Getting started in a new career is a substantial investment of time, money, and effort, so you’ll want to confirm that web development is the right fit for you. Before committing to a career in web development, it’s crucial to learn about the daily tasks and standard workflow of a Web Developer. How do you want your workdays structured? What kinds of tasks interest you, and how do you like to go about them? How do you prefer to organize your time? Answer these questions and ensure they align with a Web Developer's life before investing in becoming one.

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.

Web Developer Specializations

Within the field of web development, there are several possible specializations you could choose, with job titles that differ accordingly. Your choice of specialization will likely depend on your interests and skills. It may also include factors like which job titles come with the highest pay or are most in demand within industries that you would like to work in. Some job titles reflect the part of the website or app that the Developer works on, while others refer to a specific language that this particular type of Developer specializes in.

The main titles for a Web Developer include Back End Developer, Front End Developer, and Full Stack Developer. The primary responsibilities of a Back End Developer are to build and maintain the internal mechanisms of a website or app. This will include the server, the code, and the database. The interface that a user interacts with when they encounter a website or application is the responsibility of a Front End Developer. These Developers implement the visual and audio elements of a web design, developing a user experience that will be smooth, attractive, and pleasant. One highly skilled type of Developer is a Full Stack Developer, who can handle the responsibilities of both Front End and Back End Developers, as required by the projects they are working on.

There are also specialists who focus on specific languages, such as JavaScript or Python. A JavaScript Developer focuses on optimizing the use of JavaScript in a website or app. Their role is often to enhance the user experience by working on the development of new user-facing features. A Web Developer might also be a Python Developer, but this is not as common a job title for someone working in web development as the others above. The reason is that Python Developers typically focus heavily on data. Thus, only if data processing or security is a major element of what a site or app does will that team need a Python Developer. When Python specialists do work as Web Developers, their role is to integrate user-facing elements with server-side logic. 

Read more about other job titles related to Web Developer.

Starting Your Day

Web Developers must set themselves up at their workstations to start their workday. Their most important piece of equipment is a high-quality computer. Whether it’s a desktop or laptop will depend on if the Developer prefers or requires mobility while coding. This device may be connected to a dual monitor system, allowing the Developer to work in multiple windows simultaneously. Whether this setup is in an office or home will depend on a Web Developer’s working situation, e.g., in-office or remote. They may also have a hybrid arrangement, with workstations in both places.

9 AM:

Many Web Developers begin their day by checking their emails and Slack messages to see if any critical issues have arisen since they finished work the previous day. If necessary, they’ll add tasks to their list for the day and filter the emails and messages that are not vital at present.

After this period of the day, they will often participate in a team meeting. This meeting might be a gathering of all the Web Developers at a given company, or a smaller team working on a particular project. If a web development professional works solo at their company, they might meet with their manager, content writers, designers, and others whose work is relevant to web development. These meetings allow teams to shape their agenda by assessing progress toward goals, identifying problems, making plans to address them, and assigning smaller tasks to the appropriate person.

11 AM:

Once the team meeting is done, it’s time for the Web Developer to dive into coding. They will likely write their code in JavaScript or another essential web development language like HTML, Java, or PHP. Typically, they’ll use a code editor, such as Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code, as they write. If they wrote a substantial chunk of code the day before, they might instead be engaged in testing and debugging that code. Once the code is finalized, the Web Developer will maintain proper version control by using Git to track their changes, especially if they are part of a team of multiple coders who may be working on the code simultaneously. 

The Web Developer will also communicate with others as they work. They will probably use Slack or another chat app to interact with team members. Communication with clients is more likely to occur via email or phone. Keeping others updated on their work is crucial to the Web Developer’s day.

2 PM:

After writing or testing new code in the morning, the Web Developer might spend the afternoon making changes to older code based on feedback received in earlier communications with their client or team. For example, a client is displeased with their site’s shopping cart page interface, so they contact their Front End Developer to ask for changes. It’s essential to receive the feedback graciously, so the Web Developer will thank the client before beginning work on the changes. They consider the specifics of the feedback and decide on fixes that will address those specific problems. They may complete those fixes by the end of the day, or they may need to set some aside for the following afternoon.

5 PM:

To wrap up their workday, the Developer should confirm that all of the code they have worked on that day has been tracked and saved using Git so that they do not lose any of their hard work. They should also make notes of what they have accomplished that day, their planned next steps, and any issues they have noticed. These notes will allow them to participate more effectively in the next day’s team meeting.

After Work

On their own time, Web Developers might learn a new language they are unfamiliar with or a new skill set within a given language. If a Developer knows how to use JavaScript and React but is not yet familiar with Node.js, they might work on becoming conversant with that library so that their future work will be more effective. Another possibility is that a Front End or Back End Developer could work toward becoming a Full Stack Developer by building the complete skillset.

However, these professionals may not always have time to build their skills in the evenings. Employers or clients may sometimes call on Web Developers to work overtime when a project deadline is approaching, particularly if unexpected problems arise. While many Web Developers have a fair amount of autonomy over their working hours, certain circumstances will be non-negotiable.

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.