How To Become A Web Developer

The first step to any significant life change is deciding what you want. So if you decide you want to become a web developer, you’ve already taken that important first step. 

Now, all you have to do is go after it. 

In some ways, this is easier said than done. In others, it’s much easier than you might expect.

Keep reading to uncover the ins and outs of web development, and how best to step into your dream job.

Web Development, Explained

To become a web developer, you must first understand the intricacies of the web dev world.

Web developers have basically created the Internet as we know it. Everything we access online or regularly use on our smartphones is because of them.

Here are just a few examples from your everyday life:

  • Social media applications
  • Online shopping or banking
  • The website you’re reading this on right now

The wide world of web development can seem daunting at first. Let’s break down the three main components of web development:

  • Client-side (front-end) – This is what the user sees and experiences as they surf the web. Frontend development is responsible for what you’re looking at right now—font, layout, menu navigation, and more. However, it is not the same as web design, which exclusively focuses on the visual aesthetics rather than how those visuals come to life.
  • Server-side (back-end) – This is what powers the websites you use. You don’t see it, but it accounts for the functionality of your experience by organizing data and running the system. When you log in to an account or search for a keyword, the server responds by displaying the appropriate information.

  • Database technology – This is where the server-side stores and retrieves information. It is organized for optimal functionality so that the server can run smoothly. 

  • Part of becoming a web developer is determining where your interests and skills lie within the field as you plan your coding career path

    Are you committed to creating user-friendly experiences? Do you want to solve back-end problems by writing complex algorithms? 

    What You Need To Know To Become A Web Developer

    Becoming a developer is about having the right knowledge, specific skill sets, and an impeccable work ethic. Degrees from big-name schools may seem important to some, but they’re certainly not the only way to become a web developer. When it comes to coding for beginners, the career path for a website developer is varied and can take many forms. 

    Learn How To Code

    This is the single-most important skill required of a web developer. 

    Luckily, you can learn this all on your own. About one-third of developers are self-taught, with many more at least supplementing their education through online programs and resources. 

    The information is out there if you know what you’re looking for-- you can shape your learning path any way you want. 

    Most Important Languages for Web Development

    The exact number of coding languages is nearly impossible to pinpoint–especially since the number keeps growing!—but most people would tell you there are at least several hundred. Each field, position, and task relies on different languages. 

    Web developers typically use three or four main languages. These may include (but certainly aren’t limited to):

  • JavaScript – This language is used in front-end and back-end development alike, making it an extremely valuable coding script to grasp. It enhances the site’s navigation and functionality by creating some of the interactive components.
  • HTML – This stands for Hypertext Markup Language and is one of the most widely recognizable languages, even for non-coders. Hypertext refers to the code’s ability to link and redirect users to other pages within the website. Markup defines the structure and text of each web page.
  • PHP – This server-side script is crucial to back-end development. It allows programmers to build dynamic websites and is compatible with many of the database systems that they rely on.
  • CSS – This language is also known as Cascading Style Sheets. The name refers to its usage in the presentation and design of a web page. 

  • Keep in mind that choosing the right languages to practice is as important as learning them. 

    Best Practices When Learning To Code

    Learning to code is well within your reach, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. No matter how you’re receiving your education, you can deepen your understanding with these tips and tricks:

  • Experiential learning – Not only is hands-on education more fun and engaging, but it also solidifies complicated concepts and processes, enhances long-term retention, and increases the knowledge acquired from a particular lesson.
  • Brain breaks – Create a schedule for yourself that incorporates short breaks to absorb the information and re-charge before the next lesson. Studies show that a short rest can solidify and consolidate what you’ve just learned, improving your overall retention and conceptual understanding. 
  • Engaging educational content – Textbooks are chock-full of information, but that doesn’t make them enjoyable to read. Combine your intensive education with fun activities to create a holistic and entertaining experience.

  • Other Development Skills

    If web development were a meal, coding would be the main course. 

    But it wouldn’t be much of a dining experience without equally delicious sides and perhaps the right drink pairing.

    Here are a few specialized skill sets that can enhance your desirability as a web developer:

  • Graphic design – If you’re interested in front-end development, you’ll need to cultivate an eye for quality design. Even if you don’t create the graphics yourself, you should develop a general understanding of layout, color, and overall aesthetic sensibility.
  • E-commerce functionality – With the recent surge in online shopping, E-commerce is a huge part of back-end website development. It can help to know the most effective web page layouts for completing transactions, how to design appropriate customer service portals, and basic marketing principles.

