web development

Is Web Development Dying – Future of Web Developers in 2022

There are two things in this world you can rely on if everything else seems shaky:

  1. If the article starts with “Is X Dead?” – the answer is “No”;
  2. People will assume you’re rich and have it easy if you’ve chosen a web development career. 

So, forgive us for this headline, and rest assured: web development is still alive and well. Web dev jobs will be around for a while, in one form or another.

In fact, coding jobs are
among the most stable professions worldwide

According to Statista, the population of developers worldwide will reach 28.7 million by 2024:

Statista web development global population graph

Credit: Statista

Not so fast – things are more complex than they seem upon the first view.

What about the imminent threat from automation? Drag-and-drop website builders and templates? Competition multiplying faster than dirty dish piles on a busy week? Rivals, stress, uncertainty?

These questions are the reason we’ve decided to humor the idea of web development dying. Note that, instead of “dying”, a more appropriate term would be: becoming unrecognizable for devs who thought their 2018 skill set would be enough to carry them through their careers.

In this article, we will debate the current state of web development, with everything good and bad that comes with such a profession. 

We’ll also note down everything you may expect as a web developer (or dev to be) in the upcoming year — tackling these topics:

  • The pros and cons of choosing web development as your calling;
  • Web devs become obsolete with automation and templates growing more powerful, popular, and cheap;
  • Death or (dramatic) change — what’s going to happen with web development?
  • Hard skills, soft skills, and cool tricks web developers should bring to 2022 to stay on top of their game.

Pros and Cons of Becoming a Web Developer

To understand the possible reasons for web dev dying in the future, we need to understand all the pros and cons of choosing this profession.

First of all, what do programmers say themselves?

According to the survey by Stack Overflow, most respondents feel very satisfied with their jobs. However, it’s not all daisies and roses – a significant percentage of participants don’t feel great about being web developers:

StackOverflow survey web development job pros and cons

Credit: StackOverflow

What is the reasoning behind such differences of opinion? Let’s compare the pros and cons so we can understand what lies beneath.

The satisfied majority highlights the following benefits of being a developer:

  • Competitive salaries – Both frontend and backend developers are well-paid. According to Glassdoor, web developers in the United States earn about $70.863 per year on average. In Europe, figures are attractive as well: developers in Germany make about €49.724 yearly, and senior salaries go higher.
  • Remote work flexibility – As long as the job is done properly and in time, employers hardly care where their programmers work from and often outsource developers. Coders can enjoy the digital nomad lifestyle to the fullest: combine high salary with low prices, and you can code from a beach one week and enjoy the mountain view the next one.
  • High demand – Web developers wanted! “Employment of web developers and digital designers is projected to grow 13 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations”, as stated by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Continuous learning and exciting projects – There’s no shortage of work, and web development continues to evolve with each day passing. There’s plenty of room for creativity, especially if you’re a freelance web developer and can afford to pick a project that you’ll like.
  • No formal education is necessary – In fact, no formal education is required to become a web developer. In this profession, know-how is the only thing that matters, and any eager web dev-to-be can look up learning resources online, free and paid. The developer community is extensive and awesome, with an abundance of forums where web developers share their issues and help each other out.

On the other hand, being a web developer isn’t easy. 

These cons outweigh the pros form some people:

  • Learning difficulties – The subject in itself is highly complex for developers striving to build a good career. Plenty of web developers who don’t have access to formal education struggle to find the right courses and learning materials, making it even more difficult. Some are expensive, many of them are useless, while others are just misleading:

WebDevelopment Reddit Group Screenshot

Credit: Reddit.com

  • Frequent overtimes – You can rest when the work is done, but the work keeps pouring in. It’s easy to fall into a mill, especially for web developers who work from home. Daily life and your job become indistinguishable and it feels like all you do is type or sleep – and you don’t sleep a lot. Working overtime too often causes severe burnout, when taking care of mental health is more important than ever – since the pandemic already had a serious impact on remote workers, including plenty of developers.
  • Neglected social life – Developers sometimes lose touch with reality. Long working hours and interaction limited to like-minded people and coworkers may result in neglecting other relationships and family life.
  • Disposition to unhealthy lifestyle – Sedentary lifestyle, hours spent staring at screen, stress, bad diet, high workload… Need we say more? Despite facing almost no occupational hazards, web developers are prone to a number of health issues: back pain, sleep deprivation, digestive, and mental health issues. It’s difficult to self-impose good discipline and healthy habits, especially if no outside factors are dictating the schedule.
  • High competition – Highly sought-out career means more people flocking to the same job posts as you. For freelancers, there’s no geographical limit: the whole world is competition, especially hard-working developers from low-income countries. 

To make a long story short – no job comes without any issues and difficulties. 

Will Web Development Become Automated?

Fear of AI, automation, and machine learning is what many professionals have in common. The debate around certain professions going extinct is so pervasive that people came up with a dedicated website for this topic!

According to
Replaced By Robot?!, developers are pretty safe:

ReplacedByRobot?! screenshot

Still, people who need simple websites don’t have to pay or learn coding for web development anymore. WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, or similar service is all you need to create an attractive, responsive website. 

