You may be interested in becoming a Web Developer without really knowing how to get started. It’s understandable to be overwhelmed by all the information out there. Understanding the steps to becoming a Web Developer can help clarify the process for you and get you started on the journey to the career of your dreams.

What is a Web Developer?

A Web Developer builds websites and web applications for companies or clients who hire them to create a product that serves a specific purpose. They are responsible for meeting the project objectives while providing a positive experience for the end user. Web Developers write and test the product’s code and are often responsible for maintaining performance and capacity. 

Various specializations fall under the Web Development umbrella. A front end developer focuses on the visual elements of a website or application—that is, the interface that the end user sees and interacts with. A back end developer designs and creates the site’s behind-the-scenes structure and functionality. However, the type of web developer most desirable to employers is a full stack developer with front-end and back-end development skills.

Web developers may work solo or as part of a team, often depending on whether they are freelance or work full-time for a particular company. Almost any business in any industry needs a web developer, but whether they have a web development team or hire a freelance developer will depend on their circumstances. Businesses need web developers because having an online presence increases their client base. Many businesses also need web developers because they want to connect with potential customers through their own web applications. 

Read more about what a Web Developer does.

What Tools Do I Need To Get Started?

As a developer, you will have several tools that will be vital to your work. These include a code editor, Git, Emmet, and the key libraries and frameworks for the languages that you program in.

A code editor is a program that uses live parsing to help you write code. Among the most popular code editors is Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code, which is also free to download. Code editors are useful because they do syntax highlighting and automatic indentation to help you see the structure of your code as you write it. They also make testing and debugging your code much easier through their automated features. Most code editors are free, though a few of the more advanced ones do have subscriptions. However, for a beginning Web Developer, Visual Studio Code will be more than sufficient.

Another key Web Developer tool is Git. This version-control system is free and open-source. It will allow you to save your code in multiple versions. This is an essential practice for Web Developers. Saving different versions of your code allows you to restore an old version if you accidentally do something that breaks your site or app. It also makes it possible for teams to work on the same code at the same time without getting in each other’s way.

Emmet, which is also free and open-source, is a valuable tool for coding as well. This plugin allows you to use expandable code snippets to save time as you write. The program has certain pre-programmed snippets, but you can also set custom snippets for blocks of code that you regularly use.

Libraries and frameworks are also critical tools for developers, but which particular ones you use will depend on the languages that you employ in your work. For example, if you use a lot of JavaScript, you will want to master React and Node.js. These are also free and open-source, as are most frameworks and libraries for popular programming languages.

Steps to Become a Web Developer

Scout Your Path

Thinking about becoming a Web Developer? Before you make a financial commitment to pursuing your new career, you’ll want to make sure it’s the right one for you. You can use free materials like this Noble seminar on web design and development to learn more about the path you’re considering. Once you’ve checked out what the field has to offer, you can then decide whether you want to take the plunge.

If you know you want to become a Web Developer, but aren’t sure which specialty to choose when you start learning, there are free Noble seminars that can help with that decision as well. Interested in front end development? Try out this intro to front end web development seminar or this seminar on using WordPress as a Web Developer. Those more intrigued by JavaScript as a specialty can check out the free intro to JavaScript seminar, or delve deeper into JavaScript libraries through the intro to Node.js or the seminar on how to use React. These free resources can help you as you consider which of the several possible specialties within web development you might be most interested in. However, you do not need to be totally certain about your specialty before beginning your studies.

Start Your Learning Journey

Once you’ve decided to become a Web Developer and begun to think about your specialty, it’ll be time to choose a learning method and get started. You’ll want to consider a number of factors when you decide how to go about learning these skills. Are you a self-starter with a crowded schedule? If so, then on-demand learning might be right for you. However, in most cases, live instruction is more effective. 

Many students choose live instruction because they know they will benefit from real-time access to an expert instructor and that the set structure and deadlines of an organized class can help keep them on track in their learning process. Today, options for learning in real-time include both live online courses and in-person learning. Live online is a great option for students who learn best in their own space, especially those who may find the social aspect of in-person training distracting. Some students, however, gain motivation from learning along with others in a physical space. Consider what is right for you, and check out the many options available for live instruction in web development.

Create Finished Products

In most courses and bootcamps, the program you pursue will include creating web development projects of your own. You’ll need these projects to be finished and polished before you consider using them as a selling point for your work. Be sure to get feedback on them from professionals outside the context of your school. This will allow you to develop them further and address any potential problems before a hiring manager sees them on your portfolio.

Some employers will also want to see evidence that you’ve applied your skills in the real world. So if you’re able to get an internship or secure some freelance real-world projects, that work can give you an advantage on the job market. Be sure to make it clear on your portfolio that you created these websites or apps for a real business. If you can demonstrate that a real business valued your skills, that looks good to another company as they consider hiring you.

Build a Portfolio

Once you have those finished projects, you’ll need to create a website that can serve as your portfolio–a display of the successful web development work you’ve done. For a complete portfolio, you will need multiple polished projects demonstrating the full range of your skills.

