How a business is represented in the digital realm rests squarely on the shoulders of highly skilled web developers. These talented professionals create aesthetically pleasing sites that are easy to use and accurately portray the company’s brand identity.
This responsibility doesn’t come lightly. And it’s no surprise that top developers can earn well over $100,000 per year. They also receive top perks, enjoy excellent career prospects, and job security.
If you’re a technical person with a passion for design, you’re perfectly suited to a future in web development. To get started in this field you’ll first need to learn various different development skills and techniques. This post aims to highlight these skills and discuss the best way you can get up to speed.
Let’s start with an in-depth look at the web development role.
What Does a Web Developer Do?
Web developers work on designing, building, testing, and maintaining websites and web applications on the internet. The two main areas of web development include front-end and back-end development.
Front-end developers work on client-side features and focus on anything a user interacts with. Back-end developers work behind the scenes on server-side tasks and are responsible for the functionality of the site.
Full-stack developers are the jack of all trades of the development world and can handle both front-end and back-end responsibilities.
Technical Skills Required to Become a Web Developer
Let’s begin by examining the technical skills required for a web development career:
- HTML: Hypertext Markup Language is the standard language used to add content to web pages. HTML is used by the web browser to create and interpret images, animation, text, and other components into a fully functional experience.
The characteristics of each element are defined by HTML and can be further tweaked and even enhanced by the designer. HTML is usually the starting point for many web developers. It forms the foundation for you to embark on a career in web development.
- CSS: Cascading Style Sheets is the language used to define the style of HTML elements. For example, you can create a page heading using HTML, then use CSS to make it bold or change its color. Before learning CSS you need to have a good understanding of HTML.
- Back-End Languages: Web developers specializing in the back-end need to master server-side programming languages like PHP, Python, and Java. These languages are important for building the core functionality of the site and are used to interact with other applications.
- Databases: Most web applications that perform a useful function will require a database. Web developers must learn how to design efficient databases and interact with them using SQL (Structured Query Language). You’ll need to learn how to read, write, update, and delete data in a database. Popular database systems include MySQL, Oracle, MS Access, and PostgreSQL.
- Graphic Design: As a web developer you’ll be tasked with breathing life into storyboards and early design ideas. Understanding the fundamentals of graphic design will allow you to work independently of others.
Spending time getting familiar with some of the common graphic design tools should be a priority, as your ability to produce aesthetically pleasing graphics will only work in your favor. Figma, Photoshop, InVision, and Sketch are some of the more common tools that are used by accomplished web developers.
- Version Control/GIT: Version control helps developers track and control changes that have been made to code. In case something goes wrong, you can restore previous versions of your work to troubleshoot or debug the code without having to start all over again. GIT is an open-source software program that performs this function and can help you save time.
- Web Performance Optimization: Another important responsibility of a web developer is to ensure your website works flawlessly without allowing any glitches to creep in.
Soft Skills Required to Become a Web Developer
Soft skills are transferable skills that apply across different roles. Together with hard technical skills, you’ll also need to work on the following soft skills to land a web developer position:
- Communication: Web developers rarely work alone. You’ll need to meet with clients, capture user requirements, and discuss ideas with other developers. This all requires excellent communication skills to avoid ambiguity. You may also need strong writing skills as you put together technical documentation or project reports.
- Presentation: You could be asked to present the technical aspects of the project to clients. So, you should be comfortable speaking in front of a crowd. You’ll also need to learn tools like MS Powerpoint to put together your slides.
- Organization: As a web developer you’ll often be involved in multiple tasks at once. It’s important to stay organized and work through your responsibilities in a pragmatic manner.
- Time Management: Web development projects always work with deadlines in place. You need to be able to prioritize tasks and identify risks that could lead to missed deadlines.
- Attitude: Other team members or senior designers may provide you with constructive criticism. It’s important that you take the feedback on board in a positive manner and learn from your mistakes. This will help you improve your skills and identify any weaknesses.
How to Become a Web Developer
Many aspiring web devs take the traditional path of a college degree. A technical discipline like computer science or software engineering will provide you with a solid foundation. And it does come with a price tag: expect to spend around $120,000 in tuition fees and up to 4 years to get your BA.
But a degree isn’t actually required to get started in the space. Many employers favor on-trend skills and relevant experience over formal education. Considering the significant investment required, many students are increasingly looking at alternative education programs.
Bootcamps are a more affordable, more focused, and more intensive study option. Unlike degrees, students only study what’s necessary for the role. This makes the learning process more efficient.
Enroll in our online web developer bootcamp today to benefit from expert mentoring, full community support, and a professionally designed curriculum. As part of the training, you’ll put together a stand-out portfolio to wow prospective employers. You’ll also gain experience working in teams.
We know that our path to a new career works, but you don’t have to take our word for it. Check out our long-term student outcomes to see how the course has paid off for other grads.
Research Your New Career
You should now have a good grasp of what’s required for a future in web development. The role can be incredibly satisfying for the right candidate and provides excellent job opportunities. You may also have the chance to work remotely from the comfort of your own home.
There are many specialized skills to learn, but don’t let this put you off. If you’re committed and follow a structured education program you can achieve your goals and get hired at a top tech firm.
To get an idea of starting salaries, check out our post on entry-level jobs in web development.