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About this Course

DIANA has designed this course to start you on a path toward future studies in web development and design, no matter how little experience or technical knowledge you currently have. The web is a very big place, and if you are the typical internet user, you probably visit several websites every day, whether for business, entertainment or education. But have you ever wondered how these websites actually work? How are they built? How do browsers, computers, and mobile devices interact with the web? What skills are necessary to build a website? With almost 1 billion websites now on the internet, the answers to these questions could be your first step toward a better understanding of the internet and developing a new set of internet skills. 

By the end of this course you’ll be able to describe the structure and functionality of the world wide web, create dynamic web pages using a combination of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, apply essential programming language concepts when creating HTML forms, select an appropriate web hosting service, and publish your webpages for the world to see. Finally, you’ll be able to develop a working model for creating your own personal or business websites in the future and be fully prepared to take the next step in a more advanced web development or design course or specialization.

Web development, also known as website development, refers to the tasks associated with creating, building, and maintaining websites and web applications that run online on a browser. It may, however, also include web design, web programming, and database management.

Web development is closely related to the job of designing the features and functionality of apps (web design). The term development is usually reserved for the actual construction of these things (that is to say, the programming of sites).

The basic tools involved in web development are programming languages called HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and JavaScript. There are, however, a number of other programs used to “manage” or facilitate the construction of sites that would otherwise have to be done “from scratch” by writing code. A number of content management systems (CMS) fall into this category, including WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal, TYPO3, and Adobe Experience Manager, among others.

Web development is closely related to the job of designing the features and functionality of websites and apps (often called “web design”), but the “web development” term is usually reserved for the actual construction and programming of websites and apps.

Think of all the web pages you have used over the years – Web Developers built those sites, making sure they functioned properly and performed in ways that allowed for a great user experience. Web Developers do this by writing lines of code, using a variety of programming languages, which vary depending on the tasks they are performing and the platforms they are working on.

Though there is overlap, there are also key differences between web development and web design. Let’s take a closer look:

Web Designers
Web Developers
  • Create everything a user sees on a website or software product, including all visual, color, typography, and usability elements
  • Write the code that makes a website function, whether they work on the front end or back end (server-side)
  • Work directly with a client to create designs or work as part of a team to develop client vision
  • Create or implement designs demanded by a client or created by a design team
  • May need knowledge of a programming language or some coding skills, or at least some level of familiarity with widely used languages such as HTML, CSS, PHP, and JavaScript
  • Need expert-level knowledge of a variety of programming languages, including HTML (HyperText Markup Language), CSS, PHP, and JavaScript but also extending to other languages (Ruby, C/C++, Python), frameworks, and libraries
  • Create wireframes and prototypes to test design ideas, offer input on design logos, branding, company style guides
  • Rarely create mockups, select typography, or pick color palettes

The most common programming languages involved in web development are:

  • HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
  • JavaScript

There are three main types of web development:

  •  front-end development
  • back-end development
  • full-stack development.

Front-end development involves the “client-facing” side of web development. That is to say usually, front-end web development refers to the portion of the site, app, or digital product that users will see and interact with. A Front-End Developer, therefore, is responsible for the way a digital product looks and “feels,” which is why they are often also referred to as Web Designers.

Front-End Web Developers focus on translating website design and visual ideas into code. A front-end Software Developer takes the design ideas created by others on web development teams and programs them into reality, acting as a bridge between design and technology.

Front-End Developers will usually need to possess a solid understanding of programming languages, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, as well as frameworks like React, Bootstrap, Backbone, AngularJS, and EmberJS. Responsibilities of a Front-End Developer would include creating responsive websites (that look and function well on any device), conducting website testing and fixing any bugs detected along the web development process, and ensuring site structure follows SEO best practices.

Front-End Development Jobs

Unlike back-end development, there are a number of job titles that cover different skill sets and experience levels within front-end development, including:

  • Front-End Developer
  • Front-End Engineer
  • CSS/HTML Web Developer
  • Front-End Web Designer (this usually denotes a role that involves more visual and interaction design requirements)
  • Front-End User Interface Developer (covering interaction design skills)
  • Mobile Front-End Web Developer
  • Front-End SEO Expert (usually denoting a Developer with experience incorporating SEO strategy)
  • Front-End Accessibility Expert
  • Front-End Dev Ops
  • Front-End QA (involving unit testing, functional testing, user testing, and A/B testing)

If Front-End Developers are responsible for how a digital product looks, Back-End Developers are focused on how it works. A Back-End Developer creates the basic framework of a website before maintaining it and ensuring it performs the way it should, including database interactions, user authentication, server, network and hosting configuration, and business logic. Working behind the scenes – or server-side – Back End Developers are concerned with the systems and structures that allow computer applications to perform as desired.

The primary responsibility of Back-End Developers is to ensure the functionality of the site, including its responsiveness and speed. To do that, Back-End Developers have to know how to build servers with modern frameworks (while developing custom APIs and serving static websites and files), and how to manage databases and data on a web server.

Typically, Back-End Developers use server-side programming languages, including PHP, Ruby, and Python, as well as tools including MySQL, Oracle, and Git.

A Full-Stack Developer is someone familiar with both front- and back-end development. Full Stack Developers usually understand a wide variety of programming languages and because of their versatility, they might be given more of a leadership role on projects than developers who specialize. They are generalists, adept at wearing both hats, and familiar with every layer of development. Obviously, employers want to hire Full-Stack Developers – according to an Indeed study, they are the fourth-most in-demand job in tech.

If the title is contentious, it’s in the generalist nature of the position. Developers who specialize in the front-end or back-end often bristle at the notion that someone could be equally adept at both – the expression “jack-of-all-trades, master of none” comes to mind.

“My defensive tendencies are normally put on high alert when I hear that magic phrase (‘full-stack’),” wrote Front-End Developer Andy Shora. “Stacks are a lot bigger than what they used to be, and being able to claim one has acquired refined skills at every layer of web development is certainly not a small claim. Does this mean you have a broad range of skills or you specialize in everything?”

While that perception persists, there still is an increasing number of tech professionals who consider themselves Full-Stack Developers. According to a recent Stack Overflow survey of Developers, 48.2 percent consider themselves Full-Stack Developers.

What’s unclear is whether Developers are now expected to possess a broader skillset, or if Developers are taking it upon themselves to understand functions at both the front-end and back-end. Either way, it’s becoming increasingly important for aspiring Developers to have a foundation in both.

“For most people hoping to break into web improvement, you should center around working up an establishment in both front-end and back-end advancement first,” recommended Software Engineer and Tech Writer Muhammad Anser. “At that point, you can float towards a claim to fame later on.”

And with demand for Developers expected to grow 15 percent by 2026 (for 24,400 new jobs), much faster than the U.S. average rate of job growth, there may not be a better time to dive in and learn more about all the layers of Web Development.

A Web Developer is responsible for programming code that tells websites and web applications how to operate. Web Developers typically specialize in either “front-end” (“client-side”) development or “back-end” (“server-side”) development. Some versatile and highly-sought-after professionals do both, and they’re called “Full-Stack Developers.”

Web Developers work on implementing visual designs and layouts, integrating graphics and content, optimizing website performance and capacity, and testing to ensure solid performance across any type of computer, mobile or device screen. No matter your exact job, if you want to become a Web Developer you would be expected to understand how to write code in some widely used web programming languages including JavaScript, HTML (HyperText Markup Language), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and more.

It’s also likely that any Web Developer would spend a lot of time collaborating and communicating with others on larger development teams, including Software Developers, Web Designers, Project Managers, and other stakeholders.

A Web Developer creates, designs, builds, and maintains websites, software, and web applications. Web Developers build websites by using programming languages like HTML, CSS, and Javascript to write code and convert a web design – created by the programmer or a design team – into a professional website, product, or mobile application.

If a Web Developer performs their job correctly, the website should not be so simple that it does not appeal to advanced users, but it also shouldn’t be so complex that a beginner user gets lost or frustrated using the site.

