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How to Become a Successful Web Developer in 2020

Technology plays a huge role in everyday life and careers in tech have steadily risen year over year. Web development careers are no exception when it comes to job growth. Employment of web developers is projected to grow by 8 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. 

Demand will be driven by the growing popularity of mobile devices and e-commerce. Every piece of software and website that exists has been built by a web developer but what is web development and what exactly does a web developer do?

From the outside looking in, it can seem like a daunting, confusing, and complicated field to break into. In this article, we will cover what web development is and what it takes to become a successful web developer in 2020 and beyond.

What is Web Development?

Web development is the work involved in developing a website for the Internet or an intranet (a private network). Web development can range from developing a simple single static page of plain text to complex Web-based Internet applications (Web apps), electronic businesses, and social network services.

All the tools we use on a daily basis have been built by web developers; from simple, static web pages to social media platforms, e-commerce sites, and content management systems. When you break web development down, there are three layers that make up the foundation; client-side coding (front end), server-side coding (back end), and database technology.

Client-side scripting or more often referred to as front end development refers to everything the end-user experiences. Front end code executes in your web browser and relates to everything that is seen on the web page such as the layout, design, graphics, and fonts as well as contact forms.

Server-side coding or back end development refers to everything happening behind the scenes, that the user never sees. The back end stores and organizes data so that the front end operates efficiently. Whenever something happens on the front end, it communicates with the back end such as a user filling out a contact form.

Websites also depend on database technology. All of the files and content required for a website to function are contained in a database. This makes it simple to organize, edit, save, and retrieve that information.

What is the Role of a Web Developer?

A web developer is primarily responsible for building and maintaining websites. Once you’ve made the decision to jump into this exciting and growing field, you will need to decide which type of web developer you want to be. As discussed above, you can choose to become a front end developer, a back end developer or go the route of a full stack developer. Full stack developers have the skills necessary to build and maintain all the aspects of an application or website.

Front end developers use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create the “client-side” aspects of a website. These features include things like search bars, buttons, and other elements that users interact with.

Back end developers are the “server-side” engineers who create the logic behind front end applications and processes. Using programming languages like Python, Ruby, Java, and PHP, back end developers code and maintain the structures that allow front end processes to function.

Generally speaking, web developers create, modify, and manage websites and web applications. As a web developer, your role is programming a website and designing its user interface. Web developers also keep sites up-to-date with updates and content. Unless they are running their own business, web developers collaborate with management and other programmers regularly to ensure their website functions efficiently. Per the client or website owners’ discretion, web developers are responsible for making sure their site looks and operates how it’s intended.

How to Get Started as a Web Developer

Nowadays there is a myriad of ways to learn web development. Traditional schooling is not always necessary. Web developers can expect a good outlook when it comes to jobs as experts predict substantial job growth in the industry. 

Some web developers choose the route of college or university, usually for computer science or a similar field. Others are self-taught and lack any formal education because there’s a new way to learn web development.

Instead of college or self-taught lessons, coding bootcamps are now an amazing alternative. Coding bootcamps are intensive training programs that last anywhere from 12-24 weeks and are designed to prepare you for a career in the tech industry.

Make no mistake, these bootcamps require hard work and for you to be motivated so be prepared for a fast-paced learning style. According to Derek Distenfield of GSD Venture Studios, the pay off is substantial. Derek is the operational mastermind of GSD and works closely with emerging tech companies and entrepreneurs across the globe. GSD Venture Studios establishes partnerships with top tech talent internationally to help them expand into the US market driving explosive growth. You’ll also want to make sure you create a portfolio from day one, to showcase your skills and work. 

Web Development Skills for Success

No matter the route you choose, be prepared to learn the following technical skills which are vital to your success in becoming a web developer: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

These three technologies are the backbone of all web development and are crucial for your success. Depending on where you work, you will be required to obtain knowledge of specific programming languages, however some of the more common coding languages and frameworks for web development include Python, PHP, Java, and Ruby on Rails.

Whether you acquire a job within an organization or start your own company, there is a variety of soft skills you will also need to have. According to Derek, these skills are collaboration and teamwork, problem solving, and self-motivation. This is what will set you apart from your peers in the rapidly growing field of technology and the field of web development.

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