Website Administrator Education Requirements and Career Information

Website administrators, also known as webmasters, are responsible for developing and maintaining specific websites. Upon a site's inception, they perform programming and coding. They ensure that sites are functioning properly and analyze layout and content regularly to maintain and increase user-friendliness. They also handle network security, technical troubleshooting and customer support. At minimum, website administrators must possess associate's degrees, webmaster certifications or both.

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Website Administrator Education Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an associate's degree or certification as a webmaster is required for employment as a website administrator (www.bls.gov). Students may also pursue bachelor's degrees in computer science, information technology or related areas.

In associate's degree programs, students can major in computer science, information systems or Web development. Course curricula teach relevant website administration skills like Web design, scripting, database development and maintenance, image editing, usability assessment and more. Students also learn about the fundamental elements of computer hardware and software, as well as receiving education in relevant professional areas like business communications.

Bachelor's degree programs, which commonly offer similar majors and optional concentrations in Web development or administration, teach students about project management, Web applications, data mining and storage, computer networking and information systems security. Students also become educated in the areas of e-commerce and various programming platforms, such as UNIX, Java and C++.

Certification

Students may also obtain the education and skills required for careers as website administrators by becoming certified webmasters. Several different types of certification are available through the World Organization of Webmasters (WOW), a global professional association for website administrators (www.webprofessionals.org). Students can earn Certified Web Professional (CWP) designations at the certified apprentice, certified apprentice webmaster, certified associate webmaster and certified professional webmaster levels.

Each certification level has a corresponding written examination testing students' aptitude in relevant areas of website administration. Students can obtain training in the areas measured by the exams via completion of one of the above-mentioned degree programs, practical professional experience or by enrolling in WOW-endorsed courses offered online or at various academic institutions nationwide (www.webmastercertification.org).

Career Information

Website administrators are responsible for the setup, development and continuous maintenance of websites. They oversee site layout, design and programming, ensuring that a finished website will be easy for users to navigate. Once a website has been conceptualized, they play a major role in its setup, with relevant duties including network and router configuration, image placement and editing, HTML scripting, cascading style sheets and other assorted programming duties.

Site maintenance is also a major part of a website administrator's job. They're responsible for ensuring that crucial website components like scripts and images are loading and running properly. They also analyze site usability on an ongoing basis to make sure sites are navigable and otherwise attractive to users. If a technical or customer service problem ensues, website administrators often perform troubleshooting or offer technical support to users attempting to navigate the site. Website administrators are also responsible for maintaining site and network security and taking appropriate security measures if the site is hacked or infected with a virus.

Employment and Salaries

Website administrators may work for Web development, programming, maintenance or security companies or in the information technology departments of large firms specializing in other industries. Many are self-employed and act as webmasters for a variety of different clients on a freelance basis. A website administrator's work is generally performed in an office environment. The BLS projected an above-average growth rate in the webmaster job market between the years of 2008-2018 (www.bls.gov). According to Salary.com, the median salary for webmasters in the U.S. was $65,176 as of May 2010.

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