Web masters may create Web pages using the same basic skills and knowledge as Web page designers, but their responsibilities are focused on the maintenance, augmentation, and improvement of existing Web pages. They make sure that standards such as HTML validity and link liveliness are upheld, often acting as liaisons between Web page designers and system administrators. They maintain editorial control over the content, quality, and style of the Web site, and ensure that navigation and architecture are optimized.
Web masters maintain the home page of a site, as well as all of the hypertext files within the site. They assure the proper use of HTML and keep up with the latest developments in HTML standards in order to make the HTML look good on most browsers. They promote the proper use of weekly qualified relative Uniform Resource Locators. They are responsible for making sure the site has a consistent visual style, including uniform fonts, formatting, icons, images, layout techniques, and modularization. Web masters are also responsible for user support, creating page of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), helping users fill out forms by processing responses into HTML output, and creating searchable indices.
Besides being analytical and technical experts, Web masters should also be flexible and willing to learn and adapt. They must be ready to deal with new or unique problems presented b expanding technologies. They should be good at communicating with programmers, users, and other operators. Because they may receive little or no direct supervision, Web masters must be able to work independently.
The range of earnings for Web masters is very wide. Full-time, in-house Web masters can make between $30,000 and $100,000 per year. College students working on projects during the summer can make between $25 and $50 per hour. Self-employed Web masters make their own hours, while those employed by established firms usually work 40 hours per week, with overtime a common occurrence. Most employers offer benefits packages, including health, dental, and vision insurance plans; vacation and holiday leave; and retirement.
Training and Education
Because it is an emerging occupation, entrance requirements are not hard and fast. Employers desire individuals who are creative and innovative, and who have well-developed writing skills and experience in computer sciences, programming, electrical engineering, graphics, advertising, art, and design. The most effective preparation for this occupation may be taking college courses in computer science and graphic design. Another method is self-education, in which individuals invest in a good computer and high-speed modem, research current information on site design, and experiment by designing their own Web site.
In 2002, Web masters held about 280,000 jobs.
Between 2002 and 2012, employment of Web masters is expected to increase much faster than the average. This will be due mainly to technological advancement, which will increase demand for all computer-related workers. Jobs openings will also result when Web masters retire or leave the occupation for other reasons. Despite downturns in the economy, the outlook for Web masters remains strong. Firms will continue to need more complex Internet sites, and keeping these sites running smoothly will be a top priority.
For more information on a career as a webmaster, please see our directory of schools offering Webmaster Training