How to Get Started
as a Web Developer
Refine Your Skills and Remain Relevant
If you enjoy programming and writing code, then a position as a web developer may be a good career choice for you.
The need for web developers is constantly increasing, and there are many different specializations a programmer can pursue. Keep reading to see how to become a web developer.
What Is a Web Developer?
A web developer is someone who works to create and maintain websites. This includes several technical aspects like performance, speed, and capacity. Web developers may also create content for the site.
Web developers work on the technical side of a website. Whether they work on the front end or the backend, they ensure that the user interface is functioning properly. Digital designers are similar, but UX/UI designers tend to focus more on the look and functionality of a site than web developers do.
How Does Web Development Relate to Data Science?
Developers use the tools of data science to find out what their competitors are doing with regard to site layout and details. They can use user experience data, for example, to match their designs to what users find effective. Data science thus helps developers streamline their work and set their designs apart from the competition.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Web Developer?
Web development career paths vary in length depending on your personal goals. Educational requirements vary. This means you can become a web developer with only a high school diploma or pursue a bachelor’s degree.
Most degree programs will take two to four years to complete. That range may increase if you choose to pursue certificates or add to your skillset with web development or data science boot camp.
Where to Study Web Development
Where you study will depend on what your goals are. Since you don’t have to earn a college degree to have a strong career in web development, there are several options to choose from. You can stop at high school, go to a university, enroll in a bootcamp, or study web development online.
Web Development Community Colleges
If you decide to study web development at a community college, you can earn an Associate Degree in Computer Science, Information Science, or a similar field. These degrees will teach you programming and other useful skills for your career.
Web Development Universities
Options for a bachelor’s degree include computer science, information science, and programming. These pathways include courses in graphic design and software architecture. A bachelor’s degree provides you with more in-depth knowledge than an associate degree and can help you stand out from candidates who haven’t gone to a university.
Web Development Coding Bootcamps
In addition to your degree, you may want to participate in a coding bootcamp. A coding bootcamp usually entails a condensed, immersive program to prepare you for your future job. These bootcamps can also help you improve specific development skills.
Web Development Online Courses
Another option is to take online courses. This can be done at your own pace. Online courses may include programming, web development, and computer science. This is less structured than a college education but can usually be accomplished from anywhere at any time.
How to Become a Web Developer: A Step-by-Step Guide
Web developers aren’t always required to have a bachelor’s degree. Oftentimes, you can get a good job with just a high school diploma, though more schooling will help you stand out. Below are steps to follow to become a web developer:
Get a high school education
Completing high school is the first step in becoming a developer. Some STEM-oriented schools might even offer classes in programming to help you get a head start.
Earn a bachelor’s degree
Employers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in a tech-related field like computer science or programming. This helps you get a base knowledge of programming languages and other necessary skills.
Complete certificates or specialized training
A certificate program can help you hone your skills and differentiate yourself. These certificates may include programming languages or coding skills.
Build a portfolio
From your schoolwork or other education, you can build an online portfolio of your work. This is an excellent way to demonstrate your skills to employers.
Apply for jobs
Many web developers take on freelancing gigs, but there are job opportunities everywhere. Just make sure that your skills match the jobs you’re applying for. If you’re an expert in Python, for example, you should apply for a variety of the best Python jobs.
Entry-Level Web Developer Job Requirements
There is no minimum educational requirement for web developers. Most employers will be more interested in your work experience and skills, but some employers do prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in a tech-related field like computer science. Knowledge of programming languages, especially HTML, is also preferred.
Web Developer Salary and Job Outlook
The average web developer makes almost double the national average. The median web developer salary was $77,200 as of May 2020. The lowest 10 percent of web developers made $40,750 and below, whereas the highest earners made $146,430 and above.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of web developers is expected to increase by 8 percent between 2019 to 2029. This is much faster than most other occupations. Web developer jobs will increase as ecommerce and technology advance. Demand for web developers will also increase as the need for mobile site design rises.
Example Web Developer Job Interview Questions
- Explain your favorite project and what methods you used to complete it.
- How do you make your sites and apps accessible to all?
- How would you improve a web page that’s loading slowly?
- What’s your favorite programming language and why?
What Does a Web Developer Do?
Depending on their education and skills, a web developer’s job will vary. There are a few tasks that are common to all. Developers work primarily behind the scenes to create an easy-to-use website for users.
Below are a few typical duties for a developer.
Monitors Website Traffic
Web developers must keep an eye on visits to their sites. This helps them adjust site capacity and performance. For example, if a site typically functions with 10 views at a time and traffic suddenly increases to 75 users at one time, site capacity and other functions may need to be adjusted. This helps the site run better.
Writes Code for Websites
This is one of a web developer’s primary duties. Web developers write code using programming languages like HTML, creating the layout for information displayed on a site.
Updates Site Functionality and Accessibility
Along with building sites from scratch, developers make sure a site remains functional and accessible. They ensure the user interface is clean and displayed properly.
Essential Web Developer Skills and Certifications
Web Developer Skills
HTML and CSS
HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language. It is the language that’s used to build a web page. It creates a structure for the information displayed on the page. HTML is the primary language used for web development.
CSS is a powerful complementary skill for web developers. CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, allows you to arrange and design the HTML elements on a page. It also offers different ways to customize a site’s development.
SQL stands for Structured Query Language. It is used to communicate with databases and in relational database management systems. SQL is used by backend developers to manage complex projects and high quantities of data.
Web Developer Certifications
Certified Web Professional (CWP) | IWA
This is one of the most common certifications for web developers. It is offered by the International Web Association (IWA). Students who earn their CWP certification prove their ability to maintain web applications through programming, scripting, and server administration.
Full Stack Web Developer Nanodegree | Udacity
This four-month certificate program from Udacity trains aspiring full stack web developers to deploy sophisticated web applications. You’ll work with Python and Flask to build robust backend systems, all while being coached on how to improve your job application materials. With this nanodegree in hand, you’ll be ready to land your next developer job.
Front End Web Developer Certification | edX
Reasons to Become a Web Developer in 2021
There are many reasons why becoming a web developer is an appealing career choice. It doesn’t necessarily require a degree, it’s in high demand, and it’s very lucrative. There are also opportunities for specialization, allowing aspiring web developers to get creative.
Web Developer FAQ
Does web development require coding?
Is a web developer the same thing as a web designer?
Developers focus on programming languages, functionality, and accessibility features for a website. Web designers take more of a graphic design approach. A developer with the ability to both develop and design websites will stand out among other candidates.
What are some tips for new developers?
Take inspiration from other high-quality websites. This can help you refine your own style. You should also network and learn from senior developers. Another way to find success in an entry-level development job is by keeping updated on current trends and technology.
Can developers work from home?
Many developers are able to work from home. Remote work options include working for large companies, freelancing, and telecommuting.