career.
Almost all successful companies have a working Web site and depend on it for supplying everything from information to the actual purchase of products and services. The needs of these employers are fulfilled by Web developers who are trained to not only publish Web sites, but to create a vibrant presentation that supplies information and services to their clients. The Web site we need did not magically appear; it was the detailed work of a skilled Web developer.
My interest in Web development came from experience learning to design and build my own personal Web site. It is an outlet that allowed me to combine computer skills and creativity. I enjoyed the creative aspect of designing, but I also became interested in learning more about coding and computer languages. The factors between design and coding is the difference between a Web designer and a Web developer. I learned basic coding (HyperText Markup Language, otherwise known as HTML) which is a computer language to create Web sites, by using several software programs. Reading and researching the internet helped a great deal in areas I needed to develop. I have advanced by keeping up with the newest technologies and learning the programs associated with those technologies. Finally, the most important reason to choose Web development as a career is because Web sites are a necessary communication instrument today.

Educational Considerations and Salary
Without formal training, opportunities in the Web development industry are limited. In choosing a program to advance my skills and earn a degree, the field of visual communications best suited my needs. Most Web developers have a bachelor?s degree or higher in computer science. In order to work in the most basic capacity a Web developer must have a good knowledge of specific computer languages. Internships and contract positions are also a good way to get started in a Web development career. Many people start in an intern program and learn from senior developers. ?This career field is growing at a faster than average rate? ("Web developer," 2007). Salary increases come with experience and specialized areas. ?According to a Computerworld magazine survey, average earnings in 2005 were $57,017? ("Web developer," 2007). The education I complete will open more opportunities for employment and a better salary. ?The best way to be hired as a Web designer is to have a good portfolio, and be able to demonstrate a range of skills? (Thisner, 2004, para. 9). ?Although not required, certification is helpful in proving your abilities to an employer? ("Web developer," 2007). Plan a training program by enhancing or gaining the skills needed to be placed in a job. Consider all types of training including: instructor-led, computer-based, online training and text. ?Nationally, Web developers are earning Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) certifications? ("Web developer," 2007). Prices for training will vary depending on the type of training used. Ultimately, in my research I hope to learn more about new technology, legal considerations, and the growth of the job market for Web developers. Figure 1 shows considerations for becoming a Web Developer:

Figure. Considerations for becoming a Web developer.
New Technologies
New jobs are still growing and being created by the internet. Most companies today have a Web site and training Web technologists has changed from a speedy training session to a more refined method that considers the companies individual needs. ?Because of the demand for Web developers, you should talk to your employer about experience you could get internally? (Chapman, 2007). Budgets are not allowing companies to hire webmasters, instead they are using existing employees to change or update Web sites. ??technical Web developers are now taking on more roles, thus needing to add more skills to perform their jobs properly? (Thisner, 2004, para. 2). With technologies creating new tools the developer having specialized skills will become more important. One such technology has been launched by a company called Goozmo. They are fast growing and have entered the industry as a full-service Web development company according to Goozmo?s founder Benjamin Reed. ?We specialize in tools to let people manage their own Web site easily,? said Reed (Heglin, 2008). Internet training has been divided into two main areas: Web design and Web development. Web design includes the visual and design elements of the industry while Web development concentrates more on the technical part of the industry, including programming. To sum things up, a good reference for developers is developer.com (2008), a Web site that offers many solutions, forums, and news on the latest technology for Web developers. Figure 2 shows the ?About Us? page of Goozmo:


Figure 2. A screen shot showing the informational page at Goozmo.

A Survey
How important is a Web site? A survey was conducted to determine the importance of a Web site in the workplaces of today. Respondents consisted of five employed people aged 18 years or older. Of the five respondents, two are employed in a career in a professional occupation, two are employed in a technical skilled occupation, and one is employed in a clerical occupation. Survey results of five respondents indicate that 100% of them are employed by a company that has a Web site. Survey results reflect that Web sites that are updated often are 60%, frequently is 20%, seldom is 10%, and never is 10%. Respondents indicate that 90% of companies Web sites have been updated. The importance factors of having a company Web site were ranked on a scale from 1 through 5, 1 being the most important factor and 5 being the least important factor. These factors included: Revenue (online purchases), Advertisement, Information (updates, education, changes to company), Leisure and Email. The results reflect information as being the most important factor. Surveyed workers indicate that 100% of the time, a Web designer or Web developer is employed to maintain the company Web site. The final results of the survey reflect Web sites to be of high importance in the workplaces of today. In conclusion, these results further stress the need for skilled developers in a growing industry.
Becoming a Web Developer

The following are instructions for the steps needed to obtain a career as a Web developer. Throughout these instructions recommendations for advancing in the field of Web development are also included.

