In order to become a web developer, you would need programming experience and a degree in computer science, information technology, graphic design or some other related program offering web development courses.
With almost every sector relying on the internet to handle business activities, web development is an on-demand ability that can offer a wide range of job opportunities. Understanding how to become a web developer may be the first step towards a good career.
With the growth of do-it-yourself web design programs and cloud-based applications, it can seem easy to learn about web design and creation. But if you’re dreaming of building a career in technology, you’re going to need a good background in web design education and development.
“”If you’re pursuing a career in technology, you need to be committed to lifelong learning,” said Linda Gaston, web development manager and adjunct teacher at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). “You’re still going to have to be in a learning state. Technology pops up so fast, a lot of the learning will have to be self-directed and self-discovery.”
Are you ready to learn useful skills and train for an exciting future in technology? Before you start exploring how to become a developer, it’s important to understand what web development is and what a web developer is doing.
What is Web Development?
Web development is a wide area that plays a role in almost every market. As a web developer, you can work on designing websites or programming the new smartphone app. You may build cloud-based applications to help companies operate more efficiently or to be responsible for the user experience of an e-commerce website.
As the world is becoming more dependent on the Internet for almost every aspect of everyday life, and as more companies participate in remote labor, high-quality web creation is a vital part of effective business.
And as more organizations work to handle remote staff, web developers are also expected to enhance the software and other resources needed to put teams together virtually, said SNHU’s adjunct teacher and web developer Dr. Francis Manning.
“The need to be able to build applications that handle employees working from home and still maintain back-end systems with business data-where that’s you get a lot of people who will be needed for web development,” Manning said.
With web developers on demand across a wide variety of industries, it is important to understand the types of web development available and what these developers are doing.
How to Become a Web Developer: 3 Step Guide
STEP 1. Pick the Skills You Need to Work in Web Development
Web Developer Positions are usually skill-based (as opposed to requiring training such as a tech-specific bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree), which ensures that if you have the expertise, you will do the job. Phase one then on the path to web development: Describe precisely what these skills are.
In doing so, it is important to remember that there are two types of web developer jobs: front-end development and back-end development.
Front End Web Development Skills
Front-end developers deal on the visual parts of the website that users display and communicate with through their web browser. According to Ana Martínez, Front-End Developer at the Commite Inc. digital production studio, there is a trifecta of coding languages that serve as the foundation of every front-end development career. Martinez said:
Back End Web-Development Skills
- Ruby / Ruby on Rails
Although these skills are crucial for starting either front-end or back-end web growth, Martínez points out that your personal approach and motivation is just as important as your skills. As Martinez says in every career, it is important for good web developers to show initiative when it comes to learning and taking on new challenges, but also to really enjoy their work. Martinez said:
“I don’t think it’s enough to learn one coding language or another. If you don’t have an affinity with the technology world and web growth, your journey will be a lot more difficult.”
STEP 2. Start Learning Web Development and Put Your Skills in Practice
Find a Web Development Community for Feedback and Advice
In addition to learning practical skills through tutorials and online courses, you will also need to engage in online coding communities such as GitHub and Stack Overflow. GitHub is a community where web developers can post projects they are working on, share code with other developers, and receive peer-to-peer feedback on their work. Stack Overflow is a code-related discussion board where developers communicate through a question and answer format. Both of these sites are perfect ways to test out what you’ve learned and gain real-world insight and feedback.
Take Test Projects to Create a Portfolio—Even If You Don’t Have a Web Developer Job
Another good, long-term strategy is to use this period to pursue test projects—whether these are small paying jobs for friends in need of a personal website or projects focused on your hobby or passion, creating real sites when the stakes are relatively low can make you more relaxed as the projects and job prospects become more complex.
Practice free tools to increase your skills
Finally, take the time to learn how to get acquainted with the many free resources available to web developers and find the ones that give you the most value. Whether it’s text editors, web browser extensions, or content management systems, you’ll be shocked how many important services are available at no cost.
Step 3: Find a Web Developer Job for You
If you’ve developed a strong web development skill set, it’s time to think about what kind of work you want to do—do you want a regular job as a developer for a well-established organization, or are you better suited to starting a freelance business and being your own boss?
There are pros and cons to freelance and full-time, and the direction you select needs to be guided by what you want from a career in web development. The key thing to bear in mind, however, is that any form of jobs is entirely feasible for web developers.
Consider Freelance Work
If you’re transitioning from a more traditional 9-5 office job, freelancing might sound like a stretch, but Odelya Holiday, Developer at photo and video editing app company Lightricks, says that—while it’s not only possible to make money as a freelance web developer—in her experience web developers are more likely to be employed as freelancers than employed by a single company.
But Don’t Discount Working a 9-to-5 Web Developer Job
However, Holiday adds that in her opinion starting off at an established company is a good way to learn best practices early on. At Holiday’s company, for instance, all code goes through peer review and tests, making it an ideal environment for developers to grow alongside their colleagues. Of course, for some web developer hopefuls the flexibility afforded by being your own boss will outweigh the benefits of working side-by-side with colleagues, but that’s the beauty of web development—all of these options are on the table.
Either Way, Use These Web Developer Job Resources
In either case, once you start seeking paid work as a web developer you’ll need to glue your eyes to online job boards.
- General boards like Glassdoor and Indeed host a range of job opportunities and can be modified to search for web developer positions
- Other boards focus more specifically on remote, flexible, and freelance positions. (Each one of these links is a roundup of at least 22 job boards!)
Don’t Forget to Network with Other Web Developers!
Sites like Meetup.com and Women Who Code are invaluable assets when it comes to finding network opportunities and making face-to-face job connections at conferences, job fairs, and workshops. Use them!
Remember—the roadmap of how to become a web developer might seem epic, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these three simple steps and you’ll be in position to start reaping all of tech’s benefits when you become a website developer.
Web Development Career Opportunities
With a technology or design degree and web development courses under your belt, you’ll be able to stop wondering how to become a web developer and start figuring out where you want to work.
Web development is a growing field, and there are a wide variety of work opportunities to put your degree to work, including:
- Development agencies
- Software companies
- Consulting firms
- Small businesses
- Large corporations
- Self-employment or freelance
Web developers are especially in high demand at small to medium businesses as companies continue to rely on more technology and web-based software to manage their businesses, said Manning.