Career Insight

How to Become a Web Developer

cartoon of a web developer sitting at their computer with the logos of all of their different tools above their computer

Working in web development has never been more exhilarating! The internet age is alive and thriving better than ever before. For that, we can thank web developers. They’re the engine powering humanity’s surge into the future. Web development professionals design, build, implement, and maintain the websites we use every day. From exquisite aesthetics to managing the massive amounts of data being transferred throughout the web, web developers reside firmly at the forefront of modern technology.

And that’s only half the excitement…

The job market for web developers is in extremely high demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities in web development are projected to grow 13% by 2030. In short, as technology advances the need for web developers increases. And that’s why there’s so much career potential for those interested in web dev.

So, to shed a little light on this captivating industry, we’ve put together a guide on how to become a web developer and kick off your web development career.

What Do Web Developers Do?

Web developers — also referred to in other circles as programmers, engineers, or coders — are responsible for creating, developing, and maintaining websites and web applications. They blend creativity with conceptual problem solving to create a web environment that’s easy for internet users to use and become familiar with. Each website is built to be aesthetically pleasing, effective, and most importantly, safe.

Now, all a website’s bells and whistles didn’t come without some elbow grease. There is a process to launching a web developer career. We’re here to break it down.

Steps for Becoming a Web Developer

Step 1: Learn the Basics

Learning to be a web developer means you need to be a student of the proverbial game. When it comes to acquiring the necessary information like understanding Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and Javascript, nothing is off the table. Reading articles, watching videos, and seeking out established professionals are all great places to gather pertinent knowledge. Our free tool Kenzie Free is a great place to start your learning journey

Many aspiring web developers enroll in technical schools to kick off the learning process as they offer an excellent jumping-off point into the web development world.

Obtaining a certificate from a technical school provides you with extensive knowledge, is fully immersive, and helps you network with other new and established web development professionals. Kenzie Academy’s academia focuses heavily on teaching job-ready skills as efficiently as possible. Our programs are conducive to the success of your new tech journey. You can read how education is the best first step.

Step 2: Choose Your Path

Because websites are inherently complex, developers typically focus on frontend, backend, or full-stack web development. Each specialty requires its own separate skill set.

  • Front-End Developers

    • A frontend developer writes code for the frontend (or user-facing) side of a website. While design refers to the visuals of the website, frontend development refers to how that design is implemented on the web. Everything users see, click, and touch is created by frontend developers using languages, frameworks, and designs.
  • Back-End Developers

    • A backend developer is responsible for building and maintaining the technology that powers the user-facing side of a website. Using their backend code, this type of developer adds utility to everything frontend designers create. You can’t have one without the other. Successfully getting data from the user’s interactions on the frontend, changing it into a more useful format, and making sure it’s stored correctly in a database are just a few of the backend developer’s many responsibilities.
  • Full-Stack Developers

    • A full-stack developer has a firm grasp of how every intricate piece of the web development process operates individually and in symphony with other parts. With this knowledge, they can provide development strategies and best practices. A full-stack developer is considered a “big picture” role because of their understanding of client and server-side best practices.
    • To learn more about this type of development specifically, check out our post that lays out the details of what a full-stack developer actually is.

After you’ve learned the basics, you’ll have a better idea of what path you believe is best suited for your skills and interests.

Step 3: Learn Your Languages

With basics under your belt and an area of concentration in mind, you’ll need to learn a handful of different programming languages for your web developer career. Let’s take a look at the best languages to learn concerning the development specialty:

  • Common Front-End Developer Languages

    • HTML
    • CSS
    • JavaScript
  • Common Back-End Developer Languages

    • JavaScript
    • Python
    • PHP
    • Java
    • Ruby
    • C#
  • Common Full-Stack Developer Languages

    • HTML
    • CSS
    • JavaScript
    • Python
    • PHP
    • Java
    • Ruby
    • C#

These are certainly not the only languages you can learn. Web development is meticulous and diverse. Depending on your area of expertise, you may learn languages we haven’t listed or ones that haven’t been invented yet.

Step 4: Practice, Practice, Practice

Yes, organized education is paramount. But receiving a certificate is only part of the process. We often talk about a “dig in to dig out” mantra in terms of practicing your development skills. Above all resources, we recommend diving into documentation you can find in the classroom, training manuals, in online forums, blog posts, etc. There you’ll find the bulk — and most supportive — information.

As helpful as video tutorials may seem to be, they pale in comparison to digging into an issue, dismantling it — much like a mechanic would do with an engine — and finding your way back to reassembly. Wrapping your head around documentation is the best way to prepare yourself for real project work.

Once you’ve filled your toolbox with a Web Developer Starter Kit, your skills will need continuous work. The tech world is fluid, which makes your continued practice as important as anything. This step is simple, yet effective. The certificate gets you an interview; the skills get you the job.

Step 5: Build a Profile

You’re a web developer now, but do other companies know that? Showcase your strongest skills and talents by creating a top-notch portfolio with Kenzie Academy. Companies want to see what you’ve done and what you’re capable of doing. They want to know the value you bring to a team.

Upload your work that shows what you do best and what you’re most proud of. Maybe it’s a fully functional site or a successful app you’ve built. Whatever your work may include, your portfolio should demonstrate your expertise. As you continue learning, you’ll want to add newly learned programming languages, development frameworks, etc. All of this rolled together is what makes a standout portfolio, and subsequently, helps you land your first job.

Why Become a Web Developer?

Becoming a web developer should be something you want to do, and those who are passionate about it succeed in the long-run. Here are a few reasons why you may want to enter the exciting web development arena:

  • Flexibility

    • Developer jobs often have great perks and work-life balance. Coders are well suited to working remotely, so often they are allowed to work on their schedules, though this can vary from company to company.
  • Competitive Pay

    • Software engineers have potential for earning a high salary. Also, whether it’s for a company or as a freelancer, there is no shortage of ways to make money. You could teach others how to code, create your own digital or SaaS products, start a blog, or make a YouTube channel. There are many opportunities!
  • Job Security

    • The demand for web developers is at an all-time high and rising fast. On average, it’s projected that the labor force will have nearly 18,000 job openings each year over the next decade.
  • Great Community

    • Web developers are kindred spirits. The community of developers often shares new methodology, tips, resources, etc. Developers of all different levels of expertise enjoy helping each other because, well, they’re just like you!

Web development is a world of endless possibilities where one day will almost never look like the last. We want to help you start your journey to becoming your best (developer) self. Apply today!

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