Front-End Web Developers typically focus on the visual and design elements of websites and can anticipate and fully appreciate user needs and behavior. As the name suggests, front-end (or client-side) development involves the programming of what will be visible to the user. Languages like JavaScript, CSS, and HTML are widely used by Front-End Developers.

Because front-end development is responsible for what you can see on a website, it’s often confused with web design. Although Front-End Developers don’t design websites, they are the link between design and technology that can turn an idea into an interactive web page.

Front-End Developer Responsibilities

Here are some of the basic tasks that a Front-End Developer may be responsible for:

  • Working with Graphic Designers, UX Designers, or Web Designers to help ensure design ideas can be made into a website that is easy to use
  • Transforming design (sketches or wireframes for a website) into code that a web browser can read and display on your screen
  • Structuring a website so that it is easy to find through a search engine (this is part of Search Engine Optimization or SEO)
  • Developing websites that work and look good on any screen, from 24-inch computer monitors to five-inch smartphone screens (this is called responsive design)
  • Testing websites and fixing bugs or other issues

Back-End Developers work on behind-the-scenes systems and structures that are not visible for users but which allow the application to perform what’s needed. Specialists in back-end development tend to be skilled at problem-solving and logic and work with a variety of computer programming languages such as Python, Ruby, and SQL.

Back-End Web Developers can also choose to specialize in mobile application development and work primarily on Android and iOS apps. Using languages like HTML5, C++, and Java, a Back-End Web Developer who focuses on app development would need to take a few different approaches into consideration such as swiping functionality, scrolling dimensions, and other standardized app design elements.

Daily tasks for Web Developers can vary widely, depending on a number of different factors. Given the diversity of clients and their web-based products, as well as the range of specializations in front-end and back-end web development, a Web Developer can play many roles. This, in fact, is a selling point for the profession — no two days are quite the same!

Here are a few examples of what a Web Developer is responsible for on a daily basis:

  • Translating wireframe designs into working code
  • Creating the architecture and content of a site
  • Building in functionality and responsiveness
  • Making a site go live
  • Updating and renovating sites
  • Troubleshooting, fixing bugs, and glitches

Collaboration is also a major part of a Web Developer’s day-to-day routine, as Developers often participate in team meetings with Content Creators, Graphic Designers, UI Specialists, Marketers, Client Services Managers, and more. Web Developers also spend time working with each other to troubleshoot, review, and fix code that’s not quite right. Senior Web Developers may also spend quite a bit of time mentoring Junior Web Developers and managing team projects and scheduling.

So, depending on the size of the company, a Web Developer may be focusing on a highly specialized role or a wider variety of smaller tasks. Freelance Web Developers, on the other hand, may take client projects from start to finish.

Although different types of Web Developers do drastically different types of work, there would seem to be several characteristics that all successful Web Developers share.

First, we must again address the technical side of things. And it’s not just about coding skills, although they’re very important. To put it simply, a Web Developer will spend a lot of time working on the computer, and that part can’t be a chore. To excel in web development, you have to genuinely enjoy learning new programming languages, experimenting with new web development tools, and fiddling with their code until everything is just right.

No matter which programming language you specialize in, the reality is that code can be unpredictable. As a Web Developer, you must maintain flexibility and have the ability to switch contexts or the scope of a project unexpectedly, and then go back to pick up where you left off. You need to be able to adapt and respond to issues when they arise (almost always unexpectedly and they’re often time-sensitive). Other technical skills beyond coding skills can be useful in web development, including graphic design skills and UX design skills.

Although most outsiders tend to think of Web Developer as a strictly technical role, in fact, many of the most important characteristics for a Web Developer to have would fall on the “soft” side of the skill spectrum.

For instance, Developers need to have good critical thinking skills and an analytical mind. Problem-solving should be a passion for you –it’s a crucial part of programming. You also need to be able to balance considering both the big picture and the small details.

Good Web Developers also aren’t too proud to ask for help. As a Web Developer, when your code works – or, perhaps more importantly, when it doesn’t – you must not be afraid to ask “why” and keep digging till you find the answer. When working on a project, you should be comfortable asking superiors, colleagues, or clients questions to ensure you understand expectations and requirements and that your work is on the right track.

Another key characteristic? Empathy. Even as Web Developers find themselves in the weeds programming code, they must never forget that software is ultimately about the user. Good Web Developers must understand their users and constantly keep what they want top of mind.

Communication skills are also very important to Web Developers. You must be able to relate to both your client and your team. A great Web Developer is also a great listener, adept at really understanding what everyone involved — from clients to stakeholders and finally to end-users — really wants. Also, Web Developers not only work with other Web Developers, Web Designers, and Engineers but also other teams across your company. Web Developers might find themselves working closely with a marketing, support, or sales team, or working directly with clients. So you must be a team player. Whether you’re working remotely or alongside your team, collaboration and communication with your peers and stakeholders are paramount to success.

Finally, Web Developers should be lifelong learners. There’s always something new to learn with tech, which is a huge draw for so many in the industry. Tech is also an incredibly dynamic and fluid industry. It’s constantly growing, changing, and evolving. As a member of the industry, you need to stay current and up-to-date with the industry and new technologies. BrainStation’s survey showed that 80 percent of Web Developers feel they would benefit from further digital skills training, even as 64 percent reported already pursuing more digital skills training or online courses. In other words, these are people who never stop learning.

Web Development Software

Web development software can be used to help professional Web Developers and non-Developers alike build websites, mobile apps, and other digital products.

Although the basic tools involved in web development are programming languages such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Java, and Python, there are a number of top web development tools, web design software, website builders, and content management systems (CMS) that will help you design web pages regardless of your web development experience.

Web Developers use a variety of tools and programs depending on their specific job responsibilities, but these are some of the most types of development software and tools:

  • Best CMS
  • Web Design Software
  • Front End Development Software
  • Back End Development Software

The best web development software and tools will help you more effectively and efficiently create websites and mobile apps, whether you have web development experience or not.

With the full range of applications in mind, here are the 11 best web development software and tools:

  • WordPress
  • Drupal
  • Joomla
  • Wix
  • Adobe Dreamweaver
  • Weebly
  • Sublime Text
  • Chrome Developer Tools
  • jQuery
  • Django
  • Laravel

Not all businesses have the budget or resources to hire a Web Developer or build a website from scratch. For a local web development solution, many organizations turn to the best content management system platforms.

A great CMS will be easy and intuitive to use, customizable, secure, and priced fairly. With that in mind, here are some of the best CMS platforms:

The most popular content management system on the market, WordPress has evolved past its roots as blogging software to become the platform of choice for countless businesses and popular blogs.

WordPress is open-source, intuitive to use, and deeply customizable.

Features of WordPress

  • Features a beginner-friendly dashboard and a drag and drop interface that allows you to start designing websites with just a few clicks
  • Massive collection of more than 30,000 themes and nearly 60,000 plugins
  • Robust web design tools allow you to create imagery-rich pages that don’t require custom code
  • Optimized for SEO
  • Robust community support

Another open-source CMS that has achieved widespread popularity, Drupal is a web development tool that can be used either by professionals with no coding experience to create a website from a template, as well as by Web Developers who can leverage their understanding of programming languages like PHP, HTML, and CSS to unlock Drupal’s advanced features and functionality.

Unlike WordPress or a comprehensive website builder, however, using Drupal to build a website will likely require the assistance or input of professional Web Developers at some point.

Features of Drupal

  • Considered more secure than the competition
  • Large collection of customizable themes and modules almost rivals that of WordPress
  • Open-source software that is free to download


If you aren’t sure whether you prioritize the user-friendly nature of WordPress or the power of Drupal, Joomla is somewhere in between. It’s not quite as straight-forward to use as WordPress, nor is it as versatile as Drupal, but it offers some of the benefits of both. On a similar note, you will likely have to dedicate a larger budget to site design, maintenance, and hosting when using Joomla than you would for a WordPress site, but less than it would cost to run a website with Drupal.

