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How to Become a Web Developer

What is a Web Developer?

Web developers have the responsibility for developing and designing websites and website applications. They have knowledge in programming, multiplatform development and the building of applications. Using a variety of skills and web technologies, web developers plan, design and build complex websites but they usually specialise in either front end development or back end development. Front end developers use programming languages such as HTML, CSS and Java script to create the exterior look of the site. Whereas, back end developers use programming languages such as Python and Ruby to design, build and integrate the features on the site.

Responsibilities of a Web Developer

Some daily responsibilities that a web developer can expect from an organisation include:

  • Discussing what clients and users require
  • Deciding on the best language and technologies to use
  • Implementing new web designs
  • Using programmes and development tools to write and test code
  • Staying up to date with trends within web development
  • Having regular meeting with designers, developers and project staff to measure progress

Steps to become a Web Developer

An education

You don’t always need a specific degree or qualifications to become a web developer, however most employers will expect you to have a degree if you don’t have recognised qualifications and experience in the following skills: visual design, UX (user experience), SEO (search engine optimisation), using coding software like HTML and CSS and using design software like Photoshop and Illustrator.

If you want to attend university or have attended, then these courses can help you achieve your goal of becoming a web developer: A bachelor’s degree in Computer Science with Web Development, Media and Digital Practice, Web Design and Development and Computing. However, there are many courses you can take to build the appropriate skills and work towards becoming a web developer.

Develop Technical Skills

Below are some of the technical skills you would need to learn to become a web developer and what you would need to understand and demonstrate within these skills:

  • Photoshop & Illustrator - Translate designs into working code, understand layers, read dimensions and interpret website and product mock ups.
  • HTML – Create a HTML file from scratch and incorporate the latest HTML5 tags.
  • CSS – Create a CSS file from scratch, manipulate layouts and styles and follow conventions.
  • File Transfer Protocol (FTP) – Understand the way servers and databases communicate to put your HTML file on the world wide web.
  • JavaScript – Understand DOM (Document Object Model), recognise and use built in functions, use logic to create loops and be able to write your own functions.
  • WordPress – Read and edit PHP code, create and modify pages, posts and menus, use plugins and test for bugs.

These skills can be self-taught from books, online tutorials or by completing online programmes that specialise in the skills you need to become a web developer.

Practice Coding skills

There are many programming sites that you can visit to learn how to code and practice your coding skills to become a web developer. The following sites specialise in teaching certain skills to anybody who wants to learn how to code or practice their coding skills and all have a different way of teaching to cater to different types of learners.

Dash is designed for incremental learning. You cannot go to the next skill until you have completed the previous one. The site has 82 skills that you must unlock by going through checkpoints in the lessons. Each project is based on a real world need and has a storyline to give you a semblance of reality when building projects for a client. It is limited to three web technologies, HTML, CSS and JavaScript, is suitable for beginners and is free to use.

The Code Player provides you with screenshots from other coders to learn from. The screenshots show you the making of a timer or stylish calculator from scratch. You can play the screenshots at different speeds and can pause and rewind them to ensure you don’t miss any information out. The Code Player is best suited to users who have some experience in coding, however beginners can take some inspiration from watching how a few lines of code can make digital art. The site specialises in three coding skills, HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript.

Talent Buddy is a programme where you can solve coding quizzes which include languages such as Java, Ruby, Python, PHP and more. The site offers a built-in editor where you can try problems for free, but it also offers a paid three-month mentorship programme where you receive help from expert software developers when trying to develop your coding skills. Talent Buddy can be used by either beginners or individuals who are looking to practice their skills.

Programmr is a stimulator for both learning and practicing coding skills. The platform covers 19 technologies from Angular JS, Backbones, PHP, Python and more. The site is more like an interactive lab for beginners and individuals who have some experience, as it provides you with instant feedback as you complete the exercises and challenges. It gives you a chance to build your own applications and embed them like YouTube videos, as well as make and add your own project in the pool of 3000+ projects on the site and view these projects to learn how they were made.

Launch an online portfolio

Employers like to see what you have achieved and your examples of a successful site. It is a professional way to showcase your work and your experience. Employers see this as a great first impression as it displays what technical skills you have and exhibits your talent whilst also adding value to your application and resume. The portfolio should consist of projects you have completed on the relevant coding skills needed for the job and can be uploaded to GitHub so that other employers can view your work.

Salary of a Web Developer

The salary for a web developer can vary just like any other job due to the company who are hiring and the location of the job. Below are the salaries for an entry level web developer and a senior web developer:

Entry level web developer - £19,500 - £28,000 depending on location.

Senior web developer - £35,000 - £50,000 depending on location.

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