What is this job like?
If you've ever surfed the Internet, you already know something about what webmasters do. Webmasters make web sites. They turn words and art into Internet sites that people can use. They give computers instructions about how words and art should look on the computer screen.
They make sure that people with different computers can use a web site. They might build a site in a few different ways so that it is easy for different computers to understand.
Webmasters also try to make sites work faster. They keep the size of files as small as they can so that it doesn't take a lot of time for a computer to download.
Webmasters test web sites, too. They watch people using a site to see if there are any parts that are hard to use. If there are hard parts, webmasters fix them. Some of these workers also meet with designers, helping to decide how a site should look and work.
They also update web sites. They spend a lot of time adding new things to the site. They fix mistakes, like links that don't work and pictures that don't show up on the screen.
Some webmasters decide what kind of computer will hold a web site's information. And they decide how the information in a web site will get to the Internet. They pick the kind of software, server, and other equipment that will be used. They also decide when information will be sent to the Internet.
Webmasters use computer software to do their jobs. They might learn to use many different types of software. Webmasters can also make a web site by typing direct instructions in HyperText Markup Language (HTML) or some other programming language.
Webmasters do the technical, computer programming work to make a web site. They work with artists, writers, and designers who create the things that go on the site and decide how the site will look.
Webmasters are only one kind of network systems and data communications analyst. All of these analysts connect computers to each other so that they can share information. Local Area Network analysts, for example, connect computers that belong to a single company or school so that those computers can share private information with each other. They might set up an e-mail system or a way for people to work together on the same paper.
Analysts start by planning the system. They make a model of how the computers will be connected. They test the system to see if it is fast and private. They also give managers advice about what kinds of hardware (computers, printers, monitors) and software (computer programs) to buy. Other analysts, called telecommunications specialists, connect computers to telephones and video machines.
Webmasters and other analysts usually work in offices or computer labs. Some work from home. Sometimes, they work in the evenings or on weekends to solve important problems with a computer system.
Sitting in front of a computer all day can hurt some workers' backs, wrists, and eyes.
Many workers like their jobs because they like computers and solving problems. They also like the chance to make creative web sites.
How do you get ready?
Some of these workers go to college for 2 years and get an associate degree. Other people need a 4-year bachelor's degree to get their jobs, especially if the job is complicated, high paying, or includes being in charge of other people. In college, webmasters learn about computers, the Internet, and communications. They also study math to strengthen their problem-solving skills and English so that they can write well at work. Many webmasters also study art and design so that they can work better with the artists and designers that help to make web sites.
Experience with computers is also very important. Employers look for people who know how to use specific types of software. They also want workers who are good at learning new computer skills.
Getting a certification—a certificate that shows you have specific skills—can also help people get jobs. In order to get a certification, people usually take classes and then pass a test. Companies and organizations offer certifications. You can learn more about them at a career center, college, or library or by contacting organizations that employ computer workers.
Students can start getting ready now by taking computer classes, reading computer books, and teaching themselves new skills, especially skills related to the web sites and computer networks. They can also practice solving problems by taking math and science classes. Students also can practice communication skills by studying English and learning how to work as part of a team.