Web Developer

  • Web Developer

In the entertainment industry, nothing hits the consumer market without a web presence to back it up. Branded websites help to drum up interest before the product’s debut, create a loyal online community, and ultimately drive increased sales. Web development is an in-demand career field, and skilled web developers have endless opportunities to work across any segment of the entertainment business.


Duties

When there is a new game to promote or artist’s album about to drop, the new media manager will consult with an in-house or contracted web developer to create a product-specific site. The client or manager may come to the table with an initial Photoshop wireframe, a back-of-the-napkin sketch, or nothing at all. From a solid concept or nonexistent idea, the web developer collaborates in design discussions to identify the needs and purpose of the website. It is his or her job to flesh out the look and functionality of the site, widget, or mobile app and produce examples for review and revision. She or he is tasked with scripting necessary code, debugging, and fine-tuning the aesthetics of the site. Based on the client’s or manager’s needs, the web developer will select a content management platform, plug-ins, and embedded media products like a media player or branded game. The developer is also responsible for integrating items like Facebook Connect, AddThis bookmarking, and other social networking widgets. After the project is completed, this person may be required to perform occasional maintenance, but typically, a dedicated product manager or site moderator will be assigned to manage regular activity, including analytics. For the web developer, once the site is launched, the next project begins.

Skills & Education

A college degree in computer science or related field is a must, as is specific training in hand-coding XHTML, HTML5, PHP, and MySQL. You must be proficient with Photoshop, Flash, CSS, and JavaScript and have experience on multiple platforms, including Linux and Unix. Beyond your technical expertise, as a web developer you should have a creative imagination and be capable of translating a client’s request from idea to working product. Excellent communication and collaboration skills are necessary, and some training in graphic design or fine art is recommended.

What to Expect

Web developers may work in-house at a record label, game publisher, film studio, or other entertainment company, at a boutique development firm, or as a freelancer. Like any creative endeavor, constructing a website for a client or product is a collaborative process that demands you be open to constructive criticism and put aside your personal preferences in deference to the wishes of the client. Undoubtedly, you will experience the occasional client or manager who is steering you toward a catastrophic design stocked full of web don’ts, but this is where your skills as a diplomat will come in handy. You are being paid for your expertise, and therefore must find a balance between pleasing the person writing the check and delivering a functional, attractive website. Deadlines will be strict and often completely unrealistic based on the amount of work to be done—that’s show business. Always under-promise and over-deliver: Missing milestones is a fast track to unemployment, but if you can constantly return work that is above expectation and ahead of schedule, your career and reputation will be better for it.

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