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TechieGen Career Guide

How To Become A Web Developer

TechieGen's Web Development career guide is intended to help you take the first steps toward a lucrative career as a web developer. The guide provides an in-depth overview of the data skills you should learn, the best data training options, career paths in website development, how to become a web developer, and more.

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15 Minute Read

What Is Web Development?

 

Web development, also known as website development, refers to the tasks associated with creating, building, and maintaining websites and web applications that run online on a browser. It may, however, also include web design, web programming, and database management. Web development is closely related to the job of designing the features and functionality of apps (web design). The term development is usually reserved for the actual construction of these things (that is to say, the programming of sites). The basic tools involved are programming languages called HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and JavaScript. There are, however, a number of other programs used to "manage" or facilitate the construction of sites that would otherwise have to be done "from scratch" by writing code. A number of content management systems (CMS) fall into this category, including WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal, TYPO3, and Adobe Experience Manager, among others. 

Web development is closely related to the job of designing the features and functionality of websites and apps (often called “web design”), but the “web development” term is usually reserved for the actual construction and programming of websites and apps.

Think of all the websites you have used over the years – Web Developers built those sites, making sure they functioned properly and performed in ways that allowed for a great user experience. Web Developers do this by writing lines of code, using a variety of programming languages, which vary depending on the tasks they are performing and the platforms they are working on.

The following programming languages are the basic tools involved in web development:

  • HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)

  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)

  • JavaScript

What Is Front-End Development?

Front-end development involves the “client-facing” side of web development. That is to say that it generally refers to the portion of the site, app, or digital product that users will see and interact with. A Front-End Developer, therefore, is responsible for the way a digital product looks and “feels,” which is why they are often also referred to as Web Designers.

Front-End Developers will usually need to possess a solid understanding of programming languages, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, as well as frameworks like React, Bootstrap, Backbone, AngularJS, and EmberJS.

What Are Jobs in Front-End Development?

Unlike back-end development, there are a number of job titles that cover different skill sets and experience levels within front-end development, including:

  • Front-End Developer

  • Front-End Engineer

  • CSS/HTML Developer

  • Front-End Web Designer (this usually denotes a role that involves more visual and interaction design requirements)

  • Front-End User Interface Developer (covering interaction design skills)

  • Mobile Front-End Developer

  • Front-End SEO Expert (usually denoting a Developer with experience incorporating SEO strategy)

  • Front-End Accessibility Expert

  • Front-End Dev Ops

  • Front-End QA (involving unit testing, functional testing, user testing, and A/B testing)

 

What Is Back-End Development?

 

If Front-End Developers are responsible for how a digital product looks, Back-End Developers are focused on how it works. This means they’re responsible for overseeing what’s under the hood, including database interactions, user authentication, server, network and hosting configuration, and business logic.

The primary responsibility of Back-End Developers is to ensure the functionality of the site, including its responsiveness and speed. To do that, Back-End Developers have to know how to build servers with modern frameworks (while developing custom APIs and serving static websites and files), and how to manage databases and data on a web server. Typically, they use server-side languages, including PHP, Ruby, and Python, as well as tools including MySQL, Oracle, and Git.

A Full-Stack Developer is someone familiar with both front- and back-end development. They are generalists, adept at wearing both hats and familiar with every layer of development. Obviously, employers want to hire Full-Stack Developers – according to an Indeed study, they are the fourth-most in-demand job in tech.

If the title is contentious, it’s in the generalist nature of the position. Developers who specialize in the front-end or back-end often bristle at the notion that someone could be equally adept at both – the expression “jack-of-all-trades, master of none” comes to mind.

“My defensive tendencies are normally put on high alert when I hear that magic phrase (‘full-stack’),” wrote Front-End Developer Andy Shora. “Stacks are a lot bigger than what they used to be, and being able to claim one has acquired refined skills at every layer of web development is certainly not a small claim. Does this mean you have a broad range of skills or you specialize in everything?”

While that perception persists, there still is an increasing number of tech professionals who consider themselves Full-Stack Developers. According to Stack Overflow’s 2018 survey of Developers, 48.2 percent consider themselves Full-Stack Developers – up from 28 percent in 2016.

