A couple weeks back I was discussing Joomla and other CMS platforms with a potential client. The client asked me if I was afraid that there would no longer be a need for web developers if every moved to CMS platforms.

I told her "No, I really don't believe so". I do believe that it changes the role of the web developer, but at this point CMS systems are complex enough that the services of a web developer is still needed for many aspects.

CMS platforms greatly reduce the need for clients to use the web developer for every change in the site's content.

In the early days of the internet, developers would create the site and all the content using HTML. You client could not understand the HTML code well enough to make even the smallest changes. There were software programs that aided some, but it was still tricky to make the changes accurately and not have the layout of the page be broken.

 With CMS platforms, the client can easily add content on their own. They can upload images, create new menus, add sidebar areas, add functionality, all without having to know any of the HTML, PHP or JavaScript that was working in the background.

The thing is that clients are expecting this functionality in their websites. They want to be able to use an in-house employee to make small changes, or create their own blog pages, without having to hire the services of a web developer. If you, as a web developer won't provide this level of web site, the client will go elsewhere.

Web Developers are needed to create the initial site

Joomla, WordPress and other CMS systems, have numerous templates to choose from, so extensive styling and site design is not absolutely necessary. What is necessary is a knowledge of hosting services, database creation, and basic knowledge of stylesheets to get the system up and running. A strong knowledge of the CMS platform is also needed for a timely creation of the basic menu structure and troubleshoot issues as they arise. Most clients will not have this knowledge and will rely on a web developer for the initial setup of the site.

Upkeep, backups and troubleshooting

The client is running his or her business and will likely not have the time or knowledge to maintain the site properly. CMS sites still need to have regular maintenance such as upgrades and backups. There also is the risk of hackers that bring down the site. These things will still require the knowledge of a good web developer.