Features of Joomla

  • Free and open-source
  • Thousands of extensions available, but you will need some know-how to implement them
  • Built-in features for creating web pages in different languages, changing your website’s SEO settings, or developing custom post types


When looking for web design software or a website builder, companies are usually looking for a more comprehensive and user-friendly tool than even your most intuitive CMS platforms. For small businesses or companies that want to build a site without input from a Web Developer, a web design platform or feature-rich site builder might be a better option as opposed to a more complex CMS.

With that in mind, here is some of the best web design software in a web development environment:

No coding experience? No problem if you’re using Wix. One of the most popular website creation platforms on the Internet, Wix has hundreds of attractive templates to help you get started and a drag-and-drop editor loaded with worthwhile features that can be adjusted to your liking.

Features of Wix

  • Available in a free version, though it will feature ads and space limitations
  • Plenty of powerful features
  • Good for people with no coding experience


Dreamweaver is a more advanced option for professional Designers. You still won’t need extensive coding experience to create your own attractive website design, but it won’t be as easy as simply selecting a template and hitting the ground running. You will also have more control over the styling of your website compared to more restrictive site-building tools.

Features of Dreamweaver

  • Allows you to create responsive designs so you can optimize the appearance of your website for desktop computers and mobile devices without sacrificing user experience
  • Available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud, which also includes Adobe Photoshop
  • Support for HTML5

For beginners with no programming experience at all, Weebly is likely the easiest web builder available. With its drag-and-drop tools and a small but solid collection of themes, Weebly will allow you to put together a professional and clean website without a steep learning curve. Even though Weebly is intuitive, it still offers useful features relating to responsive design, SEO, and analytics.

Features of Weebly

  • Allows you to manage, save, and easily reuse your designs
  • Functionality for email marketing campaigns
  • Offers a free plan with all key features, though you will have to upgrade to one of the paid tiers to avoid ads

The best front-end web development tools and software include libraries to boost our processes and workflow, version control systems, and browser plug-ins to ensure your designs are responsive.

With that in mind, here are some of the best web development tools for working on the front end:

Front-End Web Developers can always use an efficient and fast code editor, and Sublime Text might be the most popular option. Once you’ve mastered Sublime Text’s huge variety of quick-navigation options and keyboard shortcuts, this text editor will save you valuable time as you write code.

Features of Sublime Text

  • Offers support for many different programming languages and markup languages
  • Includes Python-based plugin API
  • Implement edits to multiple areas with simultaneous editing feature

It’s often helpful for Developers and Web Designers to step back and preview their web designs with a real-time performance analysis on their sites. Google’s Chrome Dev Tools is built-in to Chrome and Safari and allows a Front-End Developer to see the internal code behind web pages and web applications to optimize loading flows and gain a better understanding of what the browser is doing.

Features of Chrome Developer Tools

  • Easily accessed on mobile devices or desktop
  • Updated frequently by Google
  • Core workflows include debugging JavaScript, debugging and prototyping CSS, and analyzing load performance


jQuery is a feature-rich, cross-platform JavaScript library, one that has completely changed the way Front-End Developers use and write JavaScript. Simply put, jQuery makes Front End Web Developer jobs easier by simplifying things like event handling, animation, and HTML document manipulation.

Features of jQuery

  • jQuery is fast and small, with a lightweight footprint
  • Offers cross-browser compatibility with Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Android, iOS, and more
  • Supports CSS3 selectors

Where Front-End Developers focus on the client-facing elements of a website, Back-End Developers are responsible for making sure a website functions properly on the server side. To accomplish that, Back-End Developers will typically use a variety of server-side languages — including PHP, Ruby, and Python — as well as frameworks, web servers, database management systems, and a host of other Back-End Developer tools.

Here are some of the best back-end development frameworks, tools and software:

Django is an open-source back-end framework based on the Python programming language that is especially useful for developing complex database-driven websites. A highly scalable and versatile framework, Django is thought to have a relatively low learning curve compared to other back-end frameworks.

Features of Django

  • Can be used with many different types of application, including content management systems, computing platforms, and more
  • Offers strong security, with support to help users prevent a variety of cyber threats and cybersecurity issues including SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and request forgery


Laravel is perhaps the most-used PHP framework in the world. The open-source web framework offers a variety of useful packages for tasks like defining tasks you frequently run on your remote servers or keeping track of billing services. Its modular packaging system features a dedicated dependency manager, while other important features include pre-installed object-oriented and modular libraries, eloquent ORM (object relational mapping), and more.

Features of Laravel

  • Offers many built-in templates for seeding content or generating layouts
  • Boasts strong web application security
  • Makes testing easier, with user behavior simulation and support for PHPUnit

How to Become a Web Developer

To become a Web Developer, you should have an understanding of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It’s also recommended to learn about CSS and CSS frameworks. Developing these fundamental web development skills will give you the foundation and logic for communicating with programming languages.

How to become a Web Developer in five steps:

The best first step to becoming a Web Developer is to start learning web development fundamentals, including an understanding of HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and JavaScript.

Many aspiring Web Developers are now using coding bootcamps to fast-track the learning process. Coding bootcamps have thrived because they are short, immersive, and focused on outcomes and employment – their goal is to develop job-ready skills as efficiently as possible, making them an increasingly worthwhile investment for a would-be Web Developer. According to the job site Indeed, four out of five companies in the U.S. have hired a graduate from a coding bootcamp.

In fact, the practical advantages of coding bootcamps are only getting clearer over time. For one thing, the field of web development naturally attracts people from all other fields, many of them making mid-career transitions – people for whom a clear and efficient path to skills expansion is a top priority. Further, employers increasingly value skills and experience over education, placing anyone who can prove their abilities on more equal footing with Developers holding a college degree.

It’s important to note that Web Developers – more than most other fields – must be committed to ongoing learning to stay on top of changes in web development and programming languages, tools, and trends. This makes mid-career retraining a must whether or not it’s the line of work you started out in.

As you continue to grow your skills, you’ll need to choose an area of specialization. But what are the types of web development? All Web Developers are categorized into three main types:

  • Front-End Developer: A Front-End Developer works on the “client-side” of web development, meaning any portion of the site or app that users interact with. This can include a site’s layout, design, and the way users interact with it.


  • Back-End Developer: A Back-End Developer works on the “server-side” of web development. This is focused on the way a site functions and can include databases, servers, networks and hosting, and more.


  • Full-Stack Developer: A Full-Stack Developer is familiar with both front-and back-end development and works with both sides of a website.

Whatever your area of concentration, you’ll need to learn to code and know how to use a handful of different programming languages for web development and web design. So, what are the most common programming languages?

Three families of programming languages form the basic tools involved in virtually all aspects of web development:

  • HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
  • JavaScript


Of course, the list goes on – these are just the beginning. In fact, web development is such a diverse and varied field that the list of all the tasks it can include (and all the coding languages and markup languages you might use to accomplish them) is too long to fit in this space. Fortunately, as a specialist, you can find and concentrate on the ones that work best for you.

With a grasp of the basics in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and a foundation of programming skills, you’re ready to begin building. As you go, you’ll gain experience using an ever-growing set of Web Developer skills. Some of these are technical skills, or “hard” skills, like programming in SQL or Python, using the jQuery library of functions for more efficient programming, or using tools like Git for version control. The best way to improve these web development skills is simply to start messing around – the more you use them, the better you’ll be.

There are also a number web design skills that are useful for Web Developers to have, with an understanding that responsive design is perhaps the most crucial. While Web Developers are not typically tasked with the overall site design, it’s an advantage for Developers to also have a solid understanding of common design principles. Front-End Developers, in particular, program the screens that users interact with – and they can be far more successful with a good grasp of user-centered design.

A riveting Web Developer portfolio that shows off your strongest skills is your best tool when applying for web development jobs. There are three things to keep in mind when building a portfolio that will stand out from the pack.

First, your Web Developer portfolio should include a diverse selection of web development work. You don’t want to use every project you’ve ever worked on – your professional portfolio should be a highlight reel that not only demonstrates your best work, but shows your versatility. You want to be selective and highlight your best work, but your selection should be diverse enough that it demonstrates a solid understanding of the various elements of the position. When applying for Web Developer jobs, do a bit of research into the company and the role you’re looking to fill – then refine your portfolio even further, editing out unrelated examples and spotlighting your most relevant work.

