If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you may be wanting to change your career path. There’s a high probability that a tech career will offer the flexibility and salary that you’re looking for. With a median salary of $69,274, I’m sure that you’ll want to learn how to become a web developer or at least check it out! Whenever one hears the words “Web Developer” they may think that it’s super hard and that becoming one is unattainable. While it’s not easy, if you apply yourself you can learn to become one in months versus years of study. You don’t need a bachelor’s degree to get a job! So if you’re ready and willing to learn how to become a Web Developer, let’s get started!
What is a Web Developer?
Web Developers are professionals that build and maintain websites. Their responsibilities include:
- Create web pages with a combination of markup languages.
- Create quality mockups and prototypes for their clients.
- Build WordPress sites from scratch or install themes with client content.
- Know the ins and outs of HTML and CMS
- Understand the fundamentals of UI and UX
- Develop web-based applications and appealing websites that function properly
- Provide website maintenance and enhancements when needed.
These are common requirements but depending on your web development specialty and web development gig your responsibilities and tasks will vary.
There are three types of Web Development specialties:
- Front-end Development: Frontend development deals with the things that you can see and interact with on a website such as menus, dropdowns, and other visual aspects of the site.
2. Back-end Development: Backend development deals with the behind the scenes processes that allow a website to function such as servers, applications, databases, etc.
3. Full-stack development: Full-stack development deals with the combination of both frontend and backend development.
Why Should You Should Learn How to Become a Web Developer?
With the 4th industrial revolution bringing automation and leaving many people in outdated industries out of work, the web development industry is not going to die out anytime soon. In fact, job growth is expected to increase by 13% through 2028 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Among Technology jobs, it ranks #6 according to U.S. News & World Report. For those wanting to become a Digital Nomad and/or work Remotely, this job is perfect!
Do Web Developers need a 4-year degree?
Some employers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field such as computer science or information technology. Web Developers can get certifications to bolster their resume. The majority of employers though will put more weight on a prospective employee’s previous work. A solid portfolio will show employers that you can do the job and have real world experience. If you lack experience, then you can create mock projects and put them in your portfolio. Is it possible to become a Web Developer without a 4-year degree? If you have the skills and projects necessary to show that you can do the job, it is definitely attainable. It will take months of hard work and you’ll be glad it doesn’t take years!
How to Become a Web Developer: Front-end Technologies
You’ll be working with all three of these daily if you decide to build websites for a living.
- HTML is like the “skeleton” of your website and dictates its structure.
- CSS makes your website pretty and is like the “skin” of your website.
HTML stands for Hypertext MarkUp Language. It’s the main ingredient of any website provides the foundation/skeleton of a website through a series of tags. A tag is the HTML code that controls the appearance of the content of the HTML document. It is fairly straightforward and easy to learn to where you can learn it relatively quickly.
- <HTML>…</HTML> – This tag appears at the beginning and end of an HTML document. It indicates that the document is coded in HTML5.
- <title>…</title> – The title tag is the title for the page. This is useful both for when search engines scan and index pages. It helps users by stating the primary topic of each page on the browser’s title bar.
- <head>…</head> – This contains information on the specific page, including title tags, meta data, and links to scripts and style sheets.
- <body>…</body> – This includes all of the content that will be shown to users, including content that they’ll see and read.
- Learn HTML
- HTML Cheat Sheet
CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. It gives HTML structure style and ensures that websites don’t look boring.
Example: background-color: lightblue; (Used below)
How to Become a Web Developer: Back-end Technologies
- Ruby/Ruby on Rails
Python is an “object oriented” programming language that can be both used on the front-end and back-end. It is mostly used on the backend though. As an object-oriented language, programmers can create virtual objects in their code and give them unique attributes and abilities. All of these objects can then interact with each other or perform actions on their own. Once created, bugs can easily be found and fixed within objects as they can be maintained separately from the rest of the code.
Git is a free and open-source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency. Git basically allows you to keep track of any changes that you make to a website and document them. Github is a website where you can view and store these changes via Git in a repository. A Git repository is a container for a project that is tracked by Git.
If becoming a Front-end, Back-end, or Full-stack Developer developer is intimidating to you. You can get started with WordPress. (WordPress.org if you have your own hosted site) WordPress is an industry leading CMS (Content Management System). It’s a software program that allows web developers to create, publish, and manage digital content online. In fact, with no coding or minimal coding you can create a fully functional website in a fraction of the time that it takes to build a website by hand. Even faster if you purchase and install a “theme” that has all of the basic web pages and templates pre-designed for you. With a theme, it’s just a matter of plugging in content and utilizing a visual builder to further enhance a webpage. Using WordPress is almost like making a website with training wheels but it’s powerful enough for advanced web developers to further refine it. This is why a Web technology survey site W3Techs cited WordPress CMS as owning 60 percent of worldwide CMS usage which is pretty impressive!
How to get hired after you learn How to Become a Web Developer
- Get on Job Boards
- Make a Portfolio Site
Most freelance web developers hit up job boards to find their first gigs in web development. These are great for getting experience but some clients can be very hit-or-miss. You will learn how to deal with clients. Be sure to get paid for the value that you provide to them and help them to understand the real costs of freelancing to justify your costs.
- Codeable.io (for WordPress)
- TopTal.com (for WordPress)
Make a Portfolio Site
You should make a portfolio site to make it easier for clients to find you and to acquire more clients. This site should showcase your latest projects, testimonials from ecstatic clients, provide clients with an easy method to get in touch, and to show off your capabilities as a web developer. You’ll want to answer the “What’s in it for me?” question. You have to let them know the main benefit of working with you. Make your portfolio a list of sites that will excite your clients and make them want to purchase a website from you.
Don’t spend all your time just on online job boards. Ask around in the real world to increase your chances of getting hired for a gig after you learn how to become a Web Developer. Go to 2-3 networking events a month and meet with other aspiring web developers. Search for these meetups by going to Meetup.com
Pro Tip: Go to events that draw entrepreneurs. You can find many that are looking to make websites. Talk about a target-rich environment! As you network and complete gigs for other people, you’ll be able to find higher-paying gigs than the ones that you’ll find on job boards. As your portfolio grows, so will your personal branding. You’ll then be able to get better clients through word of mouth and will rely less on job boards.
Resources to get started right away
The following resources are curated to help you develop a solid foundation. The learning never stops but after utilizing these resources you should have enough knowledge to build a portfolio website, showcase your projects, and take on clients.
- The Web Developer Bootcamp (34 hours): The only course you need to learn web development – HTML, CSS, JS, Node, and More! (Search Google for coupons!) Highly recommended for Front-End Web Development
- The Advanced Web Developer Bootcamp (34 hours): Learn React 16, Redux, D3, ES2015, Testing, CSS Flexbox, Animations, SVG, AJAX, and more! (Paid: Search Google for coupons!)
- The Complete Node.js Developer Course (34.5 hours): Learn Node.js by building real-world applications with Node, Express, MongoDB, Jest, and more! (Paid: Search Google for coupons!)
- freeCodeCamp (900 hours Frontend): Thousands of coding lessons to help you improve your skills.
Did you enjoy learning how to become a Web Developer?
It will take at least 6 months to get a grip on things. The most challenging aspect of Web Development is learning a programming language. A mentor will be instrumental in helping you to not get “stuck in a rut” and to stay motivated. I literally just scratched the surface with this blog post so be sure to supplement your learning with additional resources. Cheers to you on your journey to make more money and transition into a better career with more pay! Good luck!