How to Be a Web Developer: The Complete Career Guide

how to be a web developer
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Web developers are the unsung heroes of the Internet. They work behind the scenes (known as backend in techspeak) to bring us functional websites and stay on alert to fix downtimes.

Does this sound like a job you can do?

If you’ve got a passion for computers and the internet, you already have part of what it takes to become a competent developer. The other part involves securing the necessary professional training.

Continue reading for a comprehensive guide on how to be a web developer in the United States.

What’s the Job Description of a Web Developer?

Before joining any career, it’s important to have a clear picture of the typical duties and responsibilities, work hours, and typical workplace environment.

You already know web developers create websites, but that’s a broad summation of their work. Here’s what their day to day tasks involve:

  • Holding briefs with clients to learn more about their website requirements
  • Writing code
  • Creating website applications and features
  • Creating web applications and tools
  • Testing third-party tools, such as Expressions, and integrating them into websites
  • Auditing existing website to find design flaws and make improvements
  • Monitoring the performance of websites
  • Monitoring website traffic
  • Working with other professionals, such as web and graphic designers
  • Staying abreast of web design and development trends
  • Attending industry events.

Most web developers work in a typical office environment, which means this is a 9 to 5 job. However, an increasing number of developers are starting to work remotely and on a freelance basis.

The job doesn’t involve extensive travel but you can expect to hit the road (or take to the skies) when you need to meet a client and discuss a project.

Now that you know the job description of a web developer, let’s focus on the steps you need to take to qualify for employment.

Learn How to Be a Web Developer

There are two paths to becoming a web developer, but the clearest path involves pursuing a degree in web design and development, computer science, or a closely-related field.

A bachelor’s degree in web design and development is the most recommendable since it gives you the best preparation for this job. You’ll take classes in a range of subjects, including:

  • Problem-solving with computing
  • Principles of computer networks
  • Web page construction
  • Web information systems programming
  • Programming
  • Database management systems
  • Graphis design and editing
  • Computer networks.

Most bachelor’s programs require students to complete an internship, which is an ideal opportunity to gain real-world job experience. Strive to find an internship opportunity in established web development companies.

If you’re unable to secure an admission into a bachelor’s degree program, you can settle for an associate’s degree in any of these fields.

The other path to becoming a web developer is to self-teach. If you do an online search on how to become a web developer, you’ll find a good number of sites providing advice on how to join this profession without obtaining any college education.

Sure, you can self-teach. There are free online classes and YouTube tutorials on web development basics, principles, and techniques. However, for this method to be effective, you really need to be a focused and determined person.

As you’re getting the training, keep in mind that as a web developer, you can specialize. You could become a frontend developer (responsible for the general look of a website), backend developer (responsible for the site’s framework), or a webmaster (maintaining and updating websites).

If you want to become a frontend developer, for instance, you’ll need to take more elective classes in design and computer languages such as HTML and JavaScript.  

Nurture the Skills of a Web Developer

Professional training alone isn’t enough to make you a competent web developer. There are also skills and abilities you need to have.

For instance, a well-rounded developer has great problem-solving skills and high creative ability. Many a time, a client will come to you needing a website that can perfect a certain function. It’s your job to provide an efficient solution.

Sometimes a website will malfunction or hackers can penetrate your code and turn it upside down. You’ll have to fix everything and restore the website to normalcy.

You need strong interpersonal and communication skills.

When you’re not down to writing code or designing themes, you’ll be in touch with clients. You must be a good listener; otherwise, you won’t be able to have a good grasp of client specifications. You must be a clear speaker so that you can share coherent information with your clients and team members.

Keen attention to detail is paramount.

If you already know a thing or two about writing code, then you know that even a single dot is enough to jam the code. With a good eye for detail, you’ll be able to ensure everything is in order.

Start Looking for Employment/Gigs

By this point, you’ve got what it takes to start creating websites and charging people for your services.

If you want to hold a traditional job, you can find employment in established web development agencies. There also positions in organizations with large IT departments, such as educational institutions, government agencies, medium-sized to large businesses, and non-profits.

If a 9 to 5 isn’t your thing, you can become a freelancer. You’ll find gigs on freelance platforms or create your own website and market your services.

You Can Be a Web Developer

You’ve made a smart decision to pursue a career in web development. There’s strong demand for web developers through the next decade. Now your job is to follow this guide on how to be a web developer and break into the profession.

All the best and keep reading our blog for more career advice.

Ruby Hamilton
About Ruby Hamilton 19 Articles
Ruby Hamilton is a blogger and freelance writer who loves to express her thoughts towards online communities. She specializes in making informative articles for the blogs which helps to increase the visibility of the blogs.

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