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    Is being a web developer a sustainable job?


    I live in the Uk, currently doing a web development degree at university, and have been looking towards the future.

    Considering that economies everywhere have been squeezed tight, that all countries are pushing austerity measures which means that everyone (particularly businesses) will have less money to spend - does this mean less people / businesses will be investing in websites / web technologies? are web developers really always going to be need?

    I post this here because im moreso looking for a collection of your (yes you) opinions on this.

    Web Development isnt a public sector economy, its based almost entirely in the private sector, where there are no guarantees and the market rules - so;

    Is the demand there for web developers right now?
    Will the demand be there for the foreseeable future?
    Is the market flooded with too many developers to too little jobs?
    Or are there more jobs than worthwhile candidates for them?
    Will a university degree in Web Development really help in standing out from the crowd?
    Is a Web Developer career well paid enough for someone to support a family on?


    I'd like to know your thoughts (or anyone else's, feel free to quote or paraphase) on those questions / anything else you wish to add.

    Many thanks in advance to all!


    [Also, mods - if you feel this thread is more appropriate / will get more replies in another section, please feel free to move it]
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    Considering that economies everywhere have been squeezed tight, that all countries are pushing austerity measures which means that everyone (particularly businesses) will have less money to spend - does this mean less people / businesses will be investing in websites / web technologies?
    Yes it does; but the economy is cyclical, so don't plan your entire career around the current state of the economy.

    are web developers really always going to be need?
    I can't imagine that the internet will last forever.

    Is the demand there for web developers right now?
    Will the demand be there for the foreseeable future?
    Yes. For a business that makes most of its money through its website, having a web developer is not an optional business expense. Without a functioning website the business loses its primary source of revenue and will fail.

    The state of the economy has decreased the spending of small businesses that want to have an internet presence but don't actually rely on it for sales. However, these types of clients are not where the real money is anyway.

    Is the market flooded with too many developers to too little jobs?
    Or are there more jobs than worthwhile candidates for them?
    Yes. There are lots of developers, but most of them are not worthwhile candidates.

    Will a university degree in Web Development really help in standing out from the crowd?
    Not as much as actual experience, but I can't imagine it wouldn't help some.

    Is a Web Developer career well paid enough for someone to support a family on
    It can be, although it depends on the cost of living where you live. If I had a family, my starting salary would support them easily here in the US, although I don't quite do strictly web development.
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    Oreo is right (as Oreo tends to be) but I'll weigh in as well:

    First, you're right that there are essentially zero public-sector web jobs. Even if you do land a government job, the pay will be terrible because they're not making any money off the website.

    However you also have to remember that a website scales amazingly well. If I write a website to take orders, it can take tens of thousands of orders per day, whereas the very best human salesperson in the world can only take a few hundred orders a day, and has to take breaks. Businesses that find themselves squeezed financially may look to software to help them cut some corners. I have personally written software that replaced human workers in both technical and non-technical fields.

    Is the demand there for web developers right now?
    Yes.
    Will the demand be there for the foreseeable future?
    Absolutely. While the internet won't last forever (nothing does), websites will be important for decades to come.
    Is the market flooded with too many developers to too little jobs?
    Interesting question which would take pages to answer properly. The answer is that there are high-quality dev jobs and high-quality devs, then ten times as many terrible jobs and terrible devs. All those awful home businesses and myspace-looking pages promoting small concerts or whatever are all done for $5/hr by outsourced developers who produce terrible content. On the other hand, there are well put together businesses which are dedicated to serving a large market with a quality product and they hire only the best developers.
    Or are there more jobs than worthwhile candidates for them?
    See above. You say "jobs" and then you say "worthwhile candidates." Go look at the hire-a-programmer forums right here on devshed. There's dozens of stupid little projects with poor requirements and low pay. You can certainly churn out those as fast as you want.
    Will a university degree in Web Development really help in standing out from the crowd?
    No, a portfolio will. Start now, make it nice.
    Is a Web Developer career well paid enough for someone to support a family on?
    Absolutely, if you do it right and work for a company that values its web developers. The website must (MUST) be a significant source of their income, and they must recognize that at the highest level. I worked for an auction house that did 95% of its business in the auction room and through mail catalogs, with the website doing a small portion of the business. The web developers there were low skill, low paid, and not given any perks. When I worked for a social network, where 100% of their profits come from the hard work of the developers, the devs were incredibly high skilled, incredibly well paid (some made in excess of US$150,000/yr), and treated like kings (free food and drink every day, leisure activities like video games in the office, a deal with a local bar for discounted drinks after work, etc.)


