21 Tips for Becoming a Web Developer

Take a deep dive into web development! This guide will provide you with 21 tips that are essential to becoming a successful web developer.

The digital landscape offers numerous opportunities for us to learn new skills and find great jobs. Since there is high demand for web developers, you could learn the necessary skills to become successful. This article will focus on that, so read on to learn more about becoming a web developer.


Learn How the Internet Works


Sadly, many web developers do not understand how the Internet, which is where the website they build resides, works. Learning how the Internet works, how we communicate with servers, how data is sent and received on the Internet, and related topics will help you massively in the future. As well as this, you’ll need to understand key development languages, including HTML (Hypertext Markup Language).


To get a grip on web development fundamentals, plenty of coding boot camps are designed to put people into job-ready positions. Content is typically delivered through short, engaging lessons that provide plenty of hands-on training.


Have Clear Goals


Web development is an enormous industry, and nobody can learn everything. So, instead of aiming to “become a web developer,” you need to create a more measurable goal. For example, if you want to work with a specific company, explore their requirements and create smaller goals that you’ll be able to tick off systematically. Then, by the time you apply, you’ll be more than equipped to make your way through the interview phase.


Choose a Specialization


You can choose a specialization at this point or wait until you have had a feel for different programming languages before deciding. The three main specializations are front-end, back-end, and full-stack development.


Front-End Developers


Front-end developers work on the parts of a website that we can see. They turn designs and ideas into viable websites and web products. They handle how the website looks, its layout and design, and how users interact with it. To do this, they are responsible for the following tasks:


  • Creating site improvement tools that cater to any web browser.
  • Bringing concepts to life using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), JavaScript, and HTML.
  • Ensuring websites are optimized for mobiles.
  • Improving SERP rankings by implementing current SEO practices.
  • Searching for ways to enhance the user experience.


Back-End Developers


Back-end developers work on the server side of a website, putting in place the different services required for the website to run as expected. Their primary focus includes hosting, networks, servers, and databases. In addition, they are sometimes responsible for ensuring the front end can consume the data stored on different servers.


To become a back-end developer in the realm of technology based blogs, you will need to understand various frameworks, tools, and languages, which you will use to turn prototypes into fully functional websites and services.


You will also need to create mechanisms to test for quality, which will help ensure the website will function properly on all devices, when parts of a website malfunction, the ability to troubleshoot will be invaluable.


Full-Stack Developers


A full-stack developer works with both the front and back ends of a website, which is perfect for people with creative and analytical minds. Entering this type of role will require extensive knowledge, and you will typically work at a computer development business alongside other website engineers and software developers.


Learn Key Web Development Languages


Learning code is essential regardless of your chosen specialism. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are the three main languages used to build websites. You can also learn additional languages like PHP or Python to work on the back end.


Web development is an extremely versatile career, and there are enough coding languages to support this. To start with, learn the fundamental languages and then branch out into additional code depending on the type of development you wish to do. For example, if you’re interested in Web 3.0, you may need to learn Rust, Solidity, or Vyper.


Make Development Part of Your Routine


You will never become a web developer if you don’t take the time to practice your skills. Make sure development becomes part of your daily routine. This doesn’t mean you need to do hours of coding every day; it can be simple activities like reading up on the latest trends or listening to podcasts. When web development becomes ingrained into your being, you’ll begin learning new skills much easier.


Build Different Projects


A mistake many new web developers make is not starting on their portfolio as soon as they can. A portfolio showcases your work that helps clients, employers, and customers see your capabilities. It should include projects you are proud of, but it can include whatever you are working on when you are getting started. You can remove these items as you improve your skills and build more sophisticated projects.


So, what should you build? It is best to start with smaller projects as these are manageable and will not frustrate you to the point of abandoning them. You can start building more sophisticated projects as your skills grow. Try to build something that has utility. For example, you can create a free-to-use tool that people find useful to keep returning to it.


Use Browser DevTools


Most browsers have a development tool that can be accessed on any website by pressing F12. When the console opens, you can hover over different parts of a website and explore the code. Additionally, you can use the “console” tab to begin experimenting with the code, and you’ll see changes take place in real-time on the page.


As well as using DevTools to experiment with other people’s code, you can use it to find errors in your projects, which can save you from manually sifting through. Of course, once you close DevTools, everything reverts to normal, so take notes.


Open-Source Projects


The community develops open-source projects, and anyone can make improvements and changes to the code; GitHub is the go-to resource. By taking part in these projects, you’ll learn new coding methods and may find more efficient ways of doing things. As well as being practical, collaborating with fellow web developers is always good fun.


