How to Become a Web Developer

By BrainStation October 30, 2019
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We’ve taken a closer look at what Web Development is and how Web Developers are in high demand in cities like Vancouver, New York, and Chicago. But, if you want to pursue a career in development, where do you start? This guide will take you through how to begin a lucrative career in Web Development. 

Develop the Right Background 

To get started, it’s recommended that you have an understanding of HTML, CSS, and Flexbox. These fundamentals help you develop the framework and logic for communicating with programming languages.

Many Web Developers start out in IT or software engineering. However, it’s possible to come from a completely different industry such as finance and accounting. Our Digital Skills Survey showed that 55 percent of development respondents began their career in a different field and 58 percent have only been programming for five years or less. While experience in your previous career is helpful, a growing number of professionals are taking steps later in their careers to learn development from scratch. 

Get Formal Training 

There are many ways to train as a Web Developer. Traditionally, professionals start with formal higher education in software engineering, computer science, or related fields. But, it’s also popular to pursue self-directed learning. There are a plethora of online tutorials, YouTube channels, free code camps, free online courses, and more that can be tempting to try when looking for professional development. However, completion rates for these learn-at- your-own-pace courses tend to hover between 0.5 percent and 10 percent, which may indicate that more experienced learners are using these to pick up specialized skills in a specific area, rather than to build a new career.  

For those skeptical of self-learning, in-person training is the perfect alternative to accelerate your career in Web Development. In particular, a diploma from an accredited training school can accelerate your career by providing hands-on, intensive programs that prepare you for the workforce. We’ve written about how to prepare for a Web Development Diploma Program, but here’s what you should look for in a premium training program: 

Foundations: Your training program should help you develop a comprehensive understanding of how the web works to better solve complex problems. It will deepen your HTML and CSS knowledge to build and style more advanced static web pages, using frameworks such as Flexbox. You’ll establish problem-solving practices and logic for understanding advanced programming concepts.

Programming Fundamentals: Make sure it will improve your programming ability with JavaScript to write and build components. Foundational knowledge of JavaScript and object-oriented programming should be included so you can use a variety of frameworks to enhance your work.

Front-End Frameworks: Using React, a JavaScript framework, you should learn to build complex and dynamic web pages and professional-level user interfaces.

Web Servers: Work to build servers using a modern back-end framework and learn how to develop custom APIs and serve static websites and files.

Server-Side Programming: Your program should provide an understanding of Server Side Rendering and Templating Engines, which are used to create empty page templates populated with dynamic data, such as a series of product pages for an eCommerce store.

Databases: Understand core concepts and learn how to manage databases and data on a web server.

Develop a Portfolio

You’ve developed a relevant skill-set, so now you’re able to develop a portfolio to show employers! This is your chance to showcase work for a broad variety of clients. Regardless of your specific interests, it’s important to showcase your versatility to ensure clients from various industries get a sense of your abilities. Jay Eckert, Founder and Creative Director of Parachute Design recommends around 10 samples

The samples you’ve chosen should be accompanied by explanations of how the project came to life. Share how things were created, envisioned in a way that is clear to a non-developer. That way, potential employers from all backgrounds can get a sense of your process and motivations.

Read more tips on how to craft a standout portfolio.