In recent years, web development field has been exploding with lots of companies looking for front-end and back-end web developers. Here are several things to consider as you decide if you want to become a front-end or back end web developer.
In short, web developers make the websites and web apps that people and businesses use daily. To get more granular than that you would need to consider what kind of web developer we’re talking about. Front end web developers work on the front facing part of the website. They are similar to web designers, however, web developers need to consider more than just aesthetics. Developers need to make the front end of a website functional, often using a framework or library. Back end developers work on the server side of websites, the inner workings. They have to focus less on design and more on pure functionality and efficiency. Regardless of where, all web developers need to be proficient in at least one programming language, and often need to know how to use web or web adjacent technologies like Node.js, SQL, Angular, or Ruby on Rails.
Freelance web developers either work freelance or as a fulltime employee, there isn’t one answer to this question. Assuming you’re working fulltime as an employee you can expect to start at around $40k as a junior developer, but there are plenty of experienced developers taking home six figures. It looks like the median is around $60k, which sounds about right for your average web developer that doesn’t live in Silicon Valley.
I know a lot of hiring managers look at how clean your code is, how fast your example page will load, the HTML structure. I try to make my web development portfolio fit those requirements first; many times quality will trump your actual design (as long as it isn’t horrendous). It also matters what kind of job you’re trying to get with your portfolio. If you’re looking for something more design heavy like CMS sites you may not need much code at all. If you’re looking to really develop then having example sites and apps that function well and that have clean code should be your top priority.
Honestly, most hiring managers I’ve met in the dev world think skills first qualifications second. Some of the old schoolers will require a degree to make sure you know more than just what you’ve put in your portfolio. But by and large if you know your stuff, your portfolio is well put together, and you can answer the interview questions you can land a job. That said, getting a certification at a bootcamp or a degree in CS will definitely help your career and put you at the top of the list.