Debating using some of your untapped potential? CreateApe will show you the ropes on how to get started as a website developer.
Thinking about how to become a web developer? Great!
Whether it’s putting a few new skills under your belt or preparing for an upcoming career shift, we got you covered. And we don’t blame you, it’s a pretty nifty gig to have in an always-growing tech market. Just imagine, with a few years of experience as a full-stack developer you could potentially earn six figures in a consistently growing tech field.
The skills you need to learn how to become a website developer might not come overnight, but we're here to help you get the ball rolling in the meantime.
Types of Web Developers
Before we get into the specific tools to help you, what kind of web developer do you want to be? There’s three main types.
- Front-End Developers
- Back-End Developers
- Full Stack Developers
For more information on how to write your first script, W3 Schools is a great resource to help hit the ground running.
You guessed it, these devs stick to the back-end of a website. They generally focus on ensuring that everything works behind-the-scenes, so the general audience doesn’t get to see the magic behind managing data and optimizing the back-end of a website, notably through a format called a frame that all of your data sits in.
Since you’ll be focused more on structure, you’ll work with more specialized languages like PHP, Java, and Python to get into the thick of things.
In a nutshell, on the front-end you’ll build how a page looks whereas on the back-end you’re more focused on how it feels. Think of the difference between a house painter and a bricklayer. Both are equally important in the grand scheme of things. However, there’s one more path that will make you considerably more desirable in web development.
After you become a bit more experienced with either front- or back-end development, you may start to pick up habits from the other side. For example, if you’re a back-end developer with a good idea of how CSS works, then you’re well on your way to becoming a full-stack developer. It boils down to knowing every aspect of web development and seeing the big picture.
Not to mention learning both types of web development does more than just double your opportunities, you’ll be in high demand once you get a good balance between developing a website that both looks and feels good to use. According to indeed, the average full-stack developer makes roughly $100,795 as of June 23, 2022.
What Do I Need?
At the bare minimum, all you need is a decent internet connection, a good computer, and eagerness to learn. After you hone your baseline knowledge, then you’ll need to have a solid portfolio to start your career. But we’ll talk about that a little later.
Web development is not a physically demanding job and the majority of your time is spent writing code, however, you might need to emulate your code on a separate instance of your operating system called a virtual machine in order to see it in action. Doing so might put some strain on your computer.
Like with any trade, there’s tricks to go with it. If you have these traits on top of your hard and soft skills, you’ll be one step ahead of the curve.
If you have a knack for understanding everything around you, web development might be right up your alley. Each step is another rung on the ladder that gets drastically easier the more you understand about the process.
Eye For Detail
Having an eagle eye for mistakes is vital in the detail-heavy world of web development. The difference between a two-hour task and a three-day troubleshoot can often be a missing bracket or an unexpected typo.
Not everything is perfect on the first try, web devs are no exception to the rule. Being able to flow with anything thrown at you is a quick way to being successful. As you move up, you’ll absolutely experience someone else’s code. Existing working code can range from benign to volatile depending on how much is changed. It’s entirely up to you to work with it or against it.
The ability to think outside the box to problem solve is invaluable when it comes to code. Think of the last time you lost your keys: did you retrace your steps or look in the fridge for the off chance that you put them there? If it’s the latter, then you might be more prone to catching errors that fly completely under the radar.
Web development isn’t a smooth process most of the time when starting out. It’s just a part of the process, though the setbacks may vary drastically depending on your project. The best thing to be able to do is to keep moving forward to get the job done. Remember: take it easy, but take it nonetheless.
Keeping an open mind will help you in more ways than one when it comes to designing a website. That being said, most of the tools we’ll get into later in this article are about using open-source code to help you on any project you might have. Getting an eye for someone else’s code is always helpful, since their answers can also be yours too.
There are a few differences between the three.
HTML is a markup language, meaning it’s the basis of your website. It’s written using tags that are <open> or </closed> to keep it all organized in order to form anything from simple web pages to a complex series of interlinked code to make an application.
CSS is a little different from HTML. Mainly, you’re able to format text with CSS by controlling the format, layout, and presentation of your website to create styles. From site navigation to aesthetics, CSS is behind it all.
On top of that, there’s a few tools on the web that will help you:
GitHub will likely be your best friend when learning how to become a web developer. Imagine you’re working on a new feature to display and it goes under or doesn’t work. GitHub is your go-to for reverting to a previous state that’s housed in a repository, or a special storage space where your projects are stored. GitHub is like CTRL + Z for coding, but more dynamic.
