Have you ever stumbled upon a youtube video where somebody is creating some amazing apps? Maybe you can see yourself having a career in this field as well?
I know a lot of beginners who have played around with code, and even created something, but their dreams stop there. Why? Because they think they need several years of traditional education.
So the question is. Do you need a degree in computer science to become a web developer?
You can get a job as a web developer without a degree. These days recruiters are looking at what people can do. Several years at school doesn’t prove that you are a good developer, but if you can demonstrate concrete projects on technologies in demand, you have a good chance of landing that dream job.
Web development is one of the most interesting fields out there. It’s all about tinkering with all the web technologies at hand. As a web developer, your work is to develop functional websites and different apps and applets to serve the users with the desired features. For example, showing all the bars and menus, processing data with database and others.
Are you interested in becoming a web developer? Anyone can become a web developer. It doesn’t require any computer degree. There are a lot of articles out there featuring a number of tips and tricks and related articles on the web on becoming a web dev without a degree.
Before you begin
In this article, I’ll be trying to outline the entire path of becoming a web developer. However, before you jump into the training, do some research about web development. Take your time and figure out what it really is.
The web is always evolving, changing and expanding. Keeping pace with it can be a tough thing. Learning all the necessary skills can be time-consuming and burdening. Not everyone is interested in spending hundreds of hours sitting on a desk watching lifeless code, right?
Another problem I’ve personally experienced with some of my friends is that they try to master the web as fast as possible. Then, after a month or two, they burn out. With full of energy, swearing to master web development in less than a year, they started practicing day and night just to no longer having any passion for web development.
All these happened within the course of a couple of months. Now, they are no longer interested in coding.
That’s why you need to research things by yourself. Only then you’ll understand whether the field of web development is suitable for you.
Before you get any job, you need the required skills. You have to learn all the related knowledge and practice them in real life. It’s the same for web development. It doesn’t matter whether you have a degree or not, these skills will be absolutely important for entering the field of web development.
1. Learning the basics
After you’ve decided to learn web development, the first question that will come to mind is “where to start”?
Well, let’s get started with the basics! On web development, there are certain things that you must master first before moving deeper. Here are all the basic things that you need to master first.
- CSS preprocessors like Less and Sass
- CSS frameworks (Bootstrap, W3.CSS, Semantic UI, Foundation and others)
After you’ve mastered the basic ones, it’s time to move forward.
2. Choosing the path
Web development is divided into 3 major sections: “front-end”, “back-end” and “full-stack”.
- Front-end – The interface of the web. It’s where all the actions you see happen. It’s responsible for all the beautiful animations, sliders, navigation and the overall presentation of the website. For example, when you’re visiting this site, you’re seeing only the front-end.
- Back-end – It’s the place where all the logic and data are processed according to the needs of the situation. The back-end is responsible for handling all the browser requests, communicating with the server and deciding what to do based on the users’ actions.
- Full stack – It’s a relatively new term in the field of web development. For keeping things simple, full stack development can be called “jack of all trades”. As a full stack developer, you have to master both front-end and back-end development. This can be extremely powerful for progressing in your career. However, it’s a tedious sector and mastering it takes both time and effort.
Nowadays, almost every single web development is becoming more of a full stack
Full stack a tough skill to master, no doubt. However, the reward is pretty high and the market is moving towards that. Better be prepared!
3. Additional skills
Alongside learning all the web-related technologies, there are other skills that different job posts require. Let’s check them out!
- Responsive design – It is part of the front-end and back-end (sort of). With the ever-growing cyber world, it’s important that all the works done by you are responsive and/or responsive-friendly.
It’s possible to design a responsive website without any additional framework. But with the help of frameworks like Bootstrap, it’s way easier than before.
- Git – It’s the most popular version control system currently used. Git keeps track of every single change made to your code. What’s the benefit? You can revert back to the previous state if anything goes wrong. You can also browse the history of the code.
Many organizations now use Git. Even major projects like Angular, Bootstrap, Node.js, jQuery etc. are all on GitHub!
Now, don’t mix GitHub and Git similarly. They’re actually very different. GitHub is a service that uses the power of Git. Learn more on Git and GitHub.
- Chrome DevTools – Chrome from Google is one of the best friends for web developers. Using the power of Chrome, it’s possible to save a lot of time. Chrome comes with a built-in set of tools known as DevTools. Things will be a lot easier for you with Chrome DevTools.
Once you’ve learned all the basics, it’s time to put them into practice. Without enough practice, it’s not possible to implement all the things you’ve learned at the right place at the right time. Moreover, without enough practice, it’s very easy to forget even the most important parts!
It’s a natural process of our brain. If you don’t recall a memory often, the memory will be dumped at some point. Our brain requires enough energy to hold onto a memory. Why waste energy on a memory that you don’t even seem to need, like, at all???
Even if you retain your memory, without using it, no good as well. What’s the benefit in knowing “Google is the BEST”, when you can’t even use Google? Similarly, in the case of web development, you have to practice everything you’ve learned effectively.
There are a lot of places where you can start practicing your skills.
