March 15, 2019

Web Developer VS Web Designer: What’s The Difference?

If you’re trying to decide on a career path in web design or web development, you’ve likely found that there’s a lot of confusion surrounding these two job roles ‘web developer’ and ‘web designer’. If you’re thinking about becoming a web developer it can be hard to know where to start. Fear not, I’m going to clear the air. In this guide, I’ll be discussing the job roles of each, how they differ, what resources you need to be aware of and much more. Bottom line: this is going to give you clarity on what a web developer vs. web designer does so you can choose the right career path for you.

Web Development In 20th Century

Thanks to the growth of the internet and advancements in technology, web development is one of the highest in demand career fields in the world. If you’ve been interested in learning how websites are created, how web apps are designed, you may be consider a career in the field of web development.

Web developers and web designers have different roles, they use different languages, tools, software and resources. Today, we’re going to answer the following;

  • What is a web developer?
  • What is a web designer?
  • What is web development?
  • What do web developers do?
  • What does web designers do?
  • How can I start a career in web development?

Let’s get started!

Web Tools

Web developers work with a number of different web programming languages, such as HTML, CSS and Javascript. Often referred to as “web coding,” these languages are used to create websites and web applications. While HTML, CSS and Javascript are common languages, web developers also use other languages to set up databases, set up host, email services and other technical components. A web developer career can be extremely rewarding, both personal and financially.

Web designers are usually not the primary responsible party to know how the code works, but rather making sure a website is visually appealing, user friendly and mobile ready. Web designers use graphic design tools and software, programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Inkscape and Illustrator. They often design website layouts with wireframes and prototypes. A web designer education will give you the resources and skill set to learn all of these and much more.

Web Developers – Work with HTML, CSS, Javascript, Creates websites and applications.

Web Designers – Enhances the visuals of a website, graphic design, working with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, as well as web layouts.


There’s a number of different data points that focus on the salary of a web developer and web designer salaries.

According to ZipRecruitor, the average salary of a web developer in the United States is $73,552.

A web designer comes in with an average salary in the U.S. at $62,846.

There’s many things that can effect the salary you make as a web developer or web designer. Location, project type, skillset and experience are just a few of those. Make sure you always keep that in mind.

There’s many web developers out there that are making 6 figures a year, some over 7 figures. When your first starting out in web development, it can be slow. However, as you put out great work and begin to build your portfolio, your career and business can take off quickly. Some of the biggest brands pay web developers a lot of money to maintain their websites and apps.

General rule of thumb on salary, web developers usually make more money than web designers.


As a web designer or web developer, having an impressive portfolio is vital. Great web developers and designers know the importance of a strong portfolio, do displaying your work so prospects can see your talent is vital to companies and individuals choosing to work with you.

While there’s a lot of free profile websites you can use to display your work, we always recommend using your own personal or company website. The reason we recommend this is because you control 100 percent of your own website. You can display your work as you want. While you can use other platforms to showcase some of your work and for marketing purposes, all of them have rules, guidelines and limits.

Once you have a portfolio website complete, you can then start building social media profiles to share your work. A lot of companies use Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and other social media channels. Make sure prospects have an opportunity to find you on social media.

As a web developer or web designer, how you create your portfolio will play a role in how you’re able to attract prospects. Since this is key, F.I.R.S.T. has a specific module in their program to help you with designing your portfolio.

While web developer vs web designer differ, hopefully this article has provided some clarity to those differences.

Which Career Is Right For You?

Now that you know the clear difference between web developers and web designers, which career path will you choose?

How can you start your web development career?

Here at F.I.R.S.T. Institute, we have a program that can help you.

I know you may also be wondering, would F.I.R.S.T. be the right school to go to? While you can learn web development in many places, few will give you the skills and opportunities that are program will give you. Furthermore, our program also includes web graphic design, so you’ll have a complete set of skills to handle web development for companies of all sizes.

Check out the stories of our students that have graduated our web development and graphic design program. You can view them here. 

You’ll have the opportunity to take our graphic design and web development program here at our Orlando, Florida facility.

You can apply online here or you can reach us directly at 1-407-316-8310.