What’s unclear is whether Developers are now expected to possess a broader skill set, or if Developers are taking it upon themselves to understand functions at both the front-end and back-end. Either way, it’s becoming increasingly important for aspiring Developers to have a foundation in both.

“For most people hoping to break into web improvement, you should center around working up an establishment in both front-end and back-end advancement first,” recommended Software Engineer and Tech Writer Muhammad Anser. “At that point, you can float towards a claim to fame later on.”

And with demand for Developers expected to grow 15 percent by 2026 (for 24,400 new jobs), much faster than the U.S. average rate of job growth, there may not be a better time to dive in and learn more about all the layers of Web Development.

Is Web Development A Good Career?

Yes, web development is a good career. Mondo’s annual Tech and Digital Marketing Salary guide found “Web Developer” was the most in-demand job title in tech and one of its top-paying jobs. And, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the job market for Web Developers is expected to grow 15 percent by 2026.

he expansion of e-commerce and an ever-increasing reliance on mobile search will only create further need for talented Developers. According to Stack Overflow, 83 percent of professional Web Developers in the United States are employed full-time, with another 10 percent working on a freelance basis or part-time. The same survey found that 73 percent of respondents reported positive job satisfaction, and the U.S. News and World Report ranked Software and Web Developers as one of the eight best overall tech jobs in its 2018 report. A healthy salary doesn’t hurt on that front. Web Developers make anywhere between $78,000 (Indeed) and $88,000 (Glassdoor) a year, with an easy pathway to more senior positions.

In addition, Developers have the choice of working mostly independently, on a team of Developers, or working cross-functionally between design and product teams. There’s also flexibility on the work-life balance front, as Developers can essentially work anywhere that has an internet connection. Being a Web Developer is not without its challenges, however, as the field involves continuous learning, problem solving, and critical thinking. Technology changes quickly, which means Developers have to stay on top of the new languages, tools, and trends. According to the BrainStation Digital Skills Survey, the top three resources Developers use to learn new techniques or ideas were online forums, digital skills training options, and blogs. When it comes to learning opportunities and training, Developers cite online courses as the most frequent format for improving their skills.

Aside from the myriad practical perks to possessing an in-demand skill set, there are many more non-monetary benefits to life as a Web Developer. In Stack’s worldwide survey of developers, 72.8 percent of respondents reported positive job satisfaction (as opposed to only 18.9 who said they were dissatisfied, with the rest feeling neutral). U.S. News and World Report, meanwhile, ranked Software and Web Developers as the best and eight best overall tech jobs in its 2018 report.

For many Web Developers, especially those who freelance for a number of clients, work-life balance is an appealing part of the job. “I cannot stress enough how wonderful it is to work for yourself, or even just to work remotely,” Wise said. “As more and more tech companies move towards hiring subcontractors or going remote, it gets easier for more developers to jump on this train. Set your own schedule, have less stress, travel more, work anywhere with WiFi, work from home in your pajamas, spend more time with your family – it is life-changing, and the best decision I have ever made.”

Further, Wise notes, the abundant opportunity in the field allows her to be selective, taking on projects that inspire her while referring other work she feels less passionate about to colleagues who might be a better fit.

Technology changes quickly, which means Developers have to stay on top of the new languages, tools, and trends. Unsurprisingly, Stack’s survey found a direct correlation between technical competency and salary. That helps to explain the increasing popularity of certification and training programs among seasoned developers and those hoping to break into the industry.

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What Does a Web Developer Do?

A Web Developer is responsible for programming code that tells websites how to operate. Web Developers typically specialize in either “front-end” (“client-side”) development or “back-end” (“server-side”) development. Some versatile and highly-sought after professionals do both, and they’re called “Full-Stack Developers.” BrainStation’s Digital Skills Survey found that 50 percent of Developers are working in front-end or full-stack development.

