Web developers work for a long time

Career entry as a web developer: earnings, tasks, skills

Male domain web development

It's still a man's job, web development. "We would be very happy if even more girls would apply for developer jobs," they say at Jimdo, a Hamburg-based company that develops software that anyone can use to build their own website. No wonder - the development team is clearly male dominated here. But there are web developers. One of them is Martina Freundorfer, who has been working for the used car platform Mobile International since 2010 and develops content for five marketplaces in nine languages ​​from Berlin. She studied computer science at the Munich University of Applied Sciences. "After that it was no problem at all to find a job," says the 28-year-old. Her first position was 1 & 1 Internet AG, she was there for almost three years. "The job market looks good," she says happily, "I regularly receive inquiries from other companies." Desired activity: Senior Web Developer. "I'm happy to have chosen this› men's direction ‹," says Freundorfer, who is currently studying psychology on the side. Even her mother was a computer scientist. “That's probably why I started studying computers at an early age.” Now she wants to be a role model for other women herself. And combine computer science and psychology, in the form of intuitive human-machine interaction, "in order to make life easier for people".

What does a web developer have to be able to do?

"It's not that easy to find good web developers," says Karl Pitrich, Chief Technology Officer at Lusini.de, a site that sells catering supplies. "Even when we talk to colleagues, we see that there may be a qualified applicant available for 25 vacancies." The problem: Many applicants have an understanding of graphic design and HTML. "This is not only no longer sufficient for our platform," says Pitrich. "This is about real software development, whereby the candidates also have to have an eye for design and usability." In general, user-friendliness is playing an increasingly important role. Websites in particular must be easy to understand and intuitive to use. In addition, it is important to be prepared for the fact that people are increasingly using smartphones and tablet computers for the Internet. Since the number of pixels is limited on mobile phones, websites cannot be displayed like on traditional computers. The design has to adapt to the screen sizes and the different platforms. There is also a lot of discussion about the integration of Flash animations, which may disappear again under certain circumstances.

Web developer in the age of responsive design

Since smartphones and tablets show “enormous growth rates”, a “new, significant technology field” is emerging here, ”says Olaf Kempin, managing director of univativ, a company with 550 employees that places students and graduates across Germany in projects alongside or after their studies Given the current dynamics in this market segment, however, it is difficult to predict which technologies will establish themselves here in the medium and long term, ”says Kempin. He still sees the technological focus in Java and Microsoft - in connection with appropriate database knowledge, especially Oracle and MS SQL. However, if you want to become a web developer at Lusini, Angular, Knockout, JSON (P), ExtJS4 or Selenium should not be foreign words. "In general, it doesn't hurt to be multilingual as a developer," says the Hamburg IT company Jimdo. In the meantime, programming languages ​​such as Python or Ruby are increasingly being used in the various teams, depending on the areas of responsibility. In general, developers are currently in "a very comfortable situation". Well-trained specialists are in great demand almost everywhere. It is therefore up to the company to offer the most attractive workplace possible. And it's not just about the salary.

"The career prospects of all graduates of our courses are extremely good," says Hans Decker, managing dean at the Faculty of Computer Science at TU Dortmund University. “You've probably never been as good as the past three or four years. Of course, this also applies to web developers. "But that does not mean that every graduate will find his dream job," Kempin explains, "because everyone only wants the best". Of course, the academic performance would have to be right, "but that alone is not enough". In international corporations in particular, the processes across language, culture and national borders are organized based on division of labor. There you are looking for candidates who can move in such structures. "And you don't learn that on campus, but through suitable internships and student jobs," says Kempin. This is where the reformed study system, with its highly schooled courses, reaches its limits.

Future prospects for web developers

“The ideal solution,” explains Jan Schlie, web developer at Jimdo, “is to bring a lot of initiative with you. From nothing, comes nothing! You have to take with you what is possible, keep listening in meetings with the developers and not give up, even if you only understand the train station at first. "It is important to have an understanding of" the other side, "says the media designer - you have to be familiar with the design and the technology. "Some design courses slowly develop in an increasingly technical direction, which is really good." He advises: try out, do, read a lot, acquire knowledge yourself and go where you can exchange ideas with other developers.

Jan Schlie is not alone in his opinion. In a survey carried out by univativ among 1,000 students and graduates, 77 percent of the study participants recommend their next generation to gain subject-relevant practical experience in addition to their studies. Almost 45 percent of those surveyed recommend international experience. When it comes to soft skills, flexibility, commitment, the ability to work in a team and customer orientation come in the first four places among the competencies most in demand by companies. However, customer orientation ranks last among future specialists and managers. "Obviously, the customer doesn't even appear in the course," Kempin suspects.

Web Developer Salary: Freelance or Commercial?

The question of salary remains: many companies are keeping a low profile here. "It all depends on what kind of experience you already have as a beginner" is a sentence that you hear again and again. And the salary range is huge in the world of web portals, online retailers or network media. In a salary index for the specialist magazine c ›t, web designers come to a little more than 30,000 euros a year, while web programmers come to just under 40,000 euros. At univativ it is said that the annual target salary for ambitious young professionals with an academic degree is around 40,000 euros. With relevant practical experience and language skills, a web developer can even count on an even higher starting salary.

"Web development is still grossly underestimated," complains Karl Pitrich von Lusini. It is high time that a rethink started, because one thing is clear: Hardly any other industry is so dynamic, so promising and so ready for fresh, ambitious applicants as software development!