What is web development?

07 Mar 2022

A web developer’s job is to essentially create websites, maintain websites and sometimes assist in fixing them. The primary role is generally to ensure the website is visually appealing and have great user experience. Many web developers are also responsible for the website’s performance and SEO setup. 

Types of web developers

Web developers usually fall under one of three categories: back-end developers, full-stack developers, front-end developers. Some web developers also work as webmasters.

  • Back-end web developers create the website’s structure, write code, and verify the code works. Their responsibilities also may include managing access points for others who need to manage a website’s content.
  • Full-stack developers do the work of both a back-end and front-end developer. These developers have the knowledge to build a complete website and may work for organizations that don’t have the budget for a large website team.
  • Front-end web developers work on the visual part of the website—the pages visitors see and interact with (also known as the user interface). They design the physical layout of each page, integrate graphics, and use HTML and JavaScript to enhance the site.
  • Webmasters are essentially website managers. Their primary responsibility is to keep the website updated, ensuring that the links and applications on each page work properly.

Web developer tasks and responsibilities

As a web developer, you could work for a company or agency, or as a freelancer taking on projects for individual clients. Your tasks will vary depending on your work situation, but day-to-day responsibilities might generally include:

  • Designing user interfaces and navigation menus
  • Writing and reviewing code for sites, typically HTML, XML, or JavaScript
  • Integrating multimedia content onto a site
  • Testing web applications
  • Troubleshooting problems with performance or user experience
  • Collaborating with designers, developers, and stakeholders. 

How to become a web developer

A formal education isn’t always necessary to become an entry-level web developer. Some web developers have an associate's or bachelor’s degree in website design or computer science, but others teach themselves how to code and design websites. While earning a degree can make you a more competitive candidate, a strong portfolio can go a long way toward validating your skills to potential employers.

Build web developer skills.

Employers and clients usually expect web developers to have certain skills that demonstrate their ability to deliver on website requirements. If you’re interested in a career as a web developer, these are some of the technical skills you should be aiming to learn.

Technical skills

  • Coding: Common programming languages include HTML, PHP, .Net cascading style sheets, and JavaScript for front-end design. Consider learning Python, Java, or Ruby if you want to do back-end development.
  • Responsive design: People use a variety of devices to view websites. Developers should be able to create sites that look as good on smartphones and tablets as they do on computer screens.
  • SEO: Many factors of website design can affect the site’s search engine ranking. Understanding how search engines rank sites is useful in a developer’s work.
  • Version control: This lets you track and control changes to the source code without starting over from the beginning each time you run into a problem.
  • Visual design: Understanding basic design principles, such as how to use white space, choose fonts, and incorporate images could boost your marketability.

Workplace skills

  • Communication: Web developers spend time discussing design ideas with their clients and team members through each step of the project.
  • Customer service: A web developer creates websites for the client to use and should remain client-focused to achieve the best results.
  • Detail-oriented: Little details, like a small change in code, can make a big difference in how a website performs.
  • Organisation: Keeping track of deadlines, project tasks, workflow, and budgets is helpful if you want to complete a website design on time.
  • Problem-solving: Web developers often run into issues when designing websites. They should have the patience and ability to identify problems in the design or coding and solve them in a methodical way.

Consider a degree in computer science or web design.

While you don’t always need a degree to get a job in web development, it can certainly help. If you’re already in school, other courses may yet be a better fit for your career goals than others ones. If you’re more interested in back-end web development, consider a degree program in computer science. If you feel more drawn to front-end development, you might opt for a degree in web design.

If this is the thing you are willing to put the work in to and believe this is the career path for you. Don’t hesitate, the world is almost completely digital and there is always a need for great developer.

Check out our latest jobs or contact us to chat about your new career path as a web developer.