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We know webmasters are managers and maintainers of websites. But is that all there is to it? Does being a Webmaster require any general skills besides being able to manage content? If I put it on a resume, will it mean anything? What do the 'pros' think of when they hear the term?

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While there is a technical definition of the term, you are asking more for opinions. I think this is an excellent question, but it needs to be revised or made community wiki. – Tim Post Aug 17 '10 at 11:16
Possible duplicate of webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/390/… – Bobby Jack Aug 17 '10 at 17:04
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Wikipedia defines a webmaster as:

A webmaster (a blend of web and master), also called a web architect, web developer, site author, website administrator, or (informally) webmeister, sometimes heard in tongue-in-cheek feminine form web mistress, is a person responsible for maintaining a website(s). The duties of the webmaster may include ensuring that the web servers, hardware and software are operating accurately, designing the website, generating and revising web pages, replying to user comments, and examining traffic through the site. Webmasters "must also be well-versed in Web transaction software, payment-processing software, and security software."

Webmasters may be generalists with HTML expertise who manage most or all aspects of Web operations. Depending on the nature of the websites they manage, webmasters typically know scripting languages such as Javascript, PHP and Perl. They may also be required to know how to configure web servers such as Apache or IIS and serve as the server administrator.

An alternative definition of webmaster is a businessperson who uses online media to sell products and/or services. This broader definition of webmaster covers not just the technical aspects of overseeing Web site construction and maintenance but also management of content, advertising, marketing and order fulfillment for the Web site.

Core responsibilities of the webmaster may include the regulation and management of access rights of different users of a website, the appearance and setting up website navigation. Content placement can be part of a webmaster's responsibilities, while content creation may not be.

So, as you can see, webmaster encompasses a lot of skillsets but doesn't require all of them to be met in order to be called a webmaster. If you put that on your resume you better clarify exactly what your duties were with any site you were a webmaster on or at least have a good answer prepared when they ask you what that means. Also keep in mind that most employers aren't looking for a generalist (which the title "webmaster" implies) but someone to perform a specific duty. If you claim to be a webmaster you may typecast yourself as a generalist instead of targeting yourself towards the position you are applying for.

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