Second, think about what makes you and your work unique. Emphasize the web development skills that most make you stand out – not just in the work you include in your portfolio, but in how the portfolio itself is presented. If you’re applying for design-related roles, for instance, your portfolio website should have a solid front end – a great user experience with a beautiful interface. And if you’re applying for a Web Developer role, ensure that your portfolio is displayed on a flawless site. That means no messy code.

Third, show your process. Employers aren’t looking only at the quality of work you produce, but at how you approach problems. Don’t be afraid to frame each example as a case study, providing a narrative of your thought process and the problem you were trying to solve with the project. Showing background on how your projects were created will help Recruiters and Hiring Managers make sense of your work, and say more than just a standalone piece. This is also a great opportunity to demonstrate your communication skills – an important part of excelling in a position.

Is Web Development a Growing Field?

Yes, the web development field is booming. There are more than 1.3 million Developer jobs available in North America, and more than 47,000 new development jobs were created in the last two years, with the market expected to grow an additional 15% in the next 5 years. For these reasons, Mondo found “Web Developer” the most in-demand job title in tech and one of its top-paying jobs.

What Is the Salary of a Web Developer?

According to job site Indeed, the average salary for Web Developers in the United States is $71,531, with Senior Web Developers averaging $95,325. That makes web development one of the most lucrative positions that do not require a degree.

How Can I Become a Web Developer Fast?

Coding bootcamps have become an increasingly popular option for aspiring Web Developers as they provide a hands-on learning experience and the chance to develop job-ready skills – in as little as 12 weeks.

Traditionally, many Web Developers have started with higher education in software engineering, computer science, or related fields. However, it’s also possible to come from a completely different industry. In fact, a growing number of professionals are taking steps later in their careers to learn development from scratch either by becoming self-taught or pursuing a diploma with a coding bootcamp. In fact, BrainStation’s Digital Skills Survey found that 55 percent of development respondents began their career in a different field and 58 percent have only been programming for five years or less.

What Is Needed to Become a Web Developer?

Here are some of the things you’ll need to learn to become a Web Developer:

 Web Developers create websites, so to become a Web Developer, you should develop a comprehensive understanding of how the web works. This will deepen your HTML and CSS knowledge to build and style more advanced static web pages, using frameworks such as Flexbox. It will also help you establish problem-solving practices and logic to understand advanced programming concepts.

Foundational knowledge of computer programming, JavaScript, and object-oriented programming should be a starting point for aspiring Web Developers, as it will improve your ability to write and build components.

It’s important for aspiring Web Developers to learn how to use React, a JavaScript framework, to build complex and dynamic web pages and professional-level user interfaces.

To become a Web Developer, you’ll need to know how to build servers using a modern back-end framework and how to develop custom APIs and serve static websites and files.

It’s important for Web Developers to have an understanding of Server Side Rendering and Templating Engines, which are used to create empty page templates populated with dynamic data, such as a series of product pages for an eCommerce store.

Aspiring Web Developers will also have to understand core concepts around data and learn how to manage databases and data on a web server.

As in other tech fields, it’s important for Web Developers to network and to keep learning, as programming languages and techniques change frequently. Apart from coding bootcamps, web development courses, panel discussions, and workshops, you can also stay current by contributing to an open-source commons, such as GitHub or Bootstrap.

And of course, to become a Web Developer, you will need a portfolio of completed projects for your job search. Regardless of your specific interests, it’s important to showcase your versatility to ensure clients from various industries get a sense of your abilities.

How Many Programming Languages Should I Know ?

A simple question with a complicated answer. It’s complicated because it depends, like so many things in life, on multiple variables. Are you a beginner Web Developer or a pro? What types of projects do you work on, or want to work on? And what does the future hold?

If you’re a new Web Developer, it makes sense to start with the basics—but on the other hand, a certain amount of specialization can set you apart from your competitors. Ultimately, the solution is to determine which languages are useful in your field, with the degree of specialization that’s right for you, and are growing in popularity rather than falling out of it.

To get a handle on these trends, BrainStation conducted a survey of the current digital landscape. Based on the answers from thousands of professional respondents, we’ve put together an overview to help guide you toward the programming language you should begin learning now.

The More Programming Languages You Know, The Better

If you’re a Web Developer, take comfort in the fact that you’re in a growth industry. The market for Web Developers is expected to grow by another 15 percent by 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor. Because of this rapid growth, the field has seen an influx of relatively new talent; 58 percent of our survey respondents said they’ve been working in development for five years or less.

Our survey also revealed that the more experience Web Developers have under their belt, the more likely they are to work in full-stack development, and the broader their range of specialties. The takeaway: for a Web Developer to move forward in their careers, it’s crucial to continue learning new and more specialized languages—which, ironically, make them less specialized, and better able to collaborate with or manage teams working at more stages of a broader range of projects.

As new applications emerge, we should expect the list of most frequently used languages to change. Asked what will have the biggest effect on their industry over the next five to 10 years, a large majority of respondents (78 percent) chose artificial intelligence and its subset of machine learning as the biggest opportunities for growth.

Other trends they’re anticipating: the Internet of things (54 percent), augmented reality (53 percent), and blockchain (41 percent). But while they’re anticipating these technologies will gain prominence, only a minority of Developers have worked with them directly—83 percent of respondents have yet to work on AI platforms or blockchain tech, and 80 percent have no experience with IoT devices.

In fact, blockchain tech is still so new that intermediate-level respondents were more likely to have experience working with it than senior-level Developers—but this was still only one in four. These figures suggest that blockchain tech is an area beginners should brush up on to improve their chances of advancement—and Senior Developers should learn to ensure they stay relevant.

Given the “Big five” areas where growth is expected to happen—AI and machine learning, IoT, AR, and blockchain—what languages should you learn? While the answer depends, to some extent, on which of these five areas you choose to focus on, the same three names came up again and again: C++, Java, and Python.

Within each of the aforementioned concentrations, more languages crop up in addition to these three. In Blockchain: Ruby and Solidity. In IoT: C, JavaScript, and PHP. In AI and machine learning: R, Lisp, and Prolog. And in AR: C#, JavaScript, and Swift. But in every case, C++, Java, and Python are among the leaders.

These are the languages people are using today to work in what they’ve identified as development’s most burgeoning fields. What about tomorrow? There’s no surefire way to predict the future, but we can look at which languages are growing in use the fastest. One way to do this is to compare search queries—a proxy for measuring which languages people are currently learning. Over at Github, a compilation of search queries suggests that the fastest-growing languages are relatively new—as you’d expect.

In 2018, Java-compatible Kotlin grew the fastest year-over-year, more than doubling. HashiCorp Configuration Language (HCL) for cloud infrastructure, the JavaScript superset language TypeScript, Microsoft’s automation framework PowerShell, and systems programming language Rust round out the top five.

But not far behind, in the eighth position, is Python. Despite its popularity, Python still managed to chalk up 50 percent year-over-year growth—the sign of a true juggernaut on the rise.

Web Development Skills

Although there are a variety of different skills required to become a Web Developer, knowing how to code is likely at the top of the list of the most important web development skills. As the core of web development work involves writing code, Web Developers must have advanced programming skills, and be fluent in a number of programming languages and libraries.

According to a recent BrainStation Digital Skills Survey, JavaScript is by far the most widely used language, with 75 percent of respondents citing it. This was followed by SQL, at 47 percent. However, 86 percent use Git for version control.

Skills Required to Be a Web Developer

Although Web Developers need a mixture of education, soft skills, and technical skills, ultimately a core job responsibility is writing code, and that means that any Web Developer must have advanced programming skills with a thorough knowledge of any number of programming languages and libraries.

Even though specific duties will of course vary by job, all Web Developers should have a complete understanding of programming languages including CSS, HTML (HyperText Markup Language), and JavaScript. If you have little experience writing code or you’ve only worked with one programming language, you might consider attending a coding bootcamp or looking into other free online courses and other resources that highlight steps you can take to become more proficient.

