The 2023 Guide to Becoming a Web Developer
Technology is indispensable to modern life, it’s in the coffee machine you use in the morning and the car you drive. Many people get their news, information, and entertainment online, and every website, and every piece of software, was built by a developer.
Web development seems mysterious, confusing, and complicated to many. But, once you crack the code, it becomes clear that learning to code isn’t as hard as it looks. This guide will explain what a web developer does and what it takes to become one.
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Now Is a Great Time To Become a Web Developer
It’s important to carefully weigh any new career’s pros and cons before you decide.
Some things to consider:
- Will the career offer you opportunities for advancement?
- Will it support the lifestyle you would like to have?
- What does the job market look like?
- Can I see myself doing this ten years from now?
If you can build apps, websites, and software, you should find employment in today’s job market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the job opportunities for web developers could grow 13% over the next 10-years. Web developers are in high demand, and it looks like they will stay that way for the foreseeable future.
You can work as a web developer almost anywhere and in various industries. You will find web developer jobs in healthcare, banking, media and entertainment, e-commerce, and remote education. It is the perfect job for someone who wants or needs to work remotely
Additionally, web development is an excellent job for someone who wants to freelance or start their own business; this is especially true if you’re a self-taught web developer.
Las Vegas web development agencies have thrived while the casino and hospitality industry has struggled through the pandemic. The tech industry has remained stable and continues to grow rapidly. Market Data Forecast predicts that the tech industry will increase from $131 billion in 2020 to $295 billion by 2025.
Overall, growth will continue in remote and in-person job opportunities. An adept web developer with the necessary skills will have no problem finding employment. 2023 is an excellent year to begin a career in web development.
What Is Web Development?
Web development is simply building websites and apps for use on the internet. However, web development is not necessarily the website’s visual design; it’s about the coding that you can’t see. Web developers built them all from simple web pages, apps, and e-commerce sites to dynamic social media platforms and content management systems.
Web Development is Different From Software Engineering
Generally, a software engineer works on operating systems, while web developers work on internet-based technology. Both involve learning programming languages, and it is relatively simple for someone to learn both skills.
Different Types of Web Development
There are three types of web development; frontend, backend, and databases.
Frontend development encompasses everything for the end-user experience. Client-side coding works with web browsers to render what people see on a website, including the layout, menus, colors, fonts, and contact forms.
Backend development deals with what goes on behind what you see on a website. Server-side scripting is responsible for organizing and storing data, ensuring that the frontend runs smoothly. The backend scripts communicate with the frontend coding. Backend developers build advanced functionality features, such as an e-commerce shopping cart.
For example, when someone fills out a form, the user’s browser sends it to the backend on the website’s server. The server-side script responds by interpreting and displaying that information through the user’s browser.
Database technology works with building the database containing all of the files needed for a website to work. A developer needs to create the database in an organized way so that it is easy to retrieve, save, and edit.
The frontend, backend, and database, working together, run a website or app.
Web Development vs. Web Design
These two aspects of web development are very different. A web designer deals with how a website looks, such as a layout, colors, and fonts, and ensures that the website is user-friendly, logical, and visually appealing. A web designer chooses the interactive navigational touchpoints, what content to include, and where to place it.
The Day-to-Day of a Web Developer
Simply put, web developers build and maintain websites. They can work in-house at a company, work remotely for a Las Vegas web development agency, or work from home as an independent contractor or freelancer.
The day-to-day work depends on whether you’re a frontend, backend, or full-stack developer. But every type of web developer builds a product that meets their client’s specifications and is easy for visitors to use. Web developers may need to collaborate with their clients and designers to execute their vision into a functional website.
However, a large part of the day-to-day work involves workarounds to problems in the coding. It also involves finding and fixing bugs. Companies hire web developers to fix faulty code written by another web developer.
They constantly work to optimize and improve the websites they have developed. Web developers must be good at problem-solving and finding solutions and workarounds to keep websites working correctly.
