Web development has long-since been a mainstay for those looking into a career in tech. From the early days of the internet to now, the industry has had a real need for individuals possessing the skills to create the look, feel, and functionality of websites and web-based applications. But with so many different specialties in web development, as well as the wide-ranging applications of such tech, it can be difficult to know where to start. This is true not only for folks starting from scratch, but also for those who are wanting to transition to web development jobs from related fields.
What Skills Do I Need for Web Development?
When discussing web development skills, it’s important to note that there are two areas of creating a website or web application, those being the front-end and the back-end. Front-end web development focuses on the visual parts of a website; that means the text, graphics, buttons, forms, and any features a user may interact with on the website. Back-end development has to do with the parts the user doesn’t see, meaning how the website communicates with the server and databases. This might mean APIs, cloud storage, and just general mechanics that power the site. Think of a website like a car; front-end features would be the paint color and interior design, while the back-end would be the engine or electrical system.
Each of these areas, front-end and back-end web development, require a different set of skills. Traditionally, web developer positions have indicated whether they want applicants who specialize in one or the other. But today, many companies are searching for individuals who can code and build in both, meaning a full-stack developer. But, for the purpose of those just starting out, let’s split these skills into front-end and back-end.
For front-end web development, you’ll need to understand the coding languages that go into creating visual design components. These would include:
- Debugging or looking for code flaws
- Foundational graphic design
For back-end developers, the necessary skills center more around servers and database management. These are vital to ensure that the information being inputted into the website communicates with the back-end technology. Understandably, back-end development can be much more complex. For back-end developers, you’ll need to understand:
- Back-end languages like Ruby on Rails, PHP, Java, and Python
- Database Management Software like MySQL, Oracle, MongoDB, and Redis
- Foundational cybersecurity
- Server-side tech like AWS
How Long Does It Take to Learn Web Development?
Learning the skills of web development can vary based on a few factors, namely what area you’re focused on and how you plan on learning this information. Front-end web development can be less complex than back-end; HTML is the markup language for website organization and can generally be learned in a few weeks. CSS allows programmers to style visual elements like the website’s text, colors, spacing, and margins. So, it makes sense that aspiring programmers who are learning CSS and HTML will likely find these topics to be less complex than database management or coding in Java for back-end development.
But when we talk about how to become a web developer, the answer also depends on how you choose to learn this information. In general, there are three paths you can choose to prepare for web development jobs.
Traditionally, those interested in web development have pursued a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college program. The benefits of this route are plentiful, including a dedicated teaching staff, access to on-campus computers and web development tools, and a gradual curriculum that builds toward advanced web development skills on top of foundational courses. However, it also means a big investment in terms of time and money. Not only will you spend four years learning the information, you’ll also need to figure out how to pay for tuition, room and board, and the other various costs that go into a college education. This is less than ideal for those currently working and looking to change direction in their professional lives.
A second option is online courses for web development. A web development tutorial like these allows individuals to study and learn at home and follow along with coursework designed to teach the basic tenets of web development. With these, you have the benefit of learning at your own pace and not having to worry about exams or deadlines. Additionally, many of these courses are quite affordable; often times you’ll pay a low subscription fee to access a full library of course materials. In fact, you can find many free classes through sites like YouTube or Code Academy. However, without the structure of classwork and curriculum or 1:1 instructor assistance, it’s easy to become disinterested or disengaged during the process. This could make learning web development a much more difficult process.
The third and most effective route is with a coding bootcamp. These are accelerated, instructor-led courses that usually last between 12-15 weeks for a full-time bootcamp or 24 weeks for a part-time bootcamp. With bootcamp programs, students benefit from immersive learning environments with hands-on instruction, real-world projects, problem-solving within teams, and much more affordable tuition cost than traditional four-year colleges. In addition to the classroom setting and expedited relevant curriculum, coding bootcamp attendees also benefit from on-campus resources like career coaches and career placement advisors, who are able to connect students with employers looking to hire folks right after bootcamp graduation.
At Eleven Fifty Academy, we see over 80% of our students working in their preferred tech field within six months of graduating. Additionally, our 12-week web development program will teach you both front-end and back-end development, making you the perfect fit for the companies looking for full-stack developers. Ready to get started? Contact us today to learn about enrolling in one of our upcoming web development bootcamps.