What are Web Programmers?

Continuing with our series of the different types of computer programmers out there, we will be discussing what a web programmer does. They often work closely with web designers who are mostly responsible for making websites look aesthetically pleasing and easy to use, depending on the audience. Simply put, web programmers are responsible for how the website works.

Websites are not things that people can build and just leave on the Internet and expect great results. As things change over time, such as company growth and diversification of products and services, websites need to be maintenanced and updated. In order to do so, programmers must know a variety of programming languages, such as C++, Java, Javascript, PHP, Python, HTML, and CSS, in order to build websites more completely and build apps within the websites.

Launching websites

When web apps are built for different platforms, it is up to web programmers to make sure that the launch of the application goes smoothly. An example of a website launch gone awry at launch time would be healthcare.gov. When the site was launched last year, the site did not work as it had been advertised for many people, becoming an embarrassment for the federal government. The website was rushed in order to meet a specific deadline. Launching websites takes a lot of time and a team of people to make sure that the website meets all of the criteria set form by the team or company and works properly as a version 1.0. Websites can always be updated later, but the first version of the website has to be stable and working for as many users as possible, unless companies are interested in having another failure like the health care website.

Updates

Web programmers are responsible for updating websites with new apps and features in order to keep up with changes in the business landscape. Web programmers have to query users to gain insight on additional application requirements for web apps. This way, they can figure out what specifications they need in order to build apps that will work with what software and hardware people are using. For example, recently, Google had made it a requirement if people wanted a YouTube account, it would be directly connected to Google+. This was a huge change to the website and the way people login and manage their channels on YouTube, and there were problems, but in the end, it has been working and updated with bug fixes to keep it running smoothly, which is another responsibility for web programmers.

Maintenance

Imagine if high traffic websites, like Facebook, Google, and YouTube, were not kept up and never updated. They would fail immensely and never amount to anything. People would leave and go someplace else that is properly maintained. Web programmers need to maintain websites to make sure they are functioning well. Coding is very difficult, and ideas on paper may not work in the real world, so programmers have to go back into the code, debug it, test it, and continue this process until they are able to make stable changes to websites. This is also why when you see major updates for websites, they are few and far between. Smaller updates take less time and are meant for maintenance.

Salary

Web programmers can make between $40,000 – $80,000 per year, depending on experience and level of work. Some can make much more than that, depending on who they work for and what they are doing. Salaries are expected to go up in the future, so learning how to code now and programming websites are good strategies to start a new life in a new career.

Now that we talked about web designers and web programmers, we can talk about the different jobs of web programmers, differentiated in two categories: front-end and back-end. Stay tuned to the blog for that information!

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What is a Web Designer?

The big world of computer programming contains many roles that need to cooperate for everything to work. Think of “computer programming” as an umbrella term for many different types of people doing different but complementary things. Today, we will discuss the meaning of a web designer, a term used in the computer programming field.

We will be begin with what we see when we look at a web page: the design.

Web Designer

A web designer handles the way a web page looks. When users access a web page, the ease with which they find necessary information determines the quality of the user experience. If the website looks ugly or feels difficult to navigate, users probably won’t return to the website. Some examples of the technologies web designers will use include HTML5, CSS3, PHP, Flash, and JavaScript.

This list outlines things that web designers have to keep in mind when deciding how to design a website:

Marketing and communication

How can we define the target group and what works with them? A web designer must consider these questions, among others, when thinking about the design of the website. For example, if we consider culture as a factor for a target group, look at the Korean website G-Market and the American website Amazon. Many websites in the Asian market contain cluttered graphics that constantly try to get your attention. However, in the North American market, Amazon treats its customers differently. They only offer what consumers find interesting based on their browsing history. Designers must understand their audience and how best to communicate with them before diving into the design of the website.

User experience 

Without appropriate labeling and an understanding of how the website works, a user cannot gain any useful information from a website. Depending on a user’s level of computer literacy, having a difficult user experience will prevent that user from using the website ever again. Great user experience allows users to gain the most from a website at any given time.

User Interactivity

In terms of user interactivity, the complexity depends on what needs to be relayed to the user. For example, if the website gives users directions to a specific location, then an interactive map would help to have. However, if the website has a more complicated purpose, then the interactivity becomes an even larger issue that must be address in design. Overall, user experience and interactivity should encourage users to continue coming back to the website.

Layout

Layout basically means the skeleton of the page, and deals with things like pixel width, alignment, grids, and others. Should all of the pages in the website have the same basic layout, or should it all be different? Aesthetically, we can appreciate it more easily if it is all consistent, but sometimes page layout has to be changed. Consider layout as the foundation and frame of the website design; everything else gets built within its parameters.

Typography

Serif? Sans serif? The types of typefaces and type styles strongly influence the way a website looks and how users interpret it. We should also note that you never want to use Comics Sans. Never, ever use Comic Sans.

Graphics

Graphics are pictures that are on the website. The designer has to decide where it is best to put them if there is also text. However, if graphics are the highlighted feature of any said website, then they have to have precedence over text. Look at Pinterest and compare it to Facebook. Photos take precedence on Pinterest whereas with Facebook, it has much less precedence.

Salary

Now, for the big question: how much do web designers make? According to Salary.com, web designers make between $45,000 to $83,000 a year.

Do you think you’d like to do this job,, but don’t have the skills necessary to do it? Apply at for Codeup, and we will get you started.

Stay tuned as we will explore another type of computer programmer next month: web developers.