How to start a career in web development?

Web Development is the building and maintenance of websites and web applications. If done right, it ensures that websites look great, work fast and perform well with a seamless user experience.

Did you know that users take about just 50 milliseconds to form an opinion about a website?

Hence, if you want to become a website developer, you must be efficient in building responsive websites that can grab the users’ attention at first sight. They websites by coding in a variety of programming languages such as Python, Java, and HTML.

Are you interested in becoming a website developer? Read on to understand web development in depth!

Here, you will find answers to:

What is a Web Developer?

Think about every website you have come across, there's a web developer behind it. They ensure that the website is visually appealing and easy to navigate. Also, many web developers are responsible for the website’s performance and capacity.

Web development requires writing lines of complicated code in different programming languages. Often, large web development projects are a collaboration between several web developers. So, different types of web developers specialize in different areas.

Types of Web Developers

Web developers usually fall under three categories- backend, frontend, and full-stack developers. Some work as webmasters as well. Let’s have a look at these roles:

Backend Web Developer

They are responsible for creating the website's structure, writing code, and verifying the code. Often, backend developers have to manage access points for those who need to manage the website’s content.

They ensure the functionality of the site, including its responsiveness and speed. They must know how to build servers with modern frameworks. They have to manage databases and data on a server.

Some popular server-side coding languages are PHP, Python, Java, and Ruby. SQL, Oracle, and Git are commonly used to manage and analyze data in website databases.

Frontend Web Developer

They work on the user interface- pages users see and interact with. They design the physical layout of the website and integrate graphics.

They use programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to enhance the website and frameworks like React, Bootstrap, Backbone, AngularJS, and EmberJS.

Web Developer vs Web Designer

Web Design is the way a website looks. On the other hand, frontend web development is how that design gets implemented on the web, i.e., the UI of the website. It integrates markup languages, design, scripts, and frameworks, to create an environment for users to see, click and touch.

Full-stack Web Developer

They come closest to the answer to the question, ‘what is a web developer’. A full-stack web developer works as both frontend web developer and backend web developer for a website.

They know how to build a complete website. These professionals work for organizations that do not have a larger website team budget. But now, it is increasingly becoming important for developers to have a foundation in both- frontend and backend development.

Webmasters

They are essentially website managers. They ensure that the website is updated. They ensure that the links and applications on each page work properly.

What Does a Web Developer Do?

As a web developer, you could work for a company, agency, or freelancer. Your work would depend on the work situation, but the general responsibilities include:

Designing user interfaces and navigation menus
Building in functionality and responsivity
Writing and reviewing code for sites
Integrating multimedia content onto a site
Testing web applications
Troubleshooting, fixing bugs, and glitches
Collaborating with designers, developers, and stakeholders

Web Developer Career Path

Many web developers start their careers thinking of getting into frontend or backend development. They may become full stack developers or explore careers in related fields. They find jobs in project management, computer programming, or graphic design.

How Much Do Web Developers Make?

The median web developer salary in the US is $77,200. Top earning web developers can make over $120,000/year.

The earnings depend on factors such as where you work, what industry you work in, and how much experience you have.

The projections show faster than average growth of web developer jobs through 2030. One of the driving forces for the increase in web development jobs is the growth of e-commerce. E-commerce has led companies to become more reliant on functioning websites that operate on multiple devices to do business.

How to Become a Web Developer?

Formal education isn’t necessary to get into web development. You can learn how to code and design websites by yourself. Some web developers do have an associate's or bachelor’s degree in website design or computer science.

While having a degree makes you a more competitive candidate, a strong portfolio validates your skills to potential employers.

Here are some skills that are required to become a web developer:

Build Web Developer Skills

Employers and clients expect web developers to have skills that showcase their ability to deliver on website requirements. If you’re interested in a career as a web developer, focus on these skills to build a foundation for success:

Technical Skills

Coding: Common programming languages for frontend design include HTML, PHP, cascading style sheets, and JavaScript. Learn Python, Java, or Ruby for backend development.

Responsive Design

People use mobiles, and laptops, to view websites. Developers should be able to create sites that look as good on different types of devices.

Technical SEO

Website design can directly affect the site’s search engine ranking. Understanding how search engines rank sites are useful for a developer.

Version Control

It lets you track and control changes to the source code so that you do not need to start over each time you run into a problem.

Visual Design

The website shall be based on basic design principles. They include how to use white space, choose fonts, and incorporate images.

Workplace Skills

There are certain skills that enhance your hard skills as an employee. Such soft skills cannot be learned through theory, but my practice of working in companies. Here are some of them:

Communication

Web developers spend time discussing design ideas with their clients and coworkers. Communication skills are important to run the project smoothly.

Customer Service

A web developer creates websites for the client. So, a website shall remain client-focused to achieve the best results.

Attention to Detail

Little details, such as a small change in code or changing image resolution, can make a big difference in how a website performs.

Organization

Keeping track of deadlines, tasks, and budgets is helpful. It enables to complete a website design on time.

Problem-solving

Web development comes with frequent running into issues when designing. Web developers should have the patience and ability to identify problems and solve them.

A degree in CS or Web Design

If you’re more interested in becoming a backend web developer, consider a degree program in computer science. If you feel more drawn to frontend developers, opt for a degree in web design or user experience (UX).

Take a Course in Web Development

Formal training is not required to work as a web developer. It’s possible to acquire the skills by yourself. For instance, take a course to learn programming languages like HTML, or JavaScript, and then practice what you have learned on your website.

A Portfolio of Web Development Work

A portfolio is often one of the most important parts of your resume. It shows the potential employers what you’re capable of creating. Include the types of projects similar to the work you’d like to do.

Get Certified

A certification can validate your skillset as well. You’ll find a range of certifications to pursue. Some of them are Adobe Certified Expert (ACE), Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSD), Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Developer, and Zend Certified PHP Engineer.

Key Takeaways

Think of all the websites you have visited- a web developer made them!

  • Web Development is the process of creating and maintaining websites for clients.
  • It involves creating layouts for the website, coding it, and checking the code.
  • Web development is different from website designing. Website designing involves designing the website as per the client. Website development, on the other hand, implements how that design is coded and implemented.
  • A full stack web developer knows how to create a website fully- coding and developing the user interface. A frontend web developer creates a user interface, while a backend web developer knows how to code and looks after the site’s functionality. A webmaster manages the website.
  • The general day-to-day work of a web developer includes designing user interfaces, building functionality, writing and reviewing code for sites, integrating multimedia content, troubleshooting, and collaborating with stakeholders.

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