According to Robert Half Technology, IT jobs are expected to climb 5.7% throughout 2015. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) further predicts employment for all computer occupations to increase by 22% come 2020. However, one field that’ll experience more growth than others is web development. In fact, BLS believes that web developers, along with information security analysts and computer network architects, will have 367,900 jobs in 2020.
Whether you’re new to this field or have years of experience under your belt, you should be aware of the information below to truly succeed.
With the small business sector expected to grow, web development services will be in demand. While many start up via platforms such as Etsy or Upwork depending on their expertise, they eventually create their own websites in order to cut out the middleman and establish their own brand. Having their own website also enables businesses to stay connected with their clients and update them on their latest products and services. Moreover, they can use their sites to target a larger market without spending a lot of time or money.
Another reason for the growing importance of web development is the growth of inbound marketing. According to the latest research by the CMO Council, 26% of all marketing dollars will be directed towards custom, branded content. As many businesses catch onto this trend, your services will be necessary to ensure that the website is appealing enough for visitors to stay and browse through the content the client invested heavily in curating and developing.
Similarly, many brands will need web developers to optimize their sites for mobile access. Now that Google is accommodating mobile audiences and favoring sites that are optimized for mobile use, companies can’t afford to miss out on the ranking boost the search engine promises. eCommerce sites need to especially jump on this bandwagon as Goldman Sachs forecasts that mobile commerce will grow to be nearly half of eCommerce (46.6%) in 2018.
In the upcoming year, two types of companies will offer web development positions: Tech Leaders and Legacy Tech Companies.
At companies categorized as tech leaders, web developers are entrusted with developing and maintaining applications that are heavy on the client-side. As a result, they can ensure that pages load instantly, increasing users’ expectations and delivering more interactive content. However, it’s always useful to have expertise in server-side programming as modern applications utilize both technologies. Also expect to work on dynamic apps that don’t need to be refreshed, as these are equally high in demand.
As for legacy tech companies, i.e. those that deal with software that is outdated but still used by individuals or organizations, web developers will be entrusted with back end work since the applications they handle carry out most of their logic on the server side. Developers will also be working with static and less interactive web applications, i.e. traditional websites that are far from the robust applications available online today.
Currently, both tech innovators and legacy tech companies hire entry-level, front-end developers and full-stack developers. On the senior level, tech leaders are more interested in front- and back-end developers while legacy companies are recruiting skilled individuals whom they could train to become full-stack developers.
According to 2016 forecasts, front-end and back-end developers will be in demand for both entry-level and senior level positions at tech leaders. Jobs titled ‘Full stack developer’ may be harder to find at these companies, especially since they’re hunting for talented front- and back-end professionals. However, this doesn’t mean that full stack developers won’t be hired at all. Their major appeal lies in their familiarity with both front- and back-end, so they can apply for both.
On the other hand, legacy tech companies are expected to be scooping up full stack developers to fill their senior level positions. This is because they need well-rounded experts to lead a much-needed update of their technology. Meanwhile, front- and back-end developers will be restricted to the entry level and upper echelons.
Now that you’re aware of the current and future opportunities ahead of you, your best plan of action should be to familiarize yourself with front-end development and then expand your knowledge and skills to back-end development. That way, you can apply as a full-stack developer and grow more desirable to tech companies. However, once you’re hired, dig into front- or back-end development at a deeper level according to your employer’s needs.
Another bit of advice to follow comes from the TechRepublic round table of 2015. Benefitfocus Director of Product and Marketplaces Shan Fowler offered advice saying, “Developers with superior skills in big data, Hadoop, Java, and NoSQL (MongoDB), as well as HTML5 and CSS3, will have a leg up on the competition.”
So stick to these experts’ suggestions by working hard in what’s left of 2015 to become THE developer companies want to hire in 2016.