What is a Web Developer?


Building websites and delivering them quickly can be challenging for many marketing professionals or web designers. This is why web developers are often hired to build websites using coding and programming. Web developers often need specific skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving and attention to detail to complete their job.

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A web developer is someone who builds websites using coding and programming. They will take an overall website design concept and build it using different coding languages. Web developers often work alongside web designers or the marketing team to ensure that the design is well made and easy to navigate.

Types of web developers

The types of duties a web developer is regularly responsible for often vary depending on the type of web developer they are. The different types of web developers include:

Front-end developer

A front-end developer will often work more closely with the design of a website. They are usually fluent in JavaScript, CSS, and HTML to successfully complete their jobs. The duties of a front end developer often involve:

  • Maintain proper website colours. Front-end developers will either collaborate with web designers or the marketing team ahead of time to determine the website’s colour scheme. In smaller companies without website designers, web developers may designate the colours themselves. Front-end developers ensure the colours coordinate well throughout the website.
  • Ensure each link works properly. The code front-end developers use allows them to create links that navigate the website or external websites. Once a web developer has built their code and added links, they will ensure each installed link will take users to the desired website location.
  • Make sure the website is mobile-optimized. Since many people may access websites from their mobile devices, a crucial part of a front-end developer’s job is to ensure each webpage’s design is visually appealing on a smartphone. They will use code to ensure the design displays as accurately on a smartphone as it does on a computer.
  • Keep the content optimized. Most front-end developers are often in charge of displaying content on the website. Some may also ensure that the content follows search engine optimization best practices. Many web developers in charge of the content may even write their content if they have writing skills.

Back-end developer

Back-end developers will often work more directly with the technical side of website creation. Back end developers can be responsible for:

  • Build the programs and codes for the server and database of the website.
  • Create quick, reliable and straightforward code for the website to operate and function quickly.
  • Develop various programs using complex coding languages such as JavaScript, PHP, Ruby and Python.
  • Ensure each program they code for web pages is secure, easily maintainable, and scalable.

Full-stack developer

A full-stack developer works with both front-end and back-end code. This means they can often be in charge of building the entire website from back to front. Since they know both, most full-stack developers can also receive leadership roles to oversee the whole website development.

Web Developer vs Web Designer

Since they both involve the creation of a website, it can be easy to confuse a web developer with a web designer. Web designers often create the concept of a website and its overall design. They will build a website design to ensure that it looks visually appealing for users. They will communicate this design vision to the web developer.

The web developer will typically carry out the overall vision the designer creates. Using code, they will make the front and back end of the website to ensure that it meets the web designer’s needs while remaining secure and well-optimized. Once they finish building the website, they will present it to the web designer, who will ensure it meets their standards.

Web developers often study and use coding languages regularly to complete their tasks. Web designers may learn coding languages if they desire, but it’s not usually needed to complete their job.

Languages Web Developers should know

To complete numerous web development tasks, here are the coding languages web developers should know:

  • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). The CSS controls the overall style and layout of a web page. When web developers need to add or edit font styles, sizes, or page colours, they will use the CSS coding language.
  • HTML. This is one of the most common coding languages and is used to develop rules for formatting headings, links, lists, paragraphs, or any other content type on a website.
  • JavaScript. Most front-end developers will use JavaScript language during their programming and coding. JavaScript often works alongside HTML coding language to create a interactive and engaging website for users.
  • PHP. Often used by back-end developers, PHP is a simple scripting language and is often used by back-end developers who are first learning to code. It is typically embedded into HTML code to perform routine tasks of a website to help enhance its performance.

Average web developer salary

The national average salary of a web developer can depend on the type of education and work experience they receive. They can work as full-time, part-time or contract employees. Many web developers may choose to work full time until they have gained enough experience to begin a freelance web developer position.

Canada Average Salary: $53,471/ year

How to become a web developer

Follow the steps below to become a web developer:

Obtain a degree in web development

Though some employers don’t always require a certain degree in web development, others may prefer web developers receive at least a diploma or bachelor’s degree in web development. You can obtain these at specific colleges or universities.

Earn web development certifications

You can receive many certifications to help you advance in your web development career. Some are available online, while others can be received from lectures and courses within a classroom.

Possible web development certifications you can receive include:

Participate in an internship or Co-op

Typically, while receiving education and training as a web developer, students may participate in a web developer internship or Co-op to gain more hands-on experience in web development. This can help potential web developers learn more about what the daily tasks of a web developer entail without yet fully committing to the position.

Employers and hiring managers will also be impressed with the hands-on experience you’ve gained as a web developer and will expect to see how you apply the skills gained from your internship to their position.

Build your online portfolio

When reviewing your resume, employers and hiring managers may want you to prove your experience in web development. They may ask you to share your online portfolio in addition to your resume. Your portfolio should contain links and screenshots to the websites you’ve built in the past. You can also provide brief descriptions detailing the coding you used to create these sites, along with more information about making these sites, if desired.

Create your web developer resume and conduct a job search

Once your portfolio is built, you can create your web developer resume. Your resume should highlight your work experience, skills, education and certifications. List your work experience in brief, detailed bullet points.

You can then conduct a job search by researching web developer job postings. Web developers who work in larger companies will often have the chance to work precisely as front-end or back-end developers. If you work in a smaller company, you may have to work as both a front-end and back-end developer and possibly serve as a web designer.

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