• April 14, 2024

What does a web developer do and what does it take to become one

Programming is in demand today more than ever. Information technologies are developing at a tremendous speed, and companies are constantly in need of new specialists. One of the “oldest” IT professions is a web developer. In recent years, the design of online projects has become the most popular direction among programming. Freelancing, website creation and the IT industry as a whole are most often associated with writing lines of code, but web development is not a monotonous set of text at all, but a complex and interesting process in which specialists of different levels participate.

Here the logical questions arise: who is a web developer? How promising is the profession? Isn’t it too late to become one of them?

How it all started
Initially, websites left much to be desired: the interface is nondescript, there are too many tools to work with, and programming languages are poorly adapted to network coding. However, the developers understood that the Internet is the future, and now they are responsible for integrating technology into popular culture.

In the nineties, specialists began to actively develop web programming. JavaScript, Flash and cascading page markup (CSS) appeared, and the full-fledged Mosaic browser showed how to work with them. Despite the great progress, the main code was written in different languages: C, C++, Perl. It is not difficult to imagine what a mess it turned out due to the lack of a single syntax.

But soon PHP appeared. This language was aimed at the back-end of development and helped to turn static HTML pages into dynamic ones. Now the user saw not just text, but attractive scripts and beautiful animations without long downloads.

PHP language

From a promising technology, site building has turned into a powerful selling tool. Large companies immediately noticed the potential: their own resource added status, popularity and gathered people from different parts of the country. Many companies in the world wanted a personal website, and web development has become a full-fledged profession with decent pay.

Who is a modern web developer
The essence has not changed: a web developer designs and creates Internet resources. However, the process itself has undergone major changes. Now performers are divided into three categories:

Frontend (external interface). The frontend developer focuses on the visible part of the resource; everything that the user sees on the site is on his conscience. The specialist is responsible for mobile adaptation, the operation of scripts, the correctness of contact forms, the design of text, links and other elements visible to the visitor. Do not confuse the frontend developer with the designer: the latter proceeds solely from artistic considerations, whereas it is important for the former that everything works technically.
Backend (internal interface). Backend development refers to processes that are invisible to the user. The specialist works with the server part and configures the mechanisms responsible for issuing a search query, storing databases, messaging, collecting statistical data and other internal issues.
Backend is more complicated than frontend and requires knowledge of several languages, popular container solutions, frameworks and SQL. Fun fact: it’s quite difficult to meet the same backend developers, since each company works according to certain algorithms and requires specific skills.
Fullstack. This developer knows how to work in both frontend and backend. Fullstack specialists are valued for multitasking: such an employee can easily replace a colleague, help interns and notice the problem before others. It is easier to come to fullstack through the backend.
However, every developer is a bit of a generalist: frontend is obliged to know at least superficially what the backend is doing. Ignorance of the device of the client and server parts will inevitably lead to conflicts.
Web Development Process
Many years have passed since the appearance of the fundamental truths of web programming. Now PHP is gradually disappearing into oblivion, giving way to Java, JavaScript and Python. Browsers have the same standards, and development no longer turns into a nightmare.

Simplified Web development

Kubernetes container technologies appeared, Linux came to the forefront with a huge library of open source software. Databases have turned into full-fledged quick access repositories, and scripts have been transformed into complex but beautiful interactive elements.

A lot of tools and environments for writing code have appeared, and testing has become much easier. And the profession does not stand still: in the course of work, specialists master new languages (a massive obsession with Go), optimize processes and learn universalism. Does this mean that it’s easier to become a web developer today than it was ten years ago? Yes and no.

Who can become a web programmer
Web directions are the most popular branches of programming. According to data for 2020, the first three positions are occupied by backend, fullstack and frontend.

Increasing the number of sites

A web developer of any level will always be able to find a job. Even a beginner will not be left without orders and at least will be able to successfully freelance. However, programming requires certain skills. For example, to master frontend development, you need:

fully understand and be able to write in CSS, HTML and JavaScript;
simulate interfaces in Vue, Angular and similar frameworks;
understand CSS preprocessors;
develop unit tests;
work with Grid Layout and Bootstrap;
know the basics of the client-server connection, understand the HTTP protocol device;
create prototypes in Figma.
At the same time, each company puts forward additional requirements, for example, API skills.
Knowing the backend is much more difficult. Each company uses a specific language, and the developer must thoroughly understand it. Therefore, backend is not limited to JavaScript – it studies PHP, Java, C#, Python, Ruby or Perl. Frameworks are created for each language, and a specialist is obliged to understand them at least at a basic level.

It also requires an understanding of Oracle, MySQL or any other database, as well as container technologies (Kubernetes or Docker). And most importantly: you will have to learn English, otherwise you will not be able to read current manuals and cooperate with the open community.