Front-End Developers typically focus on the visual and design elements of websites and can anticipate and fully appreciate user needs and behavior. As the name suggests, front-end (or client-side) development involves the programming of what will be visible to the user. Languages like JavaScript, CSS, and HTML are widely used in this development role. Because front-end development is responsible for what you can see on a website, it’s often confused with web design. Although Front-End Developers don’t design websites, they are the link between design and technology that can turn an idea into an interactive web page.

Here are some of the basic tasks that a Front-End Developer may be responsible for:

  • Working with Graphic, User Experience, or Web Designers to help ensure design ideas can be made into a website that is easy to use

  • Transforming design (sketches or wireframes for a website) into code that a web browser can read and display on your screen

  • Structuring a website so that it is easy to find through a search engine (this is part of Search Engine Optimization or SEO)

  • Developing websites that work and look good on any screen, from 24-inch computer monitors to five-inch smartphone screens (this is called responsive design)

  • Testing websites and fixing bugs or other issues

Back-End Developers work on behind-the-scenes systems and structures that are not visible for users but which allow the application to perform what’s needed. Specialists in back-end development tend to be skilled at problem-solving and logic and work with a variety of programming languages such as Python, Ruby, and SQL.

Developers can also choose to specialize in mobile application development and work primarily on Android and iOS apps. Using languages like HTML5, C++, and Java, Developers who focus on app development need to take a few different approaches into consideration such as swiping functionality, scrolling dimensions, and other standardized app design elements. Given the diversity of clients and their web-based products, as well as the range of specializations in front-end and back-end development, a Web Developer can play many roles. This, in fact, is a selling point for the profession — no two days are quite the same!

Daily tasks for Web Developers can vary widely, depending on a number of different factors. Here are a few examples of what a Web Developer is responsible for on a daily basis:

  • Translating wireframe designs into working code

  • Creating the architecture and content of a site

  • Building in functionality and responsivity

  • Making a site go live

  • Updating and renovating sites

  • Troubleshooting, fixing bugs, and glitches

Collaboration is also a major part of a Web Developer’s day-to-day routine, as Developers often participate in team meetings with Content Creators, Graphic Designers, UI Specialists, Marketers, Client Services Managers, and more. They also spend time working with each other to troubleshoot, review, and fix code that’s not quite right. Senior Developers may also spend quite a bit of time mentoring Junior Developers and managing team projects and scheduling. So, depending on the size of the company, a Developer may be focusing on a highly specialized role or a wider variety of smaller tasks. Freelance Web Developers, on the other hand, may take client projects from start to finish.

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What Skills Do You Need to Be a Web Developer?

As the core of web development work involves writing code, Web Developers must have advanced programming skills, and be fluent in a number of programming languages and libraries.

According to the 2020 BrainStation Digital Skills Survey, JavaScript is by far the most widely used language, with 75 percent of respondents citing it. This was followed by SQL, at 47 percent. However, 86 percent, use Git for version control.

When choosing a first language, it’s important to remember that languages increase or decrease in popularity and evolve over time, with new languages emerging that are more powerful and effective than previous languages or versions.

  • HTML and CSS. Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are the foundation of any Web Developer’s knowledge. HTML is the standard markup language used to build web pages, while CSS enables you to program the appearance of the web page, with things like colors and fonts. Together, HTML and CSS are the building blocks for web development.

  • JavaScript, which is often abbreviated as JS, is a crucial programming language, which enables website functionality on both the front-end and back-end.

  • Structured Query Language (SQL) is a programming language that is designed to manage, query, and manipulate data stored in a database.

  • Python is an object-oriented programming language used for many data science applications, including machine learning.

  • jQuery. A JS library that helps with the efficiency of JavaScript programming by providing a library of common tasks in a compressed, single-line format.

Beyond programming languages and libraries, becoming comfortable with commonly used tools like Git, or other version control software is a skill every Web Developer should have. Version control is a method of tracking different versions of code to ensure you can access it or restore it at any time.

