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How to Become a Web Developer: The Ultimate Guide

Technology plays a significant role in our daily lives, from simple applications to the most innovative programs. Every piece of software that we encounter has been built by a web developer - but who exactly is a web developer?

Web developers are heavily involved in website creation, from technical considerations such as how to build a website to handle a given amount of traffic to helping design aesthetic properties of a website such as color and layout. Not only is the web development field exciting and at the forefront of the digital age, but it is also in great demand. The employment of web programmers is projected to grow 13% by 2028, which is much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the tech industry is experiencing tremendous growth and is in need of new IT professionals to help fill open positions, now is a perfect time to start a new career in web development.

To the outside eye, web development can seem like a confusing and somewhat inaccessible field. So, to shed some light on this field, we’ve created this guide on how to build a successful career as a web programmer.

Who is a Web Developer?

The role of a web developer requires using a variety of programming languages to make functional, interactive, and visually appealing websites while also meeting additional project specifications. Web programmers are also responsible for ensuring a website operates efficiently on all browsers - both mobile and desktop - through testing. There are three separate specialties within the web development field: front end, back end, and full-stack development.

Front-end developers

Front-end programmers typically focus on the visual elements of websites and can anticipate user behavior and needs. By integrating markup languages, script and frameworks, and design, front-end developers create the environment for everything that users see and touch. Languages like CSS, JavaScript, and HTML are widely used in the front-end development role. 

Back-end developers

Back-end programmers work on behind-the-scenes systems that are not typically visible by users but which allow websites to function efficiently. Back-end developers build and maintain the technology needed to power the elements which enable the user-facing side of an application to exist. Back-end professionals tend to be skilled at logic and problem-solving and work with programming languages such as Python, SQL, and Ruby.

Full-stack developers

Full-stack programmers combine front-end and back-end development. They consider the creation of the web from both angles and have the necessary skills to complete tasks on either end of the spectrum. Full-stack developers have to have skills in a variety of coding niches, including databases, graphic design, UI/UX management, and others.

Web Developer Skills and Qualifications

Having the right set of web programmer skills is crucial to success in this profession. Though the exact skills needed for someone in this role will vary by specialty and company, the overall skill set web developers need are the same. Key web development skills include:

  • JavaScript skills
  • HTML/CSS skills
  • Responsive design skills
  • Back-end basics
  • Testing and debugging skills
  • Search engine optimization skills
  • Excellent problem-solving skills
  • The ability to explain technical matters clearly 
  • Attention to detail

Even though employers may not require professional certifications, these credentials may help validate your abilities and contribute to your professional growth. You may choose to pursue certifications related to specialized software or more generalized skill development. Here are some web developer certifications for your to consider:

  • Web Programming Certificate
  • Web Technologies Certificate
  • Certified Web Professional
  • JavaScript Certified Development Professional

Steps to Become a Web Developer

Choose a web development specialization

It’s pretty complex to build a website successfully as each element of a website is linked to something else. Depending on their specific jobs, web programmers will have specific skills (ex., CSS, JavaScript frameworks) and will have specialized knowledge that characterizes their roles. As we mentioned earlier, web programmers are categorized into three main types: front-end developers, back-end developers, and full-stack developers. So prior to starting out, you should choose a web development specialization that seems interesting to you to better set the stage for future education.

Learn key programming languages 

Whatever your area of specialization, you need to learn to code and know how to use a variety of programming languages for web development. Prospective web programmers are proficient in the three core coding components HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. Web developers who build applications have expertise in back end-languages such as Ruby, PHP, Java, and tools such as SQL Server and Oracle. For more efficient learning, you can set up a Github account and push code to the site. Practicing programming and getting used to Git will prepare you to manage complicated site and application builds, as well as work as part of a team.

Build a web development portfolio

A portfolio of your work is an ideal way to demonstrate your coding talent and technical capabilities. There are three main things to keep in mind when building a portfolio that will stand out from the crowd. First, your portfolio should include a diverse selection of web development projects. It should only demonstrate your best work but show versatility. Second, demonstrate the skills that most make you stand out - not just in the projects you include in your portfolio, but in how the portfolio itself is presented. Finally, make sure you show your process. You can include the narrative of your thought process and the problems you faced when working on a specific project. 

Search for a job

Once you’ve mastered programming skills and built a portfolio with at least a few projects, you can start searching for a web development job. You can visit online job sites, sign up for weekly job alerts, and reach employers directly if you know the company you would want to work for. 

You can also seek help from tech recruitment agencies like Employa who specializes in matching companies with tech talent. Employa works with employers who are actively looking for tech professionals. You can check the available vacancies here and apply if you think you would want to become a part of our client’s team.

Need Employa to advance your tech recruiting?

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