Web Developer is a general job title, but within web development, there are particular specialties that you can pursue. A back end Developer is responsible for the structure and internal code of a site or application, while a front end Developer works on how the site appears to a user. A full stack Web Developer does both. You could also specialize in JavaScript Development, which involves focusing on the design, testing, and implementation of software using JavaScript.

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 Skills

You do not need a degree to become a Web Developer. Up to two-thirds of entry-level web development roles do not list a degree as a requirement. In fact, you can become a Web Developer if you have a certificate or certification to demonstrate the relevant skills and knowledge. Many bootcamps and certificate programs can provide you with these types of credentials. 

Once you have completed your web development education, there are a few “must-haves” for your job search. Every Web Developer must have a website that displays their portfolio. This portfolio must demonstrate the candidate’s skills and showcase the type of work they can create. You will also need a resume, which should be no more than two pages. One page is acceptable, too, especially if you are new to the field. While the resume highlights your most significant accomplishments, you also need a LinkedIn profile that comprehensively lists your experience, education, certificates and certifications, and professional accomplishments.

Read more about the job requirements for a Web Developer.

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.

Back End Developer

A Back End Developer’s primary responsibilities involve building and maintaining the internal mechanisms of a website or app, including the server, code, and database. They work with Front End Developers, Web Designers, Software Engineers, and/or clients to create web applications that will be functional and attractive. Their work typically includes being responsible for data protection and security protocols. They also handle the data storage for web applications, including design, implementation, and maintenance. 

Back End Developers write, debug, and document the code that runs on the server they maintain. Their goal is to optimize their application or site’s speed, efficiency, scalability, and responsiveness. Back End Developers tend to be well compensated for their work. In 2020, the average salary of a Back End Developer in the US was $128,554. 

Front End Developer

Front End Developers are responsible for the interface that a user interacts with when they use a website or application. They implement the visual and audio elements of a web design, developing a user experience that will be smooth, attractive, and pleasant. Like Back End Developers, Front End Developers are responsible for writing, debugging, and documenting the code they write for a site or app. However, what makes their work unique is the focus on user experience and the interface the user actually interacts with when they visit the site or use the application. 

As such, Front End Developers will often work with User Experience (UX) or User Interface (UI) Designers and Graphic Designers, as well as with Back End Developers. After working with a UX and/or UI Designer or Graphic Designer, a Front End Developer must translate the design specifications they have received into code that will actually make those images appear on the site or app. They must also optimize the speed, performance, and scalability of the front end elements. Front End Developers are not typically compensated quite as well as Back End Developers. In 2020, the average salary for a US Front End Developer was $107,276.

Full Stack Developer

Full Stack Developers are perhaps the most sought-after type of Web Developer. This is because of the comprehensive nature of their skills. A Full Stack Developer can handle the responsibilities of both Front End and Back End Developers, as required by the projects they are working on. However, although they are in high demand, being responsible for front end elements means that Full Stack Developers are paid somewhere in between the salaries of Front End and Back End Developers. The US average for 2020 was $113,437.

JavaScript Developer

As the name suggests, a JavaScript Developer is a specialist who focuses on optimizing the use of JavaScript in a website or app. Their role is to work on the development of new user-facing features that can enhance the user experience. As such, they often collaborate with Front End Developers who have broader front end responsibilities on the same projects, as well as with Designers. However, they may also work with Back End Developers to validate user inputs before they are submitted to back end services. Like the other roles, JavaScript development also involves maximizing the speed and scalability of the site or app they are working to create or maintain. The average salary for a JavaScript Developer in the US in 2020 was $117,798. 

Python Developer

Python Developer is not as common a job title for a Web Developer as the others listed here. This is because Python Developers typically focus heavily on data, so they will only be needed for a site or app if data processing or security is a major element of what it does. When they do work as Web Developers, their role is to integrate user-facing elements with server-side logic. As such, they can function as a sort of bridge between Front End and Back End Developers. A Python Developer’s average salary in the US was $114,175 for the year 2020.

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.