There are also a number of design skills that are useful for Developers to have, with an understanding of responsive design being perhaps the most crucial. Responsive design is a method of web design that ensures a website responds to the screen size or platform used to view the content. With over 52 percent of global web traffic coming from mobile phones, 43 percent from desktop, and the remainder from tablets, the screen size used to view websites is extremely varied. To ensure that the experience is seamless across all platforms and screen sizes, Developers must be fluent in responsive design.

While Web Developers are not typically tasked with the overall site design, it’s an advantage for Developers to also have a solid understanding of common design principles. Front-End Developers, in particular, program the screens that users interact with – they can be far more successful with a good grasp of user-centered design.

As Developers must work with diverse teams, there are also a number “soft skills” that are important to develop:

  • Communication. From design, to marketing, to management, Developers are in communication with a host of departments to create products and services. Effective communication is essential to stay on track and complete projects.

  • Problem-solving. Because a portion of every Developer’s day involves debugging and maintenance, problem-solving skills are high on the list of requirements. Developers need to think critically and find creative workarounds and solutions where others have failed. They’ll also have to work independently when need be.

  • Time management. Developers are frequently tasked with multiple short-term and long-term projects, and must know how to prioritize tasks and accurately gauge time-to-completion. Having excellent time management skills also makes working with large teams easier, resulting in timely project delivery.

All programming languages are based around some fundamental paradigm or a set of paradigms, that form the conceptual approach to using that programming language – and there are numerous programming paradigms. This affects the expressiveness of a language, and how easy it is to solve various problems. Some common programming paradigms include:

  • Functional: Conceives of a problem as solved through a series of “functions” that, given the input, return a result. By putting together these functions, you can achieve the result you want.

  • Object Oriented: Conceives of a problem as a system of objects that interact with each other, like in the real world. Objects have properties and actions that they can take, and can manage their own state.

  • Imperative: A more literal, computer-like paradigm that conceives of a problem as a series of instructions for the computer, such as accessing computer memory, creating branches of instructions, and using indices to control repeating code.

Event-Driven: Conceives of a problem as a series of events that can happen at any time, in any order. This is important because events are unreliable – anything can happen. So, a Programmer defines what they want to happen when an event occurs, without worrying about when exactly that event will happen.

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Job Opportunities In Web Development

The average base salary of a web developer in India is around Rs 3,08,000 per annum that includes around Rs 30,000 in bonuses and Rs 20,000 on a profit-sharing basis. This figure can go up to a maximum of 7,80,000 per annum or even beyond that depending on your experience, skillset, certifications, location, and employer.

If you are just starting out, you can expect to ear as low as Rs 1,23,000 per annum as well. Web developers are employed by some of the biggest companies that pay them really well. So if you get an opportunity to work with Amazon.com Inc, you will earn a salary of around Rs 1,400,000 per annum, which is the highest average salary that any company pays to its web developers. Other companies that hire web developers include Accenture, Cognizant, Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys Ltd, HCL Technologies Ltd, and Infotech, amongst others.

Web developers with 1-4 years of experience can make around Rs 3,04,000 per annum. With 5-9 years of experience, you can earn around Rs 5,89,000 per annum. If you have an experience of over 10 years in the field, you can earn around Rs 1,000,000 per annum or even more depending on different factors.

Your location also has a very important role to play. Web developers working in Hyderabad, Bangalore, New Delhi, and Mumbai earn more than the national average. On the other hand, web developers working in Kolkata and Chennai are paid less than the national average. 

Your skills as a web developer can contribute significantly to your salary. There are certain skills that you are expected to possess – HTML, jQuery, PHP, MySQL, CSS, WordPress, and others. Now you won’t even be considered for jobs if you don’t have these skills. Other skills like web development, Angular.js, and JavaScript, will help you get a better salary. 

If you are serious about starting a career as a web developer, you need to make sure you acquire the right skills first. Prepare yourself well before pitching your skills or appearing for an interview. This is your chance of work a job that pays well, is flexible and offers you job satisfaction.

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Learn With Our Meme Based Learning Path 

TechieGen's Meme-based learning path is intended to help you take the first steps toward a lucrative career in web development. The guide provides an in-depth overview of the data skills you should learn, the best data training options, career paths in web development, how to become a web developer, and more.

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