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Can you be a webmaster ?

Kareen Cox

Jamaica's Internet penetration has grown 20-fold in the last decade, and is now at 55 per cent, or 1.5 million users.

According to the most recent global industry data compiled by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in 2008. Eight years ago, in 2000, penetration or usage was only 3.08 per cent.

This significant increase is good news for local companies trying to establish online businesses or sell their services to big companies and advertisers via websites. It is also good news for our IT students and professionals, who can be assured of a job in their industry, even as other industries downsize in the wake of the current global economic crisis.

One job in particular that is bound to be in demand is 2that of a webmaster. A webmaster creates, develops and maintains a website, and is also sometimes responsible for creating web pages, and managing graphics and editorial content.

A webmaster's duties include:
  • Coordinates content development

  • Creates the images and defines the "look" of the site

  • Incorporates images and forms and maintains the integrity of the links

  • Writes Java and JavaScript programmes for incorporation into the website

  • Ensures that the server is running properly and efficiently at all times

  • Establishes new content development areas, and new scripts

  • Maintains the security of sensitive documents and the site in general

  • Monitors the capacity and available accommodation on the Internet Service Provider

  • Monitors the performance of the website to note how efficiently it is fulfilling requirements for download

  • Reviews and maintains hyperlinks to ensure currency

  • Monitors traffic on the site, and traffic patterns

  • Maintains the currency of the information and the presentations on the website, including audio, video, and graphical presentations

A webmaster should:
  • Have intricate knowledge of the Internet

  • Have an artistic eye

  • Be Creative

  • Have good presentation skills

  • Be knowledgeable in telecommunication protocols and transport mechanisms

  • Have skills as a graphic artist

Getting trained
Training is provided at the University of Technology, University of the West Indies, HEART Trust/NTA, and the Vector Technology Institute, among other institutions.

A webmaster usually works in a clean, well-lit, air-conditioned area, working a normal 40-hour week, unless the website is one which the management wants monitored outside of normal hours.

One also has the advantage of working from home, or freelancing, since all that is really needed to perform the functions of the job, is access to high-speed Internet connection and a telephone.

Persons interested in this position should have an appreciation for that which is visually appealing. Such persons should be able to relate to marketing and top management, who will have to give directions on what information the company wants to present.

The job prospects for webmasters are expected to grow, as the number of users of the Internet doubles every six months, thus encouraging more and more organisations to use this facility, and create and maintain their own websites.

Webmaster is just one of a variety of jobs available within the IT industry. The field is poised for growth and those persons currently preparing to enter the field will find a diverse and exciting industry awaiting them.

Kareen Cox is Co-ordinator, Career Resources
Career Development Services Department (CDSD) within the HEART Trust/NTA. Email:
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