How to Become a Professional Web Developer in 7 Simple Steps
Think of it, you get to be the brain behind that successful website, you can create the best user experience for over 2 billion users.
Also, websites are here to stay for the next decades, therefore you’ll still be relevant in the field as long as you’re growing.
What’s amazing is that you can learn web development on your own.
When you’re done reading this post, you’ll have very clear directions on how to become a skilled web developer.
The steps explained here are achievable and proved over the years by several expert web developers, you can become one by following through.
Before starting the steps, it’s important you understand the following:
Who is a Web Developer?
Based on the process of web development, a web developer is a programmer that creates web-based applications to be accessed through the Internet. These websites and apps have specific features and functions that the dev is responsible to build through his programming skills.
Web development consists of 2 major sections; as an aspiring web developer, you can choose to specialize in any of the sections.
- FrontEnd Web Developer is responsible for building and designing layouts, features, and appearance of a website. This role is also called client-side developer.
- BackEnd Web Developer is responsible for building the driving system of a website. They are responsible for building the best framework that allows data to be easily transferred from the web server to the web browser – as seen by the users.
Honestly, no crime combining both roles, being an expert in both FrontEnd & BackEnd development, only that you’d have to be learning a lot more. People who are skilled in front-end and back-end web development are called Full-Stack Developers – they are highly respected and well-paid. Deciding on a specification is important as you’d see in forthcoming sections.
So, how would we define a perfect Web Developer?
The Perfect Web Developer
For those interested in a career in development, there are many aspects to consider. Firstly, you need a passion for writing code. The web moves fast, and it will be a big part of your job to move with it. You’ll have to learn new languages and get your hands on new tools as time goes by.
To succeed in computer science, problem-solving skills are a must, as well as logical, rational thinking. Patience and ability to keep your head cold are also two things that will help you a lot in your future job.
Obviously, to become a web developer, you have to be interested in writing code. The programming language is at the core of a website, every website solution you will ever create will be written with programming languages.
If you’ve not written code before, it’s quite easy to learn the basics. There are great resources online to learn coding for beginners – where you’ll be learning step by step to become a great programmer.
To be a perfect front-end web developer, you need to learn the following languages and associated tools:
HTML & CSS
HTML isn’t a programming language, neither CSS, but markup tools used to design web pages and user interfaces. HTML is a hypertext markup language that structures the content and layout of the web page, and CSS controls its display. It’s the very backbone of every website, therefore it is a must to learn for anyone aspiring to work in the front-end development field.
Bootstrap is an open-source CSS framework, which provides a base for creating mobile-first, responsive websites. Since its creation in 2011, its popularity has never stopped growing. Bootstrap now powers millions of websites. As the most popular CSS framework, it is mandatory that you learn to use it once comfortable enough with HTML and CSS.
These programming languages are regularly updated, therefore be sure to learn them based on the most recent version available.
In the same way, the perfect back-end web developer must be skilled in the following programming languages:
PHP is a server-side language created in the 1990s. It is the most widely used coding language when it comes to creating web pages. A back-end web developer must have sufficient PHP skills in order to get a job in the tech business.
MySQL is a free and open-source database, widely used to store the data displayed on websites. You should learn the SQL language, as well as database management through both SSH and the PHPMyAdmin tool.
Java is a general-purpose, object-oriented language which often competes with PHP. Learning Java is important for your career due to the demand amongst recruiters in the web and software fields.
Ruby is an interpreted, high-level, general-purpose programming language created in Japan. It is less popular than PHP or Java but still widely used to create web pages and apps.
Note that some of these programming languages perform the same role, therefore it’s not necessary to learn all of them.
Every successful coder has carefully gone through the following process I’ve curated for you to follow.
Here it is…
7 Steps to Become a Professional Web Developer
- Choose a specialty. As explained earlier, you can choose FrontEnd web development or BackEnd development and specialize. If you want to be a Full Stack developer, you should start with FrontEnd.
- Acquire the needed programming language skill. Each web development specialty has the necessary programming languages that you should learn. This has been highlighted above.
- Take on small projects and create your online portfolio. You need to start small, take on small projects, complete them and move on to bigger ones. No need to rush, big and complex websites are built on simple principles you’d encounter in these small projects. As soon as you’ve learned some skills, go ahead and create a web page that features your work and experience. You should also use social media, as sites like Facebook and Twitter make it easy to show your skills, meet other coders, and find projects to work on.
- Be very patient in testing and debugging. After you’re done writing those codes, ensure to test them. Also, as you debug the codes, do it patiently so that you’ll learn not to repeat errors as you take on bigger projects.
- Join a web developers’ forum and interact. An active web developers’ community is good for you. You get to learn from others’ errors, judge others’ works, get informed on important updates and several other benefits. Social media sites and your favorite search engine are also very good to keep up to date with the latest news.
- Learn from other websites. Checking out websites that you find appealing is also a good way to become a professional. You can incorporate their codes into your projects to help you learn faster.
- Practice! Practice!! Practice!!! Behind every successful website is hours of training and practice. You get better with repetition.
Finding Web Developer Jobs
As the demand for websites and apps is high, there is plenty of work for coders. Here are a few tips aimed especially at beginners looking for jobs:
- Make Sure to Showcase your Skills and Experience: If you are an expert in a coding language, make sure to create your own programming blog and social media pages where you can show what you are able to create. You’d be surprised by how many people can come forward to invite you to work for them.
- Use Job Boards and Freelance Sites: Many websites are specializing in putting clients and developers in relation. This is the case of freelance sites like UpWork, and numerous job boards. Please note that small, skill-specific sites generally offer the best opportunities for junior developers starting their careers. For example, WordPress developers can easily find jobs and projects on jobs.wordpress.net.
- Ask people you know: Do you have a friend who just started as a real estate agent? Does your uncle own his own business? If yes, there’s a strong chance they will need web development services. Offer them a competitive rate, do your best work, and use the result as a way to impress recruiters and find more work.
Recommended Web Development Courses, Tools & Services
Frequently Asked Questions
Do You Need a University Degree to Become a Web Developer?
While a bachelor’s degree in IT or computer science can always help, many web developers are self-taught. Creating your own projects or contributing to open-source code can teach you as much as a good teacher.
How Much is a Web Developer Salary?
According to CareerExplorer, the average salary for a web developer in the United States is around $46,522 per year. Wages typically start from $38,144 and go up to $79,116. [R]
What Are the Qualities of a Web Developer?
To become a web developer, you need a genuine passion for the Internet and a strong desire to always learn new things. New tools and technologies appear on a daily basis, and you will constantly have to keep yourself up-to-date with them.
Do I Also Need to Learn Graphic Design?
Web Development and Web Design are separate occupations, so if your wish is to become skilled in computer science, writing code should be your main focus. That being said, graphic design skills are usually considered a plus for front-end devs. Some small teams even combine front-end development and web design.
Am I Too Young/Too Old to Learn Web Development?
Short answer: no. Skills matter, age doesn’t.
In conclusion, web development is a great skill anyone can have. No university degree is needed to become a professional and start an exciting career. All that’s needed is a willing mind and following simple directions like those this post has provided. Good luck to you as you start your journey! Cheers!