Web Development Hub

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Career

A full description of the role of a web developer and what to expect

Career - Web Development Hub - Career

Key Facts

Typical Hours : 37 - 40hrs Salary : Entry Level - £19,000 to £25,000. Senior - £25,000 and £35,000. Lead - £35,000 and £50,000.

Web developers design and build websites in conjunction for the client’s needs. The role can range from making a simple brochure style website to a large e-commerce site. Typically no formal qualifications are needed, experience and skillset are more important however some companies may prefer qualifications. A good level of programming skills are needed to build websites so the ability to wrire the likes of HTML, CSS and JavaScript are essential. There are plenty of resources on the internet to start learning these languages. This is the ideal role for people who like to solve problems and have good programming skills. The ability of working within a team is essential along with meeting deadlines. Although many people in webs development work for companies it is very easy to make a career out of it freelancing, although some business sense might be needed for this. In England developers can earn as much as £50,000. There is also a shortage or developers, so those taking this up shouldn’t worry about trying to secure a job within the sector.


There is the possibility to bypass some of the skill and knowledge needed with the use of certain software. Dreamweaver, for example can allow the average person do certain tasks with relative ease. It would be advisable to learn in the more conventional way but taking this approach can help you ease yourself in.


Typically you would be working 37-40 hours a week. To ensure deadlines are met this may sometimes rise to a greater amount. Those who work as freelance developers have the benefit to working the hours they want.

It would be highly recommended for all developers to learn the basics of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). There would be little point in creating a great site which isn’t viewed by anyone because it’s so far down in the Google search results. Learning the concepts of SEO is by no means easy, your ranking in search engines are based on many factors and these factors can change at any point. Keeping all with these will allow you to build more successful websites.

Front End Development

The easiest way to envisage what front end developers do is picture how a typical website looks. Everything the user can see is covered by front end developers. Typically they will start with the structure. So they will look at including the relevant text, images, navigations, title and footer. Then they will use CSS to style this. So this will bring colours, spacing, chosen fonts, text aligning and many more. Without the CSS the site look very ugly with no organization. Front end developers also use Javascript which is the programming language which is ran right from within the client’s browser. Some aspects of Javascript are could be classed as back end but it is mostly known as front end work. This can bring some intelligence to the page. It can allows users to interact with the page. Whether it’s hovering over a image to reveal a caption, creating a tool that calculates a figure or a page events which occurs when the user scrolls down, this can all be done with JavaScript.

Back End Development

Back end developers tend to develop aspects of a webpage which run or execute in the background without the user noticing. This could be things like processing payments on ecommerce sites, reading date from a database or even writing date to a database. All this I usually done on the web sever, rather than the browser. Certain types of websites will require extensive back end coding whereas some basic sites that just supply basic information is unlikely to require any back end work. On the whole back end developers are paid slightly more as it’s commonly seen as a more highly skilled job.


Web developers either work as part of a company or can be self employed as freelance developers.

Freelance

Freelance developers can earn more money working for themselves, however they will need to go out and find themselves the work in the first place. This could be seen as a job in itself so developers would need to have some business sense to bring in the work. Freelance workers can offer clients websites for a set amount or an hourly rate. It’s in the customer’s interest for them to set an amount for the work, firstly so they can know beforehand exactly what they will pay and secondly in the case of the work taking longer than expected, the customer will not need to pay more than originally quoted. Often freelance developers will provide work for a very low price to allow themselves to become known in the area and build up a good portfolio of work. Any hour rate is usually set to relative to the developers experience.

Working for a company

A high percentage of developers will get a job at a development company. These companies will usually have people for all areas of the development of a website. Designers, Front end developers, back end developers, SEO experts and more. For this reason it allows the developers to focus purely on their own area of expertise. A freelance developer will more often than not create the design and this can distract from the quality of the development. A developer within a company will also not have to look for their own work. The process from start to finish can be much easier for a developer within a company. Companies also provide a regular monthly salary even if work may become hard to come by at times.

Qualifications

Although qualifications certainly help to be successful in web development it is by no means essential. The reason for is because a quality portfolio of work can often speak louder than any qualification. There are many qualifications which can help you get a foot in the door. Companies would typically want degree level qualifications in computer programming or more specifically web development and design. However if you can prove to have ability in certain areas such as web design, databases or ,web programming then you may be able to secure a junior developer position. This position would allow you to learn on the job and become an experienced developer, this role usually pays less for obvious reasons. It is important to know that the programming world is moving fast and new technologies are constantly coming out. It is a good idea to keep ahead of these and prove you are capable of using new technologies. For this reason you can never truly know master web programming and therefore requires continual learning.

Progression

Quite often developers first step will be to get a job as a junior developer, this can then become a general web developer after some solid experience within the role. Once this has been achieved a common next step would to become a lead developer. This is usually overlooking all the work and making sure the job is done correctly. Within this time if you specialise in front end developer you may then also start to become efficient in back end development and vice versa. With experience you annual salary can improve greatly and the salary at different companies can vary hugely, so it is an important step to make sure you can secure a job within a reputable company.

Skills / Interest

Web developers must have a strong interest in programming as without this it would be hard to have the motivation to complete the job. Some general skills which are usually important are problem solving skills and creative skills to create work in line with the client’s needs. Working to deadline can be very important to make sure work is completed within the agreed time frame. Any problems can result in a bad reputation and word could soon get around. Likewise completing high quality work on time with a great customer service can be infectious and make others want to use you. Some work may be completed on your own and some may be working within a team so the ability to work within a team can be useful. All great websites require great UI and UE so implementing this to the needs of the client’s customers is one of the most important aspects of any project.