Is Web Development Stressful? A Web Developer’s Answer.
If you’re new to web development or are interested, it may seem intimidating at first. Technology, websites, the internet, and coding can be stressful.
Is web development stressful? Web development is stressful. Like any other job, deadlines, clients, competition, and projects can all add to the stress for web developers. Managing things like release dates, updates, timelines, and more can help decrease the stress for web developers.
As a web developer myself, I discuss these and other stress factors in more detail below. I talk about what you can do to address them, the difficulty of web development, and more.
Is Being a Web Developer a Stressful Job?
On average, web developers do have jobs that are a little more stressful than the average job.
As the web development industry becomes more commoditized and more people begin to outsource it to other countries, the field has become a lot more competitive.
First, the commoditization of web development by website builders and similar services has made it so that most people can build a website on their own.
That alone forces web developers to work even harder to offer services that these website builders do not. This involves learning new technologies, types of code, specializing in certain parts of web development, etc.
All this alone can add a ton of stress to anyone in any field.
A web developer who could code their own templates from scratch before and reuse them for several clients’ websites is no longer needed.
All these website builders have tons of beautiful templates available that are even free in some cases and don’t need any web development.
But this has been the case for some time now, and those who have remained in the field of web development have already adjusted and for them, it is not a stressful job.
Web development is still a never-ending race of keeping up with technology and adapting to use innovations to provide the next level.
Web development is also something you can learn completely on your own online on so many different platforms for free.
As such the entry point for everybody has been lowered to the ground floor and people from all over the world are constantly competing with each other for work.
The web development industry is still becoming more competitive every day.
Especially with sites like Fiverr and Upwork becoming super popular in recent years as more and more people begin to outsource more work. As a web developer, you have to compete with these platforms’ freelancers.
The convenience of not hiring somebody full-time also gives a web developer on these platforms an advantage over a web developer who isn’t.
Contract jobs becoming more popular, even at big companies, causes more stress. With contracts, web development becomes less stable as an income source, leading to more stress.
If you aren’t a web developer who is part of an agency that provides clients for you, you are competing with people overseas who are working for pennies compared to the dollars that you may need to produce a livable wage.
And since you cannot compete with those people on the price, you have to find other ways to do so by providing a better product or doing the web development faster.
Both of which require a much bigger effort from you as a web developer, therefore, causing more stress.
Going into the particulars of the web development industry, coding is like a very precise machine.
There are so many times that I can recall writing code that I had written hundreds of times before only to find it not working that time for some reason.
One tiny piece of code somewhere can ruin a whole website in web development making it a stressful job.
Having to spend hours looking through thousands of lines of code to find a random error that I missed at some point holding back the operation of an entire site is something I will always hate doing and it’s what makes web development stressful.
Is There a Future for Web Developers That Is Less Stressful?
There is a bright future for web developers with less stress, more money, and happiness. Adapting, specializing, and management enables web developers to have a much better present & future in web development.
Adapting & Using Technology To Make Your Life Easy
Web developers who adapt to use technology to speed up their processes are already winning stopping the web development stressful train.
Nobody in this day and age should be coding or developing from scratch. There are tools and templates all over for whatever most clients will need from web developers’ work.
It’s simply a matter of doing your research and finding the best tools to do so for each web development project.
Tools like CMSs like WordPress handle so many things that make it 100 times easier to hand off web projects to your clients than it was in the past.
You don’t have to record videos showing your client’s how to access their FTP to upload files to their website.
You don’t have to take calls constantly for every single change they need for the website.
Other tools like Webflow and Figma allow you to speed up web development things like responsive design and wireframes so they take half of the time they used to just a few short years ago.
And there are always new tools being developed, so by adapting and using these tools, you can ensure a bright future as a web developer.
Specializing to Sidestep Competition & Stress
Specializing is another way to reduce stress for web developers. By specializing you make yourself stand out and offer something that clients cannot get anywhere else.
Whether it’s specializing by industry or the specific languages you code in, or tools you use, people are looking for any way to stand out over their competition, and that’s what you will do by specializing.
There are different types of web developers like a front end web developer, web designers, back end developers, and full-stack developers.
If I own a bakery and there is a web developer who has a portfolio with websites for lawyers versus another web developer I found who has done websites for restaurants and bakeries in the past, I’m much more likely to go with the latter as they have experience and insight that the other web developer will not.
Specializing is something that technology will never be able to take away, it actually creates the need for it in web developers’ work.
Manage Web Development To Make The Stress Melt Away
Finally, management is something that any business needs, especially when you are offering a service like web development. You need to manage the entire project from the beginning starting with yourself.
As a web developer, you need to make sure that you know your abilities, costs, and rates. If you want to manage your projects better, these are a bare minimum before you even get to developing Web projects for others.
After you established yourself, then you need to manage expectations for projects and clients.
Part of this is making sure you also have your own process in place as a web developer. By this, I mean a set of repeatable steps and systems that take you from start to finish in web development projects.
If you are new and do not have a repeatable process and systems in place, let your clients know that beforehand and give yourself enough of a buffer with timelines to keep to schedule.
Manage expectations. Establish the goals and scope of the project with the client and make sure that you’ve both agreed to them.
Once you’ve both agreed to the terms, establish a timeline that makes sense for you to be able to accomplish everything.
Set your methods of communication and always keep them up to date as to how you will be moving forward in each stage of the web development.
Management will enable you to avoid common pitfalls that hurt other web developers, and help give you a good work life balance.
These include things like release or live dates for web projects where there is almost always a rush to the finish.
Tons of super stressful crunch time hours running around with your hair on fire with a client yelling at you are just a taste of the horror stories I’ve heard in the web development community.
This rush almost always leads to mistakes and crashes that flop the project’s finale, which took a minimum of several months on average.
Avoiding this rush as a web developer will set you apart from most of your competitors.
A web developer who doesn’t avoid the rush leaves a bad taste in their clients’ mouths with these fumbled finales.
Are Web Developers Happy?
Web developers, on average, are not happy but content. Sadly, some web developers find themselves jaded and defeated just a few years into their careers because of the competition and stress.
With no bar to entry for this career, thousands of web developers are available to everyone online, and many are willing to work on a lot of projects.
Using my own personal experience with the developers I’ve come across in my many years in the industry and speaking with them about their experiences with other developers, there is a general consensus that there are more sad web developers than happy web developers.
But even those unhappy web developers aren’t unhappy all the time. The thing that makes it sad is it’s usually when they are developing web projects that they are sad and stressed.
Simply because many of them have not had formal training and are self-taught, they suffer from a lot of the stress I discussed above.
Speaking to some, you can tell just how dejected they are, working on projects at 3:00 a.m. running on coffee and no sleep you can’t expect much else.
Those who have been in the industry longer have only remained because they truly have a passion for it and have through experience established processes that removed a lot of that initial stress. These guys are happy and know how to manage their web development to keep themselves that way.
Luckily web development is much like any other industry where the more time you put in you will leave if you are unhappy and the ones who stay are happy. The low bar for entry simply allows so many people in it makes the majority unhappy.
Conclusion: Is Web Development Stressful?
Is web development stressful?
Yes! Web development when compared to the average job is a little more stressful.
But that does not mean it is not a good career! There are plenty of web developers like myself who are happy and successful.
It’s all about managing your work life balance to maintain a healthy level of stress in the web development industry.