Personal Characteristics and Skills

1. Perform a self evaluation to determine these factors:

Motivation
Accuracy of work
Artistic and creative abilities
Ability to accept criticism
Ability to work alone, with a team, and under pressure
The understanding and ability to program in computer languages
Technical and design skills
Knowledge of the internet and trends
Project management skills
Problem-solving skills
The ability to multitask and manage time

2. Determine weak areas.

3. Develop a plan to strengthen personal skills. Suggestions for plans are as follows:

Learn HTML. (HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. It is a computer language used to create documents on the WorldWide Web).

Experiment with various software applications such as Macromedia? Dreamweaver?, Adobe? Photoshop?, Macromedia? Fireworks?, Microsoft Office FrontPage?, and Macromedia? FlashTM.

Take some free courses offered online for software applications.

Practice building a Web page.

Education and training

1. Consider the following courses in high school as preparation for more extensive
training:

Mathematics
Art
English
Technology
Graphics
Computer science

2. Subscribe to a trade journal for Web developers.

3. Enroll in a college program such as Computer Science or Computer Programming. Most Web developers hold a bachelor?s degree.

4. Learn more computer languages such as: PerlTM, XML?, OpenGIS? SQL, JavaTM,
javascriptTM, ASP, and Macromedia? Cold Fusion?.

5. Develop a portfolio of work completed.

6. Stay in constant touch with latest technologies and developments to build skills.

7. Consider training courses to earn a certification. Web developers earn CIW, Certified Internet Webmaster certifications. This is not required, but can be beneficial for employment and advancement.


Legal Issues
A Web developer should know the laws surrounding the profession. Good technical writing skills play an enormous role in the proper development of a Web site. PC Magazine Online (2007) reported, ?Determined to earn revenues beyond the Web developer market, Adobe Sept. 25 released its Technical Communication Suite, a bundle of software designed to help technical writers improve the way they create technical documentation.? The ability to apply those skills in connection with legal considerations is a valuable tool. Contracts with clients should be carefully written and the Web developer should realize the liability to employers and clients. An analysis of litigation discusses various laws surrounding Web design and maintenance. It has been determined that Web-related services fall under the General Contract Law when discussing the written service agreement when certain conditions in writing go into default such as services, launch dates, and technical support. The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) gives a business warranty rights. The Tort Law may apply when deliberate withholding of data or computer malpractice is found. Recovering damages is an option, but companies may not always be able to recover them from the Web site designer. Harari (2001) stated, ?With respect to comprehensive general liability (CGL) polices, at least one court has held that data loss could be recovered? (para. 6). Insurance companies offer some general polices but most ??exclude technology-related events from coverage?? (Harari, 2001 para. 7), and it is suggested that specialized policies be considered. Finally, having a more carefully written legal agreement can eliminate many problems to the business when hiring a Web designer or developer.
Conclusion
In conclusion, although the need for developers is apparent, Web development is a dynamic career choice for high school students for three main reasons. First, it is an outlet that combines computer programming skills and creativity. Second, it offers the opportunity for advancement and a competitive salary. But most importantly, Web sites are here to stay and are a necessary means of communication and information today, especially in the business world.
Live Presentation Suggestions
When presenting this information in person, the use of a PowerPoint slide show would enhance the presentation of this material by using color and interesting effects. Graphs would be used to show data in surveys. Sound effects and visual transitions would add interest as the slides progress. An emphasis on the differences between a Web designer and Web developer would be included, possibly on poster board and easel. After the PowerPoint, I would ask the audience questions about their knowledge of some computer languages to initiate discussion and questions. Finally, a review of the material in a handout would be given after the presentation was over.

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