Starting a career as a web developer can seem daunting at first. There is a wide variety of languages and tools available, making it challenging for a novice to know where to begin their education.
However, in actuality, it is likely not to be as difficult as you imagine. Knowing what to expect in your first job as a web developer will make it much easier to plan out your education.
Are you interested in learning how to create websites? To aid you, we are here. This article is written for newcomers to the web development field as well as those who want to expand their current knowledge base. Web development basics, web development specialisations, and the tools and skills necessary to create and maintain websites will all be discussed. In other words, it will show you the ropes and help you get your career off the ground.
All right, let’s get this party started!
Why Learn Web Development?
In a nutshell, the possibility of gaining employment.
It’s no secret that web development is a booming industry. According to the BLS, the field of web development is expected to grow by 8% between 2019 and 2029. Many web developers are self-employed or telecommute for large corporations. In a nutshell, it’s an excellent career choice for anyone interested in furthering their education and developing their skills.
7 Steps to Learn Web Development
Everything from the nuts and bolts of how websites function to more abstract ideas about design will be covered in this primer on web development.
1. Web Development 101: How Do Websites Work?
Simply put, websites are a collection of files and code that live on a computer connected to the internet (a “server”). A browser (like Chrome, Firefox, or Safari) is the “client” software that enables you to visit websites. Together, they make up what is called the “server-client model.”
Consider the following scenario: a friend sends you a link to a humorous video they found online. A request for the video file is sent from the user’s web browser (the client) to the video hosting website (the server) when the user clicks on the link. The file is then delivered to your computer from the website’s server.
The “front end” and “back end” are terms used to describe the client-side and server-side of a system. Developers who work on the “front end” of a website’s code are concerned with the user experience, while those who work on the “back end” are concerned with the site’s infrastructure. Having expertise in both front- and back-end development is what makes a developer a “full stack” developer.
By learning the distinctions among them, you’ll be better able to choose which of the three areas of expertise best suits your professional goals. Now we’ll talk about how front-end, back-end, and full-stack web development are all different.
What Is Front End Development?
What Is Back End Development?
Web servers are the primary focus of back end developers. To achieve this, behind-the-scenes processes like managing web servers, interacting with databases, and data analysis are put into place. It’s not uncommon for a website’s back end to be managed with data-centric tools like SQL and Python.
What Is a Full Stack Web Developer?
Developers who are considered “full stack” master all aspects of building and maintaining a website.
It doesn’t take as long as you might think to transition into the multifaceted role of a full stack developer, so don’t worry about that. Those who are committed to learning technology can acquire marketable skills in as little as three to six months by enrolling in a full-time bootcamp. Those who would rather have the breadth that comes with a degree should be prepared to devote at least four years to school.
Duties and Responsibilities of a Full Stack Developer
Developers expected to do the “full stack” of work on a website. In most cases, but not always, these include:
- Building the Face of a Website
- Realizing the Importance of User Experience and Interface Design
- Technical Documentation Writing
- Planning the structure of a website
- The Protocols for the Implementation of Data Security
- Making Computers and Data Sources
- Achieving optimal performance on a wide variety of mobile platforms
2. Get the Tools You Need to Start
Basic Computer Specifications
Any computer that can run Windows, macOS, or Linux is suitable for learning web development. To begin programming, you need at least:
- CPU: Intel Core i5/i7, or, on newer Macs, Apple’s own Silicon
- High-definition (1920 x 1080) display or built-in laptop screen is recommended.
- 8GB of RAM
Basic Text Editor
You’ll want to use a text editor to keep track of all your code. Fortunately, there are many no-cost options available.
Although a good text editor for novices, Notepad ++ is only compatible with Windows. Another great choice that works on Mac, Windows, and Linux is Atom.
To write code, you’ll need access to a web browser. You probably already have one because you’re here reading this article. It is recommended that you have more than one browser installed on your computer to ensure that your site displays correctly for users using different devices and operating systems. Most people use either Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Brave, or Opera.