One YouTube search opens the vast pool of tutorials for website making, and with some time and dedication, non-developers can do it too.

One could say that the simplest coding jobs are already automated;
there are easily accessible pre-made solutions that only need a couple of tweaks. 

But, web development is still far from being entirely automated.

The Reddit developer community is optimistic yet cautious when it comes to automation taking their jobs. The reality is that, for anything complex, custom solutions, or heavy backend, web developers are necessary:

Reddit web development group screenshot

Credit: Reddit

Future of Web Development – Will It Die or Change?

The latter, definitely.

We’ve seen the stats, we know about the demand and the salary range worldwide. Web developers will stay busy for a long time. 

But, web programming is bound to change. We’ve already seen some shifts, such as the automation of easier tasks and
increased focus on mobile responsive design

To stay ahead, developers will have to update their solid knowledge and learn a couple of new, different skills. Below, we list some of them for your consideration.

Web Development Skills in 2022

The more you learn, the more you know, the harder you are to replace by competition – or a machine. 

It’s impossible to know everything related to this vast field. Googling the solutions is a part of the job, even for the most skilled developers.
Knowing *what and how* to look up is an underrated skill! 

Different employers will have different demands for potential developers, but there are some evergreen skills you’ll be safe with.
Here we’ve created a list of must-haves for anyone wanting to develop software, apps, or become a frontend or backend developer in 2022.

Core Programming Languages

HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are the absolute essentials every web developer should learn first, like the ABCs of coding.

These are some of the most prominent languages for coders to learn:

  • The most popular programming languages: JavaScript, Python;
  • High-level languages (to write source code): C++, Java;
  • Interpreted languages (to run scripts and generate content for dynamic sites): PHP, Perl;
  • Styling tool (to design front-end and make the website responsive): CSS;
  • Markup language: HTML, XML;
  • Framework: React, Ruby on Rails;
  • Database language: SQL.

Most Popular Web Development Tools

This is our top selection of developer tools used daily:

  • Angular.JS – for static documents;
  • JQuery – for animation;
  • Grunt – to automate web development tasks such as code minification;
  • GitHub – hosting, reviewing code, workflow, and managing developer projects; also suitable for experimenting with new programming languages.

Application Programme Interface (API)

Simply put, API acts as a middleman between applications and servers. 

An aspiring developer needs to know at least Web API and how to read, understand, and apply API documentation.

Responsive Web Design

Responsive templates such as ThemeForest can only get you so far. Building a custom website from scratch demands developer skills – and responsive web design should be up your sleeve as well.

Bootstrap is one of the tools which can help you create mobile-responsive websites. It is free, open-source, and contains multiple elements you can pick for the website. 

Webflow has free and paid plans, and it will generate the website code automatically while developers keep an eye on visuals.

While we’re on the topic of mobile – mind the UX. 

Anyone can test the UX fast and for free with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Some of the most obvious signs your creation could use a little bit of polish are:

  • Slow loading speed – UglifyJS is a JavaScript parser that will handle the loading issues by minifying the code;
  • Broken linksDead link checker is free and helps you find the links that harm the website’s usability and browser ranking;
  • Elements too small for mobile users – tiny search bar, buttons, and navigation misbehaving on mobile will annoy site visitors and increase bounce rate as a result.

Blockchain Technology for Web Developers

Blockchain technology makes it nearly impossible to hack or otherwise cheat the system, making it attractive for website owners with high security concerns. Logically, storing private information and precious data this way looks highly appealing. 

With the novelty around Bitcoin, NFTs, and other buzzwords, a smart web developer will rush to hop on this trend and harness the power of blockchain. 

Voice Search

One might think that people would dislike this feature, thanks to all the negative talk around the phone call anxiety. Still, smart speakers have been in high demand since 2020 – and voice search keeps getting more popular.

Being voice search-frienldy goes hand in hand with being mobile-friendly (and having good SEO), so the best course of action is to optimize both at once.

Web Developers on LinkedIn

This is wildly different from the section before, but developers shouldn’t underestimate the power of connections.

Being a cross between social media and professional hub, LinkedIn is an ideal place for developers to shine. On LinkedIn, web developers can prove themselves as industry thought-leaders, score new gigs, or connect with fellow developers and learn from experts.

The best way to get noticed is to post and comment frequently – on topics of potential employer’s interest. Contributing to a discussion will open up a world of possibilities for devs.

Over to You: Is Web Development the Right Choice After All?

So, we have established that the answer to the question “Will web development die?” is no – not yet.  Web development isn’t going anywhere any time soon. 

Granted, being a web developer in 2022 will bring many challenges, with growing global competition and increasingly advanced, ready-made solutions.

That’s not the reason to ditch the web dev career! On the contrary: this is a great moment to seriously consider a career in web development.

With the world going remote in full and landscape becoming even more online, demand for web developers is at an all-time high. There is (and will be) an abundance of interesting, rewarding projects to choose from and build an exciting, enjoyable career. So, our conclusion is that it’s worth learning web development.

And, automation can never replace a human mind and the power of new ideas.