With modern advancements, the internet is now at the centre of the consumer's universe.
Published on: 14th February 2020
E-commerce is responsible for approximately a half a trillion dollars in annual sales. And that figure is growing.
If you've ever thought of becoming a web developer, there is no time like the present. Basic web development skills will take you far. But if you want to supercharge your career, you'll need additional skills and expertise.
Obtaining a Background in Web Development
Years ago, all software engineers got their start on university campuses, where they spent years studying programming and mathematics. But now web technology is changing so fast, that by the time a textbook is created it's already out of date. This speed of innovation has opened the door to new ways of learning. And that means new career opportunities for you.
One of the best ways to learn to code is to enroll in a bootcamp. That's how I learned programming and landed my first job as a software engineer. Bootcamps are short, intensive programs designed to teach you the fundamentals of a given technical topic.
A typical bootcamp focuses on a particular subject for a short period of time. You take part in them as though they are full-time jobs. So if a boot camp is 600 hours (a typical length), it should take you 15 weeks to complete.
For example, Learning People's Full Stack Developer course will train you in all the essentials of web development even if you've never coded before.
You leave with a portfolio of work that demonstrates your skills. Your portfolio is likely to be the most important tool in landing your new job. But you'll also receive a diploma in Software Development that's credit-rated by Edinburgh Napier University. Both of these assets will help you obtain your first software engineer position.
What You Need to Learn
Your bootcamp course should cover the fundamentals, which typically include:
- Use of version control tools like Git, GitHub, and Bitbucket
- Software development life cycle principles and management, such as Agile development
- Frameworks, like Angular.js and React.js.
Why You Need More than the Fundamentals
You might be thinking that a bootcamp sounds too good to be true. Is it all that's necessary to succeed?
Completing a bootcamp sets you up to be competitive for a junior programmer position, but it's not the end of your training. Like all technical fields, you will be studying and expanding your knowledge throughout your career.
It's also helpful to specialise in more than one technology. A professional web developer who has expertise with more than one tool will be more attractive to employers and clients.
- You could learn how to create apps in both Python and Ruby.
- You could offer your clients end-to-end packages that includes design, development, and system administration — including web hosting, server maintenance, and cybersecurity.
A versatile skillset can set you apart from others in the field.
Beyond the Basics: Areas of Focus for the Aspiring Web Developer
Given your fundamental web development skills, there are lots of things that could be valuable to add.
We already touched on this above: knowing other programming languages can be very useful — particularly those languages that were designed to for the web. The best ones to consider are as follows:
Note that there are many other languages that are useful to know. Some emergent languages, like Rust and Go, while not new, are rapidly becoming popular.
The good news is, after you've learned the basics of one language, learning another one is quite easy.
CSS3 is the language for styling websites. But the stylesheets you create can get messy and difficult to maintain over time. As such, there are many preprocessors that make it easier to work with CSS. Here are the most popular ones:
- Sass (Syntactically Awesome Style Sheets)
You can greatly expand the power of your development skills by adding RESTful services to them. (RESTful stands for REpresentational State Transfer.)
There are plenty of tools that offer useful features you can integrate directly into your apps. The catch, however, is that you have to know how to call their APIs to access these features and handle the responses.
There are similar services like SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture) that you might also find useful.
Design and Usability
Design will provide you with the knowledge to create web pages and apps with visual appeal. Usability teaches you how to design and test systems so that people can use them effectively.
Content Management Systems
A Content Management System (CMS) is a web application that makes creating websites easier. But CMSs like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are so powerful and widely used that there is a lot of work developing for them. This can mean writing themes and plugins, or customising existing sites.
Don't consider yourself above these tools. WordPress alone is used on over a third of all websites. And once you get begin, you'll find discover many stimulating challenges.
In the early days of the web, enormous effort was applied to making sure that web pages displayed correctly on different browsers. With the rise of W3C and HTML standards, this isn't such a big deal.
However, there are still issues with cross-browser development. Many browsers, including Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome behave differently, especially for cutting-edge applications. So learning how to navigate these differences can be rewarding.
If you are interested in career in tech, bootcamp programs can get you ready and launched much faster than a traditional university program.
The web development field is broad. The more you know, the more competitive you will be in the job market.
An introductory boot camp, like Learning People's Full Stack Developer course, is great for learning the fundamentals, but there are a lot of relevant topics that you can learn to improve your marketability.