Web development is becoming an increasingly popular career choice. The relatively low barrier to entry means many would-be developers are wondering whether web development is now oversaturated.
You don’t need a degree to get a job in web development and the rise of boot camps has meant more people are entering the field than ever before. When learning to code it's perfectly normal to worry about whether a job will be waiting for you on the other side.
We’ve taken a deeper look at the job market to help you understand how saturated the web development industry is and whether you should be worried about finding work.
So, is web development really oversaturated?
In short, web development is not oversaturated. There are a record number of people joining the industry but it is also one of the fastest-growing job markets and is set to expand by a further 22% by 2029. At that point, there will be roughly 1.84 million jobs in the US alone, so there will be plenty of opportunities to start your career.
From 2019-2029 the average growth rate for any given job is expected to be around 4%. That means web development, and software, in general, is set to grow more than five times faster!
With an average annual salary of around $72,000 in the US and £31,000 in the UK, plus a varied and interesting workload, you can see why roles are so popular. We should look into the specifics of the software jobs market to fully understand why demand isn’t black and white, and what you can do about it.
Oversaturation in junior web development roles
There are thousands of amazing resources online to teach aspiring developers that are all completely free. Also, platforms like Udemy and Coursera offer a wide array of fantastic courses at bargain prices. With these options and the meteoric rise of boot camps as a preferred choice by many people moving into the industry, it is easy to worry that web development is oversaturated.
There are always more people starting out in entry-level or junior roles than people with decades of experience. Web development is no different. However, this doesn’t affect web development and other software-related roles as much as it would in other industries.
The tech sector is growing incredibly fast. Data analyzed by CompTIA estimates there is a job shortage of nearly 1,000,000 jobs. The reality is that there are simply not enough people entering the industry and taking up web development and software roles.
The misconception that web development is oversaturated may come from what people are doing in the application process, rather than the jobs they are looking for. Website builders and theme templates often make it feel like everything in software development has already been taken care of, but this isn't the case
Later in the article, I outlined some tips and things to consider before applying for any jobs.
Competition for Mid & Senior Level Roles
In any industry, skilled workers can be hard to come by. As discussed, there are more entry-level and junior developers than mid-level and senior developers.
So what does this mean for oversaturation in web development?
It means that if you stick with it and spend time honing your craft there are enormous rewards waiting for you on the other side. Keeping up with the latest trends and using the abundance of free resources we have talked about will help you acquire the skills necessary to progress into more senior roles.
Once you get there your value as a developer continues to climb with each passing year. You just have to keep that passion for learning alive and continue to develop industry-relevant skills. The salary jump from junior to senior is also enormous. Check out the average salaries of senior developers below.
Is web development still in demand in 2023?
Web development is absolutely in demand. A simple search on a local jobs board will unearth an incredible number of both junior and senior positions available.
The scope of the software industry is enormous, there are nooks and crannies to fill at a wide range of companies that all serve diverse customer bases. Also, web development is such a broad term. When we look a bit closer there are so many ways to segment the industry and there is ample opportunity in each.
Consider what type of web development role you want:
- Framework specific (React, Vue, Django, Laravel)
- Dev Ops
- Platform-specific (WordPress, Shopify)
- Design focused
- QA & Testing
So when we ask, is web development oversaturated? Or is web development is dying? We have to consider all of these different areas and realize there are tonnes of demand in each.
The tech stacks companies work with are always evolving and with this comes opportunity. I firmly believe that large parts of the web are still in their infancy and ripe for growth. Get off the beaten path to some mom-and-pop sites and you’ll see plenty of web pages from the early 2000s begging for a revamp.
That’s not even to mention the enormous shift to e-commerce and online apps which is only going to grow further. There are definitely things to worry about when learning to code and acquiring the skills necessary to get into web development. But whether web development is oversaturated and a lack of demand for workers should not be one of your concerns.
Is web development competitive?
Web development is competitive. But it doesn’t mean that web development is oversaturated. As I said, there is stiff competition for entry-level and junior developer roles. But this should not dissuade you from starting your journey as a developer.
A lot of people complete a couple of code courses on YouTube, do the first few modules on freeCodeCamp, and then wonder why they aren’t landing their dream job.
The reality is that the journey takes a lot longer than that. Whether they are self-taught or went through a boot camp, the majority of junior developers going for entry-level roles are well prepared. You will need to be too.
How to get ahead in web development
I’ve put together a small list of things I think you should consider before even applying for a development job that will help you stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the competition.
1. Take time to learn the basics
Understanding the fundamentals of programming is so important. Learning the basics means you can pick up and learn anything that is thrown at you, and have the skills to transition to different roles throughout your career.
2. Don’t neglect your soft skills
Don’t get me wrong, coding is important. But I think highly developed soft skills can easily outweigh any deficits in your knowledge. With junior or entry-level roles, your tech lead is employing you for the developer you will become. Not the one you currently are.
Being a good communicator, owning up to your mistakes, and working well within a team are all essential parts of being a full-time developer. Spending some time honing these skills will always pay off in the long run
3. Get your resume on point
Hiring managers get hundreds of applications, and your resume or CV has to stand out! You want it to look good without being overly complicated and how you write about your past experience could be the deal-breaker.
To get my most recent job, I refractory my resume using the PAR method. PAR stands for problem, action, result. It urges you to write a results-based resume, rather than using task-oriented language. Once you figure out how to reshape your experience, it will blow your mind how effective you can seem with limited experience.
I have included a link at the bottom to a page I used to learn about PAR.
4. Nail the interview
It can feel like there is oversaturation in web development because so many people are unsuccessful in the interview stages. Unfortunately, technical interviews are tough. The tasks you are asked to perform in these interviews may not even reflect the work you will be doing.
However, you must be prepared. I’d recommend practicing the most common challenges online and even paying for a coding challenge subscription from somewhere like HackerRank or TopCoder.
The first round of interviews usually involves getting to know you and some technical questions. I used FullStack cafe to land a React-based role and can't recommend it enough.
I went through all of the common questions and then researched deeper into common topics. Almost every single one came up and the prep made me look competent. You can find a link to it in the citations below.
I’d also recommend not trying to pretend you know what you are talking about. It’s obvious to more senior developers when you are making it up and it doesn’t reflect well.
5. Use your network
It's no secret that getting referred for a job by someone you know significantly increases your chances of success. If you do a boot camp or a degree be sure to keep in touch with your classmates and ask around for any potential roles.
But if you are like me and went the self-taught route, you won't have a large network of people already working as professional developers. So what do you do?
I reached out to experienced developers and asked for career advice multiple times before even applying for a single web dev role. My questions ranged from interview tips to choosing the right career track. People are surprisingly kind to newbies.
Do your research beforehand and don't ask the person to go entirely out of their way. You will be surprised by the responses you'll get from Twitter and LinkedIn.