DiversityJobs network is now part of Circa. Learn More.
find jobs
job title, keywords or company
city, state or zip code
Have you ever wondered exactly what it is that webmasters do? In this interview, an experienced webmaster and web developer shares what his career journey has been like since the pioneering days of the internet in 1996.

Q: What is your job title and what industry do you work in? How many years of experience do you have in this field? How would you describe yourself using only three adjectives?

A: My job title is varied, because I work for myself from home. Most would call me a webmaster or web developer. The industry is also varied. Whatever industry works at that specific time is the one I work in. I have been working as a webmaster, or in some capacity on the internet or with computers since January of 1996. As for adjectives, I would say persistent, hardworking, and curious are good.

Q: What’s your ethnicity and gender? How has it hurt or helped you? If you ever experienced discrimination, how have you responded and what worked best?

A: I am a white male, and I think this unchosen advantage has helped me in some ways, and hindered me in others. There are certain industries where it helps to be female, and certain industries where it definitely is an advantage to be male. I would say that about 80% of the time it is advantageous to be a male in this industry, as it is in the rest of the world.

Q: How would you describe what you do? What does your work entail? Are there any common misunderstandings you want to correct about what you do?

A: What I do is very diverse. I maintain about 25 different websites, updating content, HTML, and search engine optimization as I go. I also make sure that my different clients' traffic is making the most possible money for them. The misunderstandings that people usually have are that I work at home, and this often makes them think that either I do not work very much, or that I can take time off whenever I want to.

Q: On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your job satisfaction? What might need to change about your job to unleash your full enthusiasm?

A: I would rate my job satisfaction at about 8 out of 10. Most of the reason I am not satisfied enough is myself. If I could get organized with my work and stay that way I would be even happier. Working from home is not for everyone; some people need to be motivated by a supervisor or boss.

Q: If this job moves your heart – how so? Ever feel like you found your calling or sweet spot in life? If not, what might do it for you?

A: I'm not sure it moves my heart, but the writing part does. I feel like I was meant to write, so when a client asks for writing I am very happy.

Q: Is there anything unique about your situation that readers should know when considering your experiences or accomplishments?

A: Working from home as a webmaster is great, but it can get lonely. Make sure you know this going in. Try to make time every day to get out of the house and visit friends, or at least do something active like take a walk.

Q: How did you get started in this line of work? If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change?

A: I have a degree in English from Georgetown University, so working on computers is a strange place to end up. I just started fooling with the Internet when I was a senior, and the rest is history. I do not think I would change anything.

Q: What did you learn the hard way in this job and what happened specifically that led up to this lesson?

A: There are a lot of ups and downs with this job. Sometimes you make money, sometimes you don't. Saving money is key, or you could end up not being able to pay your bills.

Q: What is the single most important thing you have learned outside of school about the working world?

A: There is always someone out there ready to take your place, so work hard!

Q: What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you in this job?

A: I randomly met one of my clients, and did not know who he was until about an hour after I met him. It's a very strange feeling to meet someone you think is a stranger, and then to realize you know him really well.

Q: Why do you get up and go to work each day? Can you give an example of something that really made you feel good or proud?

A: I love my job, so getting up to go into the kitchen to work is very easy. I'm proud of my writing. I was recently published in U.S. News & World Report magazine; three separate articles! I am proud of the fact that I have gotten to the point where I am an 'expert' on just about anything you can think of; clients come to me with a diversity of different subjects and products, and it helps to be able to do everything for them and not outsource work.

Q: What kind of challenges do you handle and what makes you want to just quit?

A: Challenges on my job usually have to do with software failure or network outages. They can be very frustrating.

Q: How stressful is your job? Are you able to maintain a comfortable or healthy work-life balance? How?

A: My job is not that stressful, unless the work just isn't there. It's hard to create work out of thin air. I try to maintain a healthy work-life balance, but sometimes it is very hard. I have two daughters, and sometimes I feel like I neglect them, but I always try to make up for it in the end.

Q: What’s a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough and/or happy living within your means?

A: I make between 50-75K a year. I definitely live within my means. You learn how to do that quickly with my job. When I first started, it was easier to make a lot of money. Now there is a ton of competition, so it's harder to stay ahead.

Q: How much vacation do you take? Is it enough?

A: I try to take 2-4 weeks of vacation a year, but I have to take my job with me wherever I go. Another hazard of the job, as anything can go wrong at any time with a client's site. I haven't been without some sort of internet connection in at least 15 years. It is annoying, but very necessary.

Q: What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?

A: You can be self-taught, but it really helps to have some sort of computer degree to really succeed, especially if you are going to go into my field in the private sector. If you choose to work at home, the training is not as necessary.

Q: What would you tell a friend considering your line of work?

A: Be prepared to work long hours, especially at first, and to not make enough money for a year or two. It helps to have another part-time job, or some sort of cushion, to help you get through the harder times.

Q: If you could write your own ticket, what would you like to be doing in five years?

A: Really, I'd like to be doing the same thing, but I would love to get more organized so that I could make about twice as much as I'm making now. If that doesn't happen, I'll be fine anyway. I really do love my job; at least 90% of the stuff I do I consider fun.