So, you are thinking about a career in web development and want to know if it is stressful. Well, I’m here to tell you the truth. As a self-taught front-end developer that has been writing code since high school and has worked both as an employee and freelancer, I think I have a pretty qualified opinion.
As with everything in web development, this answer depends greatly on many factors. Here are some of the things to consider when wondering if web development is a stressful career path to follow.
1. Depends On Where You Work
As with pretty much any work environment, how stressful your job is depends largely on the job you work in. There are plenty of web development jobs that have tight deadlines and are incredibly stressful. While there are others who have relaxed deadlines.
Startups vs Large Enterprise Organizations
You may think that the difference may lie in large organizations vs startups. In my experience, you are more likely to have a more stressful job working for a startup than an enterprise organization. Generally, because in larger organizations there is someone else to pick up your slack, and it’s harder to spot someone not working as hard.
However, you can have a stressful web development job whether you work for a startup or a large enterprise.
For example, I know a few people that work at google and say that, after you pass the interview, it’s a pretty chill place to work. However, working for Elon Musk or Amazon would likely be much more stressful. At least, that’s the image the media portrays of those positions.
On the flip side, startups are generally more well know for a culture of working hard. Since you are likely working on building a company from the ground up with fewer resources. However, there are plenty of startups that don’t require you to spend +100 hours a week and understand that deadlines aren’t always met.
2. Depends On Project Urgency
Another major factor in whether or not your job as a software developer will be difficult depends on how stringent your project is. Is it a hard deadline that needs to go out on this date? Is it a bug that broke the production build for millions of users? Then yes, your job is going to be stressful for that time frame.
However, if the project is less urgent and really just used to fill your time between the next major project, you probably won’t be held too close to the deadlines your team sets. This means your time as a web developer will be much more relaxed.
Again, how many of each type of project you have depends greatly on your organization and how they plan projects.
3. Added Stress of Freelancing
Let me add that working as a freelancer is generally much more stressful than as an employee. Yes, it’s possible to make much more money as a freelancer, but it’s easier to make less money too.
This is technically how I started out because I couldn’t find an employer that would trust my skillset without work experience or a degree.
Although it’s cool to build something you can call your own, it can be stressful figuring out how to run a business, find clients, and make sure you’re getting paid well.
Freelancing can be great, but be aware it is not for the weak of heart!
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4. Depends on Your Stress Tolerance
How stressful you find a web development job also depends greatly on your general stress tolerance. Do you find that you are naturally anxious or stressed out? Do you find most jobs stressful? Well, then web development probably isn’t going to be much easier.
Most importantly, if tight deadlines and not knowing how you are going to immediately solve a problem at work make you anxious, you may want to re-think if working as a web developer is worth it.
5. Do You Like Web Development?
This one may seem obvious but do you actually enjoy programming? Some of us simply aren’t cut out to be programmers.
The number one reason I see people struggling at their job as web developers is simply that they don’t like it enough to want to learn more. So instead, they try to learn just by doing their job and never take an interest in development outside of work.
I have never seen a developer who loves coding [even if they aren’t great developers yet], constantly stressed out at work.
This brings us to our last point…
6. It Depends On How Competent You Are
As I have grown as a developer, my job has been consistently getting easier and more fun. Instead of being stressed out at work and unsure of what to do, I can think of multiple approaches and spend most of my time figuring out the best approach.
As you become a better developer, you will likely be given larger or more complex problems. However, you’ll likely grow to like the challenge and feel confident that whatever gets thrown at you, you will be able to accomplish it.
Summary: Is Web Development A Stressful Job?
To summarize, yes web development can be a stressful job. However, that depends on many factors. Such as where you work, project urgency, stress tolerance, whether or not you like web development, and experience. In my personal experience, working as a web developer isn’t a very stressful job. However, I know have the experience to make my job easier and I really love it!
If you are looking to become a web developer, check out these free resources.
As always, happy coding!