Web development is a rapidly growing field and web developers are in high demand these days. As businesses continue to transition to the digital marketplace, the demand for web developers constantly increases. It’s safe to say that web development is one of the most stable (and rewarding) career options today.
So in this article, we’re going to break down everything you need to know to become a web developer. We’ll cover everything from what web development is, to what skills you need, and even give you a glimpse at average web development salaries.
What Is Web Development?
All websites, mobile applications, and software we see and use are built by web developers. Web development is a field that involves creation and maintenance of websites and mobile apps through coding and programming. This includes e-commerce sites, social media platforms, and any digital tool we use.
Web development may look complicated when we put it this way. To simplify it, it’s typically divided into three parts:
- Client-side (front-end)
- Server-side (back-end)
- Database management.
There’s also full-stack development wherein the developers have knowledge of both the front-end and back-end. Furthermore, mobile application development is a separate field in itself.
- Front-end development, also known as client-side scripting, refers to the sections of a site or application that users interact with directly. This includes the home page of a site and all accessible links on a webpage. Front-end developers take care of color schemes, menus, fonts, and the complete layout of web pages.
- Back-end development, also known as server-side scripting, refers to the parts of a site we cannot see. It’s where the site data is stored. Back-end developers have to ensure everything runs properly. When a user requests something on the front-end, like clicking on a link or filling out an e-form, a request is sent to the back end (the server-side). Thereafter, the server-side responds with a relevant outcome that’s presented on the front-end.
- Database management is usually done by back-end developers; however, companies may see the need for a specialized role, such as database administrators (DBA). Databases store all the data required and help in organizing it.
These three sections are vital to create and operate a website or application.
What’s The Difference Between Web Development And Web Design?
- As the name suggests, web design is all about the looks of a website. Web designers create user-friendly, interactive, and appealing design concepts for websites and web applications. They have to think visually. Color schemes, fonts, types of menus, and buttons are looked after by designers. Web designers also take into account the content of the site and its placement. Web design can be further divided into roles like User Experience (UX) Design and User Interface (UI) Design.
- Web development is more focused on constructing a website with computer code. A front-end web developer doesn’t design the front-facing aspects of a website, but they utilize the designs and front-end languages to build a site or application. Back-end developers add the functionalities and features to the site/app.
Skills Required To Be A Web Developer
With time and dedication, anyone can learn to code. But you'll have a head start if you've got a knack for these three skills.
Communication Skills - Web developers need to build websites and applications that satisfy the clients’ needs as well as the end-users’ needs. For this, they have to communicate and collaborate with designers, stakeholders, and clients to understand how the final product should function.
Attention To Detail - The job of a web developer involves monitoring the ongoing performance of applications and websites. This requires them to be attentive to even the smallest details.
Problem-Solving Skills – Web developers must know the art of debugging. They have to develop comprehensive application testing procedures to spot bugs in code and then fix them. They have to constantly update existing products for any issues. So as you could expect, web developers need to be good at problem-solving.
All web developers know multiple programming languages. If you want to be a web developer, we recommend that you choose to be proficient in at least 2-3 programming languages.
Before you pursue a career in web development, it’s important to pinpoint what area of web development you want to work in. So let’s look at four major types of web developers and what skills you need for each of them:
Front-end developers fulfill a key aspect of web development: they build the parts of sites and applications that users will see. They understand design concepts that may be provided to them by web designers and utilize those concepts to create the layout of all the pages and navigations. They have to make the site user-friendly and interactive. In doing so, a challenge that they deal with is to make sure that the website functions optimally on all types of browsers, screens, and devices.
CSS is a style sheet language used to display the content with different styles. This means that you can add colors, change fonts, backgrounds, and loads more. It helps make a web page more visually appealing. It’s used in conjunction with HTML.
In order to land an entry-level web development role, you’ll need to master at least a few of these popular languages.
The front end is only one half of the puzzle. To get the full picture and decide which types of web development roles are best for you, you also need to understand the purpose of back-end development.
Back-end developers build and manage the parts of the website that users do not see. They ensure that the site, the server where the site is hosted, and the database (such as SQL) are all connected.
Programming languages like Python, PHP, Ruby, JAVA, and Scala are used to develop a site. Database tools such as MySQL and Oracle are used to store data and send it to the user when requested. To work with databases, you need to know SQL (Structured Query Language) so that you can access and manage data.
Back-end developers work with clients and other teams so they also need good communication skills. They need to understand the requirements of their clients and bring them to life.
As a back-end developer, your daily tasks may vary. Some of the common tasks are:
- Creating and managing the database
- Developing server-side software
- Using API integrations for various functions
- Debugging and testing the back-end parts
Full-stack developers are skilled at both the front-end and back-end development. They’re aware of all the steps required in the development process. Full-stack developers usually have many years of experience in different parts of web development.
As a full-stack developer, you’ll need a mixture of the skills of front-end and back-end development. In the world of web development, those who know both front-end and back-end coding languages tend to bring in higher salaries and take on more senior roles.
Over the past few years, mobile web usage has drastically increased. That’s why there are so many job listings for iOS and Android web developers.
iOS developers build applications for Apple devices which run on the iOS operating system. To be in the running for an entry-level web development role that focuses on Apple and iOS products, you’ll need to learn the programming language Swift that was developed by Apple.
To develop Android applications, you need to know Java and advanced platforms like Android Studio. Google’s Flutter platform is a recent release that helps you create applications for both iOS and Android. It’s a useful technical skill that could separate you from the pack if you’re early in your web development career.
Apart from the mentioned programming languages and tools, you’ll most likely use a text editor to write code in. For example, Atom and Visual Studio Code. You also need to have knowledge of tools like Git and GitHub. Git is a popular tool used by developers to keep track of different versions of code. It’s also used to collaborate with other teams. Developers also use GitHub for its useful features like distributed version control, access control, and task management.
How To Get Hired As A Web Developer
To keep things simple, there are two things you need to focus on if you want to become a web developer.
Decide What You Want To Specialize In.
Do you want to specialize in front-end, back-end, full-stack, or mobile web development? Consider every option, and determine whether you want to find a niche or spend time practicing each area.
Find Your Learning Gaps.
Create A Portfolio.
Most tech companies hire web developers based on their portfolio, competencies, and coding skills. With that in mind, create an uncluttered and impressive portfolio — it should be flawless, whether it’s being viewed on a phone or a desktop.
In the portfolio, display your code samples or even use GitHub to showcase your skills. If you truly want to make an impression, make sure the homepage of your portfolio clearly demonstrates who you are and what you can do.
This is one of the most important steps if you want to become a web developer. Take on projects during your web development education to start building your portfolio.
Web Developer Salaries
Before spending the time and money to learn web development, you’re probably curious what kind of income you can expect as an entry-level web developer. As a newbie developer, you can apply for junior roles to help you gain experience. From there, Indeed.com reports that a web developer earns somewhere around $77,627 on average.
As long as you’re motivated to hone your skills and comfortable working with a team, you’ll enjoy a long career in web development.
Get The Skills You Need for A Web Development Career
Web development has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, and for good reason. Web developers usually receive a good starting salary, as well as job and location flexibility.
However, tools and code standards in web development change faster than they can be implemented. So, to stay one step ahead, don’t forget to stay updated with informative web development articles.