With job growth in the website development industry expected to skyrocket in the upcoming years, more and more people are wondering how to become a web developer themselves.
For those looking to get in on the action, a career in website development can be engaging, exciting, and most importantly, rewarding.
However, figuring out how to learn web development by yourself can often be complicated and confusing, which has resulted in the premature end of too many potential web development careers to count.
As such we have taken the time to prepare the following guide to work towards a meaningful career as a web developer.
While we cannot guarantee that this guide will help you to become a successful web developer overnight, we can say that following this guide will help you get on the right track.
This Image below summarizes the topics that we’ll cover in the article:
Want to become a great web developer? Then, let’s jump into our guide on how to learn web development.
Learning paths: becoming a Web Developer
Website development is a career field that offers numerous different tracks depending on one’s preferences. Whether you’re interested in creating highly interactive websites or designing beautiful layouts, there is a rewarding career for you waiting in the world of website development.
Typically, web development is broken into two major fields: frontend development and backend development. As a web developer, you have to get a good grasp of both fields because both go hand in hand inside the web development world. When a developer master both fields, we name it a “full stack web developer”
One of the main challenges to become a skillful front end developer is to keep updated with techniques and technologies which are constantly evolving. We wrote an article about Bootstrap alternatives, that will help you learn more about the subjetct and discover substitutes for this frontend CSS framework.
Another important point is that nowadays users utilize a wide variety of devices (with different screen sizes and resolutions), different browsers and various operating systems and developers must take these aspects into consideration when making a site.
On the other hand, backend developers focus on the service, application, and database side of web pages. They create the logical foundation and the computational logic of a site, software or information system.
The role of this kind of developer is to ensure that the data or services requested by the front-end application are delivered correctly through programmatic means. They are also responsible for creating and maintaining the core app logic, databases, APIs, performing the testings and debugging of the system.
Web developer programming languages: Where should I start?
There are literally dozens of programming languages in use today, so needless to say that finding a place to start can be overwhelming for new web developers.
Instead of offering an overview of every top programming language used for web development, we’d like to highlight the most effective learning path with significant languages that are easier to learn, yet versatile tools for modern developers.
The major technologies that we believe every new website developer should start with include:
- HTML and CSS go hand-in-hand to make the written content and beautiful layouts seen throughout modern websites a reality.
- SQL, a domain-specific language (it stands for Structured Query Language) used in programming and designed for managing data held in a relational database management system or for stream processing in a relational data stream management system.
- Scripting languages, they form the basis of almost all web-related. As such, they are invaluable tools for any web developer to master. They can bring new functions to applications and glue complex systems together. They differ from programming languages in a way that they don’t require an explicit compilation step. Good examples of scripting languages are Ruby, Python, PHP, and Elixir.
Great web development courses to get started with
For those looking to learn web development without investing tens of thousands of dollars on academic credentials, we’ve got great news: it is now more accessible and more affordable than ever to get started.
We’ve hand-picked the best courses from the best providers. If you follow these suggested steps, chances are you’re going to become a skilled web developer.
Are you ready to start this journey?
1. Learning path for front-end developers:
2. Learning path for back-end developers:
If you intend to become a back-end developer you should start with these "back-bone" courses in order to build a solid foundation.
Depending on the type of back-end developer you want to become (Ruby, Django or PHP), you should choose the correspondent course below:
In case you want to explore other options, use classpert.com to search.
Key skills for Web Developers
When starting your journey in web development, it is important to work towards developing relevant skills immediately.
Today’s employers look for two major types of skills, which include technical skills (like programming, of course!) and soft skills (or “team-player” attributes).
To get started, let’s look at the most important technical skills for those looking to become web developers today.
Must have technical skills for web development will always center around the mastery of multiple different programming languages.
In terms of soft-skills, these typically include attributes that allow aspiring web developers to interact effectively and efficiently with their co-workers and peers.
But, the most important soft skills that employers look for are strong communication skills and the ability to work with a diverse team.
Despite the stereotype of the always-working programmer tucked behind a desk in a dark room, most web developers will be tasked with working on a large project with an even larger team.
