The term “webmaster” was first used by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, in his document “Style Guide for Online Hypertext.” The word is composed of the English words “web,” short form of World Wide Web and “master.” In the early days of the WWW, the early 1990s, the term was mostly used as a professional name for people who run their own website. At that time, web pages were usually only developed and managed by one person, so the webmaster was responsible for all aspects of the site. Responsibilities included design, development, maintenance, and marketing. Nowadays, these tasks often require a whole team of specialists, which is managed by a webmaster. That person is now a generalist, who monitors all section of the project and coordinates the procedures.
Webmasters can work as employees in an agency, as freelancers, as self-employed entrepreneurs or in the IT department of a large organization. If a website is small and not too complex, it is now often created by just a webmaster, possibly in cooperation with a specialist. The following tasks must be performed:
However, if a more complex application is created, such as for a large e-commerce website, a team of different experts will be required. In this case, the webmaster serves as a “website architect” or project manager. His tasks are as follows:
Market studies have shown that successful websites are neither developed by pure designers or just technology specialists. These projects were realized by generalists, who have various professional and methodological skills in all fields. Moreover, webmasters as coordinators are often in the tension field between customer and production team. In order to master this, in addition to just pure specialist knowledge, a high degree of communication skills, team skills, social competence, perseverance, creativity and capacity to handle a lot of work are required.
Since the professional title, webmaster, is not legally protected in Europe, vocational training is not regulated by the state. However, some private education institutions offer primary education or vocational training, which generally takes 6 - 12 months. Long-distance courses on this subject are also offered, allowing you to complete your training part-time. The duration of such a training course is about 2 years. Technical colleges and universities are already delivering several webmaster competencies, for example, “digital media” or “media information.”