You may have thought about learning a programming language or two and becoming a web developer. If you have, you probably have a few questions, such as:
- What is a web developer?
- What is web development?
- What do web developers do?
- How to be a web developer?
Table of Contents
- 1 What Does A Web Developer Do?
- 2 What Types Of Web Developer Are There?
- 3 How To Be A Web Developer
- 4 Web Design vs Web Development
- 5 Popular Languages For Web Development
- 6 So, What is a Web Developer?
What Does A Web Developer Do?To answer the question “What is a web developer?”, we must first look at what a web developer does and how they do it. Basically, a web developer or programmer is someone who takes a web design – which has been created by either a client or a design team – and turns it into a website. They do this by writing lines and lines of complicated code, using a variety of languages. Web developers have quite a difficult job, because they essentially have to take a language we understand, such as English, and translate it into a language that a computer understands, such as Python or HTML. As you can imagine, this can take a lot of time and effort, and requires an intricate understanding of various programming languages and how they are used. Different types of developers specialise in different areas, which means that large web projects are usually a collaboration between a number of different developers.
What Types Of Web Developer Are There?Unfortunately, the question “What does a web developer do?” doesn’t have one simple answer. As noted above, there are a number of different types of web developers, each of which focuses on a different aspect of the creation of a website. The three main types of developer are front-end, back-end, and full-stack. Front-end developers are responsible for the parts of a website that people see and interact with, back-end developers are responsible for the behind the scenes code that controls how a website loads and runs, and full-stack developers do a bit of everything. Below is a deeper explanation of the three main types of web developers and what they do:
- They make sure that all of the content that is needed for the website is clear, visible, and found in the right place. In some cases front-end developers may also have content writing skills, allowing them to create the content for the website as they go.
- They make sure that the right colors are in the right places, especially with respect to text colors, background colors, and headers. Some of the best front-end developers are also very good designers, allowing them to tweak things as they go.
- They make sure that all outbound links are correctly formatted, that all buttons work properly, and that the website is responsive and attractive. Mobile design is usually a big part of the job, while it is also important to make sure that a website will display correctly on all web browsers.
Full-Stack DeveloperIf you are looking for a quick, simple answer to the question “What is a web developer?”, then a full-stack developer is probably the closest thing that you’re going to get. Full-stack developers understand both front and back-end strategies and processes, which means that they are perfectly positioned to oversee the entire process. In the case of small websites which don’t have a huge development budget, a full-stack developer will often be employed to build the entire website. In this case, it is extremely important for them to have a complete, in-depth understanding of both front and back-end development and how they work. Learning full-stack development techniques has a huge range of benefits, including:
- You will end up with the knowledge to be able to create an entire website on your own. This makes you a lot more employable, increasing your job security in the future.
- As a full-stack developer you will understand the connections between the front and back-ends of a website, allowing you do build efficient and effective programs for all parts of the website.
- Full-stack developers are often employed to oversee large projects for big web development companies. Positions like this are likely to be paid more than standard web development positions, making them more attractive to developers.
How To Be A Web DeveloperNow that we have started to answer the question of “What is a web developer?”, it’s time to start looking at how to be a web developer. While a lot of people do their research, decide on programming languages to learn, and have a good go at learning web development, the majority of them fail due to a distinctive lack of direction. If you are serious about building a career for yourself as an experienced web developer, then you need to make sure that you start out with a clear vision of how you are going to achieve this. The following steps should help guide you:
- Start by deciding what sort of developer you want to become. Obviously, the languages and techniques that you learn will depend on whether you want to focus on front or back-end development to begin with.
- Choose a decent course. Next, you need to choose a course or a couple of courses that will teach you the basics of web development. BitDegree offers a number of introductory web development courses, including their Interactive Coding for Beginners course, which introduces CSS, HTML, and web development.
- Create a learning plan. Everyone needs a bit of motivation from time to time, otherwise we simply don’t do the things that we need to. As you start out on your journey towards becoming a web developer, it is important for you to start building a bit of a learning schedule. Set aside a certain amount of hours per week for your courses, and make sure that you set yourself realistic goals.
Web Design vs Web DevelopmentNow, we need to digress for a moment to address an important point that often comes up when people start talking about web development – the web design vs web development debate. Are they different? Are they the same thing? Really, the answer is no, web design and web development are not the same, but of course, it depends on how you define ‘design’ and ‘development’. For the purposes of our article, we have assumed that a designer and a developer are different, and that they have the following roles: Web Designer: The web designer is the person or group of people who are responsible for the creation of the website concept. They might decide that it needs to be a certain color, with certain content and pages. They may do things like creating infographics, logos, and videos, and they definitely tell the developer where these things have to be put on the web page. However, they don’t take part in the construction of the website or the underlying code. Web Developer: The web developer takes the designer’s concepts and creates the code that is used to turn them into a website and bring them to people like you and me. It is important to realise that, although the web developer and the designer may be the same person – there is almost always some overlap between design and front-end development – the roles are different. If you want to be a designer, you won’t necessarily have to learn any code at all. Likewise, a developer doesn’t need to have any graphic design skills at all. From this, it follows that ‘designing a website’ is definitely not part of the answer to ‘What is a web developer?’.
Popular Languages For Web DevelopmentNow, it is very important to realise that there are a range of different languages which are used for web development. As noted above, front and back-end developers will need to learn different languages, while full-stack developers will need a working knowledge of all the major web development languages. With this in mind, we have put together a list of some of the most common languages for web developers to learn, along with an explanation of what they are used for and how you can learn them.
HTMLHTML is an essential language if you want to become any sort of front-end web developer. To explain it fully, I need you to do something for me: Right click in your browser window, and select ‘view page source’. You should be taken to a new tab containing all of the information which goes into the creation of this webpage. What you are seeing is mainly HTML code. It tells the website what content to display and to some extent, how to display it. At the top of the page, on the first line, you will see the <!DOCTYPE html> command. This tells your web browser to expect HTML code. If you explore further, you will start to recognise things on the page. You will see some commands that you understand, such as ‘link’, ‘image’, or ‘video’. These are all content commands which tell your browser what to show, where to get the content from, and how to show it. HTML is a very easy language to learn, and it is usually the first one learnt by new programmers. If you are interested in exploring HTML and front-end web development further, consider enrolling in the HTML Coding for Beginners Course or the Comprehensive HTML5 Tutorial.
CSSCSS is the second of the essential front-end languages, and is also one which every front-end developer must be fluent in. CSS code is used in conjunction with HTML. While HTML tells the webpage what content to display, CSS tells the webpage how to display the content – it’s a ‘styling’ language. Once you have learnt CSS, you will be able to do a wide range of things, including:
- Changing colors. CSS allows you to change the color of pretty much everything from your paragraph text to your background to your table borders.
- Changing fonts. CSS also lets you choose the fonts that you are going to use on your website and where you are going to use them.
- Positioning elements. HTML lets you add images and videos to your webpage, but CSS lets you tell the browser how big to make them and where to display them.
- Changing text size. Are you building a website designed for people with poor eyesight? If so, you will need to use your knowledge of CSS coding to make your text larger.