Local Web Server
A local web server allows you to test your code without making it available to the public internet. While they are still in development, new features, layouts, and scripts can be tested.
XAMPP is a package that facilitates the installation of a server on a Mac, Windows, or Linux computer. For those who have a Mac or PC, MAMP is a viable alternative.
Website designers and editors can both benefit from and make use of graphics editors. The Adobe Creative Suite is the gold standard, but the monthly fee can be prohibitive for those just starting out in the field. Consider GIMP (a free Adobe Photoshop alternative) and Inkscape as viable substitutes (a free version of Adobe Illustrator used for creating vector graphics).
3. Learn the Foundations of Front End Development
The client-side rendering of a website is the responsibility of the front end developers. All parts of the website that are visible to visitors are the designers’ and developers’ responsibilities. In this article, we’ll go over the languages that every aspiring front-end developer should know.
Developers can define the framework and aesthetics of a website using HyperText Markup Language (HTML). When a user opens an HTML file in their browser, the file instructs the browser on how to render the document, including the placement of various elements like paragraphs, lists, and images.
Inquiring minds need to know more about this “building block” programming language. Get started with HTML with this helpful tutorial.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) modify the visual presentation of HTML elements. If you know how to use CSS, you can make websites that look great in any browser. In addition to modifying the page’s visual structure, you can also alter its colour scheme, typeface, and apply special effects to its constituent parts.
When combined with HTML, CSS allows for the creation of visually appealing websites. It’s not hard to pick up and get a feel for, but it also doesn’t skimp on detail. Learning CSS is essential for anyone who wants to make attractive and responsive websites because it provides extensive control over the presentation of an HTML document to the user.
4. Additional Front End Development Tools to Learn
Finding potential sources of help before tackling any intensive programming projects is a good idea, and front end development tools help automate and manage the code writing process.
Libraries and other dependencies (also called packages) used for front-end development can be set up with the help of package managers. Dependencies are external pieces of code that are used to address a specific issue or carry out a specific task. An example of such a package manager is npm, which does what its name suggests by making it easier for programmers to find, download, and manage software updates.
To a certain extent, web developers can speed up their workflow by using build automation tools. They come in handy for mundane, error-prone tasks like moving or merging files or replacing text strings within a file. We’ve included a list below of some resources that budding programmers may find helpful.
Although both Parcel and webpack serve the same purpose, the former is easier to get up and running.
If you make a mistake or decide to roll back to a previous version of your code, you can do so with the help of a version control system.
It’s likely that Git will be the version control system you master first. Git is a popular choice among large web development firms as their default version control system. An essential part of any front-end developer’s toolkit, it’s also surprisingly simple to pick up.
A Microsoft-owned hosting service, GitHub makes it easy to store and share your Git projects online. Imagine it as a Facebook for people who write code and design websites. Github is used by many large companies for project management and version control, and it’s also a great place to show off your work and build a portfolio.
Consider all the electronic gadgets you use on a regular basis, such as your computer, tablet, and phone. It’s imperative that any website you make is compatible with every possible user’s device.
Websites that are responsive to user behaviour and technology are called “responsive” or “adaptive.” Websites that are responsive will look good on anything from a 32-inch desktop to a 5.5-inch smartphone. More and more people are using mobile devices to access the internet, so it is essential for modern web developers to be familiar with responsive design.
If you’re creating a “About Us” page for a small business, you might want to include an animation that plays whenever a user rolls over a profile picture of a staff member. Avoid starting from scratch when creating an animation by using a preexisting framework instead.
5. Learn WordPress Basics
Numerous websites and blogs on the web today are powered by WordPress, a web publishing platform. Since WordPress is freely available to anyone, proficiency in using it is a necessary skill. Being familiar with WordPress can be useful in the working world, so taking the time to learn how it operates is a good investment.
6. Learn the Foundations of Back End Development
Unseen by the end user, back end development deals with things like servers, databases, and data analysis.
