What Is Web Development?

By BrainStation April 2, 2019
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Think of how many websites you interact with on a daily basis? From banking to booking a spot at hot yoga, our lives are now online. Unsurprisingly, the majority of software developers now develop for online users, a trend that’s expected to continue as more companies seek cross-platform consistency for their customers. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labour, software development is expected to rise by 30 percent between now and 2026, making it one of the highest projected growth rates of any occupation.

The question is:

What is Web Development?

Web development is the creation of websites and web applications that are used online and run in a web browser. Strictly speaking, the term “application” refers to a coded (software) program that runs from an operating system, such as a desktop computer or mobile device. However, websites have become so responsive and interactive that there is now little difference from a user perspective between, say, ordering a pizza online and ordering a pizza with a downloaded app.   

Web development is closely related to the job of designing the features and functionality of apps (web design). The term development is usually reserved for the actual construction of these things (that is to say, the programming of sites). The basic tools involved are programming languages called HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and JavaScript. There are, however, a number of other programs used to “manage” or facilitate the construction of sites that would otherwise have to be done “from scratch” by writing code. A number of content management systems (CMS) fall into this category, including WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal, TYPO3, and Adobe Experience Manager, among others.

How Do I Become a Web Developer?

While it’s possible to find work as a Web Developer without having completed any formal education, a command of relevant programming languages is required. In fact, professionals in this field must be committed to ongoing learning to stay on top of changes and updates to languages, tools, and trends. Unsurprisingly, Stack Overflow’s 2018 survey of Web Developers found a direct correlation between technical competency and salary, with the increasing demand for Developers only increasing the importance of skills development. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the job market for web developers is expected to grow another 15 percent by 2026.

To help meet demand, BrainStation, offers diploma programs and certificate courses in Web Development, both online and at our campuses. These courses were designed to be collaborative, replicating the kind of working and learning experience Developers would experience in the field.

It’s worth pointing out that an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Business, or a related field often provides useful professional skills as well, simply as a context for understanding the technological or client services landscape. As in other high-tech fields, it’s important for Web Developers to network and to keep learning, since new programming dialects and techniques are always coming into play. Apart from certificate courses, panel discussions, and workshops, you can also stay current by contributing to an open-source commons such as GitHub or Bootstrap.  

What Does a Web Developer Do?

Daily tasks for Developers can vary widely, depending on a number of different factors. Typically, though, these can include: 

  • Translating wireframe designs into working code
  • Creating the architecture and content of a site
  • Building in functionality and responsivity
  • Making a site go live
  • Updating and renovating sites
  • Troubleshooting, fixing bugs, and glitches

Developers typically specialize in either “front end” (“client-side”) development or “back end” (“server-side”) development. Some versatile people do both, and they’re called “full-stack developers.” We once took a closer look at what it means to be a Full-Stack Developer and why some people consider that versatility to be a myth. 

Front-end development involves the programming of what will be visible to the user. Front-end developers are typically more skilled and interested in the visual and design elements of websites and can anticipate and fully appreciate user needs and behavior. In front-end development, languages like JavaScript, CSS, and HTML are typically used.

Back-end development concerns the behind-the-scenes systems and structures that are not visible for users but which allow the application to perform what’s needed. Specialists in back-end development tend to be skilled at problem-solving and logic and work with a variety of programming languages such as Python, Ruby, and SQL.

What are the Roles of a Web Developer?

Given the diversity of clients and their web-based products, as well as the range of specializations in front-end and back-end development, a Web Developer can play many roles. This, in fact, is a selling point for the profession — no two days are quite the same!

The main role, of course, is to create and maintain website architecture — including features, layout, and interactivity. This the hunker-down-with-your-headphones-on portion of the day.

Collaboration is also a part of a Web Developer’s routine. Web Developers participate in team meetings with content creators, graphic designers, UI specialists, marketing analysts, client services managers, and others. They spend time working with each other to troubleshoot, review and fix code that’s not quite right. Senior Developers spend time mentoring Junior Developers and managing team projects and scheduling.

So, depending on the size of the company, you may be doing a specialized role or a wider variety of tasks. Or if you’re freelancing as a Web Developer, you may be the one taking client projects from start to finish.

What is the Average Salary of a Web Developer?

Web Developers have a median annual income somewhere between $78,000 (Indeed) and $88,000 (Glassdoor), making web development one of the fastest-growing (and highest-paying) jobs that does not require a Bachelor’s degree.

 

Ready to get started? BrainStation offers Diploma programs and Certificate courses in web development.