What Is Web Development?

By BrainStation May 25, 2018
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Think of all the websites you interact with on a daily basis, from banking to booking a spot at hot yoga. Have you ever thought about what it would be like to help create Web applications, and not just use them?  

The majority of software developers now develop for online users, a trend that’s expected to continue as more and more companies seek cross-platform consistency for their customers. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labour, software development has one of the highest projected growth rates of any occupation — expected to rise by 30 percent between now and 2026.

Maybe it’s time you thought a little more about Web Development! The question is…

What is Web Development, Exactly?

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 (the programming of sites). The basic, from-scratch tools for programming for Web are programming languages called HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and JavaScript.

Because, like brick-and-mortar houses, websites can be so different from one another, there’s really a wide range of construction and maintenance work that occurs in Web Development.

Web Development can also involve working with content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress or Drupal. These are programs built to “manage,” or enable, the construction of what would otherwise have to be done “from scratch” by writing code.  

How Do I Become a Web Developer?

Essentially, you need to the learn the programming languages to build applications. It’s possible to work as a Web Developer without having any formal education in Web Development, but education and training is the most efficient and effective way to launch a career in Web Development. BrainStation is now accepting applications for both full-time or part-time Web Development programs, which are designed to provide hands-on experience and provide a portfolio of completed projects.  

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. Contributing to an open source commons such as GitHub or Bootstrap will keep you current.  

What Does a Web Developer Do?

Developers, who can work on-site at an office or remotely,  have several kinds of daily tasks, depending on the size of their team and what projects they are working on. These 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.”

Front-End Development involves the coding 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 behaviour. In Front-End Development, JavaScript, CSS, and HTML are 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. It’s one reason Web Developers enjoy what they do — no two days are quite the same!

A 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 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 it one of the fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs that does not require a Bachelor’s degree.

Sound good? Learn more about BrainStation’s Web Development courses to get in on the action.