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How do I become a Web Developer?

How do I Become a Web Develop?

Over the last 20 years, web development has grown from being a crucial part of only the largest corporations and particularly geeky subcultures, to something that a whole new generation of creative and scientific workers is expected to some degree, to understand. In 2014 there were over 1 billion websites online, and while many of these sites are flotsam of previous projects and years, there are hundreds of millions of active sites today. For each, you’ve better bet there’s a developer (or a budding one). And for the hundreds of thousands of new sites that are created yearly, they have developers too. While demand for web developers has never been higher, the barrier to entry has never been lower. And vibrant ecosystems of open source platforms, advice forums, and opportunities for self education have expanded what even a single developer can output to astounding degrees. You’ve better bet it’s a good time to be a web developer.

Salary Expectations of Web Developers:
The salary of web developers in the United States varies greatly, and depends on the quality of a web developer’s work, the nature of their employment, and the extent to which their particular skillset is in demand. That said, the average salary for web developers in the US is quite good — particularly for a field that does not necessarily require higher education — coming in at $57,758. From current job openings on Payscale, the lowest current listing on the site records a salary of $37,699, while the highest current recorded salary $85,017. Further complicating the picture, however, is that the term web developer can be used colloquially to encompass a wide variety of skill sets and job types. The more in vogue and descriptive terminologies of front end, back end, and full stack developer all yield substantially higher average salaries:

  • Average Front End Developer Salary: $67,591
  • Average Back End Developer Salary: $71,598
  • Average Full Stack Developer Salary: $73,837

Job Description Web Developer:
The term web developer is generally associated with the skillset of Front End Developers, who are tasked with developing and maintaining the front end (or client side) of websites and applications. In layman’s terms, a web developer is generally responsible for implementing the visual and interactive elements on a site, rather than the server-side application logic. Common responsibilities of web/front end developers include developing new user-facing features, building new and reusable code libraries for the future, building sites with an eye towards maintainability, speed, and scalability, collaborating with all stakeholders and team members, and often times interfacing with clients to ensure pages are performant and have the overall look desired by site owners.

Common hard skills of web developers

  • Knowledge of HTML, CSS, and Javascript
  • Knowledge of server side CSS preprocessors like SASS or LESS
  • Knowledge of design principles
  • Knowledge of — at least jQuery, but more likely an entire javascript application framework
  • Oftentimes some knowledge of a scripting language
  • Knowledge of common CMS such as Wordpress, Drupal, or Joomla

What Education do I need to Become a Web Developer:
Web development is, like many web-technology based fields, often more about results than your academic pedigree. Many web developers are self taught, or learn through bootcamps, books, and online resources. For many web development positions, there is often a noted lack of practical know how even from recent computer science graduates with the more common technologies online. For that reason, many web developers find themselves in positions largely by building their own portfolios or even working on side projects. That said, a bachelors degree in computer science, information technology, or information systems will likely inform future web developers of many of the underlying concepts and principles that can elevate their code to new levels, be that through quality design patterns, or the ability to talk about potential online creations in a more nuanced way to other team members. Being properly qualified for a given position often requires web developers to have experience in a given “stack” or grouping of frameworks, languages, and technologies that a given employer works with. Some of the more popular front end developer stacks are as follows:

  • LAMP: Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP
  • MEAN: MongoDB/Express.js/AngularJS/Node.js
  • Ruby Stack: Ruby/Ruby on Rails/RVM (Ruby Virtual Machine)/MySQL/Apache/PHP
  • Django Stack: Python/Django/Apache/MySQL
  • Bitnami DevPack: PHP/Django/Ruby on Rails/Java/MySQL, PostgreSQL/Apache Tomcat

Web Developer Resources
Check out our ranking of the best online information technology bachelors degree programs.
Check out our ranking of the best online computer science bachelors degree programs.
Check out our ranking of the best online for free with these 20 MOOCs.

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