Web Developer Jobs That Meet Your Professional Needs

The website is becoming one of the single best tools for communication in the 21st century. Individuals, businesses, and government organisations throughout the United Kingdom and Europe are becoming intimately acquainted with the necessity for a good website in order to keep their customers and clients informed. However, the intricacies of establishing website are often too much for the uninitiated to handle and web developers or designers are often brought into assist. These professionals take into consideration a client’s needs and goals in respect of their website and design a site and pages that fit these expectations.

The need for great websites and their on-going maintenance for success in the business world means that the job market for web developers is fairly strong. There are many companies that are creating in-house web development teams or work a significant amount of hours with web development firms that utilise exceptional developers. However, a strong market does not mean that a web developer can sit on this or her laurels and wait for a job to tap them on the shoulder. Rather, a web development professional needs to refine their job search and find the best job for their personal and professional goals.

Web developers need to assess individual companies in the context of the general web development industry before setting out on their professional path. Indeed, not every company is built alike, and employers often provide enough unique incentives to make choices difficult. One web developer may wish to pursue a job with a non-profit organisation, developing a website that provides services to the less well-off. Another developer may prefer to work with a major international company in order to gain a higher profile in the industry. Whatever the case, looking at personal goals in conjunction with the potential of specific organisations may lead to a clearer vision for the way ahead.

In addition, web developers need to think about their financial situation before setting-out into their desired field. Developers that do project work on a contract basis may benefit more financially than a web development professional who takes an internal position in the hopes of achieving long-term promotion. However promising a job with a major company may sound, web developers work in a very fickle field where on-going changes in the job market are the rule. Building a reputation for successful web development is possible through project work, making such an approach much less of a gamble here than in other fields.

Semantic Web Development

Semantic Web Modelling Centre of Excellence

Introduction

Semantic Web Development and dealing with complexity is a tricky issue. Representing information is a problem where complexity can preclude any single approach. In order to find our way around large quantities of information it needs to be structured. But the information already exists and is still being created, so this makes it a moving target.

I’m sure such matters will be covered at the www2006 conference at Edinburgh 23-26 May http://www2006.org/. Kurt Cagle refers to this in his article on complexity on his Understanding XML blog at http://www.understandingxml.com/.

The structuring of ontologies from the top down can be useful, but can only be achieved where the ontology developers have some control over the information. Much of web development and other creation of information is bottom up, in that there is no controlling authority. This is good for inclusiveness and speed of development, and something that encourages community, and encourages individuals to create their own content, which is a good thing. In his interview with the British Computer Society Tim Berners-Lee http://dig.csail.mit.edu/breadcrumbs/blog/4 answers a question on ontologies. He talks of a top level ontology that can be created to hold certain terms and the need to find out who is using these terms, so that other web pages and databases can be categorised. This would be achieved using URIs (Universal Resource Identifier) and RDF (Resource Description Framework). In answer to what Tim Berners-Lee hopes to achieve, he talks of this bottom up development that is going on, using blogs, and wikis etc and a possible approach of ‘web science’ – ‘the science and engineering of web based things that have a bottom up Web-like structure’.

I think this approach is highly relevant to my PhD research on user-driven programming, with University of the West of England (UWE – Bristol). Not everyone has the time to learn programming especially if their main expertise is elsewhere. They then have to ask others to do the development for them and this leads to delays and mis-understandings. The approach advocated here could enable visual creation of software by members of a community. Members of this community would not need advanced programming skills if other members with more advanced development skills could create a suitable interface for the creation of software. This could be achieved in a similar way to that used in visual web page creation tools, or word processor and spreadsheet software. Also the members who do possess advanced skills could provide ways of sorting, searching and navigating the programs created using the visual development tools. Members could work with either or both groups, according to their skills and interests.

A good first step would be to link communities and sites that have a mix of those with advanced software skills who want to encourage and enable others to learn to program, and of new starters who want to learn. This could involve those who are willing to try out new techniques to make it easier for new starters to train learn and gain experience.

Sir Tim-Berners-Lee’s interview – http://www.bcs.org/server.php?show=ConWebDoc.3337.

This talk by Nigel Shadbolt explains research about coping with diverse sources of information – http://www.bcs.org/server.php?show=ConWebDoc.3043.

This article by Bill Thompson for the BBC technology site examines new developments in Web 2.0 technologies – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4842498.stm.

Choosing Your Web Developer

Placing your business online should not be a strenuous or arduous task. It should be a reasonably enjoyable process whose end result should be increased leads for your business. The secret, is finding the right web developer, with the right skills, for your particular needs.

When deciding on who should develop your site you should consider the following:

1. Availability – Is the developer contactable? Will he/she be available after hours and on weekends if you have any issues or problems with your site?

2. Honesty – Will the developer give you truthful advice and recommendations, or just push the company line?

3. Customer Service – Will you be given a personalised service where the developer sees your project through from start to finish? Will this developer be the one who makes changes or additions as your business grows?

4. Services – Does your developer offer the full range of services necessary to get your business online? For example, do they offer Domain Name Registration, Website Hosting, Email, E-Commerce, PHP and MySQL (to run blogs, CRM’s and other database applications) and be able to market your website?

5. Pricing – The cost of having a website built can vary quite considerably.

Always ask for a quotation upfront.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions;

• Ask for a itemised quotation so you can see a breakdown of exactly what you are getting for your money.

• Will you need to pay a deposit?

• Are there any ongoing fees? i.e. Website Hosting.

• Do you charge a flat rate or charge by the hour?

• How long will the website take to complete?

• Will I have to pay for extras, and if so how much?

6. Quality – There is no point in paying big dollars (or even lesser dollars for that matter) for a site you are unhappy with or looks cheap and nasty. Always have a look at the developer’s portfolio. If they do not have one on their website, ask yourself why not? Don’t be afraid to ask to see previous works. Also, read customer testimonials. Even call those customers to get their opinion on the developer’s work ethics and abilities.

Although I would be extremely thoughtless to claim that these 6 points are everything you need to be aware of, I firmly believe if you include these points in when considering your developer you will find yourself one you are going to be happy with and that you will use for many years to come.