Ever since the pandemic began, we have been spending more time online. Web developers, who are primarily responsible for creating and maintaining websites, play a key role in crafting these experiences. If you want to know about the skills that it takes to become one, then read on!
Each web developer contributes to different stages of web development. So, let’s start by learning about the types of website development.
What are the types of web development?
There are essentially three types of web development – front-end, back-end, and full stack. So, a web developer’s skill set varies depending on which one they engage in. Let’s take a look at each type of web development, the role it entails, and the skills needed.
What is front-end development?
Have you ever fallen in love with a website at first glance? It’s the front-end developer who has cast a spell on you! They take care of all the visual elements of the website that you see and interact with. Their job consists of creating an interface that organises information in an aesthetically pleasing way and is easy to use. This includes the website layout, text, images, and colors.
Their role can also overlap with that of a web designer. While the web designer is responsible for designing the look of a website, a front-end web developer is responsible for writing the code to bring it to life on web, mobile, and desktop. Similarly, front-end developers also work with UX designers to develop user-friendly interfaces.
That sounds fun! What skills do I need to become a front-end web developer?
HTML and CSS
The two languages that serve as a foundation to web development are Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).
HTML is the language that the web pages are written in. It defines the basic structure of the page such as headers, paragraphs, and images. This helps your browser in understanding the different elements of the page and displaying it to the user. CSS is used for creating your page’s style! The layout, fonts, and colors are all defined using CSS. It also helps a web page adjust to different devices.
Both HTML and CSS are relatively easy to pick up if you have never coded before. The fact that you can visually see what you are creating can serve as a motivation for you to continue coding.
Libraries and frameworks
Have you ever observed how a website looks different on a laptop and smartphone? This is possible due to responsive design, which changes the layout and content of a web page according to each device to deliver a seamless experience. As more and more people use mobile phones to use websites, being able to create a responsive design has become a key skill in a front-end developer’s toolkit.
Graphic design tools such as Illustrator and Photoshop
This isn’t a must-have skill, but it can help you in creating a functional website that is aesthetically appealing.
Search Engine Optimisation
A knowledge of basic SEO can help you in optimising a website and making it discoverable by search engines. For example, mobile-friendly websites tend to rank higher on Google. A web developer could use this knowledge to create an optimised mobile phone experience.
What is back-end web development?
The back-end developers perform backstage magic to keep the front-end up and running. The back-end delivers the front-end code to your browser, which is used to display a web page. Back-end developers are also responsible for optimising a website’s speed and efficiency. All of this is achieved by developing applications, managing servers, and handling databases.
Feeling confused? Here’s a breakdown of the key back-end terms:
1. Server: A computer connected to a network is called a server. It stores the website files such as images and videos and displays the web pages whenever a request is made by the browser.
2. Application: A web page is displayed to a user when an application written by back-end developers gets the data and puts it inside the HTML template. This data is retrieved from a database.
3. Database: A database is a structured way of storing large amounts of data. Storing information in a web database allows one to create dynamic websites where the content updates. For instance, Amazon is a dynamic website which recommends products based on user history.
Let’s take an example to understand this further. When you register on a website, the page that you interact with is created by the front-end developer. Once you have entered your details, an application stores them in a database on a computer (server). When you login the next time, this information is retrieved from the database, and you are able login successfully to see your profile. All of this is taken care of by back-end developers.
Back-end development sounds like my cup of tea. What are the back-end developer skills?
1. Server-side programming languages
A back-end developer should be well-versed in at least one of the server-side programming languages. Popular choices include C, Java, PHP, Ruby on Rails, Python, Node.js, and C#. You could also choose one based on the company you want to work for.
2. Database management systems (DBMS)
There are primarily two kinds of databases that web developers need to know how to use – relational and non-relational.
Relational databases store information in tables and use SQL coding to manipulate data. MySQL and PostgreSQL are the most commonly used relational databases.
Non-relational databases do not store data in a tabular format. In your career as a web developer, you will come across MongoDB, Cassandra, and Dynamo databases.
Many databases work in a similar fashion and you can easily learn the ropes of a new DBMS if you are already familiar with one.
3. Application Programming Interface (API)
APIs play a key role in our web interactions. They are basically software that help applications in interacting with each other and exchanging information. For example, the option to login with Google on any app is made possible by Google’s API. This API allows different applications to use Google’s data in their own app.
As a back-end developer, you should know how to work with two APIs namely REST and SOAP.
6. Data structures and algorithms
Although these are not mandatory skills for all back-end developers, some job postings do mention this as a requirement especially if you are applying to large organisations like Google. While you will be able to develop back-end architecture even without a knowledge of data structures, it can help you in coming up with the most optimised code. It also enhances your logical thinking.
Other than these essential skills, you may also be required to know about tools such as Docker or cloud computing.
What is full stack web development?
The term ‘stack’ is used to refer to various technologies that are used to create and run a website. So, a full stack developer is a jack of all trades. They have a know-how of both front end and back end development and can create a complete website by themselves, but do not generally do so. With such extensive knowledge, they play a key role in expediting the development process by working wherever the need arises.
What are the full stack developer skills?
Full stack developers need to master three layers of a website – presentation layer which is the front-end development, business logic which is the back-end development, and database layer. Besides possessing the front-end and back-end development skills, full stack developers need to equip themselves with the following skills:
1. Web architecture
Because full stack developers are involved in the end-to-end process of website development, they need to have a good understanding of how the web functions.
2. Development stacks
A development stack refers to a particular set of languages, tools, databases, and operating system that are used in application development. Here are the top in-demand stacks:
i. LAMP – This includes Linux/Unix, Apache, MySQL, and PHP.
ii. MEAN – This refers to MongoDB, Express, AngularJS, and Node.js.
iii. MERN – This includes MongoDB, Express, React, and Node.js.
iv. LEMP – This consists of Linux, Nginx, MySQL, and PHP.
v. Django – This requires Python, Django, and MySQL.
vi. Ruby on Rails – This is made up of Ruby, SQLite, and Rails.
Other skills that a full stack developer should be proficient in are server management and project management.
What are the common web developer skills?
While each stage of web development will call for different skills, there are a few hard and soft skills that all web developers should possess.
1. Version control
As a web developer, your code will go through multiple revisions during the development stage. Version control can help you in keeping a track of each version. This will allow you to go to an earlier version if something goes awry. The most popular version control softwares are Git and Subversion.
2. Reusable code
Knowing how to write reusable code can greatly help with time management and delivering projects faster. You can do this by looking at your code and deducting which common things do you repeatedly write your code for?
3. Command line
While using the command line can feel like stepping back in time, it can fasten things up once you understand how it works! Apart from that, it can also make your resume look good and open up a few more opportunities.
4. Good communication skills
Your work will have a number of stakeholders across different teams. So, it’s necessary to have good communication skills to understand their needs and communicate your solutions and ideas.
Developers can also be responsible for writing documentation, so your written skills should be good as well.
5. Problem solving
Web developers need to have a knack for problem solving especially when starting out because there is no dearth of problems that can crop up!
6. Continuous learning
The field of web development, especially front-end is rapidly evolving, so you always need to be prepared to learn new technologies.
These were the essential web developer skills you need to land your first web developer job. If you are ready to get started, then you can check out Internshala’s Web Development training where you can learn all the concepts from scratch and start creating your own websites! Use BLOG10 to get a discount of 10%.
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