To introduce you to the field, a web developer is a person who develops a website and makes it usable. Simple as that.
The web developers are divided into two main categories:
- Front-end developer
- Back-end developer
The front-end developer takes care of the visual part of the website. This includes taking the design from the web designer, and turning it into code. The front-end developer has the responsibility to position elements in the website, and give them the style. The style involves the shape, the color and additional features of the element.
On the other hand, the back-end developer has to take care of the functionality of the website. This involves that the back-end gets the code from the front-end and connects it to the API.
Simplifying things, the front-end positions and styles a button for example. The back-end makes it functional by connecting it to the API.
This article will guide you to the steps and challenges of how to become a web
Questions you need to ask yourself
Is it something you want?
When choosing a career, you need to know if it's something you want to do. More often than not, people seek careers based on the income and fail to realize that it impacts their happiness.
The first thing you need to ask yourself if it's something you see yourself working as a web developer in twenty or thirty years.
You need to check on things like:
- Is it challenging?
- Do I need a vacation from it?
- Will I have a stable future?
- Will I hate Mondays because of the job?
If you feel like becoming a web developer is something you want to do, than you're good to go!
What interests you
After convincing yourself that the web developer is the job for you. The next thing you need to know is what interests you more.
The web development is divided into two main categories:
- Front-end development
- Back-end development
Are you more into design and visual? You're probably better of in the front-end development section.
But, if you're more attracted to problem-solving challenges and logic you're perfect for back-end
Are you stubborn enough?
You might ask yourself what does stubbornness has to do with development, but you'll be surprised.
The reason you need to be stubborn in order to become successful in the field is because, without a doubt, you will face a lot of challenges.
When you face an error code or your code isn't working the way it should, you should never quit. Be stubborn and figure it out.
Even though it may take a little bit longer, eventually you will find out that your stubbornness will pay off by learning new things.
What are your goals
Where do you see yourself in 5 years in your career. Do you see working for a big company, or do you own your own company?
Deciding your goals earlier can give you a better and clearer view of your future.
Also, setting goals will boost your productivity and keeps in you in the right track of what you'll become. Additionally, publicly committing to your goals will give you the need to push harder to achieve them.
Know the skills required web development
There are a set of skills you need to have in order to become a web developer.
The interesting part is, which set of skills you have determines what kind of web developer you'll become.
There is a particular set of skills you need if you want to become a front-end developer, and a whole other set if you're looking for the back-end career.
You will also need to make your design responsive. Making a responsive design means that the design will fit perfectly in every device it is used. This means from the small devices like small phones up to the largest monitors, the design has to be reachable and readable.
Back-end skills -The back-end refers to the server-side of the website. Simplifying, connecting the front-end code with the API and making it functional.
In order to become a back-end developer you need to have a great knowledge in servers, databases, one of the back-end programming languages and the API.
The responsibilities of the back-end developer can be to store the data in the database, managing API resources, control the servers and pretty much organizing the logic of the whole website.
Start learning web development
After choosing your path as a web development, whether front or back end, you need to start learning. The key to becoming a great web developer is knowing fundamentally how things go.
The most effective ways of learning are either taking courses (this involves either while getting a bachelor's degree or paid courses), learning online by yourself or seeking out a mentor. Each one of them are as effective as the other as long as you're committed to learn.
By taking courses you will be introduced to the very basic of every language you will get to use in the future. Usually, you will learn the basic tags and syntax of languages you might need in the future.
You can also take paid courses by professors or actual web developers. Most of them are at a very reasonable price and you will learn a lot from them.
The difference between paid courses and university courses is that the paid ones are taught by actual developers who deal with a lot of daily problems that the university doesn't really cover. So, you'll be learning from their experience too, rather than just from books.
Our top list of web development courses you can take in 2019 are:
While other people decide to pursue a physical course, a considerable amount of people interested in web development choose the internet for learning. From the tutorials, up to the most complex challenges, you can learn online from any kind of resource you can find.
There are advantages and disadvantages here too.
- Advantages: The schedule is great because you can learn anytime you want. You're not depending on other peoples timeline in order to learn as you would using a physical course. Also, if you missed a part you can always rewind it and listen to it again.
- Disadvantages: If you don't understand something, even though listening to it for a couple of times, you can't ask the person teaching you. This might/will leave a gap of not knowing something entirely. Also, you are depending on having internet connection all the time in order to learn.
Details to take care of
If you decide to become a web developer, you need to know that you have to have a great sense for details.
There are 4 main details you need to pay attention to.
UI and UX
This falls more in the hands of the front-end developer.The user interface (UI) and the user experience (UX) is something that will drive your traffic towards or away from your website.
Basically, the user interface is how and where the elements of your website appear. The user experience is how easy it is to navigate inside your website.
The best case of the user experience is why more people choose Chrome over Firefox. While taking a study for this, the majority of people answered that Chrome has the reload button on the left side, which is closer. This small detail lead to a lot of people choosing Chrome over Firefox.
This can be a duty for both the front and the back end developers.
The front end has to take care that their code is as minimized as possible, and most efficient. This is because, if you clutter your code too much the browser will take more time to read it and will lead to a poorer performance. That's why a lot of websites, if you've ever been too curious and checked their source code, have only a line of code for their whole website. But, this is for more advanced issues.
The back end has to take the most responsibilities on the performance. This is because, perhaps 90% of the website's performance is depending on the performance of the servers and the back end responses.
Of course, the speed and performance of the website comes at a cost. The more you pay for hosting and servers, the faster the website will be. Taking the basic, low paying servers will lead to crashes and difficulties in loading.
Purely in the hands of the back end developer's hands.
The security of the website is a responsibility that the back end developer has to deal with. This includes the integrity of the data in the server, the database and the more delicate data like credit cards and personal data.
The main web attacks come from XSS (cross-site scripting) or SQL injection attacks. These can happen because of a flawed coding and failing to sanitize the application inputs and outputs.
If something like this should happen, the back end should address it immediately and secure the website.
Start looking for a job
If you feel like you're ready for working, you should start looking for jobs. Most people don't feel ready when applying for a job, making them push the process further.
There are signs that you're ready for applying, like when tutorials are not teaching you anything new anymore.
You can start by looking for a job in a local company where you live, or remotely.
It's best if your first job would be working for a local company close to where you live. This is because you can interact with your team which will help you grow as a developer. If you're stuck in something, someone is bound to give you a helping hand and help you.
Another advantage of working for a local company is that you have a developing environment where you can learn and bloom as a developer. The office, as dull as people make it to be, is a great place to grow professionally.
When you feel like you've enough experience to not depend on anyone while working, you might want to look around and work remotely. This includes looking for work from people in platforms like:
- Or similar platforms.
These platforms have two kinds of users: workers and employers.
This gives you a great experience because you will need to work alone and complete your tasks. And working alone helps you a lot on finding where you lack knowledge and helps you grow more as a web developer.
Alicia leads content strategy for LearnWorthy managing a team of content producers, strategists, and copywriters. She creatively oversees content programs, awareness campaigns, research reports, and other integrated marketing projects.