How to Become a Web Developer

Are you interested in becoming a web developer? If so, you’ve found the right place for information. Learn more about this exciting career path in this article.

What Is A Web Developer?

First of all, let’s go over what a web developer is.

A web developer is someone who programs web sites. They write the code, whether it is to display a web page using HTML or to perform complex functions using PHP or another language. They may also need to access a database or other systems in order for the web page to work correctly.

As you might have realized, there are many different languages that a web developer can use. HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, .NET, SQL, and many others. This makes them versatile but also means they need to learn a lot more than other developers.

Web developers may also need to learn design skills, depending on the kind of work they want to do. There is a whole different area of developing web sites related to the design work, which is usually done by Web Designers, but for some small projects or clients, the web developer often does that work as well.

Hopefully that has cleared it up. Let’s get into what you need to do to become a web developer.

You Don’t Necessarily Need a Degree

Web development is one of the few IT roles that I’ve noticed that you don’t actually need a degree for. This might be a good thing for many of you, as I’ve had a lot of questions about getting into IT without getting a degree.

Now, this isn’t a firm rule. I’m not saying you can definitely get a web development job without a degree. I’ve just noticed that it’s possible. Many other jobs, such as software development and project management, usually require a degree in Computer Science or something similar. Web Development, on the other hand, can be achieved with experience.

Learn the Languages of the Web

The first step on how to become a web developer is to actually learn the required languages. If you haven’t gone to university or college to get a degree, then there are many other ways you can learn the languages needed.

HTML is the big one. It’s what all web pages use to display content. You can learn this in many places – either online, using a textbook, or in a short course. Other languages, such as CSS and JavaScript, can also be learnt using similar methods. W3Schools is a great place to learn the basics.

If you’re interested in getting educated but don’t want to spend the time and money on a degree, you can look into a short course. Here in Australia we have shorter courses, that go for a few months, that can teach web development skills (and many other skills). Other countries may have similar courses.

Get Some Experience

One of the biggest tips I can provide for how to become a web developer is to get some experience.

When I was younger, I was looking for a bit of extra money and some experience developing web sites. I ended up creating a couple of simple websites for people. I don’t think I even charged for them either – I did it for free. They were for friends and I was more interested in getting the experience instead of making a bit of extra money

So, if you’re looking at becoming a web developer, I suggest getting some experience. You can do this by looking for some volunteer work, by offering your skills for free to develop web sites, in exchange for the learning experience. You can do this in a few ways:

  • Ask friends if they need any websites built
  • Ask your family if they need any built for themselves or for their workplace
  • Find some badly-designed websites and send an email to the owner (this might have a low success rate, but it’s worth a shot)

Start a Side Project

Another great way to learn how to become a web developer is to start your own side project. This would be a website that you create for yourself. You can use the skills you’ve developed and learnt earlier and put them to use on an actual web site.

You can either create a public facing website (by registering your own domain name and getting it hosted), or create one locally (by using WAMP or another kind of local development environment). Both of these methods are a great way to improve your skills and to show future employers and clients the quality of your work.

If you’re going to use a local environment, I would recommend also getting some kind of hosting and a domain name. It’s a good idea to be able to show your work to possible employers and clients, and it’s easier to do this if it’s available publicly. It’s easier to point them to a URL instead of showing them how to install a development environment!

Get Certified

If you want to go that extra mile and put in a bit more work into becoming a web developer, you can get certified. This is a great way to stand out from the rest of the industry and those who are not certified.

Some of the more common certifications are those offered by Microsoft. The MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate) is a great place to start, and includes a unit on HTML5.

Once you achieve the MTA, you can look into getting the MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer), which is an advanced certification for developers.

Getting certified will demonstrate that you have a certain level of knowledge on the chosen topic, and show employers and clients that you’re dedicated to your career, and not just something you do on the side.