There are also certain back-end or front-end skills that all Web Developers should possess regardless of where they tend to work. For example, it’s helpful for someone who works only on the front-end to have database, cybersecurity or SQL experience.

Technical Web Developer Skills

There are a range of technical skills or “hard skills” required for web development. First, it is important that Web Developers build experience with the following programming languages:

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are the foundation of any Web Developer’s knowledge. HTML is the standard markup language used for creating web pages, while CSS enables you to program the appearance of the web page, with things like colors and fonts. Learning HTML and CSS is crucial for any number of job roles, given that taken together, HTML and CSS are the building blocks for web development.

JavaScript, which is often abbreviated as JS, is a crucial programming language, which enables website functionality on both the front-end and back-end.

Structured Query Language (SQL) is a programming language that is designed to manage, query, and manipulate data stored in a database.

Python is an object-oriented programming language. Learning Python is important for many data science applications, including machine learning.

A JS library that helps with the efficiency of JavaScript programming by providing a library of common tasks in a compressed, single-line format.

Beyond programming languages and libraries, becoming comfortable with commonly used tools like Git, or other version control software is a skill every experienced Web Developer should have. Version control is a method of tracking different versions of code to ensure you can access it or restore it at any time.

There are also a number of design skills that are useful for a successful Web Developer to have, with an understanding of responsive design being perhaps the most crucial. Responsive design is a method of web design that ensures a website responds to the screen size or platform used to view the content. With over 52 percent of global web traffic coming from mobile phones, 43 percent from desktop, and the remainder from tablets, the screen size used to view websites is extremely varied. To ensure that the experience is seamless across all platforms and screen sizes, Developers must be fluent in responsive design.

While Web Developers are not typically tasked with the overall site design (that would be the job of a Web Designer), it’s an advantage for Developers to also have a solid understanding of common design principles (including user experience design and user interface design). Front-End Developers, in particular, program the screens that users interact with – they can be far more successful with a good grasp of user-centered design. With SEO looming as an increasingly important part of many companies’ overall tech strategy, it will also make you a better Web Developer to understand how site organization, architecture, and speed will help or hurt overall SEO efforts.

Soft Web Developer Skills

As Web Developers must work with diverse teams, there are also a number “soft skills” that are important to develop. Here are some of the most important soft skills for Web Developers:

From design, to marketing, to management, Web Developers are in communication with a host of departments to create products and services. Effective communication and interpersonal skills are essential to stay on track and complete projects. And for a freelance Web Developer, written communication skills are even more important.

Because a portion of every Developer’s day involves debugging and maintenance, problem-solving skills are high on the list of requirements. Web Developers earn a living by thinking critically and finding creative workarounds and solutions where others have failed. They’ll also have to work independently when need be.

Web Developers are frequently tasked with multiple short-term and long-term projects in the web development process, and must know how to prioritize tasks and accurately gauge time-to-completion. Having excellent time management skills also makes working with large teams easier, resulting in timely project delivery.

Good Web Developers are problem solvers, and being able to work backward through a project to spot areas for improvement is key. It’s also helpful to have a head for data.

What Makes a Good Web Developer?

According to BrainStation’s Digital Skills Survey, 50 percent of executives say they will be doing the most hiring in development. Interestingly, though, our respondents also found development the most difficult field to hire for, and as the demand for these skills increases, it will only become more challenging.

What should companies be looking for? And how can aspiring Developers stand out when entering the market?

To start, consider the following definition, which provides a well-rounded picture of a good Developer:

Writes working code, that has been tested for correctness, in the time allocated, following accepted best practices, in a way that can be easily maintained and enhanced, in collaboration with their team, and continuously improves their knowledge and skills throughout their career.”

Let’s take a closer look at these ideas to see what makes a good Developer.

A good Web Developer must:

Computers are extremely precise, digital machines. The slightest deviation from what a computer expects means that code won’t compile, won’t run or will crash. The whole point of programming and building software is to write code that the computer successfully processes, producing the desired result. In other words, a good Web Developer has to write code that works.

He or she has a sharp eye for details and is constantly scanning code for anything that looks “off.” They write clean code that is well structured and uses tools to identify potential errors before the code runs.

Just because the code works, doesn’t mean it works correctly. Getting the code to work is only the first hurdle.

Code that doesn’t work correctly is as useless as code that doesn’t work at all, and potentially more dangerous. Wrong results can have consequences, from mundane (and occasionally humorous) UI annoyances that frustrate end-users and inhibit their productivity — to the disastrous with loss of life or business revenue.

All errors missed by Developers will cause program crashes, system failure, data corruption, security breaches, or turn away users who expect reliability. These errors become increasingly expensive to fix as they find their way into production and are discovered by end-users. Just as physical structures require thorough testing to ensure they are “up to code,” software requires the same stringent standards.

A good Developer, therefore, adopts a test-driven mindset, actively imagining all scenarios where errors can occur, how they should be handled, and writing tests that prove the code is correct.

Computers represent the promise of efficiency and productivity. They allow users to accomplish and understand more. Web Developers work within this fast-paced world using computers to bring this productivity and efficiency to reality.

A side-effect of this world is the expectation of having everything done now. That pressure comes from managers, clients, users, and the business climate of getting to market first. That can create a lot of pressure, and Software Developers are only human.

Estimating time on projects is a difficult task, as there are many unknown and unexpected problems that come up when building complex software. There is always a temptation to underestimate and overlook the true details required to complete tasks. Yet underestimating time to delivery is dangerous, creating stress and burnout, the pressure to cut corners, and negative feelings from all stakeholders in the project.

It is important to identify all details possible for a project, have a realistic perspective of the amount of work that can be accomplished, and reasonably overestimate timelines to account for the unknown and unexpected. Communication is key when timelines start slipping and making sure that everyone is aware of difficulties ahead of time helps to handle and avoid missing deadlines.

A good Developer sets reasonable expectations, communicates openly about unexpected roadblocks, and maintains the trust of their team and other stakeholders.

Once the code works (and works correctly), then it needs to be written in the best way possible. Whatever approach the Developer has taken in writing the code, it should be weighed against the solutions of the larger Developer community. A unique, novel approach may be an innovative solution–or it may lack considerations that other Developers have discovered over the years.

Writing software is a complex process with a rich history of many minds thinking about the best way to solve common problems. The result is numerous best practices.

Following these best practices saves time because problems don’t need to be resolved (instead, existing solutions just need to be applied appropriately). This allows Developers to build “on the shoulders of giants.” Further, as different Developers contribute over time, there is a common understanding that any new Developer on a project can readily understand.

There are two levels of best practices: industry-wide and company-wide. Company-wide practices will generally be a subset of industry-wide practices but adapted for the specifics of a company’s software domain, and the preferences of the Developers.

A good Developer learns the best practices of their company and applies industry-wide best practices to save time and improve the overall quality of the code.

The code compiles, runs, and has been tested for correctness. Things look good, but…how easy is it to change the code in the future? What happens if a new feature needs to be added?

Engineer and Author Martin Fowler says: “Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good Programmers write code that humans can understand.”

While a computer can run any valid code, ultimately the code is maintained by humans. At some point, a Developer is going to have to read, understand, and modify code that may have been written by another Developer (who may no longer be part of their team or company).

Software development is a social endeavor, with many people working and relying on the codebase. Questions such as “How much is obvious from the code? How much needs to be explained? How quickly can the code be scanned and understood?” all help a Developer remember that they are not writing code for themselves.

A good Developer writes high-quality code that other Web Developers can easily understand and modify.

While a Web Developer spends much of their time interacting with a computer, the reality of their work environment is social. It’s important to respect the team, know the roles, and responsibilities, and what’s expected. Big picture questions ensure the Developer is properly aligned to the company and their role: “What is the vision/mission/values of the company? What is the product suite offered by the company? Who are the customers? Who do problems get reported to?”

Knowing these details allows a Developer to grow within the context of their specific company or situation. A good Developer will, therefore, spend the time needed to understand the company’s best practices and standards. They will also improve the development process in ways that save time and increase productivity. Most importantly, they will have to have a positive attitude that makes the workplace more productive and supportive.

