What Does A Web Developer Do and How To Become One


Experienced web developer coding and designing websites, creating visually appealing and responsive web solutions.

Welcome to the digital era, a time where having a strong online presence is integral for businesses, organizations, and individuals alike. Whether it's a beautifully designed portfolio, a sleek online store, or a robust data-driven application, all of these web spaces are the result of the technical artistry of web developers. But what exactly is a web developer, and what do they do?

In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of web development, unmask the role of a web developer, explore the different types of web developers, and uncover the path to becoming one. So, if you've ever found yourself asking "What is a web developer?", buckle up as we embark on this journey of discovery.

What Is A Web Developer?

At its core, a web developer is a technologist, an innovator who leverages the power of code to build, maintain, and improve websites and web applications. They are the builders of the internet, turning designs into functional and interactive digital spaces that we navigate daily. However, their job isn't solely about translating design into code; it's a blend of technical prowess, problem-solving skills, and creativity.

Web developers can specialize in various aspects of web development, leading to a distinction in roles. There are front-end developers who focus on the visible parts of a website, those elements with which users directly interact. Then we have back-end developers who deal with the server-side, ensuring data management, server logic, and more are seamlessly handled. Finally, there are full-stack developers who are the jack-of-all-trades, working on both front-end and back-end development.

In the sections that follow, we will delve deeper into these roles, their responsibilities, and the specific skills each one requires. Whether you're an aspiring developer or a business owner looking to hire one, understanding "what is a web developer?" is your first step into the broad universe of web development. Stay tuned as we continue to explore this digital landscape.

Types of Web Developers

The world of web development is diverse, and so are the roles within it. While all web developers work towards creating functional, efficient, and user-friendly websites, they do so from different angles based on their areas of expertise. Let's break down these roles:

Front-end Developers

Front-end developers, also known as client-side developers, focus on what the users see and interact with on a website. They take design files and convert them into HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code - the core elements of front-end development. They ensure all visual aspects of the website — from fonts and colors to drop down menus and sliders — are functioning correctly across different browsers and devices. The key distinction here is that a front-end developer is primarily focused on how the website or application looks, not necessarily the back-end logic such as routing or connecting with a database to manipulate data.

Back-end Developers

Back-end developers, or server-side developers, ensure that data or services requested by the front-end system or software are delivered through programmatic means. They do this by writing server-side scripts in languages like Java, Python, or PHP. They also manage databases and handle security, structure, and content management. Essentially, back-end developers are responsible for the programming logic that's not visible to the end user. An example of this could be Netflix's movie catalogue, a back-end developer at Netflix is responsible for ensuring that when you click to watch your favorite show, all the video data and routing is available for the front-end of Netflix to render (what you see).

Full-stack Developers

Full-stack developers are proficient in both front-end and back-end development, effectively giving them a full view — or 'full stack' — of the development process. They are capable of working with databases, PHP, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and everything in between. They also often have a basic understanding of UI/UX design principles.

Each type of web developer plays a crucial role in creating a cohesive, responsive, and robust web experience. Depending on the project's complexity and size, a team may include all three or maybe just one developer wearing multiple hats. Now that we've clarified the different types of web developers let's delve into their roles and responsibilities in more detail in the sections that follow.

Essential Skills of a Web Developer

Whether you are looking to hire a web developer or become one yourself, it's essential to understand the skills that are necessary for the job. These skills vary based on whether one is a front-end, back-end, or full-stack developer. However, some fundamental skills are necessary across all types of web developers. Let's begin by discussing those.

Problem-Solving Skills

Web development is much like solving a complex puzzle. It involves identifying issues that may affect the functionality or design of a website, and creating efficient solutions for them. A strong problem-solving ability is, therefore, essential for all web developers.

Understanding of HTML/CSS/JavaScript

HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are the building blocks of web development. HTML structures the content on the site, CSS styles the content, and JavaScript makes it interactive. A solid understanding of these three technologies is crucial for all web developers, but particularly for front-end developers.

Version Control/Git

Version control is the process of tracking and controlling changes to your source code so that you can go back to a previous version if something goes wrong. Git is the most widely used version control system today. Understanding how to use it is a valuable skill for all web developers.

Responsive Design Principles

With the variety of devices available today, from desktops and laptops to smartphones and tablets, websites need to look and function well on all device types and screen sizes. Knowledge of responsive design principles is a must for front-end and full-stack developers.

Back-End Basics

Even if you're a front-end developer, understanding the basics of back-end development can be very beneficial. It includes knowledge of servers, databases, and APIs, and understanding how they all work together to serve a website or an application.

Programming Languages

The required programming languages can vary greatly depending on whether you are a front-end, back-end, or full-stack developer. Front-end developers should be proficient in JavaScript and familiar with libraries and frameworks like React or Vue.js. Back-end developers, on the other hand, should be skilled in at least one server-side programming language like Java, Python, or PHP. Full-stack developers should have a mix of these skills.

While the specifics can vary, the above skills provide a solid foundation for anyone looking to become a web developer. They equip developers with the tools needed to create functional, efficient, and user-friendly websites or web applications. In the next section, we will explore the paths you can take to acquire these skills and become a web developer.

How to Become a Web Developer?

Embarking on a journey to become a web developer is an exciting decision that opens doors to a wide array of opportunities. But how does one actually become a web developer? Let's break down this process into manageable steps:

Formal Education

While a degree isn't always necessary to become a web developer, some foundational knowledge in computer science can certainly be beneficial. You may choose to pursue a degree in Computer Science or related fields. These programs usually cover fundamental concepts such as algorithms, data structures, and computer systems, and some may offer courses in web development as well.