- Demo projects – There are a number of places on the internet where you can find out a TON of demo projects. Those projects are completed by thousands of devs already. However, by doing these projects by yourself (without looking at the solution), you improve your thinking abilities, force you to think out-of-the-box and utilize every single trick you have at your disposal.
The most important part is, there’s nothing to lose! It’s a demo project, so no one will even care about whether it’s done right or wrong. So, as you’re free from the anxiety of making mistakes, you make mistakes. As the proverb goes, failure is the BEST pillar of success.
Moreover, you get to show your demo projects on your portfolio. It doesn’t matter how many skills you’ve mastered over the years; without any proof of implementation, those are just fool’s gold.
- Certifications – There are a number of certification courses. While not all of them are useful, there are some highly recognized certifications you can get. Of course, for participation, you need money and without enough skill, you’ll fail. That’s what makes them valuable.
- Freelancing – This is, by far, the most interesting way of putting your web development skills into action.
The freelancingmarket is a huge place where you can hire and get hired. As web development is a blooming field, the need for a good web developer is sky-high. You can start simple. For example, debugging code, adding a certain feature or setting up the UI etc. These tasks offer great payment. However, you’re also gaining experience in the real world. You’re no longer within the safe house of your demo projects. Your works will impact the experience of a million users.
5. Getting the job
Once you’ve honed your skills, it’s time to become serious and prepare yourself for the job.
- Build a portfolio site – Before hiring a developer, the potential employers will look at the portfolio first for a junior web developer. Ensure that your portfolio site is a real reflection of your skills and personal brand. You have to code your site with all the skills you’ve learned and launched it while making sure that your site stands out from other average websites.
Your site should include any work you’ve done (demo projects, certifications, works for other companies (with permission, of course) and everything else).
- Put your code on GitHub – If you’re familiar with GitHub, you already know the impact of it on the developer community. It’s now the industry-standard for version control. Almost every single company uses GitHub for their code repositories.
GitHub can also be used for getting hired. Put your finest code on GitHub to show off your skills. You can also put your projects on it. Make sure that your codes are clean and well-documented. Include concise README documentation explaining your project in an engaging manner.
Many companies love to hear the fact that you already have hands-on experience. Your GitHub will be the certification to your ability to jump right into a collaborative coding on their teams.
- Follow industry news – It’s necessary to keep up with the ever-changing world of tech. It’s especially important if you’re about to get interviewed for your first job and all the chitchats with your soon-to-be-friends. You don’t have to learn every single detail of every single thing. All you have to have is enough knowledge on the topics.
Read tech blogs, follow social networks, scan Twitter, listen to podcasts, watch the latest tech videos on YouTube etc. There’re plenty of ways of staying up-to-date. You don’t have to spend hours either.
- Learn more – After you’ve completed your training, your learning isn’t done yet. With all the changes and evolution of the tech world, there will be new skills and tools on the road.
As an entry-level web dev, proficiency in these will ensure higher demand. For example, the CSS preprocessors like Less or Sass, frameworks like Node.js, Ruby on Rails, Backbone.js, Angular and different CMS like WordPress, Joomla etc. are very high in demand.
- Refine your resume – Your portfolio is where all your skills are. However, a good number of companies still ask for resumes. It’s been one of the most common methods for weeding out candidates. So, for getting an edge, it’s important that you prepare your resume professional and polished just like your portfolio.
Your resume should highlight your core skills, any tech-related expertise, and experience while providing specific details on your goals and strengths.
Put enough time in designing your resume. Use such a design that’s easy to read and navigate. You can even take the help of a professional in this case. Keep it ready so that any time you get a knock, you can send it right away. Employers are willing to hire a good developer. Why not make the task easy for them?
There are a ton of places where you can start learning all the necessary web development skills. Here’s a short list to help you out. Again, do your research and find out the best tutorials for yourself.
On top of that, once you’ve mastered a certain skill, you can get yourself certified!
- Tutorialspoint: One of my favorites for learning all the skills required for web development. It’s a huge repository of knowledge on whatever you want. Tutorialspoint covers plenty of topics and all of them are available for free!
- YouTube: It’s one of the most interesting platforms of all. It includes all sorts of contents: games, news, entertainment and tutorials. You’ll find plenty of tutorials on all the topics you’re interested in. The best part is, all of them are for free!
- Udemy: My most favorite place for all the paid courses. With millions of paid courses out there, you can find out everything to become the finest web developer. All the courses are available for a very reasonable price. Every single course is divided into well-organized and planned lessons. Once purchased, you can learn anything you want in your own way.
The best time for buying Udemy courses is when there’s a sale ongoing. I’ve saved a LOT in the process.
Web development is not something that depends on having a degree. It’s a field where skill and experience matters. If you have the right skills and experience, you’re guaranteed to have a job.
So, should you jump into web development? If you’re fine with coding, why not? With all the free tutorials floating around, you can easily find out if it’s the right path for you. Just take things slow and steady. Most of all, relax while you learn. They don’t have to become a burden that’s too heavy to carry.
The web industry is moving forward at a rapid pace. If you decide to become a web developer, you have to be vigilant enough to keep up with that pace. You fall behind, you’re out of the race. The real fun lies within the challenge.