When Donna Rilee, 32, a Web developer and consultant, heads into work, she doesn't make a beeline for her cubicle. “Our office is set up on the ‘hoteling’ model, where you check into any open desk with your laptop the way you'd check into a hotel room,” she says. “We don't need assigned work spaces, because most of us work much of the week from home or at a client's office.”
Today the industry's real growth is driven by small businesses; they hire 80 percent of Web professionals, usually on a contract or project basis. At that end of the field, a strong understanding of social media is key, since small businesses have doubled their rate of social media adoption since 2009. “Web development and social media creation are hot right now in every industry,” says Bill Cullifer, executive director of Webprofessionals.org. “If you have these skills, you're in the driver's seat. Customers don't care when you put in the hours. They just want their project finished on time and on budget.” Plus, the Web is a great equalizer. “Age might be a factor at organizations like Google or Yahoo, but small clients value experience,” Cullifer says.
Rilee says Web-design work appeals most to people who are super logical and organized. “There's a lot of information, and it can be overwhelming. You have to sort through and put the pieces together again and again,” she says. “But it's rewarding to know you're making daily life easier for your clients. And you can't beat that moment when you push run and your program runs successfully. That's the best part.”
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