Web developers have two main career paths to choose from, depending on work style and level of experience. You might opt for a stable, salaried position, or enjoy more autonomy as an independent contractor.
Those who like working with a team and appreciate a stable source of income tend to be happier in a full-time position. You’ll work closely with other programmers and designers, learning from members of your team. If you prove to senior leadership that you’re committed and reliable, you’ll almost certainly have room to grow - especially with larger companies. And since programming skills are in demand, developers often earn high paychecks, cushy employee perks and could be eligible for bonuses.
Responsibilities of a Developer
The responsibilities of a web developer usually extend beyond writing scripts. Your role could entail any or all of the following duties (in addition to the actual programming part).
- Meeting with clients: You may need to meet face-to-face with customers to fully understand what they’re looking for, and communicate with them throughout the project - especially if you work for a small organization or as a freelancer.
- Customer research: If your company’s already completed extensive customer research and surveys, you may have to look at this data first-hand to understand the context before you start building out the project.
- Partner with other teams: Your company is probably going to be made up of UX designers, data analysts, project managers, and product designers. You will most likely end up working with all of these teams at one point or another to ensure the site is aesthetically appealing and collects the right user data.
- Quality testing: Testing is a huge part of the development process. You’ll troubleshoot your own work, check for bugs, and run tests on multiple browsers and devices before your site or app goes live.
4 Skills of a Successful Developer
An impressive portfolio and solid grasp of HTML could land you the job. But there are other qualities that will help propel your career forward, and they can’t be taught in a one-hour Youtube tutorial.
The following four skills will set you up to excel in the field of web development. Maybe these come naturally to you; but if they don’t, you can hone your eye for detail, logical problem-solving, creativity and communication with every site you build.
- Attention to detail: Even the most minute typo can lead to a 404. Programmers learn to re-read their code multiple times as they check for errors and look for efficiencies. It takes patience, laser-focus, and an ability to look at your own work with an objective eye.
- Logical thinking: Programming languages operate on rules and definitions. If you’re naturally skilled at thinking through problems logically, you’ll pick up these languages much more quickly. As you see them in action, you’ll develop a knack for breaking down statements into their core parts and predicting logical outcomes.
- Creativity: Developers are responsible for finding the most elegant solution for the end-user. As you take on more complex projects, you’ll find that there is rarely one answer to a problem: you may have multiple avenues at your disposal, and it takes a creative mind to imagine how they’ll each perform.
- Communication: Whether you’re part of an extensive engineering department or going solo as a contractor, you’ll need to communicate to stakeholders or team members throughout your projects. Remain open to ideas from designers, clients, and others on your team, and speak up if you anticipate roadblocks. Promoting open lines of communication will lead to a better finished product, and help you improve as a developer.