  • But as with any career, there’s so much more involved than simply what you can do. There’s also the matter of how you do it. This is why soft skills are essential, too, including:

    • Teamwork and collaboration
    • Effective problem-solving 
    • Big-picture thinking
    • Clear communication
    • Time management

    Acquiring The Necessary Skills

    Once you’ve determined what you need to learn, you can focus on how you’ll go about it. 

  • University or college program – This is considered the “traditional” route, but it doesn’t appeal to everyone. If you have the time and money to invest in a four-year program, you’ll gain a lot of useful knowledge (and some not-so-useful information).
  • Coding bootcamp – Like with any physical boot camp, these coding intensives will put you through the wringer. You’ll acquire a basic foundation of coding and web development in a condensed period.
  • Online educational programs – Self-paced, self-taught online lessons are a strong asset for gaining a breadth of web development skills while maintaining your freedom. You’ll learn the valuable skills you need without committing the next several months (or even years) to a rigorous, ongoing program.

  • Some people thrive in the formal educational setting of a university program. But if you’re considering going to school because you think you need the degree to get the job, you’ll be glad to know this isn’t the case. 

    Many distinguished web developers go straight from a boot camp or online program to a Junior Developer position. 

    Navigating The Job Search

    Once you’ve done the hard work of learning to code and equipped yourself with the right skills, it’s time to land that web developer position.

    Finding Work

    If you’re a self-taught coder—which many people are—keep an eye out for in-office or remote tech job listings that use phrases like “Bachelor’s degree preferred” and “Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent experience).” As long as you can prove that your knowledge and experience makes you just as qualified as any formally-educated applicant, you should find success. 

    There are a couple of other ways to enter the workforce when you’re an aspiring web developer:

  • Internships – Internships in the tech industry don’t have the same underpaid, undervalued reputation that they do in many other fields. The average wages are much higher than even entry-level positions in other industries, plus these experiences can lead to full-time job offers.

  • Junior Web Developer – This entry-level position is a great starting place for skilled but relatively inexperienced coders. Companies may be more willing to take a chance on applicants without formal education, and these jobs are valuable learning opportunities.

  • Standing Out As A Candidate

    The job application process is all about how you position yourself.

    No degree? Fill your resume with other relevant skills. Not a lot of formal work experience? Find valuable volunteer-based projects that add legitimacy to your application.

    Focus on what you do have. Here are some examples of what you can do:

  • Open Source projects – Involvement in a collaborative project will show future employers that you have a great capacity for teamwork and the creativity needed to launch an idea. This is also a great way to build your resume and portfolio before securing a job offer.

  • Publish code – There are many online platforms where emerging developers will post and review original code. Publicly showcasing your work creates an online trail and demonstrates your willingness to learn and collaborate. 

  • Build your portfolio – Work with friends, create on your own projects, or freelance for small projects to elevate your portfolio. A collection of fully-functioning websites and apps can help you stand out. 

  • Take The First Step With Disney Codeillusion

    You can take many first steps towards becoming a web developer, but it all begins with learning how to code. Whether you are looking for a coding program yourself, or your kid has expressed an interest in web development and computer coding for kids, Disney Codeillusion can make it simple, fun, and highly accessible:

  • A magical interactive experience – Disney Codeillusion combines in-depth education with the fun and excitement of the immersive world of Disney. Work through all 125 lessons as part of an entertaining role-play experience. 

  • Four core languages and relevant subjects – Gain experience in four of the most pertinent coding languages: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Processing. The comprehensive curriculum offers lessons in the highly applicable Web Design, as well as Media Art and Game Development.

  • Motivation and ongoing assistance – Build and maintain motivation through mini-goals in line with your overall goal of learning to code. The “no-stuck” guarantee means you’ll receive guidance along the way to ensure you can complete each lesson.

  • Now that you know how to become a web developer, you can put the plan into action. Start your learning path today by signing up for Disney Codeillusion’s free trial here


    SkillCrush. 12 Things You Must Do To Get A Junior Web Developer Job in 2019.

    Dice. Self-Taught Developers: An Increasing Problem?

    Medium. How Much Tech Internships Pay in 2018.

    GeeksforGeeks. Frontend vs Backend.

    Journal of Technology Education. Do Hands-On, Technology-Based Activities Enhance Learning by Reinforcing Cognitive Knowledge and Retention?

    National Institutes of Health. Want to learn a new skill? Take some short breaks.