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Posted on November 10th, 2020 in Web Development

If you’ve ever been to a website, you have experienced firsthand the work of a web developer. And well, since you’re on a website right now, that means you have! 

Web developers design and create websites. They are responsible for the look of the website, as well as the technical aspects of how the site loads, performs, and handles traffic. They achieve all this customization and fine-tuning through coding, building the website from nothing into something great. 

This is a high-level description, but what does this mean about the day-to-day duties of a web developer? What is it like to wake up every day and get to work? Web developer jobs can be very different for each professional depending on their employer, the structure of the team, and more. Here’s a look at the basics of being a web developer, plus how to read job descriptions for web developer roles to find the  job that’s right for you. 

A Day in the Life of a Web Developer

Front-end web developers are responsible for the visual parts of a website that a user sees and interacts with in a web application, while back-end developers develop and maintain the code that makes the front-end work. Some web developers do both and can be labeled a full-stack developer. 

While certain day-to-day tasks of the job will vary based on which type of web development role you are in, the underlying functions remain somewhat constant. Here are some tasks and duties a web developer encounters on a daily basis:

  • Building websites using languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Modifying or updating websites according to a client’s feedback
  • Testing a website and identifying bugs, then fixing the errors
  • Collecting feedback from users to learn how the site could be improved 
  • Collaborating with IT staff, content writers, graphic designers, and marketing managers to plan the next website enhancement

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Web developers spend their days working on websites, meaning fine-tuning and upgrading a product that will never really be finished. Testing the existing site, as well as code for new features and improvements, will be a big part of work responsibilities. Envisioning and planning the next great update will also be part of your experience. Generally, it’s an exciting role where no two days are alike, even though projects might carry over day-to-day. 

What Challenges do Web Developers Face? 

Challenges faced by web developers can be either technical or a question of planning and collaboration across teams. Whether it’s setting the goals and design for the website, ensuring users will have a great experience, or protecting the site from hackers and other threats, a web developer helps tackle them all. Here’s a breakdown of some of the main challenges web developers help companies tackle: 

  • Vision and Goals: It’s important to define elements like who are the target web users? What are the must-have features? And what are the technical requirements? These details will come up throughout the web development process, but understanding them from the outset can make future challenges much easier. 
  • User Experience and User Interface: Front-end web developers will focus on the reactions, perceptions, and overall experience of website users. This means easy-to-read text, clear navigation, design that is visually pleasing to the eye, and other features that the client envisions for their ideal user. 
  • Performance and Speed: Back-end web developers may be more concerned with questions like website load time, or functionality of features like forms, real-time data feeds, or other elements. Making sure the website works consistently and performs well is essential to capturing the user’s attention, and to keep them coming back. 
  • Scalability: Another challenge to all developers is the question of scalability. This means how the site will be affected by high volume web traffic, updated features, and planning for different types of user journeys. Considering these things from the beginning of a development project makes it easier to achieve scalability in the future.
  • Security Threats: A major challenge to any website or digital product today is the risk of security threats. Protecting against cybercrime includes everything from choosing the right site infrastructure, to integrating SSL certificates that encrypt activity on the site, to robust password requirements or multi-factor authentication.  

These are just some of the web development challenges that can come up during a project. You don’t need to be able to address all of them alone, or at the beginning of your career. Planning strategically, and staying focused on the defined goals of the project, is one key to navigating these challenges. Another? Remember that the most important people are the end users of a website, and focusing on their needs should be #1 priority during the development process.

Different Web Development Workplaces

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shares that in 2019, around 174,300 jobs were held by web developers in the US. The biggest industries for web developers, by percentage, are as follows:

  • Computer systems design and related services: 17%
  • Publishing (non-digital): 10%
  • Self-employed web developers: 10%
  • Management, scientific, and technical consulting: 5%
  • Advertising and public relations: 4%

In total, these industries account for less than half of the professionals employed as web developers, which reveals the wide variety of industries and workplaces where developers might find a home. 

Web developers self-report very high job satisfaction through testimonials, including flexibility in setting their own daily schedule. Another element of their work life many web developers appreciate is self-directing to achieve assigned tasks, rather than being micromanaged. While every workplace culture will be different, these may be common characteristics of a web developer’s work environment.

Analyzing a Web Developer Job Description

With web developer jobs growing at 8% by 2029, more than double the national average growth during that time, there are plenty of job descriptions for entry level web developers. So how do you analyze a job description to find out if the opportunity is right for you? 

First, review the described duties and opportunities for growth. While it isn’t necessary to check every box on the company’s wish list, it is important you have a technical mastery of the key coding languages and other tools or environments the company identifies in the job description. 

It’s equally important to confirm you won’t be the only developer on the team, at least starting out. According to more testimonials from real-life web developers, this can trap you in a vacuum of not knowing how to gauge your performance, and not having opportunities to be coached and grow. 

Lastly, the interview process for a web developer job can be quite telling. If the process is impersonal or seems detached from analyzing your actual skills, it might not be a great fit. You can always turn to sites like Glassdoor to read company reviews and hear from ex-employees about their experience. 

Web developers spend their days writing code and consulting on design to help a website reach peak performance. That definition varies widely based on the company and the target audience, but anyone with development  skills can find a company culture where they feel committed and excited about their job. 

Do What Web Developers Do with Eleven Fifty Academy

At Eleven Fifty Academy, our passion comes from helping career changers or new professionals gain requisite skills to kick off a career in tech as an entry-level web developer. Whether front-end or back-end, self-employed or working in an office, our web development and software development bootcamps provide coding skills and real-world practice that will get you noticed and get you hired for great web development jobs.

Contact our admissions team today to learn more, or take one of our free online intro to coding classes to see if a career as a web developer is right for you.

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