Start Your Own Blog


Learning web design and being sure of your skills is one thing, but you need evidence of your skills. If you’re struggling to secure a gig or find employment, pour your skills into creating your website. This is your opportunity to show off, so don’t be afraid to experiment; prospective clients will enjoy your creative thinking.


Learn to Google


There is no successful web developer who has not spent countless hours on Google rephrasing their queries to get the answer they need. Googling is encouraged, especially when starting out because it is impossible to know and remember everything. After all, web development is a very broad field.


Googling properly is an important part of your problem-solving skills. You need to know how to describe the issue or problem and what a solution to either might look like. But unfortunately, many developers find themselves Googling less as they keep learning and progressing in their careers.


You will Google a lot while learning and later on in your career. So, it’s better to learn how to do it properly as soon as you can.


Learn How to Document Your Code


Coding is somewhat similar to traditional language because there’s the “dictionary” version and other lexicons. In code, you can find 1000 different variables that will do the same thing, making reading other people’s work challenging. This is why web developers use documentation within their work. Simply put, these are signposts input into the code that help others understand what’s happening.


Experiment Inside a Sandbox


Code involves a lot of experimentation, and some mistakes can negatively impact wider networks. For example, they can cause malfunctions and create cybersecurity threats. So, you need to create a sandbox on your server, a unique space allowing you to experiment with code freely — without impacting the wider project.


Pay Special Attention to Accessibility and Architecture


Accessibility and architecture are key components of web development, and you can’t afford to make any mistakes. So, when implementing new codes, you need to consider how they will react to the wider system. If your code is wrong, you can damage the entire architecture.


All users, including those with disabilities, need access to your website or tool. When building your projects, you need to structure them in a way that considers usage, responsiveness, and functionality.


Consider a Degree


You can become a good web developer without going to university. However, by studying for a degree, you will learn from industry experts, which will help turn you into an excellent web developer. Additionally, universities have access to countless resources and opportunities that others may not have. For example, many web development courses involve work placements, which is invaluable when applying for jobs.


Read Other People’s Code


Everyone thinks and solves problems differently. Reading other people’s code is essential to learning, as you can see how other developers approached a similar problem and the solution they used. When we refer to reading code, it means more than seeing what’s on the surface, and it can be an extremely complex process. You should follow these steps:


  • Running the code.
  • Finding the start point.
  • Running in debug mode.
  • Creating a connection mind map.


Learn Shortcuts


Accuracy is vital when it comes to web design, but you’ll need to master speed; clients aren’t going to wait around while you click around the screen like a tortoise. The best way to code faster is to learn shortcuts, which will help you navigate faster. Learn these shortcuts to get started:


  • IDE shortcuts: Used for Visual Studio codes and making coding processes easier. For example, you can press Ctrl + K + C to make comments.
  • Cursor movement shortcuts: These help to navigate code faster. For example, Ctrl + Arrows allow you to move one word at a time faster than travelling one letter at a time.
  • Browser shortcuts: Moving around the browser quickly will reduce friction within the process. For example, you can recall tabs by pressing Ctrl + Shift + T.
  • Generic shortcuts: Remembering the basic shortcuts is important as well. These include Ctrl + Z to undo, Ctrl + C to Copy, and Ctrl + V to paste.


Remaining Relevant


The Internet is constantly evolving, with new mechanics being introduced and alternative languages emerging. Once you’ve learned the basics, you must realize that you will never truly finish learning. To do this, you will need to explore different resources to receive real-time updates and trends. For example, you can create Google alerts to tell you when “web development” or web design” keywords are used in news articles.


Don’t Forget Soft Skills


Tech skills are important when trying to become a web developer, but you can’t afford to let soft skills slip you by. Here is a list of essential soft skills you’ll need:


  • Time management: You will often have to juggle multiple tasks, including short and long-term projects. You must understand how to prioritize and assign realistic timeframes.
  •  Problem-solving: Web development involves a lot of maintenance and debugging, which is why excellent problem-solving skills are necessary. In most cases, you will need to think creatively and find solutions that others weren’t able to.
  • Analytical skills: Websites produce a ton of data. You need to break down data and use it to improve design elements.
  • Communication: Web developers are part of a larger machine, which means liaising with project managers, marketers, shareholders, and clients. Having interpersonal skills will help you stick to a schedule.


In Closing


The road to becoming a web developer is long and complex, but there are things you can do to make life easier, like setting concise goals and using browser DevTools. The most important thing to remember as a budding web developer is that your learning journey will never end. There will always be more code and practices to explore, but don’t let that intimidate you. It’s all part of the process that yields great rewards, and the sooner you dive right in, the better.

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