Working with Servers
Developers with a focus on the back end should have some familiarity with server administration.
An older, centralised server is the first type of server. This is a computer with a centralised hard drive that can run either Windows or Linux. Centralized server architecture is commonly used by large enterprises because it provides superior data storage and management capabilities.
However, a centralised server isn’t necessary; long gone are the days when each user had to buy and instal their own server at home. Websites can be hosted on the servers of cloud hosting providers like HostGator.
Distributed, or server-less, hosting has become increasingly popular among businesses recently. If your site uses this architecture, a third-party provider will handle the site’s backend operations. The term “serverless” can be misleading because you still need servers, even if you don’t have to worry about them. This setup is common due to its low cost, acceptable speed, and scalability.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, two serverless providers, power the vast majority of today’s web. A back end developer’s ability to use one of these platforms is increasingly valuable.
Now the question is how to decide between a server-centric and server-less setup. Before making any technological or business decisions, you should evaluate your unique requirements. Serverless vendors are widely used by new businesses because of the flexibility and speed with which they can be set up. Large corporate websites that consistently experience high compute loads are typically better off on centralised servers, however.
Developers specialising in the back end of a website should be fluent in several languages, including:
- Java: Java is a general-purpose programming language that can be used to create programmes for either the client or the server. After more than 20 years in existence, it has earned a reputation as one of the easiest languages to pick up. Java is a widely used programming language because of its open source nature, large developer community, and extensive collection of development libraries, tools, and resources. Java has reached a level of stability where it is reliable and scalable. Knowing at least a little bit of the language will set you apart when applying for jobs at large enterprises.
- Python is another widely-used language for back-end programming. It’s true; Python is among the most widely used programming languages. Python is a frequently used language in back end development, data analysis, and data science, and it is also an excellent language for beginners due to its intuitive nature, flexibility, and versatility. If you want to learn more, have a look at our Python tutorial.
- PHP stands for “Personal Home Page” and is a server-side scripting language. PHP is typically used to fetch data from a website’s server and display it locally. You can use a PHP script to display the three most recent blog entries from your site’s blog feed directly on the homepage. There is no need for the user to reload the page because the posts are cached on the server and called whenever they visit the homepage. Since PHP is the driving force behind bespoke WordPress themes and plugins, familiarity with the language is a prerequisite for anyone working with WordPress websites.
- During the mid-1990s, a powerful and versatile language called Ruby was created. Ruby’s speed and ease of use make it a favourite among startups and small businesses because it can be used to launch a project quickly and to prototype applications easily. Although Ruby’s developer community isn’t as large as that of other back end languages, it’s still quite large. If you’re just starting out as a developer or you’re interested in joining a fast-paced startup, this is the perfect option for you.
Working with Databases
When it comes to building the back end of a website, databases are indispensable. If you want to advance as a back end developer, you should learn how to handle and retrieve data.
The field of data science and the field of back-end development both use the query language known as Structured Query Language (SQL). Databases can be made, updated, and altered with its help. Data in relational databases (those with data organised into tables) can be queried by programmers using SQL. There are a number of popular choices, including MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server.
(Are you curious? Have a look at our SQL tutorial.
Working knowledge of NoSQL databases is also required. The information in these databases is not organised using traditional table formats. These databases, on the other hand, are quick, malleable, and easy to use. They’re a good choice for any company dealing with too much information to fit neatly into a single table.
The ability to work with both relational and non-relational databases, such as SQL and NoSQL, is a valuable skill. Because of the wide variety of businesses and their respective needs, it is advantageous to be able to work with a variety of databases.
Without the ability to analyse it, data is meaningless, which is why employers seek out developers with strong data analysis skills. Use this data analytics primer as a starting point.
7. Basics of Website Architecture and Design
So far, we’ve only talked about the nuts and bolts of putting together a website. It is expected that a web developer will have a fundamental understanding of how websites function and look.
