If you work hard and have a passion for web dev, there is plenty of opportunity in San Diego. According to data provided by CCC Center of Excellence (2015), there has been an 8% increase in San Diego County area Web Development jobs in the past 3 years with an average of 85 jobs available per year. These jobs pay a median annual income of $51,807 with an Associate’s degree as the typical entry level of education.

Former students were kind enough to share their salary history and offer tips. These Cuyamaca alumni are doing much better than average.

Keep in mind that hard work and ongoing learning are required for success in this field. You can't wait until you get a job to start working hard. Also keep in mind that the problem solving skills you learn from coding and programming are extremely valuable no matter what career you choose.

 

FORMER STUDENT WITH ASSOCIATES, WORKING IN SAN DIEGO

I started working in the industry while attending school which I think makes you a better employee and better student. The two worlds sort of make absorption easier.

I was only able to get a job because I had actual projects I was working on for myself, beyond homework assignments.

I started at 31,000k at age 23.
I'm also female so I probably get paid less.
After 3 years at this job, I was making 45k and was a lead developer. This is actual awful pay and it was an annoying hurdle to overcome. However I was paid in far more than the salary by working for a small company because I was able to get bigger and better projects that required learning and taking on a ton of responsibility. In essence I was able to gain a ton of experience working with APIs, product, web server and dev ops knowledge etc. I accomplished really amazing stuff at this place. If I took a job with better pay or left after a year, I might not have increased my experience/skills as much.

So when I was 26 I got a job working in downtown for a promising start up. Remember that I have skills at this point from working hard and being underpaid. Immediately I was given a salary of 65k.

I'm only 3 years into my professional career with no bachelors and at this point only my associates. I have many associates. In business and web. But they don't really matter in this industry.

So while I started at this job, I was able to prove that I had some serious skills and quickly became one of the most valuable employees at the company. I asked for a 30k raise attesting to my contributions at this company in a short time and fact I was previously so under paid that it was hindering me from being paid for my value.

They said yes.

I am now making over 100k. In San Diego that's a really great salary. After only 5 years of professional work experience too. At the end of this year I will receive another raise.

At this point I'm not trying to switch jobs or even make a bunch more money. At this point I'm actually pursuing entrepreneurship ... I have a side business that's preparing to launch an app in next month or two. We are dedicated to eventually owning our own profitable company liberating ourselves from always working for employers.

The main thing is, be willing to work for a company where you can get the most from your investment of your labor. That could be opportunity to gain more experience to empower future goals/dreams that will far exceed the benefits of making crap tons of money.

 

FORMER STUDENT WITH ASSOCIATES, WORKING IN SAN DIEGO

Here's the salary progression so far:

Job 1 (11 months):
~25K -> ~30K

Job 2 (2 years 1month)
45K trial contract -> 60K -> 67.5K -> 80K

Job 3 (4 months - Current)
93K trial contract -> ???

As far as career advice, here are some tips / areas to focus on. Most of them aren’t too development specific since I believe that soft skills are increasingly more important than hard ones.

  • Learn version control (like git). Know why it’s used, and basics.  
  • Look up real job postings to get a feel for dev skills you should learn. They vary greatly depending on what you want to focus on
  • Acquire skills by doing (projects). This also serves to build up your resume experience, and shows drive!
  • Additionally, treat every school project like its your baby. Get passionate about it, and go above and beyond.
  • Before an interview, research:
    • Market value salary for position
    • Company (create talking points, questions to bring)
  • Learn to be an excellent debugger (QA).
  • Practice good time management, and try to keep track of how long things take you. Estimates are an essential skill to know
  • Learn how to communicate professionally
  • Don’t focus too much on specific languages, there is no best language to know. It’s more important to know the different types of languages out there, and what you can accomplish with them.


Whew. Long list, hope this helps out!

 


FORMER STUDENT WHO TRANSFERRED TO SDSU FOR COMPUTER SCIENCE B.S.
ACCEPTED JOB IN BAY AREA

I was offered 110K base pay with 30K signing bonus. Median salary for CS degree in the Bay Area is 98K. As for career advice, being proactive, doing your due diligence, and seeking out internships/jobs the field you want to enter!

FORMER STUDENT JUST GETTING STARTED

Intern - hourly minimum wage

Front End Developer ( full-time ) - $45k / yr.

For the local San Diego market, salaries in junior development are typically $40k - $50k, while Senior status ( 3 years minimum ) are in the $60k + range. 

Career advice -  Interview your future employer about which browsers they support, and how long their most senior developer has been working for them. Look at their LinkedIn profiles. Do they possess skills to mentor your knowledge of development? Lean on your senior developer staff for their experience. Become curious about which plugins and UI / UX features are their favorites and why. 

Read blogs and articles about development. Which books and articles do they suggest? Research what these new frameworks do, why they're great and why they're terrible. Learn about CSS Flexbox and its browser support. Learn a version control system. Make a sandwich. Inspect code on professional websites and understand what things do and why their developers made it that way. Become jealous at other people's work on codepen.io/ and desire to know how they did it. Educate yourself on which CMS platforms are in demand and why. Are they easy to develop with? Understand which languages they use. Master them. 

You can only become great at development after working with great developers.