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Web Developer vs. System Administrator: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Web developers and system administrators are both important roles in the tech industry. While they share some similarities, there are also several key differences between the two. If you’re interested in working in tech, understanding the difference between these two positions can help you choose the right path for you. In this article, we discuss the similarities and differences between web developers and system administrators.

What is a Web Developer?

Web Developers design, build and maintain websites. They work with clients to understand their needs and develop a plan for creating a functional and visually appealing website. Once the site plan is approved, Web Developers create a mock-up of the website and write the code that will make the site run. They test the site to ensure it is working properly and make any necessary changes. Web Developers also work with clients to update their website as needed and can provide training on how to use the site.

What is a System Administrator?

System Administrators are responsible for the upkeep, configuration and reliable operation of computer systems. They install software, configure hardware and maintain network systems to ensure optimal performance. They also troubleshoot system issues and provide technical support to users. System Administrators typically work in an office environment, but they may also be required to travel to different locations to provide on-site support. They typically work full-time, but they may also be required to work on call or outside of normal business hours to maintain systems that operate 24/7.

Web Developer vs. System Administrator

Here are the main differences between a web developer and a system administrator.

Job Duties

Though both web developers and system administrators share some job duties, they also have several key differences. For example, a web developer may create new websites and update existing ones. They may use their coding skills to customize sites for clients and ensure that the sites function properly. System administrators often manage the servers that host these websites, ensuring that they run smoothly and that users can access them easily. They may troubleshoot issues with the server rather than with the website itself.

Another difference is that while web developers work mostly in front-end development, system administrators perform back-end operations. Front-end refers to how users interact with a website, such as through typing text or clicking buttons. Back-end refers to the processes behind how a website functions, like databases and security measures.

Job Requirements

Web developers typically need at least an associate degree in web design or a related field, although some jobs may require a bachelor’s degree. Many web developers also have experience in graphic design, which they can use to create visually appealing websites. Some web developers pursue certifications to show employers that they have the skills necessary to do their job well.

System administrators usually need at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. They might also need experience working with the specific type of system they want to administer. For example, someone who wants to be a network administrator might need experience working with networking software and hardware. System administrators might also pursue certifications to improve their chances of getting hired or earning a promotion.

Work Environment

Web developers typically work in an office setting, but they may also travel to clients’ locations. They spend most of their time working on computers and using software programs. System administrators usually work in a professional environment with other IT professionals. They often work long hours and weekends to ensure that systems are running smoothly.

System administrators can work in many different environments, including offices, data centers or client sites. They may work irregular hours and weekends to address issues as they arise.


Both web developers and system administrators use technical skills to perform their jobs. However, web developers typically focus on developing code for websites, while system administrators focus on managing computer networks and servers.

Web developers need to have a strong understanding of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. They also need to be able to use development tools, such as text editors, version control systems and debugging tools. System administrators need to have a strong understanding of computer networks and server administration. They also need to be familiar with operating systems, such as Linux, Windows and Unix. In addition, they need to be able to use management tools, such as network monitoring tools and performance analysis tools.


Web developers earn an average salary of $78,677 per year, while system administrators earn an average salary of $82,947 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the type of company you work for, your level of experience and your location.


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