There are many ways to learn more about this career. You can talk to Internet developers about their careers. Ask your computer science teacher for help setting up an interview. You can also visit a variety of Web sites to study what makes them either interesting or not so appealing. Does your high school have a Web site? If so, get involved in the planning and creation of new content for it. If not, talk to your computer teachers about creating one, or create your own site at home.
WebProfessionals.org (a.k.a. the World Organization of Webmasters) offers current and aspiring workers in the field information on education, careers, and industry developments at its Web site, http://webprofessionals.org. This is an excellent place to learn more about this career.
After determining the overall goals, layout, and performance limitations of a client's Web site with input from marketing, sales, advertising, and other departments, an Internet or Web developer designs the site and writes the code necessary to run and navigate it. To make the site, working knowledge of the latest Internet programming languages such as Perl, Visual Basic, Java, C++, HTML, and XML is a must. The developer must also be up to date on the latest in graphic file formats and other Web production tools. If site visitors will be making purchases, the site must also have layers of security for the protection of both the buyers and seller.
The concept of the site must be translated to a general layout. The layout must be turned into a set of pages, which are designed, written, and edited. Those pages are then converted into the proper code so that they can be placed on the server. There are software packages that exist to help the developer create the sites. However, software packages often use templates to create sites that have the same general look to them—which is not a good thing if the site is to stand out and look original. Also, no one software package does it all. Additional scripts or special features, such as banners with the latest advertising slogan, animated logos, forms that provide data input from users, and easy online ordering, are often needed to add punch to a site.
Many companies also require metrics of how many unique visitors are coming to the site, how many make purchases, etc. Web developers must be able to build in data gathering processes when developing the site.
Some Internet developers have specialized duties. Back-end web developers oversee the technical construction of Web sites, and make sure that they work properly. Front-end web developers focus on the visual appearance of the Web site by integrating graphics, applications (such as a "shopping bag," reader feedback area, etc.), and other content.
Webmasters generally have the responsibility of overseeing all aspects (technical, management, maintenance, marketing, and organization) of a Web site. They may also respond to user comments regarding performance or design issues at the site.