As the saying goes, teamwork helps to make the dream work, so if your dream is to be a professional web developer, being able to work well with others is a crucial skill to master.
Can I become a Web Developer without academic credentials?
Yes! There are countless examples of individuals who taught themselves the basics of programming and used this experience to embark upon long and successful careers in the field of web development.
In fact, the book titled No Degree Web Developer by Dom Xing provides an excellent overview of individuals who have made this dream a reality.
While the average web developer in the industry today holds an associate’s degree of some sort, advanced formal education is not a requirement to land that first web development contract or full-time job.
For those looking to gain more insight into how to become a web developer without academic credentials, we suggest checking out forums like Quora and Reddit, which each offer robust communities for both veteran and newbie web developers looking to pursue this exciting career field without the need for a ton of expensive, formalized academic experiences.
At the end of the day, landing a career in web development is more about your experience, qualifications, and portfolio then it is about which university you attended or what you happened to study.
Writing clean code
Writing clean code, oftentimes referred to as “readable code,” is an essential aspect of becoming a great web developer. While many companies have their own definition of what clean code actually is, this guide from the team at WebDev Studios provides excellent insight into the basics of writing great code.
The messier the code is the more time developers will take to understand it and give continuity to existing work. Sometimes, it can lead developers to want to reset the job from scratch.
In contrast, clean codes make it easier and faster for team onboarding, avoiding misunderstandings.
Another benefit is to make it simpler for new developers to understand the current coding practices and keep it that way , no matter how many developers are working on it.
In order to write clean code, it is important to do it in a way that even if the person who wrote get back to it in the future, they understand it with ease.
In the direction of achieving that, a first tip is to enforce code guideline to all developers. You need to be consistent and keep things isomorphic. Define a guideline for indentation, spaces, line breaks, and empty lines. Embracing this practice makes readability, and comprehensibility of our code improves undoubtedly
A second tip is the use of meaningful names for variables, functions, and method. By meaningful we mean words descriptive enough so other developers, and not just ourselves, are able to comprehend the purpose of them. Also, try to make it as short as three to four words.
The third suggestion is to let every function, or method, execute only one task (it will also help you name it more accurately).
The fourth one is the usage of comments when your function is accomplishing something that is not directly obvious or it has some contextual background. Even when our code is as clean and comprehensive as it can be, there are some lines that demand more explanation. Use comments to fix this problem, it helps to explain to other people why we decided to make an unconventional approach, for instance.
Trying to stick with a consistent style and practices in different projects, is our fifth tip. Only when we are really convinced that we like a new practice and we feel comfortable with it, we should implement it.
The last tip is to review your code frequently. This is a healthy way to keep it clean and try to improve it. Otherwise, if we don’t review and update our old code it will soon get outdated.
Average Web Developer salary
While we don’t suggest choosing a career based on pay alone, if you’re passionate about pursuing web development, your salary is sure to be an appreciated bonus.
According to Glassdoor, the average salary for web developers in the United States is over $75,000 today, with wages expected to increase in the years to come.
Needless to say, web development jobs offer great pay and will continue to do so into the future.
Web Development As A Remote Job
In addition to great pay, a career in web development offers excellent flexibility, with the option to work remotely often available.
Working remotely can be a great perk, as it allows employees to work from anywhere in the world.
While there are indeed challenges associated with working remotely, such as keeping yourself motivated, overall it provides a great work-life balance for today’s developers.
Common Web Developer interview questions
Every interview is different, but there are a few classic questions that almost always seem to come up for aspiring web developers.
Some of the more frequent interview questions that web developers will see throughout the interview process include:
- Have you ever given a presentation?
- Can you list some of the input types that are new to HTML5?
- Who is your role model in the world of technology?
- Do you have any projects that you work on in your spare time?
- Tell me about a time you have had to respond to negative feedback.
- Which perks of this job are you most excited about?
As you can see, these questions run the gamut from highly-technical matters to test your understanding of programming to soft-skill questions that highlight how you may handle everyday stressors.
With such questions in mind, we encourage our readers to prepare diligently for their upcoming interviews, as knowing how to approach subjects such as these can make or break your first job opportunity.