Jan 18, 2019

How to Become a Web Developer

If you're wondering how to become a great web developer, the good news is that the process is pretty straightforward. Getting started in web development just requires that you learn the tools of the trade. First, though, you'll want to become familiar with the different sides of web development so you can get started down the right track.

Choose Your Track

There are two sides to the web: the client side, or front end, which is the side you interact with when you use a website, and the server side, or back end, which is the side that keeps websites up and running properly. Front-end developers tend to deal more with design and user experience, while back-end developers are more focused on technical matters such as databases, servers, and applications. The combination of the two is known as full stack. In general, you can choose between front-end web developer and full-stack web developer courses. Back-end development may not be taught on its own because there can sometimes be some front-end elements to that work.

Learn the Skills

Getting started in web development almost always means learning HTML and CSS, as knowing those fundamentals is arguably what makes a good web developer. Beyond that, the languages and tools you'll need to learn will depend on which track you choose. Either way, you'll need to get a solid conceptual foundation and gain technical experience actually using the tools and languages you'd use on the job. You may not need to achieve technical mastery for getting started in web development, but being able to build a site and do back-end administration on your own is key.

Coding languages beyond HTML and CSS will be part of a proper web developer education on either track. Front-end developers learn JavaScript and can usually stop there (though you can certainly learn other languages if you'd like). Back-end and full-stack developers usually need to learn languages like Ruby, PHP, and Python, and they may even need to learn how to work in mobile environments like iOS and Android.

Build a Portfolio

How do you prove you can do it on your own? Show your work. Building a portfolio is key to getting a job as a web developer, even if you end up freelancing rather than getting a job as a full-time employee with a single company. This is one of the most important steps to becoming a web developer: being able to show you know what you're doing by actually doing it. Building your own website and working on some open-source projects is a great way to get your foot in the door and start actually putting your skills into practice to build up that portfolio.