Web Development is becoming one of the most attractive careers out there and there are many cases being made to introduce programming and development courses into high schools. Jobs in web development are expected to increase by 20% by 2022 at the very least and already people are worried where the people who are going to fill these positions will come from.

For the large majority, they think this is too late to take advantage of.

Where do you start?

People look into coding and get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of languages, technologies, frameworks, CMS etc. However if you look at any job in its entirety it’s going to seem overwhelming and the truth is that web developers mainly specialise in certain languages and areas.

All you need is a good understanding of the basic technologies and understanding of databases before moving into more specialised areas. On top of leading Universities, Colleges and Academies, there are many excellent resources available online that will help you with this.

Career Profile: Web Developer

Education & Training

Nearly all Universities and Colleges offer some kind of web development qualification. You need to ask yourself what level you want to get to and what current employers are looking for. As a recruiter, this was mixed for me. Some companies were fine with people not having qualifications as long as they had the right experience and portfolio. Some wanted any type of degree and the experience. While others point blank refused to look at anyone’s resume who didn’t have a degree.

Attending University doesn’t have to be a full-time commitment anymore. The vast majority of places that offer web development courses will also provide a part-time option. This means that you can continue working a full-time job while studying in the evenings.

If you have a degree or are looking to learn web development for your own business etc, then it’s more than possible to become self-taught. In fact, developers encourage this and have spent a lot of time creating resources for people to learn how to code for free.

There is also a particular focus on getting people into coding at an early age. Enterprises such as Coder Dojo’s have sprung up across the globe, where experts teach children until these lessons get introduced into schools.

If we look at it in this regard, it’s even more essential for us to develop somewhat of a coding knowledge. We’re about to be the last generation that wasn’t taught web development in school! Luckily, as mentioned, there are great resources you can use for free.

For example, Codecademy is an amazing free resource where you learn to code interactively, completely for free! They cover languages such as you basic HTML & CSS, Javascript and introduce you to the world of databases. Then, once you’ve mastered those they also teach more advanced languages such as Ruby on Rails and Python.

The best thing about Codecademy is the community that use it and the fact that it’s well maintained and updated quite regularly. Though there is a lot to get through on there at the moment, you can expect more lessons to be added there regularly.

If however, you’re someone who needs a more structured learning environment then there are some Universities that offer development courses for both free and at a cost. Take Coursera for example, if there’s a free course from a University, then the chances are good that they’ll have it on their website.

Udemy is also another website that offers courses across a range of subjects, from experts in their field. It’s online learning and I’ve found that the course authors are very good at helping you out if you get stuck on anything! They regularly have offers on for new sign-ups where the first course you sign up for is reduced to $25, usually from as high as $300!

If you’re going down this route I suggest using your discount on ‘The Complete Web Developer Course’ which brings you through building an impressive 14 websites to show you how it’s done! This is the course I took, as well as using Codeacademy to be able to build my own websites.

Coursera also offers courses from top universities. These will leave you with a certificate and give an extra boost to your resume. Such courses include:

Duties

Duties and responsibilities for a web developer include, but aren’t limited to, the following:

  • Liaising with the employer or client to discuss the project requirements
  • Write well designed, testable, efficient code by using best software development practices
  • Create website layout/user interface by using standard HTML/CSS practices
  • Integrate data from various back-end services and databases
  • Gather and refine specifications and requirements based on technical needs
  • Create and maintain software documentation
  • Making sure the website is secure
  • Be responsible for maintaining, expanding, and scaling a site
  • Stay plugged into emerging technologies/industry trends and apply them to operations and activities
  • Cooperate with web designers to match visual design intent

You may also be responsible for back-ups, brainstorming future designs and functionality, and improving user-experience. It will depend on the specific requirements of a company.

Career Paths

You need to know what area of development you want to enter and what you want to specialise in. Do you want to be working on the latest app or social media site? Have you an interest in creating websites for clients? Would you rather work within a big team creating a huge project?

It’s important to know that as a web developer, you’re tasked with fulfilling the specific website need of a client or employer. This is whether you are working for someone else or starting your own agency.

Initially, you might begin your career as a junior developer. It’s important to differentiate yourself from others by making sure you have a well-rounded portfolio. Even if you won’t be able to show much work you have done for others, there’s nothing stopping you from creating a portfolio based on your own projects. You will be asked for

You will be asked for examples of your work whether you’re interviewing for a fortune 500 company or pitching for freelance work. You’ll be judged on what you have done and the quality of work you’ve produced. Putting time into building your portfolio is the key aspect to landing any web development job.

Once you’ve secured a position as a web developer, there are many career paths you can progress through. A standard progression would look something like:

  • Junior Web Developer
  • Web Developer
  • Senior Web Developer
  • Head of Web Development
  • Director or Development
  • CTO (Chief Technical Officer)

However, there are different routes you can take and companies will have different hierarchies in place.

It’s a great time to get into web development and there’s an excellent chance of rapid progression for the right candidates. Even if you’re not counting on a career as a web developer, learning to code can be useful in a lot of careers and for your own business.

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