How Can You Become a Web Developer?
There are actually several different paths you might take to become a web developer, but the most common routes to starting a career in web development fall into one of the following categories:
- Earn a Computer Science degree at a traditional college or university (Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree, or even a PhD)
- Learn web development on your own through self-study
- Attend an intensive, short-term coding bootcamp specializing in web development
Each educational path has its own merits. Early on in the growth of the tech industry, only college graduates and self-taught programmers became professional web developers. However, there’s another education option today--one which has proven itself as a valid choice over the last decade.
Today, coding bootcamps offer the only real alternative to a college education on the market. Instead of spending 4 years in a university and taking on debt, prospective coders can spend less than a year in a coding bootcamp and earn their coding credentials in a true career-training program.
Types of Web Developers
Once you've decided to enroll in a web development bootcamp, you then choose which path you want to take.
There are 3 types of web developers:
Front End Developer
Back End Developer
Back End Developers are the “server-side” engineers who create the logic behind Front End applications and processes. Using programming languages like Python, Ruby, Java, and PHP, Back End Developers code and maintain the structures that allow Front End processes to function.
Full Stack Developer
In short, a Full Stack Developer is essentially a Front End and Back End Developer in one. Full Stack Developers have the skills necessary to build and maintain all the layers of an application or website.
No matter which type of data scientist you want to become, Career Karma can help you find the right training program that matches your unique needs.
Web Developer Job Description - What Does a Web Developer Do?
Web developers create, modify, and manage websites and web applications. They’re responsible for programming a website and designing its user interface.
In addition to layout, web developers keep sites up-to-date with fresh updates and new content. Unless a web developer runs their own business, they rarely work alone. Web developers regularly collaborate with management and other programmers to ensure their website functions as intended. While they don’t always make big decisions, web developers are responsible for making sure their site looks and operates how it’s supposed to.
A web developer’s job entails more than coding and debugging. These professionals are often also graphic designers, editors, and even writers. In some companies, web developers are the last line of defense between the world and a website. It’s their job to ensure the site looks good and functions properly.
Web Developer Salaries - How Much Do Web Developers Make?
Web developers earn impressive salaries. The national average lies between $65,000 and $75,000 annually. Entry-level web developers generally earn over $50,000 and report high job satisfaction.
There is no way to know exactly how much to expect because web developer salaries vary widely between companies and locations. Web developers in San Francisco report an average of $100,000 per year, while the same professionals in Atlanta earn $75,000. Cost of living aside, it’s clear how much of a difference location makes.
Additionally, web developer salary depends on experience. Senior web developers (individuals with education and/or years of experience) earn over $90,000 on average. Remember, salary doesn’t include stock options and other perks offered by some tech companies, so keep that in mind when searching for a job.
Some web developers choose not to work in an office as many freelance opportunities exist for skilled professionals. These jobs pay thousands for a few hours of work; web developers can earn a great living as a digital nomad.
How much can you earn? (source: Glassdoor)
Web Developer Job Outlook
Web developers enjoy an unusually good job outlook, as experts predict substantial job growth in the industry. According to the recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, web developer job opportunities are expected to increase a whopping 13% by 2028. The BLS describes it as ‘much faster than average.’
Companies the Hire Bootcamp Grads
How to Learn Web Development
There’s more than one way to learn web development. Some web developers attend a college or university, usually for computer science or a similar field. Others, especially developers who entered the industry early, are self-taught and lack any formal coding education. However, there’s a new way to learn web development.
Instead of college or self-taught lessons, coding bootcamps are now an alternative. Coding bootcamps, which normally last between 12 and 24 weeks, are intensive training programs designed to prepare inexperienced prospects for a career in the tech industry.
Top Skills Needed for Web Development Careers
To succeed in your web development career path, there are several essential skills you’ll need to develop, hone, and master. Let’s start with the technical skills for web developers.
HTML is the language used to create web pages. "Hypertext" refers to the hyperlinks that an HTML page may contain. "Markup language" refers to the way tags are used to define the page layout and elements within the page.
Essential Technical Skills for Web Developers
The following technical skills are vital to your success in becoming a web developer. These web development skills include programming languages, development tools, and other crucial technical abilities.
These three technologies comprise the backbone of all web development, so they are crucial to your success as a web dev.
HTML (a markup language) is at the heart of it all and determines the content and basic structure of web pages.
CSS, when used with HTML, determines the appearance of web pages, including fonts, colors, and layout.
- Other Programming Languages
While different web development positions will require knowledge of specific programming languages, some of the more common coding languages and frameworks for web development include Python, PHP, Java, and Ruby on Rails.
While your ultimate goal with a web development career is probably to design your own sites and pages without a content management system, it’s still necessary to know how to use WordPress.
Why? Simply put, almost 25% of the entire Internet is constructed with WordPress. So, odds are you’ll be working with it at some point in your career as a web developer.
- Responsive Design
An understanding of responsive web design is more important than ever for careers in web development, as more and more people are doing most of their web browsing on mobile devices. Being able to construct pages that perform equally well on mobile and desktop is crucial for web development.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If you’re lucky, when you start a job as a web developer, the company will have a dedicated SEO or marketing team to perform most of this work. Yet, it’s still incredibly valuable for any aspiring web developer to understand how search engine optimization works in order to create sites and pages that will get maximum exposure in search.
Essential Soft Skills for Web Developers
To be successful as a web developer, you’ll need more than just technical expertise--you’ll also need to develop a whole set of “soft” skills to really thrive.
- Collaboration and Teamwork
No matter where your web development career takes you, you’re most likely going to be working with a team at some level. It’s vital to your success as a web dev that you’re able to work effectively and efficiently in a team environment.
- Problem Solving
This almost goes without saying, but one of the most important skills you can possess as a web developer is the ability to think creatively and critically to solve problems. That’s the whole point of web development in the first place, right?
While web development work often involves a team effort, there will also be a considerable amount of time spent working on your own. To really thrive as a web dev, you’ll have to develop strong work habits and the ability to stay motivated even when you’re not working with others.
In Summary: Here’s How to Become a Web Developer
- Choose a web development career path
- Learn through a web development bootcamp, college, or self-study
- Practice your technical skills
- Build your web development portfolio
- Craft your technical resume
- Start the job search!
The great news is that Career Karma can help you through every step along your journey to becoming a web developer. We’ll provide free coaching, mentorship, and access to a community of your peers to support your web development career path. Best of all, we’ll get you prepared and accepted to one of the top web development bootcamps, so you can get the training you need to thrive in your new career!
How to Become a Remote Web Developer
The path to become a remote web developer is similar to the requirements for a traditional position, with a few notable exceptions. However, all web developers must begin by choosing an education program (such as college or coding bootcamp), or teach themselves using books and online resources.
Once trained, remote web developers need to learn how to market themselves to clients, or find a job with a remote opportunity. Freelancing platforms are a great place to start, but many remote web developers find opportunities through savvy networking and self-promotion.