Is web scraping a job?

Feb 20, 2024 ยท 2 min read

Web scraping, also known as data scraping or web data extraction, is the process of automatically collecting structured web data for analysis and use in other applications. As companies increasingly rely on data to drive business decisions, web scraping skills are in high demand. So can web scraping provide viable career opportunities?

There are a few main career paths where web scraping skills are valuable:

Data Analyst Roles

Many companies hire data analysts to aggregate, clean and analyze data to uncover insights. Web scraping is an important skill for collecting the raw data needed for these roles. For example, a marketing analyst may scrape social media data to gauge brand sentiment. Popular tools like Python and R make web scraping accessible for analysts without a software engineering background.

Software Engineering Roles

Web scrapers require maintenance and customization as websites change their code and structure over time. Software engineering roles focused on building and improving web scraping tools are common, especially at technology and data companies. These roles require skills like:

- JavaScript, Python 
- HTML, CSS parsing 
- Automation tools like Selenium
- AWS, cloud computing

Entrepreneurial Opportunities

Some technologists leverage web scraping in creative ways to build businesses. For example, tools that aggregate pricing data by scraping ecommerce sites help shoppers find deals. However, legal and ethical considerations around data rights, terms of service violations, and scraping best practices should be examined when exploring independent web scraping projects.

Overall, web scraping presents exciting career potential at the intersection of data and software engineering. While formal web scraping education is limited, ample online courses and documentation make it relatively accessible to pick up. Candidates with existing coding skills and an analytical mindset tend to thrive most in these roles.

When considering a web scraping focused career, be sure to check whether specific tools or types of data require compliance steps for commercial use. But with the right niche, web scraping skills can certainly power interesting businesses and roles.

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