While lots of websites are built using content management systems, most are developed using the specialist skills and talents of web developers.
They see a beautifully functioning website with smooth animations and slick user experience when the rest of us see code. Lines of commands and references that hurt the mind as much as the eyes.
These digital wizards allow businesses to do far more with their website, intranet or web app than a white label solution. And it’s for this reason they are in such high demand.
In today’s IT-driven economy, the demand for web applications is exceptionally high. So much so that you would be forgiven for thinking that web developers are all graduates.
The reality is there’s more than one way to become a web developer, and not all of them require a degree.
This is good news for businesses as the demand for technology is showing no signs of slowing down. Its rapid evolution also has the benefit of creating new and exciting career opportunities within web development. Consider the current need for responsive design on mobile devices, the growth of social media, our use of online shopping and cloud-based services.
Those looking to get into this industry will have an exciting future at the forefront of digital development.
Working as a Web Developer
Web developers build websites and applications for the internet. This could be anything from e-commerce websites, to apps. They are concerned with both the design aspect and the coding and programming used to power its functionality.
Generally, they will be tasked with building products in line with the client needs. However, these must also provide a positive customer or end-user experience. They accomplish this by working together with stakeholders, clients and designers. In doing so, developers will understand the vision and figure out how best to make it a reality.
Web developers are keen problem solvers, often identifying and fixing errors to maintain a smooth running system. They constantly work to optimise and improve site infrastructure, learning new technologies to aid this as they arise. The programming languages and platforms they use will differ depending on their specific job title and area of expertise.
Typically web developers will fall into three categories: front end developers, back end developers or full stack developers.
Front End Developers
Focus on everything that the end-user experiences directly. This involves everything seen on a website such as page layouts, text and images, colours and buttons etc. They make sure these appear as intended across mobile devices, desktops or apps.
Back End Developers
They use scripting languages like PHP, Ruby and Python to create algorithms and business logic. This manipulates data received in front end development, connects the product to the web and databases which store the data.
A full stack developer has the skills and know-how to develop both client and server software. Therefore they can speak both front and back end programming languages.
Do I Need A Degree To Be A Web Developer?
No matter the type of developer you aspire to be, it is evident there is a lot you will need to learn. In terms of whether a degree is essential to become a web developer, the short answer is no.
There is no specific pathway to becoming a web developer. While a degree in computer science or similar used to be required, more commonly employers place higher regard on experience. There are many ways to gain this experience both on and offline. As such, the route into this career can now take many forms.
Choose a specialism
Building a website is a complex process. Every element is linked and intertwined, effecting the others connected to it. Web developers depending on their category will become proficient with particular programs. You could focus on an area of web development that you find interesting and set a path for further education and training. Such as user experience or mobile application development. Once you find your niche, you can explore the related elements that can make it more of a success.
Work on your skills
You can practice these skills online through platforms like Github and CodePen.
Evidence your ability
The best way to prove you have the skills is by showing them examples of your work. Build a portfolio that shows off your current successful site and application builds. In your portfolio, you can try out new technologies and tools, showing employers exciting new ways you could improve elements of their business. It will also demonstrate your coding talent and technical capabilities.
Get an education
While it is possible to become a web developer without a formal education, taking a course is still a wise option. Studying a reputable course often provides a better-structured, smoother learning process than trying to figure it out on your own.
For instance, you can learn the coding languages by yourself, but there is more to web development than coding. Through studying courses tailored to the profession, you learn to implement coding skills within a broader context. You are taught the web development principles and practices while being exposed to other vital aspects of the role. Like project management and situations that require problem-solving and critical thinking.
Certifications and qualifications offer useful professional content which enhances your knowledge. Depending on the level studied they can provide expert status in a particular area of development or with a specific product.
What’s more, there are a number of these courses and qualifications available for study online. Giving you a flexible alternative to traditional study which requires your commitment to a fixed timetable of classes.
Instead, you can study from home, around your current work and family commitments. Making your upskilling or requalifying journey much more achievable than perhaps it would otherwise be.
learndirect is a leading UK distance learning provider with many IT-related courses on offer. If you are considering a career in web development, you should check out our Certificate in Web Design and Development (RQF) Level 3. Or our Full Stack Developer: Professional Diploma in Software Development and learn everything you need to know to hit the ground running.
Click through to our full stack course below, or view our Certificate in Web Design and Development here.