Web developers build, and make improvements to, websites and web applications. Although their work usually focuses solely on the underlying software and databases (known as the ‘back end’), some web developers work on the interface and visual design (the ‘front end’), while others combine both (‘full-stack development’).
In an agency or as a freelancer, a web developer’s job is to create products that meet clients’ needs. The work can be particularly varied with many projects to work on simultaneously and lots of meetings with clients to discuss their requirements and update them on progress.
In all cases a web developer’s primary task is creating reliable and high performing applications and services, which can be accessed over the internet.
Employers of web developers
- website design and development companies
- digital marketing agencies
- the government
- any organization that has its own website or web applications
- planning and prototyping new applications
- designing the architecture of the components of an application
- deciding on the best technologies and languages for the project
- testing sites and applications in different browsers and environments
- problem solving
- fixing bugs in existing projects
- testing new features thoroughly to ensure they perform the correct task in all cases
- running performance bench-marking tests
- reviewing colleagues’ code
- building and testing Application Program Interfaces (APIs) for applications to exchange data
- researching, incorporating and contributing to Open Source projects
- meeting designers, developers and project staff for progress updates
- gathering requirements from clients and users
- learning and testing new technologies, frameworks and languages
- staying up to date with new trends and advancements in web development
- building and maintaining databases
- refactoring and optimizing existing code
- documenting code so other developers can understand and contribute to it
- attending and speaking at web development conferences and workshops
- designing information architecture within an application or website.
There are routes into web development for both graduates and school leavers. Graduates with a degree in computer science, software development or similar are preferred. Relevant subjects include:
- computer science
- software engineering
- web design and development.
Knowledge and experience are usually the most important requirements. A relevant degree can provide you with demonstrable knowledge, particularly the fundamental principles of programming and application design.
- Mathematical aptitude and strong problem-solving skills
- Excellent organizational and time management skills
- Accuracy and attention to detail
- An understanding of the latest web trends and their role in a commercial environment
- Teamwork skills, because most projects require input from individuals with different roles
- Self-development skills to keep up to date with fast-changing trends