A good Developer recognizes that their web development career and reputation is their responsibility. They strive to be a pleasure to work with, and always find ways to make the workload of their team lighter and more efficient.

Technology is always evolving, which is part of what makes it so exciting. While some principles and approaches of computer science have remained for decades, areas of software development are constantly changing. Some software domains are more stable, others are more volatile. Legacy software is entrenched with older technology that requires more maintenance with little innovation, while emerging domains may require frequent rewrites every few years as things change.

In other words, web development professionals are expected to constantly look to upskill and stay on top of changing trends.

That’s not necessarily a problem if it is embraced. Knowledge in domains like data science, UX design, product management, digital marketing, and SEO, can strengthen a Developer’s overall understanding of technology, helping them relate and work with colleagues and clients across departments and industries.

Successful Web Developers, then, are lifelong learners who are always looking to expand their knowledge and skills, year over year.

Do You Need a Degree to Be a Web Developer ?

No, you do not need a degree to be a Web Developer. Many postings for Web Developer jobs will call for a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree, but it is not always a pre-requisite.

In fact, there is increasing evidence that both employers and professionals alike are no longer seeing the return on investment in a four-year college degree. According to Stack Overflow, less than half of all Developers have a degree in computer science or a related field. In fact, almost 70 percent of all Developers are at least partly self-taught, with 13 percent of respondents saying they are exclusively self-taught.

Certainly, there are plenty of great reasons to pursue a college education. But getting a degree to land a job in web development is not one.

Web Developer Degree

There is no specific “Web Developer degree” or a college or university degree for a career in web development.

A bachelor’s degree in computer science has traditionally been the starting point for many aspiring Web Developers, with the most common minimum educational requirement, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, being an associate degree.

It’s important to note that development is a highly technical field, and no matter what educational path you choose, learning to code will be a requirement because a command of relevant programming languages is required. In fact, professionals in this field – more than many other fields – must be committed to ongoing learning to stay on top of changes and updates to languages, tools, and trends.

Is a Web Development Certificate Worth It?

Yes, a web development certificate is an increasingly worthwhile investment, as it will help you develop the development skills employers are increasingly depending on, and give you more opportunities to advance your career and raise your salary.

Why a Web Development Certificate Is Worth It

Web development certificates, courses, and bootcamps have surged in popularity as demand for development skills has increased. The best web development courses help students establish a solid foundation with HTML and CSS, before moving on to key development fundamentals, including:

  • Bootstrap
  • Visual Studio Code
  • React
  • Server-side programming and responsive design

Let’s take a closer look at why a web development certificate is such a good investment at this particular time.

Web Developers Are Highly Sought After a recent report from Indeed found that Front-End Developers were the second hardest-to-fill job in tech, with Full-Stack Developers coming in at the fourth-most difficult to find.

In today’s world of digital business, such talent is clearly essential to many employers,” concluded the report.

Those findings have been consistent across any number of labor forecasts. Businesses need Web Developers to build websites, web and mobile applications, and other software programs, and that need for web development talent is expected only to increase.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor reported that the job market for Web Developers is expected to grow another 15 percent by 2026, while Mondo’s annual Tech and Digital Marketing Salary guide also found that “Web Developer” was the most in-demand job title in all of digital marketing, as well as one of the top-paying titles in tech.

It’s easy to understand why Web Developers are in such industry-wide demand. Today, eCommerce/digital influences up to 56 percent of in-store purchases and now represents nearly 10 percent of all U.S. retail sales – a figure that is growing by 15 percent annually, Absolunet found.

Not only is eCommerce rapidly becoming a point of focus for all businesses, but mobile-specific eCommerce is growing at a breakneck pace – Absolunet predicts mobile will reach 70 percent of eCommerce traffic.

And mobile transformations more generally still represent a huge challenge for slow-to-adapt companies. Mobile now represents 53 percent of all worldwide traffic – as opposed to 43 percent on desktop – and as the scales continue to shift, companies around the world will have to reconsider their digital strategies. Web Developers, of course, will be a crucial part of that process.

With all of that demand for experienced Web Developers, an intensive web development bootcamp or course would be enough to prepare someone with no coding experience to fill those development jobs.

Web Developer Salaries Are Going Up the average salary for Web Developers in the United States is $71,531 according to Indeed, with Senior Developers averaging $95,325. If you want to know more about Web Developer job salaries, Developers For Hire did a much deeper dive and found Web Developer salary ranges by specialization.

And those numbers should trend upward. TEKsystems’ annual IT Forecast found that Web Developers/Software Engineers were the hardest jobs to fill, and also the second-most likely job category to see their salaries rise over the next year.

In part, this could owe to the fact that employers are figuring out that they can increase salaries now or pay the price later. A recent report from the market research firm Forrester predicted that employers who were slow to attract critical digital talent would wind up paying up to 20 percent above market salary rates for in-demand talent.

Employers Are Emphasizing Continuing Education

For newcomers to Web Development, a certification course will give you all the tools you need to learn web development and hit the ground running in this quickly developing field. But it’s not just neophytes and career changers who want to become a Web Developer who might benefit from a web development certification.

Given how rapidly tech is evolving – and beyond the shift to mobile, companies will soon also have to develop websites that are optimized for voice searches, photo-based shopping, and app ordering – it’s crucial for tech talent to evolve at the same pace. Though it is still possible to find success as a self-taught Web Developer, it will be expected that you supplement that training with ongoing upskilling efforts.

The IT research firm Foote Partners found that a single tech certification raises base salary by an average of 7.6 percent. Employers are obviously in agreement over their value; according to the TEKsystems report, 90 percent of IT leaders said they either planned to increase or maintain spending on training and personal development.

“It seems like in that field more than many others, the pace of change happens so rapidly – you constantly need to be learning new skills to stay on top,” Carlson said.

“Whether you’re taking a certification to transition your career or you’re taking a certification to update your skills, that demonstrates to an employer that you’re constantly trying to learn new things. It says you’re open to new challenges and you’re trying to grow yourself as a person and an employee.”

Do You Need a Degree to Be a Web Developer ?

Yes, web development is a good career. Mondo’s annual Tech and Digital Marketing Salary guide found “Web Developer” was the most in-demand job title in tech and one of its top-paying jobs. And, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the job market for Web Developers is expected to grow 15 percent by 2026.

The job outlook for Web Developers as very positive because Web Developers are in high demand across a variety of industries, and a worldwide gap in software and web development skills has most observers forecasting high demand well into the future.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment of Web Developers to grow eight percent by 2029, much faster than the average for job roles. There is also no sign demand will wane. The expansion of e-commerce — online shopping is now expected to grow faster than the overall retail industry — and an ever-increasing reliance on mobile search will only create further need for talented Web and Software Developers. That means that even if many career changers from other tech disciplines decide they want to become a Web Developer, the job outlook should still remain positive.

On average, the U.S. expects about 13,400 openings for Web Developers, and others pursuing a related career in digital design professionals are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

A Web Developer career path tends to follow two distinct routes, depending on whether you’re looking for the security of a salaried position or you prefer to have the autonomy that comes with being a freelancer.

In a full-time web development position, you’d collaborate with other developers and programmers as part of a larger development team, whether you’re working for an agency or a company. This route offers opportunities for getting into managing projects or teams and liaising with a client or stakeholders from other backgrounds outside of tech.

With programming skills in high demand, full-time jobs in web development are not scarce. A few years into a career in web development, you might qualify for a six-figure salary as a Senior Web Developer along with other employer perks and bonuses.

There are also many benefits to freelancing. Freelance Web Developers create their own schedules and are free to select projects that truly interest them. Self-employed Web Developers essentially run their own business, so it’s important to build strong relationships with their clients that could translate to a full-time job down the line. Since they set their own price, a freelance professional with serious programming talent could theoretically reach a higher pay grade much faster than an entry-level development would take to become a senior employee.

Freelance is also likely the way to go for any web development professional who wants to work remotely.

