What is a Web Developer?

Thomas Taraniuk

Thomas Taraniuk

6 min read
What is a web developer?

The internet is pretty much everywhere these days, and we rely on websites and web applications to help our personal and professional lives run smoothly. Therefore it’s no surprise that the demand is sky high for qualified web developers to build these websites and applications.

The job of a web developer is to build, update and manage websites and web applications. Given that this is no small task, a web developer usually works as part of a bigger team of managers, designers, and other programmers to ensure that a site runs exactly as intended. A web developer might not always make big decisions, but they are responsible for making sure that everything runs smoothly and looks good.

A web developer codes and debugs a website and its applications, but in some cases they might also be designing elements of the site, editing or even writing. As a result a qualified web developer can look to enjoy a pretty decent salary wherever they want to work in the world. The question is, how do you get there?

Types of web developer:

Web development tends to be broken down into three different roles:

Front End Developer: responsible for creating the parts of a website that a user would see –the things that make a website visually appealing – for example the buttons, the images, the dropdown menus and colours. A front end developer would use HTML, CSS and JavaScript coding languages to do their job.

Back End Developer: a Back End Developer builds and maintains the technology and processes which enable the front end applications and processes to run smoothly. Without the back end structures – usually written in - Back End Python, Ruby, Java, and PHP – a website simply wouldn’t exist in the first place.

Full Stack Developer: the full Monty! A Full Stack Developer has the skills and knowledge to be able to work as both a Front End and Back End Developer – and thus can build and maintain all the parts of an application or website.

Job prospects for a web developer:

Web developers can look to command a pretty decent salary once they’ve got some experience. Entry level web developers can expect to earn about £35,000, rising to around £50,000 for a mid-level developer, which rises to around £75,000 for a lead developer. The average salary for a web developer is around £53,000 according to CW Jobs.

These figures are obviously very dependent on location and company – and whilst a bigger company may offer a larger salary initially, there can be scope for faster progression to a senior position within a smaller company. It’s also worth bearing in mind that some tech companies offer stock options and other perks, so make sure to check these out when considering where you’d like to work.

The world of web development is also changing at a rapid rate, and specialising in highly-sought after web development skills can lead to higher salary expectations.

Whilst many web developers work for a specific company, there is considerable opportunity to work as a freelancer – particularly once you’ve got some experience – and as a freelancer you get to work on many different projects for concentrated periods of time and can command a much higher day rate.

There is currently a skills shortage for web development, so opportunities are good for those with the right skillset. Jobs are generally offered in more metropolitan areas, but web development is a perfectly suited for remote working – all you need is a good quality computer and internet connection.

Web developer skills:

To be a successful web developer you need excellent technical coding skills as well as knowing how to use these within the conventions of the internet and rules of web applications. Alongside these technical abilities, you’ll also need a good soft skillset.

Here are some of the most important technical skills to master:

Languages: HTML, CSS and JavaScripta) HTML is the foundation language that determines the basic elements about how a webpage is structured.b) CSS determines the way a webpage looks – from layout, fonts to colour. If you imagine that HTML is the foundations of a house being built, then CSS determines the style of the house – for example a Victorian townhouse or a thatched cottage built atop those foundations.c) JavaScript is a programming language that determines the dynamic and interactive parts of a website or application.

Libraries and frameworks: Bootstrap and jQueryOnce you’ve masters the three languages listed above (there are more, but we’ve listed the three most common there), you’ll want to start to utilise the many existing libraries, frameworks and templates to speed your use of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. The most popular are Bootstrap and jQuery. Bootstrap enables the quick creation of responsive and mobile-friendly websites whereas jQuery is a library for JavaScript specifically – reducing common JavaScript tasks into fewer lines of code.

Version control: Git and GitHubGit ****is a sophisticated version control system. It tracks and logs all changes made as a website or application is built, maintained or developed. GitHub is a cloud version of Git, along with some additional functionality (for example bug-spotting or task tracking) that enables several programmers to work together on a website or application.

Essential soft skills:

Teamwork and good communication: whether you end up working for a company or freelancing you’ll be working with others and it is critical you can work well in a team environment, clearly communicating and listening to others.

Problem solving: you’ll need to think creatively and critically to solve problems – as a web developer, this will be the backbone of your job.

Self-motivation and time management: although you are likely to be working as part of a team, you’ll also need a good amount of self-motivation as you’ll spend a considerable chunk of time working alone. You’ll also likely be responsible for allocating your time out to reach project milestones.

Knoma would love to help! Explore web development courses here.

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