You’ll need to plan at a high level for your site’s needs, its users’ needs, and your own objectives. Who do you hope to visit your website and why? Just where are they originating? Do you want them to make a purchase, submit information, or take some other action? You shouldn’t try to win over the entire Internet with your website; instead, focus on winning over your ideal audience.
When discussing website architecture, you should be thinking about how your pages are organised. It’s possible to include pages like these:
- A homepage
- An “About” page
- Landing pages
- A “Contact us” page
The purpose of your site will determine the types of pages you need. An online store, for instance, might feature main category tabs, individual product pages, and even more specific sub-category tabs.
Considering the user experience is crucial. Will one page contain all the information? To what extent would you like visitors to your site to investigate your offerings further? It’s important that your site’s structure clearly explains its function and is simple to use.
The design is also a major factor. In this role, you will be responsible for the overall visual identity of a website. Your website’s visual appeal is a product of the combination of fonts, colours, and images used in its design. A page’s layout is its structure and the categories into which its content is divided. Do something creative with this opportunity.
Good web design borrows ideas from the larger design world. Consider:
You have a lot of leeway in terms of colour, and the way that colour is used on your site can make or break a user’s first impression. If your blog is about nature, for instance, you might want to stick to muted colours like greens, browns, and greys. If you know the basics of colour theory, you’ll have an advantage.
You have a lot of options in terms of fonts to think about as well, and these fonts can convey a lot about your site’s personality and tone. You need to be careful when selecting a font because different fonts convey various meanings. Read Google’s recommendations for web fonts for additional information.
Maintain a logical order on your website by using a visual hierarchy. Which concepts should users see first, and in what sequence? Most readers follow either an F- or Z-shaped pattern as they peruse a website. You can better organise your pages for maximum user engagement if you have a firm grasp on how people typically use the internet. Going to sites you enjoy can get your creative juices flowing about how to begin designing. Focus on the specifics of their use of colour, typeface, and layout. How do you feel as a result of the weather? Just what do they say about the company and what do they say? Observe the use of colour and typeface, as well as the arrangement of the various elements. As a result, you may gain a fresh perspective on the sites you create.
Tips to Consider
- Define yofinur goalsDe: It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when diving headfirst into web development without any prior experience. Plan out your learning objectives and the steps you will take to accomplish them.
- Go beyond tutorials: Practice makes perfect, and tutorials won’t make you a pro in a day, so it’s important to put what you learn into action. The development of functional websites is an essential part of your education.
- Take a bootcamp or class: As with any field, there is a vast amount of information to absorb when studying web development. To get up to speed on web development in a short amount of time, you may want to enrol in a coding bootcamp that specialises in that field.
- Never stop learning: Since the web is always evolving, the standards for it should do the same. You should always be in a state of learning because what you know now may be obsolete in the next five years.
- Put together a portfolio: Building a portfolio before starting the job hunt gives you something concrete to show potential employers. Document your work and share it with the world.
What software do I need to learn to build a website?
A computer with a web browser installed, such as Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. In addition, you’ll need a text editor like Atom to write and manage code, and a local web server utility like XAMPP to test sites as you build them.
Does web development require a degree?
Simply put, no. Even though a college degree is helpful, many successful web developers got their start without one. To join them, you should compile a portfolio of your best work that demonstrates your abilities and highlights the benefits you can bring to a prospective employer. If you’re interested in learning how to develop websites, we’ve put together a guide to help you get started.
What web development languages should I learn?
How long does it take to learn web development?
The answer to this question is contingent on the learner’s prior technical experience and available study time. For a web developer with experience, the turnaround time could be as little as three months, but for a novice, it could take anywhere from six months to a year. You can get up to speed in a shorter amount of time if you attend a coding bootcamp and follow their carefully planned curriculum.
Do I need to have a technical background to learn web development?
It is not necessary to have technical knowledge, but it can speed things up. Coding languages and tools have become increasingly intuitive and simple to learn in recent years; however, prior experience with programming languages can help you pick up the concepts involved. Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions about how to get your coding education off the ground.