You might want to become a Web Developer because there are many high-paying jobs available, Web Developers can work from anywhere, and web development jobs tend to offer good work-life balance. Though there are obviously a number of different specializations within web development, the bottom line is most jobs in web development are considered great careers in terms of salary, benefits and perks, and opportunity for advancement.

Being a Web Developer is not without its challenges, however, as the field involves continuous learning, problem-solving, and critical thinking. This is a field that never stops changing as new technologies, best practices, and other innovations are introduced, which means Web and Software Developers have to work hard to keep current on the latest coding languages and industry trends to ensure they stay relevant over the course of their web development careers.

Here are some of the reasons why it’s worth it to become a Web Developer:

As we mentioned, there’s a dire shortage of skilled tech talent and Web Developers are among the most in-demand tech specialists, especially given the increasing need for companies to improve their mobile offerings.

More than 80 percent of American Web Developers are employed full-time, with another 10 percent working on a freelance basis or part-time according to Stack Overflow. That number isn’t expected to decrease, since virtually every company you could think of in every industry you could think of hires Web Developers. That explains in part why so many potential job changers are learning web development.

With high demand comes high average salaries for Web Developers. Web Developers make anywhere between $78,000 (Indeed) and $88,000 (Glassdoor) a year, with an easy pathway to more senior positions. According to Indeed, Senior Web Developers made an average salary of $103,069.

Aside from the myriad practical perks to possessing an in-demand skill set, there are many more non-monetary benefits to life as a Web Developer.

In Stack’s worldwide survey of developers, 72.8 percent of respondents reported positive job satisfaction (as opposed to only 18.9 who said they were dissatisfied, with the rest feeling neutral). And every year, many major media outlets respond to the question “Is web development a good career?” with a resounding yes. U.S. News and World Report ranked Web and Software Developer jobs in the top 5 for all jobs in the United States.

In addition, Web and Software Developers have the choice of working for an agency, in-house for a company, or becoming their own boss and working freelance. Web Developers often get the chance to work both independently as well as cross-functionally between design and product teams. There’s also flexibility on the work-life balance front, as Web Developers can essentially work anywhere that has an internet connection, especially those who freelance for a number of clients.

Technology changes quickly, which means Web Developers have to stay on top of any important new programming language, web development software, or trend. Even coding experts with advanced computer science degrees will need to continually upskill in this field to stay ahead. Unsurprisingly, Stack’s survey found a direct correlation between technical competency and salary. Thriving as a Web Developer does require a commitment to continuous learning, which is a good thing for most professionals in the field.

According to the BrainStation Digital Skills Survey, the top three resources Web and Software Developers use to explore new ideas or learn web development techniques were online forums, digital skills training options, and blogs. When it comes to learning opportunities and training, Web Developers cite online courses as the most frequent format for improving their web dev skills.

The top trends on the horizon that Web Developers will have the biggest impact on web development over the next five years, according to the survey? AI (86 percent of respondents) and machine learning (84 percent), so any aspiring Web Developer would be well-served looking at how these technologies could change development forever. For a good Web Developer, that’s a fun challenge to consider.

That helps to explain the increasing popularity of web development certification and training programs among seasoned developers and those hoping to break into the industry. BrainStation, for example, offers a Web Development bootcamp and courses, both online and at our campuses. These web development courses were designed to be collaborative, replicating the kind of working and learning experience Web and Software Developers would experience in the field.

Web Developers usually specialize in either front-end development – to put it quite simply, everything a user sees when they use a website or web application – or back-end (server-side) development, while those versatile enough to do both are called Full-Stack Developers.

For those who don’t work in tech, the distinction between those roles and the other various roles relating to web and software development can be quite confusing. Here’s an overview of some of the job titles in web development:

This might sound obvious, but if “designer” is in the title, the job involves designing for the web. Web Designers literally decide and implement how websites and web apps look, feel, and work. Specific skills necessary for Web Designers would include design tools, HTML, CSS, and some JavaScript.

A Front-End Web Developer focuses on HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and light back-end work, not just design. In some cases, a Front End Developer might implement the creations of a Web Designer. In some Front End Developer roles, there will be some design included but deeper skill in the other technologies is also demanded.

The work of a Back-End Web Developer is invisible to users but crucial to the functioning of a website. Back End Developers tend to work with a variety of programming languages such as Python, Ruby, and SQL. Other Back-End Developers are focused on developing mobile apps using coding languages like HTML5, C++, and Java.

To put it simply, Full-Stack Developers are comfortable and skilled working on both the front end and the back end. It’s important to stress that to be a good Full-Stack Developer, you can’t be mostly strong on the front end and a little weak on the back end, or vice versa. You truly have to be a master of both to master full-stack development. If you can accomplish it, you will be handsomely rewarded – Full-Stack Web Developers are in high demand and tend to have high salaries to match.

UX (User Experience) Designers specifically focus on studying and researching how people use a site, then completing changes for the better through the system and testing the results. Every web development professional on this list needs to consider user experience, but UX Designers live and breathe it.

Yes, many Web Developers work from home. The nature of the job gives Web Developers the ability to work remotely, or anywhere with an internet connection, but depending on the kind of work, you’ll be presented with different employment options, including:

  • Contract work
  • Working full-time
  • Freelance work

Many freelance Developers work for themselves and do so remotely from home.

Depending on the agreement, contract Web Developers may work in-office, at home, or a combination of the two. Make sure to stipulate those guidelines upon signing a contract.

If you work full-time for a brand, you’ll often be required to work in-office during working hours. Some professionals prefer to have a designated place of work and to have work and client interactions face-to-face. However, there are also many companies that provide flexible work-from-home policies.

All in all, when looking for web development jobs make sure to choose a schedule and work-life balance that suits you.

How Hard Is It to Become a Web Developer?

While learning the foundational skills to become a Web Developer is relatively straightforward, becoming a good Web Developer can be more challenging, requiring ongoing learning and effort over years.

First, Web Developers do need to learn to code, and most Web Developers will learn how to use a variety of programming and markup languages including JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Python, and more. The answer to how hard it is to become a Web Developer will vary based on how much prior experience you have with those languages. Regardless, honing your skills with these coding languages and learning when and how to use each one will take time and experience.

Beyond learning to code, Web and Software Developers need to also be skilled at problem-solving and self-directed learning, allowing them to find the right answers and understand the ins and outs of each language. Again, that is something that will become easier with more years in the web development field.

Web development isn’t hard in the sense that you don’t need to be a genius or a math wiz to be a Web Developer, but an eye for detail is key. Computers are extremely precise, digital machines. The slightest deviation from what a computer expects means that code won’t compile, won’t run, or will crash.

The whole point of programming and building software is to write code that the computer successfully processes, producing the desired result. In other words, a good Developer has to write code that works.

As many Web Developers will tell you, though, it’s well worth the effort — a web development career can be an extremely fulfilling and well-paying career, and as they say, nothing worth having comes easy.

You can learn the skills needed to become a Web Developer in as little as 12 weeks, which is why it has become increasingly common for aspiring Developers to attend a web development bootcamp, allowing for accelerated hands-on learning and targeted skills development.

While Web Developers come from various educational backgrounds, positions in development require a certain level of technical skill. At a minimum, you’ll need to learn to code and demonstrate your fluency and experience with various programming languages and core development tools.

As an aspiring Developer, you may want to consider establishing a digital web development portfolio that showcases your projects – the web pages or applications that you’ve programmed – to demonstrate your skill.

If you aren’t sure how to learn web development, you have a variety of choices depending on your learning goals, preferred timeline, and career path. You could attend a coding bootcamp, pursue a traditional four-year college degree before finding another path to build out your web development skills, or you could explore different online web development courses.

Here is an overview of the different options you have to start learning web development:

Coding and web development bootcamps are an extremely popular and effective way to build the necessary skills and real-world experience to develop websites. According to job site Indeed, four out of five companies in the U.S. have hired a graduate from a coding bootcamp. In addition, a Course Report survey found that 80 percent of coding bootcamp graduates had found jobs with the skills learned in their programs.