Web developers need to be fluent in programming languages. However, they use different languages depending on whether it’s a frontend, backend, or database development.
Frontend developers also implement usability tests, fix bugs, and develop tools enhancing how the website interacts with various browsers.
Backend developers build and maintain the scripts powering the frontend. They divide this work among the server, applications, and databases.
Backend code ensures that everything at the front end is fully functional. To do this, they use server-side languages like PHP, Java, Ruby on Rails, and Python to build applications. Then the developers use tools like MySQL, SQL Server, and Oracle to find, save and edit data to deliver it back as interpreted frontend code.
Backend development jobs include building server-side software, creating, integrating, and managing databases, developing content management systems, and working with application programming interface (API) integration. They’re also responsible for testing and debugging backend scripts.
A full-stack developer can work both the frontend and the backend. They’re fluent in frontend and backend languages, servers, frameworks, networks, and web hosting. They can also design an attractive, functional, and user-friendly website.
Mobile developers specialize in app development for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. Android and iOS require proficiency in entirely different programming languages; iOS developers need to know Swift, and Android developers use Java, Kotlin, and HTML5 to build apps.
A programming language is an encoded set of instructions and commands telling the computer what to do.
C++ and Java are high-level programming languages used to write source code. These high-level languages are text documents that programmers can read, but not computers. For a computer to run source code, it must first be translated into a low-level language.
A program that reads and executes is known as an interpreter; Perl and PHP are examples. These interpreted languages primarily run scripts, such as scripts generating dynamic content.
Developers use markup languages to display how the text looks using tags. The two most widely used markup languages for designing websites are HTML and XML. HTML tags create bold text, italics, bullet points, headlines, and links.
XML is similar to HTML, but XML stores and transports data rather than render text. XML tags are not standard, unlike HTML. Rather, the web developer creates them. Using XML simplifies data sharing and transport, providing a way of storing, transporting, and sharing data independent of software or hardware.
Style sheet languages create a uniform style for a website. Developers use cascading style sheets (CSS) to determine font, font and headline sizes, background colors, and borders across the entire site. They also use CSS to create responsive websites that display correctly across all devices.
Databases can store massive amounts of data. For example, music apps use databases to store music MP3s and information about users’ preferences. Social media apps also use databases, and every time a user updates their profile, the database must also update.
Databases use unique languages like SQL, short for Structured Query Language. MySQL is also commonly used. These languages allow programs to access and update the information within the database.
1. Frameworks and Libraries
Web developers also work with prewritten codes known as frameworks and libraries. Libraries are small collections of code generally used for specific purposes. A web developer can use a piece of library code to achieve their goal quickly.
Frameworks contain ready-made components and tools, enabling the developer to write code quickly. Frameworks give a web developer a preset structure and largely dictate how to build the website or app. Many frameworks also have libraries. Popular frameworks include Bootstrap, Ruby on Rails, and Angular.
2. Web Development Tools
Web developers will also use a text editor to write their code and various web browsers to test it. Another helpful tool is Git, a place to store and manage code. Git allows a developer to go back to previous versions.
It keeps track of code changes and makes it easier to manage multiple projects and work with other teams through GitHub, a cloud interface. The cloud interface has additional features like bug tracking, open-source projects, and a community platform for web developers to show off their talent.
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3. A Career in Web Development
Getting into web development is mentally stimulating, financially rewarding, and offers robust job security. The average salary for a web developer is more than $70,860 per year. Of course, that amount depends on your experience, location, and skills. The same developer working for a Las Vegas web development agency is likely to make less than one working in Chicago.
The first step is to learn about the various coding languages and the other aspects of web development, like how libraries and frameworks work. Many high schools, community colleges, and universities offer coding and web development training; some individuals even teach themselves how to code. A career as a web developer can be an excellent choice for a creative and technologically inclined individual.
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