Self-Learning and Online Courses

In the ever-evolving field of web development, self-learning is a critical component. There are numerous online resources and platforms available that offer comprehensive web development courses, including Codecademy, Udemy, and freeCodeCamp. These courses are often project-based, providing you with hands-on experience and a portfolio to showcase your skills.


Coding bootcamps are intensive, short-term training programs that teach coding skills rapidly. These are excellent for people looking to change careers quickly. They often have strong ties with local tech companies, which can be beneficial when job hunting.

Practice, Practice, Practice

One of the best ways to learn web development is by actually doing it. Start by building simple web pages, then gradually take on more complex projects as you become more comfortable. This practical experience is invaluable and helps consolidate your learning.

Building a Portfolio

A portfolio showcasing your work is a powerful tool when applying for web development jobs. It gives potential employers concrete proof of your skills and creativity. Your portfolio should include the projects you’ve worked on, with links to the live site and the source code whenever possible.


Attend local meetups or online events, join development communities on platforms like GitHub or Stack Overflow, and connect with other developers. Networking can open up opportunities and offer invaluable advice and support as you start your web development journey.

Keep Learning

Web development is a field that is constantly evolving, with new tools, technologies, and best practices emerging regularly. Staying up-to-date and continuously learning is crucial for your success as a web developer.

Becoming a web developer is a journey, not a destination. The learning never stops, and the opportunities to grow and evolve are plentiful. If you're passionate about creating and problem-solving, web development can be an incredibly rewarding career. In the next section, we will provide some resources to kick start your learning journey in web development.

Best Learning Resources for Aspiring Web Developers

Embarking on a journey to become a web developer can seem daunting, especially given the sheer number of learning resources available. To make it easier, we've curated a list of some of the best resources to get you started:

Online Learning Platforms

  1. Codecademy: Codecademy offers interactive coding lessons and has courses on web development that cover HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and more.
  2. freeCodeCamp: This free platform offers a self-paced learning program with extensive projects and interactive coding challenges.
  3. Udemy: Udemy hosts courses on a vast range of topics, including many comprehensive web development courses. Remember to check for reviews and ratings before selecting a course.
  4. Coursera: Coursera partners with top universities and organizations to offer courses, including ones on web development.


  1. "Eloquent JavaScript" by Marijn Haverbeke: This book is an excellent resource for learning JavaScript, one of the crucial languages in web development.
  2. "HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites" by Jon Duckett: This book is an excellent starting point for absolute beginners.

Websites and Blogs

  1. MDN Web Docs: Mozilla's MDN Web Docs is a comprehensive resource for developers, with tutorials and reference materials on web standards such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
  2. CSS-Tricks: This website offers articles, videos, and an almanac on all things CSS.

Forums and Communities

  1. Stack Overflow: This is the largest community of developers, offering a platform to learn, share knowledge, and build careers.
  2. GitHub: Not just a version control system, GitHub also serves as a platform where people share their code, collaborate, and learn from each other.

Remember, the best way to learn is by doing. Whichever resources you choose, make sure to practice what you learn by working on projects and building your portfolio. Start small, keep learning, and stay consistent – and before you know it, you'll be well on your way to becoming a competent web developer.

How to Gain Experience as a Web Developer

As you embark on your journey to become a web developer, gaining practical experience is just as important as learning the necessary skills. Here are some strategies to gain real-world experience and boost your employability:

Start Personal Projects

The best way to learn and gain experience is by doing. Start by building simple websites or applications, gradually working your way up to more complex projects. This will not only solidify your skills but also provide you with tangible work to showcase in your portfolio.

Contribute to Open Source Projects

Open-source projects are an excellent way to gain practical experience while also giving back to the tech community. Websites like GitHub provide countless open-source projects where you can contribute code, learn from other developers, and get a sense of working in a team environment.

Take on Freelance Work

Freelancing platforms like Upwork or Freelancer can provide opportunities to work on real-world projects, allowing you to hone your skills, build a professional portfolio, and even earn some income.

Attend Hackathons and Coding Competitions

Participating in hackathons and coding competitions is another great way to gain experience, learn new skills, and network with other developers. These events often simulate the pressure and team dynamics of real-world development scenarios.

Seek Internships

Internships can provide valuable industry experience and potential job opportunities. They also provide exposure to working in a professional setting, collaborating within a development team, and navigating real-world coding challenges.

Contribute to Non-Profit Projects

Non-profit organizations often need technical help but may not have the budget for a professional web developer. Offering your skills can provide you with valuable experience, a chance to work on meaningful projects, and a great addition to your portfolio.

Network with Other Developers

Join local or online developer communities, attend meetups and tech events. Networking with other developers can provide learning opportunities, mentorship, and potential job leads.

Remember, gaining experience in web development is a journey that involves continuous learning and practice. Don't be afraid to make mistakes - they're often the best learning opportunities. Keep pushing your limits, stay curious, and keep building – every line of code gets you one step closer to your goal of becoming a proficient web developer.

Navigating the Path of Web Development

As we've journeyed through the landscape of web development, we've demystified the role of a web developer, explored its various types, and unpacked the essential skills one needs in this field. We've also outlined the routes one can take to gain the requisite knowledge and practical experience.

Web development is an exciting, ever-evolving field, brimming with opportunities for creativity and problem-solving. It's about building digital experiences that inform, engage, and inspire. Whether you're a business owner looking to hire a web developer, or an aspiring developer yourself, understanding what web development involves is the first step in navigating this vibrant digital world.

Remember, becoming a proficient web developer doesn't happen overnight - it's a journey of continuous learning and hands-on experience. Embrace the process, keep feeding your curiosity, and never stop building. The digital world awaits your contribution.

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