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Heather Redding is a part-time assistant manager, solopreneur and writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is also an avid reader and a tech enthusiast. When Heather is not working or writing, she enjoys her Kindle library and a hot coffee. Reach out to her on Twitter.
What makes you visit some websites more frequently than you do others?
Most likely, it’s because the content on those sites resonates with your needs, the site loads fast, and the design is attractive, among other reasons.
Now, for such websites to function that way, there’s an expert behind them – a webmaster. In this post, we’ll look at how you can become a professional webmaster.
What Does a Webmaster Do?
A webmaster ensures that a website works correctly, responds to any complaints from users, and troubleshoots any technical glitches. You don’t need tons of formal requirements to work as a webmaster, but you’d be proficient in web-based skills, such as content development, programming, layout, and more.
Most webmasters have full-time careers where they work in an office on one of several computers. Others often manage websites from the comfort of their homes.
When working as a webmaster, you may seek employment with an established organization or work independently as a freelancer where you take on tasks as you see fit.
Generally, working as a webmaster isn’t physically demanding, but you’ll need to sit before a computer for long hours.
What Qualifications Do You Require to Become a Professional Webmaster?
Here are some of the qualifications you need to make it as a webmaster:
Degree in Web Design
To become a webmaster, you may start by pursuing a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in web design, programming, or computer science. Most universities and colleges provide programs on web design.
Relevant coursework may entail thorough training along with detailed knowledge of different design software and programming languages.
A typical webmaster course may include classes on:
- How to use the software, including Java, Ajax, Adobe Photoshop, and Macromedia Flash
- Design theory
- Digital imaging
- Web animation
- Hypertext markup language (HTML)
A college degree isn’t a mandatory requirement for webmasters. You can self-learn from online platforms that offer both free and paid courses in web design, web development, graphic design, and many other areas. Later, we’ll look at where you can find such courses online.
Work-based experience is the easiest way to excel as a webmaster. Thus, when in college, you should apply for entry-level jobs or even internships at companies with an IT department. Such opportunities will equip you with practical experience in areas such as basic web maintenance.
Later on, you may work on tasks that are more complex after mastering these tasks:
- Updating website content
- Testing and troubleshooting broken links
- Updating website graphics
Working experience is among the things potential employers consider.
Pros and Cons of Working as a Webmaster
- Salary is higher than the national average – Webmasters earn a median annual salary of $66,105, but talented and experienced webmasters can take home up to $100,000. This salary is way higher than the average national wage, which is $949 per week or $49,348 per year for the first quarter of 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Doesn’t necessarily require a college-based degree – While most webmasters possess college degrees in computer science and design-related fields, a majority have a year or two of college-based training or even none at all. Most of the best webmasters are self-taught, having acquired everything online.
- Flexible working hours – A higher percentage of webmasters are freelancers. Working as an independent contractor gives you the luxury to complete tasks at your own time. You can have extra time to work on other gigs or enjoy your hobbies.
- Long working hours – Webmasters spend many hours looking at the computer screen as they sit and type. The outcome can be strained eyes, back, and wrists.
- Periods of high stress – When there’s a website downtime because of a server error or security attack, and the client is losing money, webmasters may need to work overtime to restore normalcy.
- Stiff competition – Many clients outsource jobs to freelancers, which may mean stiff competition among skilled webmasters looking for the best rates.
Online Courses for Webmasters
If you prefer learning things on your own from the internet, you may want to check out courses that these platforms offer:
2. Khan Academy
Top Skills You Need to Become a Webmaster
To become an accomplished webmaster, you should possess specific communication skills, technical skills, and personality traits. These skills will not help you to perform your duties with competence, but will also help you to keep a positive attitude towards your profession.
Companies looking to hire webmasters often list these skills:
- Ability to make decisions in an uncertain environment
- Computer literacy
- Strong communication skills
- Attention to detail
- Customer service skills
- Strong problem-solving skills
- Able to explain technical matters with clarity
- A logical approach to work
- Particular interest in keeping abreast with the changing technology
- Ability to work without supervision
- Knowledge of how graphic design, programming, and content development integrate into a website
- Able to structure a website correctly
- Knowledge of server maintenance
Tools You Need to Succeed as a Webmaster
While working as a webmaster, you’ll be able to complete most of the tasks on a PC. You need to know how different computer applications work and have a thorough understanding of the internet too.
Whether you prefer a Mac or Windows computer, ensure the operating system is compatible with some of the advanced codes you’ll be working with.
Besides, you may want to master basic troubleshooting for your operating system. For example, if working with Windows 10, you need to learn how to deal with various common issues with Windows.
You may be required to download special software, which may be available as a free trial or discount. While studying, you may need to install programs, such as Dreamweaver, Photoshop, or Flash. Some web developer classes require that you install MySQL or ColdFusion.
Tips for Getting Experience and Jobs
Some employers prefer experience to education or both. That’s why it’s crucial to hone up your skill by taking advantage of any internship opportunities while in college.
Besides, if you get an opportunity to learn web design, don’t waste it. Some employers may hire you based on your web design knowledge and skills only.
Most employers look at a webmaster as someone who can do more than coding or fixing a website. Thus, to have the upper hand when seeking work:
- Learn more about digital media tools like Photoshop and Flash
- Understand various programming languages
- Create a digital portfolio of websites you’ve created
- Add examples of any tasks completed using other applications like Microsoft office suite.
- Take extra classes to diversify your skills.
- Attend two to three networking events per month to increase the chances of meeting prospective employers
Blogs to Follow Online
Resources Worth Checking
1. American Webmasters Association – Contains valuable articles on building pages, online marketing, generating traffic, and increasing search engine rankings.
2. Web Professionals – The website has educational resources, community networking, certification programs, job opportunities, and web development tips.
Webmasters are among the highest-paid online professionals. You can become a webmaster through a college education or self-learning. Acquiring other skills like graphic design and web design can boost your portfolio and impress your potential employers.