Sublime is the shortcut of shortcuts without cutting corners. When you’re sitting down coding all day, every second begins to add up. Sublime reduces the wasted in-between time from editing by serving as a massive array of shortcuts. With practice, Sublime allows you to simultaneously edit between projects and quickly navigate files.
If you want to hone your skills from the comfort of your desk, our website developers recommend starting with an Udemy bootcamp.
Much like the front-end, back-end devs have their own set of tools to get the job done. It’s a bit more complex than the front-end with languages, frameworks, databases, and web servers.
PHP is a versatile cross-platform language used primarily to make web servers. One great thing about it is that it’s completely open source, meaning all the existing code is free game to anyone who wants to build with it, making it one of the more popular languages to learn for beginners.
Java is another platform-independent language typically used to create applications. It’s naturally object-based, meaning your software is designed around templated objects rather than functions, so your code looks a bit robust. But once the front work is done, it's relatively smooth sailing.
Python is an all-around language typically used to design web applications or sort data through automation. The language is so useful it’s occasionally used to record and automate scientific data.
To get started using these languages, there are a few framework tools you should be familiar with. For starters, a framework is a software structure. It serves as the base of everything around it, much like the foundation for a house.
Django is primarily used for Python as an open-source network. It’s built with speed in mind, allowing the perfectionist to get the job done in a timely manner. Imagine you’re building a house but the frame is already done when using Django.
Laravel is a bit different from Django, as it’s a model-view-controller design. You’ll be piecing together existing components of various frameworks to get the job done. You won’t be writing code from scratch, leaving less room for error.
MySQL is another open-source program that’s typically used for application development. Reliable and fast, MySQL works across multiple platforms while being compatible with most of the commonly used languages to structure data for anything you’ll need. From a shopping list to a cross-organizational data stronghold, MySQL is your tool.
How To Become a Website Developer
Moving forward, make sure you create some small projects as you move up the ladder to build a portfolio and show off your potential.
Your portfolio should really show what you’re made of when it comes to coding in order to land you a great starter job. However, front-end and back-end portfolios might look drastically different.
When making a portfolio, you’ll primarily focus on the aesthetics and usability of your example. For reference, here’s 20 great examples of front-end portfolio design.
Each example creates a homepage in their own style that leads to any additional information like any awards, known languages, links to projects they’ve done, or biographies.
Remember, your code should always prioritize functionality over aesthetics. Employers might look at the following to see if your code does the job:
- Mobile Friendliness
Does the site load on a mobile device easily? For example, does your site require you to scroll horizontally when viewed on a mobile device?
- Semantic HTML
How adaptable is your site? The effective use of semantic HTML will better define the different sections of your website and allow it to be displayed evenly across multiple different display screens.
- Resource Usability
Is your site resource-demanding? To ensure quick load times and low resource usage, ensure your code is correctly formatted and structured.
- Excessive Visual Clutter/Unoptimized Code
How does your site appear visually? It’s not a priority, but it is a plus. However, less might be more if you’re using excessive visuals to get the point across.
How well-optimized is your code? Is there any unnecessary code? Check for any potential errors and document your process.
Compared to the aesthetics of a front-end portfolio, on the back-end you’ll be purely focusing on the functionality of your code and challenging existing processes.
If you aren’t on there already, create a GitHub account and deck out your profile with everything you know about languages, processes, and overall skills. For example, list a problem you had to solve, your solution, and the results of said solution.
To get your name out there, try writing blogs about technical subjects like SQL or coding languages to prove your knowledge on website development to get you noticed.
Web Developer Jobs
Now that you have your portfolio set up, you shouldn’t have to worry about a lack of web developer job openings for a knowledgeable beginner.
Generally an entry level web developer salary, according to Indeed as of June 27, 2022, ranges around $56,917. All web developer jobs are different, however each job provides valuable experience to furthering your career.
Keep in mind, front-end and back-end web developer jobs are generally approached from different angles. For example, a front-end business pitch would sound something like “are you happy with the way your site looks?”. The back-end equivalent would be “are you happy with your current process?”. Both questions aim to solve different problems on the same site.
Branch out and use the experience you gain to help you understand the full scope of web development and eventually become a full-stack developer.
The Next Steps
Always keep learning. Moving forward is the best way to learn and gain the experience you might need to be a successful website developer.
When you feel like your skills are ready, a door might be open here at CreateApe since we’re always on the lookout for developers. While learning website development takes a long while, with dedication and Google you’ll make it far.
In the meantime, if you need a few extra hands while building a website, why not work with our experienced web development team? We’re a full-stack agency more than ready to hit the ground running. Check out our web development services to see how CreateApe can help out.
Give us a call or Email us at https://createape.com/contact/ to get started.