Outlook & Growth
The number of webmaster jobs is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations between 2008 and 2018. That’s because more companies are using the Internet to do business.
Companies will need webmasters to help make it easier to share information among computers. New technologies, such as wireless networks, also will lead to more jobs.People with the latest skills are expected to have excellent job opportunities.
Salary & Wages
Median annual wages of network and computer systems administrators—a group that includes webmasters—were $66,310 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $51,690 and $84,110. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $41,000, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $104,070.
What is a Webmaster?
Webmasters design, build, maintain and update websites. They carefully build and test their sites to make sure that people with different operating systems and browsers can use a website. They might build a site in a few different ways so that it is easy for different computers to understand.
Webmasters also try to make sites work faster. They keep the size of files like graphics, video and music as small as they can so that they don’t slow down the loading of the page.
Webmasters typically meet with designers, helping to decide how a site should look and work. Some webmasters also pick the kind of software, server and other equipment that will be used to support their sites.
Technical skills are of the utmost importance for a webmaster. These typically involve experience in programming languages such as C++ and Java. Knowledge of the Unix operating system is also important, as is familiarity with Internet applications such as HTML, HTTP, and XML.
Education & Degree Path
There is no set educational path to becoming a webmaster. In the early days of the web, you could get started in the field without any technical expertise at all. Now things are a little more rigid, and a BS in computer science is generally a stated preference for hiring. However, if you prove you can do the work (by showing a broad portfolio of sophisticated web sites you’ve designed, built and/or maintained), you can get hired.
Many webmasters also study art and design so that they can work better with the artists and designers who help to make websites.
Employers look for people who know how to use specific authoring tools and programming languages. They also want workers who are good at learning new computer skills.
Licensing: Getting certification—as a webmaster or as the user of a particular software tool or programming language—can also help show an employer that you’re serious about your work.
Entering the Field: The most important element to getting hired as a webmaster is having a portfolio of websites you’ve worked on, which means the most important thing you can do en route is get hands-on experience. You can start by getting an entry level job in an area such as website search engine optimization or by earning a short certificate in programming or website development. In rural areas, applicants who hold only an associate’s degree in computers or programming and a work portfolio can often find easy employment with small companies.
Career Changers: If your current company has, or could use, a website, get involved. Sketch designs or offer to help maintain the site or fix bad links. If a friend is starting a small business, offer to design her site for free in exchange for using her as a reference. Graphic designers, who work on the visual look and user interface of websites, sometimes take additional training in programming. They then move on to earn more by working on the back end of websites.
Association for Computing
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society
Software & Information Industry Association
Best Buy Online Masters Degrees in Computer Science & Information Technology
Source for salary and growth data is the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more information on careers as a webmaster, salaries, and job prospects visit: U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition, Computer Scientists and Database Administrators and the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website for kids, Webmaster, at www.bls.gov/k12/computers05.htm.