What you provide on your site must also be more than simply links to what you’ve done. You need to give a hiring manager looking at your site an idea of the context of your work and the thought process behind it. Was this an assignment for a bootcamp? If so, how did you make it your own? Or was this real-world work? If so, what did you contribute to the success of the business you worked for, and what did you learn from it?

Make Industry Connections

No matter what specific job you’re searching for, making connections in that industry will always be vital. LinkedIn is a great tool for this, as are any networking events that your school or local business community might hold. As a Web Developer, naturally you’ll want to connect with anyone in the field of web development. However, you’ll also want to think about what industry you’d like to work in. You should reach out to different people if you want to work as a Web Developer in the transportation industry than you would if you wanted to work at a large and prestigious tech company. 

You can also ask to meet up with these professionals for what are called “informational interviews.” An informational interview is not a job interview, but rather an opportunity to talk with an expert in your field and benefit from their knowledge of the world you’re looking to enter. Also, if you get to know these people through your informational interview, they may think of you when they are hiring or hear of a friend who is looking for a new employee.

Begin Your Job Search

Do you have a certificate in hand, a finished portfolio, and some solid connections with professionals in the industry? Congratulations—you’re ready to begin your job search. For this purpose, Indeed and LinkedIn can be great resources for finding listings to apply to, among other job websites. 

However, don’t forget the old maxim that when it comes to getting a job, “it’s who you know” that matters. Now that you have those industry connections, pay attention to what they’re up to, and if you see that one of them is hiring, be sure to apply promptly. And even if they’re not the hiring manager, if you see a job ad from a company that one of your connections works at, you should definitely reach out to them about your interest in the position. They may be able to draw the hiring manager’s attention to you and your qualifications.

Web Developer Career Path

Many Web Developers begin their careers with internships in order to gain work experience. This then allows them to gain positions as entry-level or junior Web Developers. These workers are often responsible for the writing, testing, debugging, and maintenance of code. A mid-level Web Developer will typically be responsible for adapting to new situations and solving complex problems that come up in the process of building a website or app. They may also be called upon to serve in a leadership position and mentor junior Developers. Senior Developer is always a leadership role. These professionals also work with outside vendors during the project cycle, document the development process, and maintain the ongoing tools and processes that the team uses on different projects.

Freelance Web Developers do not work for any one company. They drive their own growth in skills and responsibilities as they take on different projects during their careers. Outside the typical skills of web development, freelance Developers must acquire abilities in other fields. They must market their own business, do their own bookkeeping and payment collection, and attend to the requirements of contract law as it applies to them. They also need to develop strong communication skills as they work directly with clients.

While a relevant degree can be an advantage for Web Developers, having no degree or a degree in a different field will not prevent you from becoming one. Attending an excellent bootcamp or certificate program with strong career support can make that possible. You’ll also need to commit to practicing regularly and create a strong portfolio to demonstrate your skills. When you’re ready to look for a job, you should pursue that search aggressively and continue to build your skills while you look.

Why Become A Web Developer?

Web development is a good career option for many reasons. A Web Developer can expect to command a sizable salary and benefits. They also have a strong job outlook today, and future projections show that Web Developers will continue to be in increasing demand for at least the next decade. The ever-evolving nature of web technology also suggests that future Web Developers will be needed to achieve web applications we cannot imagine today.

For this same reason and others, Web Developer is also a career that brings a great deal of interest and challenge with it. There is great room for growth in web development, from promotion and increased salary to the development of new and exciting skills that will put you in even higher demand. A Web Developer is always solving new problems and tackling new challenges. They also typically have considerable agency over how, when, and where they do their work, as long as they attend scheduled meetings and fulfill their assigned deadlines to ensure timely project completion.

Read more about whether Web Developer is a good career.

Learn the Skills to Become a Web Developer at Noble Desktop

To become a Web Developer, you must learn specific skills critical to the job. Noble Desktop can help you build these skills through in-person or live online instruction. Either way, you’ll have access to expert instructors who can clarify issues when you are confused, provide feedback on your work, and guide you through becoming a Web Developer. Small class sizes and the option to retake any course for free once you’ve completed it are additional incentives for studying with Noble Desktop.

Noble offers several relevant certificate programs demonstrating your Web Developer skills and qualifications to share with potential employers and support you in your job search. Completing the software engineering certificate gives you the broadest qualifications and career path options. If you are primarily interested in developing for the front end, consider the front end web development certificate. JavaScript is becoming increasingly popular for web development, so completing the certificate in Javascript will boost your resume. Opt for the full stack development certificate if you're interested in front end and back end programming. And if you prefer behind-the-scenes programming, pursue the certificate in Python development.

If you’re a beginner in web development, Noble’s hub of articles and resources on web development is a great place to start and plan your learning path. Noble’s web development courses are excellent if you’re eager to start learning but not yet ready to commit to a full certificate.