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What is Web Development? How to Become a Web Developer [2021 Career Path]

Ruby on Rails | October 11, 2021

You have just decided to learn how to code and you want to pursue a career in web development. But what exactly is web development?

Where can you start learning?

How much do web developers make?

How do you get a job as a web developer?

When I first started learning how to code, I had these exact same questions and more.  

In this article, I will provide a basic introduction to web development and provide career resources on how to land a developer job.

What is Web Development?

Web development is the act of building and maintaining websites for the internet or intranet (private network). Examples of websites you might build would include blogs, personal pages, E-commerce sites, or social media sites.

Web developers will work with the client to understand their requirements for the website. Developers will then build, test, and deploy the site and maintain it by fixing issues and adding features.

Difference Between Web Developers and Site Builders

There are many website builders like Wix and Weebly that make it easy for non-developers to create and launch a website. The question is, why do we need web developers if people can just use website builders instead?

This largely depends on the needs and requirements of the project. There are times where it makes sense to hire developers and then there are times where using site builders is an option.

For example, if someone wants to create a basic site for their handmade jewelry, then using a website builder is a viable option. These tools are easy to use and inexpensive.

But what if someone has a growing business and needs a website with custom software that fits their business needs? At that point, developers would have the tools and knowledge to work with the client and build the software and features that the client needs.

What Are the Different Types of Web Developers?  

There are different areas of web development that you can choose to focus on. The common types would be Front End, Back End and Full Stack developer. Let’s look at each one in more detail.

Front End (Client Side) Development

Front end development is everything that the user sees and interacts with on the web page. Front end developers will focus on writing applications that will be visually pleasing and easy to navigate by users.

The main technologies you’ll use on the front end would be HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. HTML creates the structure of the content on the page, CSS styles that content and makes it look nice, and JavaScript makes the site interactive and gives it helpful functionality.

There are also many libraries and frameworks that front end developers can use when they’re coding websites, including React, Angular, Bootstrap, Tailwind CSS and many more. These tools can help you optimize and speed up the development process.

Back End (Server Side) Development

Back end development refers to the part of the application that the user does not see. Back end developers focus on the logic of the site, creating servers, and working with databases and API’s (Application Programming Interfaces).

For example, the content and layout for a form would be created on the client side, but when the users submits their information it gets processed on the server side (back end).

Languages you can use for back end development include Java, Python, Ruby, and PHP.

Full Stack Development

Full stack developers work with both the front end and back end of the web application.

These developers have to be able to work with the browser, server, and databases. So you need all the skills and knowledge I discussed above.

Here are some popular tech stacks for both front end and backend development.

How to Learn Web Development

Now that you understand what a web developer does, let’s look into some possible resources to start learning.

Should I teach myself to code?

There are plenty of free online resources that will teach you web development. But how do you know if this is the right path?

If you are the type of person that has the discipline and structure to learn these skills on your own, then this is a viable option for you.

freeCodeCamp provides a whole curriculum on web development where you can learn for free. It is an interactive learning environment where you will go through a series of challenges and build projects along the way.

I have also compiled of list of resources where you can learn web development for free.  

Should I do a coding bootcamp?

If you need a structured environment where you can learn alongside other students and teachers, then you might consider a bootcamp.

Bootcamps are intensive environments where you will learn the skills to become an entry level developer in a short period of time. These bootcamps are typically not free, however, and will require a significant time commitment.

It is really important that you do your research first before signing up for a bootcamp. Quincy Larson has put together an article explaining how bootcamps work and if they are right for you.

Also, Class Central is offering a free bootcamp based on freeCodeCamp’s curriculum – and it starts on August 23rd. If you’re reading this after that date, check in with them. They may do it again 🙂

How Much Do Web Developers Make?

If you are curious about how much money you could make in your area, I would suggest using a site like Indeed to look up salaries.  

Salaries will be different depending on where you are around the world. But in general, web development is projected to grow over the next decade and provides good compensation.

Here is an example of some junior developer salaries in the United States. Junior developers are usually considered those who have two years or less of experience.

Mid level developers have spent 2-4 years working in the industry. Here is an example of mid level developer salaries in the United States.

Senior developers have at least several years of experience in the industry. Here is an example of senior level developer salaries in the United States.

What About FAANG Salaries?

FAANG stands for Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google. It is very competitive and difficult to get a job at one of these large tech companies.

These types of large tech companies will pay above the average developer salary.  

This is an example salary you can make as a junior web developer in the United States working for Facebook.

How Can You Get a Job as a Web Developer?

Once you have learned the technical aspects of web development, you have to focus on putting together your job application materials. There are many incredible resources that can help you learn how to get a developer job.

I hope you enjoyed this article and best of luck on your path to becoming a web developer.

This content was originally published here.