What Is Web Application Development?What Is Web Application Development?What Is Web Application Development?

The internet is a staple of modern-day business, and in recent years, web applications — computer programs that run on external servers (as opposed to an internet-connected device’s hard drive) — have become increasingly important. Web applications help organizations communicate with clients, store sensitive data, and help employees communicate and share files. Web applications allow users to not only access information anytime, anywhere they have a Wi-Fi connection, but also access the applications from various handheld and desktop devices, and internet browsers.

Web applications can be developed around the unique needs of companies and individuals. For example, web applications tailored to individuals allow users to like online photos or content, search company websites for products, and purchase items online. Companies, however, may require web applications that help employees share documents, create reports, and collaborate through a digital workspace.

Students interested in learning more about what web application development is and how to pursue jobs in this field can start by developing the knowledge and skills to be successful. Completing an online certificate program, such as Maryville University’s online software development certificate program, can help prepare them for various web application development careers.

What does a web application developer do?

Web application developers help companies build web applications that perform specific tasks. For example, if a company wants to develop a secure instant messaging application for its employees, a web application developer would create software to meet that need. Although the exact job duties of a web application development professional can vary by company, common job tasks may include the following:

  • Programming application codes
  • Programming page links
  • Programming content
  • Developing and managing software
  • Analyzing, testing, and troubleshooting software
  • Developing installation programs

Web application development: Front-end vs. back-end

Web application developers often specialize in one of two areas: the presentation layer, known as the front end, and the data access layer, called the back end.

Front-end development

Using languages and tools such as HTML, CSS, Java, and web animation techniques, front-end developers create the visual, aural, and interactive components of a site or app — the elements that the user experiences, including implementing user interface/user experience (UI/UX) design. They focus on how the application’s functions are presented to the end user.

Back-end development

Back-end developers build an application’s behind-the-scenes structure — the elements that make the app function. They create the code that runs on the server, communicating between user and server to access a database, then presenting a response back to the user. Some programming languages that back-end developers use include Python, Ruby, and PHP.

Web application development salary and job outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies web application developers as web developers and digital designers. According to BLS data, web developers made a median annual salary of $77,200 as of May 2020. Employment of web developers and digital designers is projected to grow by 13% between 2020 and 2030, much faster than the projected average growth rate for all occupations (8%). Expansion in the e-commerce sector will largely drive employment growth.

Web application developer salaries

According to August 2021 data from PayScale.com, the median annual salary for web application developers is about $65,000, and the top 10% of earners report salaries of more than $93,000. Salary ranges vary based on various factors, including the employer, the region in which the position is located, and an applicant’s experience level.

Web application development: Programming the future of apps

Students interested in pursuing careers in web application development can start by developing the skills and technical proficiencies to be successful. Completing an online certificate program, such as Maryville’s online software development certificate program, can equip graduates with the fundamental knowledge to pursue jobs in these fields.

Maryville’s program coursework includes classes such as Introduction to Java Programming, Software Development Methods and Tools, and Foundations of Web Applications. Upon completion of the program, students often find they’ve developed the programming skills that employers seek. Are you ready to take your career to the next level? Read more about how Maryville’s online software development certificate program can prepare you for the job you want.

Recommended Reading

Guide for Women in Computer Science: History, Roles, and Resources

A Future in Tech: Software Development vs. Computer Science

Modern Tech Careers: Software Engineer vs. Data Scientist


Indeed, “What Is a Web Application? How It Works, Benefits and Examples”

GeeksforGeeks, “Frontend vs. Backend”

InfoSec, “Web App Developer”

PayScale.com, “Average Web Application Developer Salary

Tech Target, “Web Application Development”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Web Developers and Digital Designers”

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