    Final thoughts: Web dev is very much in demand, but you have to be careful that your skills don't stagnate. Don't be caught only knowing ASP when everyone has moved on to PHP. Keep your skills fresh, keep taking side projects, work on your own portfolio, and always be looking for new opportunities. Most companies don't handle programming as a recurring event, they'll hire a few devs to make a new product or make a whole list of improvements, and when that's done they'll either cut them loose or let them stagnate. Don't let that happen, and you'll be fine.
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    Just want to say a massive thank you to both of you, Oreo and Maniac.

    I've posted this same thread on a few forums and got little or no responses.

    Not only have you both responded, but you've both responded so fully!

    Its really lit a fire in me (yes, even Oreo's post), the future no longer looks so bleak!


    Any further recommendations for an aspiring Web Developer (thats still in uni) -

    What languages are currently in trend / would you recommend learning? (and dont just say chinese )

    What about a portfolio? Maniac, you mentioned making it nice, but what sort of things should i include? Is it a case of as soon as i finish my Degree, whoring myself out to all local businesses / cheap jobs, just to get my experience under my belt? Then throwing all that on a portfolio site?




    Also, if anyone else wishes to contribute to the thread in any way, feel free!
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    Any further recommendations for an aspiring Web Developer (thats still in uni) -
    Get involved in and contribute to an open source project if you have the skills to do so; if you don't, start your own open source project. This is a good way to start building your portfolio.

    What languages are currently in trend / would you recommend learning? (and dont just say chinese )
    At a bare minimum for general web development you need to be familiar with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, some dialect of SQL (MySQL, MSSQL, Postgresql, etc.), and some server-side language (PHP, ASP, JSP, etc.). Knowing how to do things like configure Apache is useful too.
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  11. Sarcky
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    Any further recommendations for an aspiring Web Developer (thats still in uni)
    Start contributing to something that people can see. This devshed account as well as my phpfreaks account are on my resume. If you can get to a position where you're recognized as an expert in a large public forum, that's the best thing for you. It took me 3 years to become a mod here at devshed, so it's probably too late for you to start on that path, but like Oreo said you can contribute to OSS projects. Submit a patch to wordpress, symfony, or something else that plenty of people use.

    What languages are currently in trend / would you recommend learning? (and dont just say chinese )
    PHP is king right now, but other languages are trending. C# or Java would be a good one to learn if you want to work for a large company. However, if you're trying to work for small companies and have a resume that's more impressive to programmers, I'd recommend Python.

    What about a portfolio? Maniac, you mentioned making it nice, but what sort of things should i include? Is it a case of as soon as i finish my Degree, whoring myself out to all local businesses / cheap jobs, just to get my experience under my belt? Then throwing all that on a portfolio site?
    You could start making local business websites, or you could simply make your own site with a bunch of demo apps. Items in my portfolio that I did not make for my full-time job:
    - A small address book application written in PHP that automatically does reverse lookups using the yellowpages.com website, and also fetches flickr images to use as contact icons and will dump output files suitable for outlook and cell phones.
    - A graphics application that visualizes large non-numeric data sets like sales figures across multiple departments by week. Very impressive and handy. Ajax powered, responds to mouse-overs, shows trending information, etc.
    - A small game review website run by me and my friend zoe (currently offline because zoe doesn't pay her hosting bills).
    - Devshed and phpfreaks moderator accounts
    - Speeches I've done at conferences and private educational meetings on the topics of search suggestions, data warehousing, the new namespacing in PHP, arrays, and class usage.
    - Articles I've written for print magazines and websites.


    I can show you some of the items above if you want, but basically anything you've done that would impress them, put it on your resume or make a portfolio. You can make small business websites, small advertising websites, or even volunteer and do pro-bono work for nonprofits. Something that's not in my portfolio (since I have enough already) is a set of websites I did for food banks across western canada, my mom runs one of them.
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    Thanks for sharing the post. This is a very interesting post for the web developer.

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