Is Web Development Oversaturated in 2024?
The world of web development has seen massive growth over the past decade. As more businesses move online and consumers increasingly rely on websites and apps, demand for skilled web developers continues to rise. However, with coding bootcamps churning out new graduates, and resources like YouTube making it easier than ever to learn, some speculate that the web development job market has become oversaturated.
So what’s the real story? Let’s take a data-driven look at the current state of the industry.
The Surging Demand for Web Developers
First, it’s important to understand just how much demand there is for web developers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for software developers and web developers are projected to grow by 16% by 2032 – much faster than the average across all occupations. And a recent report by TechRepublic found that 91% of polled companies said they plan to maintain or increase their current number of web developers.
The reason is simple: virtually every modern business needs an online presence and people with the technical skills to build one. As technology continues advancing into new areas like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and the Internet of Things, demand for skilled web developers only promises to increase.
So by the numbers, it’s evident that demand is surging, not shrinking.
Growth in Web Development Education
With demand at an all-time high, it’s no surprise that more people are pursuing education in web development. Coding bootcamps like General Assembly, Hack Reactor, and Fullstack Academy saw enrolment grow by over 50% from 2018 to 2020. Free resources like FreeCodeCamp also make it easier than ever to gain coding skills. And 36% of web developers today are self-taught.
This influx of people gaining web development skills has led some to speculate that the entry-level job market is oversaturated. However, the reality is more nuanced.
Higher education growth follows basic economics: rising demand leads to more people entering training programs. But many bootcamp grads still struggle to land that crucial first job. And more candidates for entry-level roles has resulted in even stronger preferences for candidates that stand out.
Overall, growing education options have made the candidate pool wider – but not necessarily deeper. There’s still a shortage of mid-level and senior developers, which is where the largest deficit exists.
Challenges Facing the Industry
Rising supply and demand has come with some growing pains in the web development industry.
With more junior developers fighting for entry-level jobs, competition is fierce. It’s no longer enough to have basic HTML and CSS skills. Employers want to see complex projects built with modern frameworks and technologies like React, Node.js and database languages. Soft skills like communication, critical thinking and ability to work on teams have also become crucial.
The consolidation of traditional web agencies has also led to shifts in available jobs. Startups and product companies now offer the majority of opportunities. And employers almost always want to see a strong portfolio demonstrating skills and experience – especially for junior roles.
Can web developers work from home? Freelancing and remote work has also become extremely prevalent. Many developers are leaving behind the idea of a typical 9-5 job and pursuing contract-based projects they can work on from anywhere. Although this provides more flexibility, it requires far more self-motivation and adaptability.
So in terms of challenges, competition and expectations for junior candidates have definitely intensified. Succeeding requires much more than just technical skills – standing out to employers is critical.
4 Tips for Standing Out as a Web Developer
Fortunately, with some strategic positioning, stellar web development candidates can still stand head and shoulders above the competition.
Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science
Want to know the best path on how to become a web developer? Even though it’s possible to enter web development with a coding bootcamp or self-study, having an undergraduate degree in computer science provides a ton of benefits. A BS in CS signals deeper analytical skills and foundational knowledge that employers value.
Coursework builds problem-solving, collaboration and communication abilities that translate directly to job performance. And new CS graduates with internship experience become highly coveted.
So now more than ever, it’s abundantly clear, getting a bachelor’s degree in the field of computer science can give you the foundation you need to stick out from the field.
Specialize and Build a Killer Portfolio
Being a generalist was once enough to land a good web development job. Now, specializing is vital for standing out and positioning yourself as an expert. For example, front-end react developers have an easier path than those simply marketing themselves as generic full-stack devs.
Alongside specialization, an impressive portfolio is absolutely vital. Employers want to see sophisticated, complex projects using industry-standard tools and frameworks. No portfolio means trying to stand out on resume skills alone – and that’s not enough.
Get Certifications in High-Demand Areas
Certificates from vendors like AWS, Google Cloud and Salesforce demonstrate deeper skills in high-value areas like cloud infrastructure, security and platforms. While no substitute for hands-on skills, targeted certs can provide a leg up against other candidates. They signal expertise that hiring managers find very valuable.
Learn High-Income Skills Like AI and Machine Learning
Emerging technical areas will soon dominate web development. By gaining skills today in fields like AI, Machine Learning, AR/VR development and Blockchain programming, junior developers position themselves for very in-demand roles.
These skills require significant self-education investment. But dedicating time to build projects leveraging technologies like TensorFlow, Spark AR Studio and Ethereum provides a major edge today. And they align developers with the highest income and growth opportunities on the horizon.
Promising Signs for the Future of Web Development
Despite definite challenges, there are still promising signs for web developers entering the field today:
- Hiring demand remains extremely high for mid-level and senior web developers across industries. Candidates that make it 2-3 years gain very strong job prospects.
- Salaries keep rising – the average US web developer salary recently broke $80k annually, not including lucrative equity compensation at tech startups.
- Web development is more global than ever before. Location matters much less, and software lets developers collaborate from anywhere.
- New technologies bring new opportunities in areas like human-computer interaction, cybersecurity, distributed computing and more.
For those learning web development today, versatility, persistence and continual learning are key. While the entry-level market is highly competitive, opportunities further up the ladder are abundant. Candidates who strategically invest in the right skills position themselves to thrive in the long run.
If you’re interested in this exciting field, and are serious about your future in it, reach out to Jessup University to talk about your options. Let’s get you the skills necessary to start a promising career!