In short, those dedicated to committing the time and energy will find that a coding bootcamp’s project-based, hands-on learning experience can best prepare them for Web Developer jobs, even if they have very little previous experience.

A four-year bachelor’s degree of some kind is often a requirement for a Web Developer job, but there is no specific degree that you need to become a Web Developer. Still, bachelor’s or associate’s degree programs in computer science, software engineering, and other related courses could help to give you a foundational knowledge of development frameworks.

That said, traditional college programs will not typically teach the on-job web development skills that you would need to step into a job as a Website Developer, so you would need to supplement even an advanced degree with more web development training.

There are a range of paid and free web development courses online that promise to teach the basics of building websites, learning different coding languages, and understanding the steps of the web development process.

An online web development course can be a great place for aspiring Web Developers to get their feet wet with development. But if you are looking to learn web development with no experience — or if you want to develop more advanced skills to become a Full Stack Developer — you might need a more intensive coding bootcamp or training program.

Yes, coding bootcamps are a worthwhile investment for those looking to kick-start a career in development. Employers are increasingly valuing skills and experience over higher education, which has made it harder to justify the cost of a four-year college degree.

Coding bootcamps are short, immersive, and focused on delivering outcomes and employment – according to Course Report’s Outcomes Report, 83 percent of respondents say they’ve worked in a job requiring the technical skills they learned in the bootcamp. And that’s not a one-off; a full 90 percent of graduates from BrainStation’s coding bootcamp have found work within six months of graduation.

All of these are reasons why coding bootcamps are more popular than ever. More than 44,000 students attended a coding bootcamp in 2020, which was a 30 percent increase from the year before according to Career Karma.

A programming language is a system of symbols and words with syntactical rules that can be used to control the resources of a computer – namely the CPU, memory, and inputs/outputs such as a keyboard, mouse, and monitor. Computers are electrical devices that are controlled by electrical signals in the form of low/high voltages, which are known as 0 and 1. A computer, therefore, understands a series of signals made up of 0s and 1s, or binary.

For humans, writing in binary is very difficult, so having human-like languages that can be translated down to these 0’s and 1’s makes controlling computers much easier. However, there is no one universal programming language and all programming languages are eventually translated down to 0s and 1s.

Similarly, in the human world, there is not one human language. There are many families of human languages – some with obvious relationships and evolutions, while others are completely separate and unrelated. All humans have similar experiences in life and numerous languages have all evolved different ways of expressing those experiences.

Many computer languages share fundamental concepts, just like human languages do, even though syntactically, they can look different. Some programming languages are very domain-specific – for example, some can be used to control a specific electrical device – while others are so general that they can be used on virtually any computer or device and can solve any problem.

Programming languages that are closer to a problem domain, and more human-like and abstract, are called “high-level” programming languages. Languages that are more computer-like in their syntax and terminology are considered “low-level” programming languages.

All types of programming languages are based around some fundamental paradigm or a set of paradigms that form the conceptual approach to using that programming language – and there are numerous programming paradigms. This affects the expressiveness of a programming language, and how easy it is to solve various problems.

Some of the common types of programming languages include:

Conceives of a problem as solved through a series of “functions” that, given the input, return a result. By putting together these functions, you can achieve the result you want.

Conceives of a problem as a system of objects that interact with each other, like in the real world. Objects have properties and actions that they can take, and can manage their own state.

A more literal, computer-like paradigm that conceives of a problem as a series of instructions for the computer, such as accessing computer memory, creating branches of instructions, and using indices to control repeating code.

Conceives of a problem as a series of events that can happen at any time, in any order. This is important because events are unreliable – anything can happen. So, a Programmer defines what they want to happen when an event occurs, without worrying about when exactly that event will happen.

The best programming language to learn first will likely vary depending on your specific career goals and existing development skills, but for most people, the best first programming language to learn will be JavaScript, Python, or one of the other most popular programming languages.

If you have been in the tech space, you have certainly heard of common programming languages like PHP, Ruby, Java, C/C++/C#, and Swift. There are countless others, and even flavors of these languages – almost like how different regions of a country will speak different dialects of a common national language.

Learning any of these languages will give you a strong understanding of what computers are about, and allow you to develop your programming skills. So while choosing your first language can seem like a daunting task, getting started is far more critical, no matter what language you choose.

In fact, most Web Developers today probably do not program professionally in the language they first learned, and have since learned additional languages.

Most people who are looking to learn a programming language are approaching it pragmatically, as in “Which programming language is most likely to help me get a job the fastest?”

From a practical perspective, the choice of a programming language depends on two main factors: Industry and Domain.

Different industries might favor certain programming languages. For example, many enterprise web applications, such as banks, use Java or C# for much of their infrastructure. The age of an industry or company can also affect the tech stack used – many SaaS companies started in the early 2000s were developed using PHP and may continue to use it.

For domains, considering whether you are in a mobile, web, IoT, or the VR/AR/MR space can narrow the options of languages that you will be looking at. If you are interested in mobile, for example, you will be learning either Swift for iOS, or Java/Kotlin if you are focusing on Android. If you are interested in the web, at some point you will want to learn JavaScript.

If your goal is to get a job, getting to know your ideal workplace and industry can help decide what language you should focus on. Job postings are a good place to start; if companies you’re interested in seem to be asking for a particular language — or if a particular language seems to correlate to a higher average Web Developer salary — that’s something to consider.

Some languages are more widespread than others, and you might find learning those languages easier and more broadly useful. There are also more niche programming languages, which can be useful, but which might limit your job opportunities. On the other hand, there might be value in mastering a language that few other Web Developers understand.

When choosing a first language, it’s important to remember that languages increase or decrease in popularity and evolve over time, with new languages emerging that are more powerful and effective than previous languages or versions.

What Companies Hire Web Developers ?

Giant brands like Google, Apple, IBM, Nordstrom, Costco, and Bank of America are always seeking Web Developers and have even ditched their requirement for a four-year degree in order to widen their talent pool. The rapid growth of startups is also a big source of employment for Web Developers as eCommerce, mobile apps, and other digital services continue to develop and grow.

Other companies that make up the biggest Web Developer employers are U.S. Bancorp, JP Morgan Chase, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Accenture, and Capital One. Shopify, Verizon Media, Adobe, and Netflix are also big employers of Web Developers.

A good place to start is looking at cities with a strong tech presence like Boston, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Vancouver, Toronto, and New York. However, with many organizations moving online in 2020, the opportunity for remote work has increased significantly.

Yes. There are more than 1.3 million Developer jobs available in North America, and more than 47,000 new development jobs were created in the last two years. Meanwhile, a report from G2 Crowd found that 81 percent of employers find it’s more difficult to fill positions now compared to 2015, while 51 percent said that the difficulty owed to a lack of talent.

This skills gap has opened a chasm of jobs to be filled by Web Developers and as the competition to discover and lure talent heats up, some of the world’s top tech companies are in desperate need of skilled workers in the development space, including roles like Web Developers, Back-End Developers, and Web Designers. In fact, the job market for web development professionals is expected to grow 15 percent by 2026.

Web Developers have a median annual income somewhere between $78,000 (Indeed) and $88,000 (Glassdoor). The average salary for Web Developers in the United States is $71,531 according to Indeed, with Senior Developers averaging $95,325. That makes web development one of the most lucrative positions that do not require a degree, with many Developers far surpassing these averages.

An important thing to consider when looking at Developer salaries is that these numbers will almost certainly continue their upward trajectory.

A report from the market research firm Forrester predicted that employers who were slow to attract critical digital talent would wind up paying up to 20 percent above market salary rates for in-demand talent – and Web Developers and Software Engineers are among the hardest jobs to fill. Unsurprisingly, they are also among the most likely to see their salaries rise.

A lot of really good Web Developers will decide to become self-employed contractors. Those who choose to take on freelance work have more flexibility in what they decide to charge, signing contracts between $50 and $100 an hour. A more established contract Developer can easily earn six figures annually and have a large client base and busy workload.

If you are just starting out as a contract or freelance Developer, make sure to charge based on the value of the project, what you’re bringing to the company, and have it reflect your experience as a Developer.

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