How I Became a Web Developer
When I first got the job as Webmaster in the Web group at Netcom, there were many people who were very jealous of me. I had gotten the job because I was a good technical writer and the Web team needed a writer. What they didn't realize was that being a Webmaster is not all Web pages and "glory". I think that Web development is attractive to technical people because it allows them to be creative, and it's attractive to creative people because it allows them to get technical. But no matter what type of person you are, there's more to being a Webmaster than meets the eye.
Contract Web Development Work
Many Webmasters do their work on a contract basis. This means that you are subject to the whims of your customers. If you don't have any customers you don't have any business. If developing Web pages is your sole means of support this can be somewhat scary. You have to be a good salesperson of yourself to get the jobs you need to stay afloat. While it is true that your skills do speak for themselves, there are many developers out there, so you need to have a compelling reason for your customers to choose you.
Most of the contractors I know thrive on uncertainty. One co-worker didn't have his own place to live. He would crash at his friends' places and work contracts until he had enough money to travel, then he would leave. He wanted to ride on as many different roller coasters as he could, all over the country (and perhaps the world). But in order to get to that level of flexibility, you have to be very good at what you do, and open to the possibility of not finding work right when you need it. I don't know many developers that want to be as flexible as my co-worker (he worked two or three different jobs for our company), but when the work isn't there, sometimes you have to be.
Understand What Being a Webmaster Means
Being a contract Web designer is a lot of work. Some months, you can have more work than you can handle and other months you might be starving for a simple Web page modification. Before you decide to become a professional, be sure you know all the facts about being a professional Webmaster.
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