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How to Become a Web Developer

If your programming skills are top-notch, you have outstanding communication and presentation skills, and you have an interest in the design of websites, you might consider a career as a web developer.

Web developers design and build websites. They work with clients to conceptualize their ideas and objectives, and create websites that meet those objectives. They take into account the website’s appearance, content, and functionality. Web developers must have advanced programming skills and a deep understanding of HTML JavaScript, SQL, and other programming languages. They also must be creative thinkers, able to solve complex problems, and have the ability to make sound judgments.

Web developers also maintain, update, and improve existing websites according to client needs. They should have excellent verbal and written communication skills and presentation skills to communicate effectively with clients, developers, and other internal and external stakeholders. Web developers need to keep up-to-date on the latest web applications and programming practices. 

Sample job description

Web developers play the crucial role of designing, coding, and modifying websites to maximize visual appeal and ease of function. They work closely with clients to bring their vision to life and perform routine maintenance to make sure a website performs as it should. Web developers manage three aspects of a website: code that executes in a browser that determines what clients and customers see, code that executes on a web server and handles the behind-the-scenes aspects of running a website, and database technology. [Your Company Name] is searching for an experienced web developer to join our team. If you’re an independent, creative individual with excellent communication skills and an eye for detail and organization, a web developer position at our company could be the perfect next stop on your career path.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Create applications that address the phases of SDLC (software development life cycle)
  • Develop comprehensive application testing procedures
  • Update existing applications to meet the security and functionality standards as outlined in the company’s website policies
  • Implement testing tools that monitor the ongoing performance of the company website
  • Assist in updating application development policies to ensure that all future applications meet the latest technical requirements

Education and experience

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. A master’s degree in those fields is strongly preferred.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Ability to create support documentation for all new applications
  • Strong teamwork skills
  • Proven knowledge of the most current security and web development programming languages
  • Experience in application development and testing
  • Experience in SDLC implementation

Preferred qualifications

  • 3+ years of experience
  • Strong technical skills including expertise in HTML, CSS (media queries), JavaScript, Bootstrap, PHP, jQuery
  • Strong attention to detail

Typical work environment

Web developers can work either full-time or part-time and often have the flexibility of working in an office or from home. Most of the work of a web developer is done on a computer. Web developers that work for a company, rather than as a freelancer, will have to work on a team. Web developers will often have to deal with a lot of on-the-job stress and will need excellent time-management skills to perform well. They may also need to work late in order to fix critical technical problems.

Typical hours

The typical work hours in an office setting for a web developer are usually from 9 AM to 5 PM. Additional work hours can be necessary when approaching project deadlines.

Available certifications

With so much business taking place online, web developers are always in demand. Many certifications are available to help you start or further your career. 

  • Certified Web Professional–Web Developer. Offered by the International Web Association, the CWP Web Developer is a specialist certification that will prepare you for promotion and help you advance your career. To apply, you’ll need at least two years of experience in the field.
  • Ironhack Web Development Boot Camp. If you’re a beginner or looking to switch careers, this boot camp will teach you the fundamentals of programming. This course costs $12,000 and can be completed full-time in nine weeks, or part-time in 24 weeks. This course is taken online but has you studying at certain times of day Monday through Friday to give you a structured learning environment.

Career path

A web developer needs to have a bachelor’s degree in web design, computer science, or a related field. Students are encouraged to pursue internships with technology companies while they are in college to gain some real-world experience in the field. Some companies prefer applicants to have a master’s degree.

Web developers need to study HTML and JavaScript, as well as application programming languages like Java, .Net, AJAX, and Ruby. Knowledge of the Adobe Creative Suite, especially Flash, as well as the inner workings of the most popular web browsers like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer, are also valuable skills for a web developer to have.

Web developers can move up into a role like IT project manager, where they oversee and guide the entire development process of a project, sometimes supervising a team of developers. Web developers who want to move into management roles should spend extra time developing soft skills like relationship building, motivating and influencing others, and communication.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 15-1257

2020 Employment199,400
Projected Employment in 2030224,900
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 13% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift25,500 increase

Web developers need to keep up on the latest trends and study how users interact with websites. According to the IT ratings and reviews company Clutch, one trend web developers should be aware of in the next few years is the increased use of progressive web apps (PWAs). They’re a kind of website that functions like a mobile app but runs in a web browser. More companies are using PWAs to save money; it deletes the need and cost to develop a mobile app. Instead, PWAs give companies the same benefits as a mobile app and offer faster load times and better functionality for customers.

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots on websites for 24/7 customer support is also becoming increasingly common on the internet. Chatbots can engage new sales leads and offer round-the-clock support for customers with questions, without the expense of maintaining a 24-hour customer support center.

Another trend in web development is the use of push notifications. Companies are using push notifications as a direct communication link to their customers. They can be more effective than email because push notifications don’t get caught in spam filters. Push notifications can also be hyper-targeted to specific customer demographics.