Web Professional Trends 2016 – Employment

A recent Computerworld forecast reminded us that web development continues to crack the list of the top 10 most in-demand IT skills. Organizations have come to rely on the Web as a key channel for connecting with customers, clients, partners and employees. Most organizations no longer need to establish a web presence; they now need people with the ability to insure their sites are usable, accessible and ready for business.

This is not news to any  practicing Web Professional. We have known this for years. Yes, there are many opportunities (both from a technical and non-technical perspective).  What is new is the rapid proliferation of technology choices when leveraging the Web for business. A decade ago, few gave any thought to a mobile experience. Now we need responsive websites and many clamor for apps. As Web Professionals today, we are confronted with these key issues:

  • What does it mean to have a web presence?
  • What does it mean to be ready and open for business?

It is so easy to create a web presence that many parts of organizations are doing it (whether shadow projects or sponsored). Yet, many of the individuals involved are not Web professionals. They do not think in terms of user experience, accessibility, search engine rank and many of the other aspects we consider when developing and expanding sites. Yes, it will be up to us and others to help educate others that there is more to a web presence than just code and basic content. Otherwise, we will eventually be handed a “steaming pile” created by someone else and have to clean it up. We can no longer work in silos, nor can we ignore the work of those using these tools which make it easy to develop a web presence. We recognize this is an uphill battle.

We also need to help others understand what it means to be open for business. There are many things to consider (such as how you collect payments, what customer information to retain, what metrics to track, how to measure the success of various initiatives and campaigns and more). Web professionals who have a solid understanding of business and marketing (hybrid individuals who understand both the technology and the business) will be the ones most in demand. It is no longer up to small groups or individuals with a narrow focus. We also need to be very aware of security issues and how to defend against many attack vectors as well as how to respond if a site or app is compromised.

Here at WebProfessionals.org, our intent is to help you identify opportunities to prosper in today’s challenging times. There are many different aspects which one can pursue (many with technical skills and many without). Social media, content management, user experience are some of many opportunities which have arisen in the past few years.

As a not for profit organization supporting aspiring and practicing web professionals, we intend to help you navigate through the noise.

  • First, focus on what you like to do as a web professional. There is likely a job associated. Make certain you are able to communicate the value you bring to the business (and do so on a regular basis).
  • Make certain you have the ability to be a team player. Make an effort to share your knowledge, skills, and abilities with others on a regular basis.
  • As importantly, develop a set of talking points to help educate others who may not understand why these issues are important (and why a professional is needed).
  • Lastly, focus on how you can keep your skills in your chosen area current. What have you done to “sharpen the saw” this month?

Best always,
Mark DuBois, Community Evangelist and Director of Education

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