How to Become a Web Developer
Nov 17, 2020
a woman codes on a computer

Web development puts the magic into the sites and platforms we use every day, and it’s swiftly become one of the most sought after careers in tech. It’s also surprisingly accessible. Whether you’re considering making the leap to a new career or trying to decide whether an accelerated program like Lambda School is the right college alternative for you, here’s what you should know about how to become a web developer and some resources to start learning on your own.

What does a web developer do?

Web developers are like surgeons for websites. They work closely on the face of a website as well as the muscles and organs working beneath the skin to make it functional: these are its codes, scripting, files, and programming. It’s a web developer’s job to build and maintain a site, social media platform, app, or content management system using coding languages like HTML, CSS and JavaScript to make its visuals and moving parts work together. Your ability to navigate this website is all thanks to a web developer.

There are three specialized branches of web development that bring a site to life:

1. Back-end development. Back-end developers work with servers and build and maintain the tech that keeps a website functional.
2. Front-end development. Front-end developers are responsible for the behaviors and visuals that users like you and I interact with.
3. Full-stack development. Full-stack developers bake the whole pie. These are the specialists building and maintaining both the front and back ends of a site.

A day in the life of a web developer may include communicating with clients, creating web layouts for a site, building the codes that will make that site operational, and creating visual content for the front-end. It also includes making updates, troubleshooting, and performing basic site maintenance.  

Making the choice to learn web development can open the door to a variety of career paths, including computer programming, software development, and database administration.

Why become a web developer

Web development is a smart career to pursue for a variety of reasons:

It offers job security. The world of tech evolves rapidly, and while that may be a struggle for your great aunt who still can’t figure out how posting on Facebook works, the great news is there’s a constant need for web developers, and the industry is only growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that web development is expected to grow by at least 8% in the next decade, much faster than the national average growth for all occupations.

It’s lucrative. Web development jobs are some of the best paying in tech. According to a 2019 stat from the BLS, the average salary of a web developer in the U.S. is $73,760 per year. That’s a lot of Benjamins.

It’s flexible. Web developers have a lot more freedom than individuals in other careers. They can work in-house for clients or they can freelance. That freedom makes web development a great career choice for working parents, people who are on the move, or homebound adults in need of income.

It’s fun.
Web development is definitely not for everyone, but if you’re a whiz at computers, love puzzle-solving, and enjoy the rush of watching something you’ve built come to life, it’s right up your alley.

How to become a web developer

Web development is an exciting and challenging field that requires intricate skills that take time and patience to master. It can feel intimidating to start, but the good news is that anyone with drive and grit can learn the skills necessary for web development in only a few months—compare that to the years it takes to master jobs in other fields.

If you’re going to become a web developer, there are a few basic steps to start with.

Learn about the essential web development languages.

There are three essential web development languages you need to be familiar with in order to begin building a website: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Each of these languages plays a distinct and essential role to make a website not only functional but engaging. HTML forms a site’s skeleton, CSS gives it its skin (style and colors), and JavaScript gives it movement, interactive features like those of online games or moving images.

You can find free tutorials to learn about these languages on sites like Codeacademy or MDN web docs. For something more structured that gives you an in-depth study of the essential web dev languages, you can also take online coding classes.

Start practicing on a project.

Once you know the basic languages, it’s time to get your hands dirty and practice. There’s a wide assortment of website builders and text editors you can access online that give you space to practice code writing and site building. Start with a simple project. Maybe you want to make a digital resume with links to your social media, or create a travel guide of your favorite restaurants in town with photos and links. Practice HTML and tinker around with CSS and JavaScript. Start with one project then practice with others to really hone your skills and build up your portfolio so you have something to show future employers.

Join a community or web development course to beef up your network. 

As you’re building your projects and trying new things, don’t be afraid to ask questions. The web development community is a supportive one with a lifetime of knowledge and resources to help you improve. Stack Overflow, Coderwall, and the Bootstrap Slack community are a few you can join to get answers to your questions.

You can make your skills more marketable and take your coding education further by signing up for a coding course. Online coding programs can take you beyond the basics of HTML and CSS and teach you high-level coding languages like Python or new JavaScript libraries that can broaden your skill set and send you well on your way to a successful web dev career.

Courses to become a web developer

At Lambda, we offer immersive full-time and part-time online web development programs that give you all the skills and the smarts you need to find work in the field the moment your courses come to an end.

Full Stack Web Dev

In our Full Stack Web Development program, we take you in-depth to help you become well-versed in JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Node, React, Python, Redux, and SQL. The full-time and part-time curriculums are designed to teach you the precise skillsets hiring managers look for in web developers. You’ll learn web development languages from industry experts, develop web servers, learn and apply fundamental computer science concepts, and have the opportunity to build real products that you can showcase in your portfolio. You’ll also undergo intensive professional development on day one. When you’re ready to hunt for your dream job, you’ll have a career coach and job search trainer available to help you source opportunities, prep for interviews, and negotiate a killer starting salary.

Students in our full-time program attend class from 8 am to 5 pm PT Monday through Friday. Students in our part-time program attend class Monday through Thursday afternoons in addition to one weekend afternoon.

If you can’t afford tuition right now, don’t fear. We offer deferred tuition options like Income Share Agreements and Retail Installment Contracts that require no tuition until you’re making $50,000 a year in a qualified position! If you don’t get hired, you don’t have to pay.

To learn more about Full Stack Web Dev at Lambda School and take your skills up a notch, check out the Lambda Admissions page or apply today.

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