How to become a web developer from scratch

Types of web developers

Programming on the web began with the simplest markup of HTML and CSS with the addition of scripts to JavaScript. But then technology stepped forward and first appeared PHP, which grew to 8 versions, followed by Java, Python, Go, C#, and Ruby. With the development the question of the division of labour and the emergence of new professions arose.

In general, web development is divided into three areas:


  • Frontend. Code related to the «visible» part of the application or site. The programmer in this direction works on the operation of buttons, sending goods to the basket and processing the purchase. Part of the project includes adaptation to mobile devices and the development of page usability.
  • Backend. The developer here is responsible for the server part of web services, their «inside». This is the work of filters, sorting, calculators, and integration with external resources. Plus support for price management, including calculation of discounts, delivery, additional services, and special conditions depending on the nomenclature.
  • Fullstack. Universal specialists, able to execute the project «from and to». It is believed that it is not possible to master both at once, because different languages are used. And time spent on training and work is much more than when involving several coders. Experienced developers say that Fullstack comes easier from the Backend.


What a web developer does

The experience of programmers working with web services is not limited to sites. This «first impression» is formed by the majority of those interested in the profession. They have to create code for multimedia applications, such as conversion services, video editing, audio files, and images. There is a separate direction for online games, this includes tasks on the gamification of corporate sites.

But that’s not all, the web developer has to deal with:


  • update, supplement correction of errors in its own and foreign code;
  • cooperation with managers, web designers, and other project participants;
  • technical support of already accepted application sites, «training» of customers;
  • sometimes the management of all the «turnkey» work, starting with the briefing of the client.


The latter is more common on a freelance when the web developer is the project manager and simultaneously performer. This is partly justified, because he sees the solution «from and to», which does not have a «pure» programmer who performs specific tasks with minimal immersion in the concept. But when developing large resources it is better to work as a team to minimize the risks of downtime, and to delegate tasks between participants for parallel execution.


The team is selected depending on the specifics of the order. Different requirements for social networks, aggregator sites, online stores, banking services, and online cinemas. There are common points like creating client accounts with a functional personal account. But the content and integration will differ. For example, an online store can sell goods on prepayment or also on credit, and automatically send applications to transportation companies.


Web development process

Work on projects goes easier and faster if you follow a certain sequence, from the study of the task and development of the technical assignment to the building and testing of the site. The first step always includes briefing, solution selection, architecture design, and logic (scenarios for users). The outcome of such a study is the basis for the rest of the actions, including a time-bound plan.


Next steps:


  1. Design Layout Development. It is about the appearance of the main and nested pages when opening on a desktop computer, smartphone, or tablet with different display resolutions. Here is also defined the list and the purpose of interactive elements.
  2. Writing the interface code. Creating modules with which the user of the site or application interacts. Visual solutions, user scripts, and functionality provided by the specification are worked out.
  3. Code the server part. This includes software management modules with a database, and integration with third-party services via API or plugins (analytics, CRM, warehouse accounting software, acquiring, etc.).
  4. The checklist checks the consistency of layout and layout, including the size and location of the elements, and the correct working out of interactive elements. At this stage it is important to make sure there are no technical errors and quality usability.
  5. Release of the site. The project is transferred to the customer’s hosting, integrated with working services and launched for demonstration, and acceptance-transfer. It remains to train the client’s staff to publish content and conclude a contract for promotion and maintenance.

What skills will be needed to get a job

Requirements in a web environment are much tougher than in desktop programming. Therefore, the developer will have to master specific languages, markup tools, and basics of design, and understand the specifics of work of local devices with a remote server. In the sphere, new «chips» such as frameworks that simplify the creation, support and scaling of web applications are constantly appearing.


Employers have different requirements for applicants with the profession and experience of web developers. One has enough skills with HTML, CSS and PHP, while others want to get a specialist with a portfolio of Laravel Framework, CMS WordPress or 1C-Bitrix. Third need developers with mandatory knowledge of SQL, JS Vue.js library or experience bug tracking systems, and testing of mobile applications.


Standard requirements list:


  • Writing and reading HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is a database that influences page layout, styles, and interactive interface elements.
  • Know programming languages – we are talking about the ones used in the organization, more often in the list of PHP, Python, Ruby, Java, Perl, and C#.
  • Understand the framework – of course, for those languages that have to write code, for example, Django under Python, Yii2 under PHP or Node.js under JavaScript.
  • Understand the design of databases – it will be necessary for manual creation, editing or even restoration of database sites, and cloud programs.
  • Work in Linux – plus be able to deploy Docker/Kubernetes if you have to run applications in containers representing an alternative to hardware virtualization.

How to learn the basics of web development

It is advisable to study programming step by step, starting from the basics. And every success is recommended to put in a portfolio to preserve the history of development and to detail what skills the specialist has. The first thing to learn is to make a layout with HTML and CSS, creating interactive JavaScript modules. It is a «base», which began to be used 20 years ago, but it remains valid until now.

The learning process requires continuous improvement of skills.


Recommendations for training


  1. It is worth studying in detail web developer vacancies, and highlighting the required skills, especially on high-paying offers.
  2. Focus on popular frameworks, and languages such as React, Vue, Laravel, Ruby, NodeJS, Python, and Java.
  3. You will need the basics of PHP, and the ability to use systems such as Git, Figma or Zeppelin to create prototypes.
  4. The acquired skills must be fixed in practice, for example, to launch your project, where to implement interesting ideas.
  5. Helps in the development of the study of foreign code, many programmers use ready-made blocks, adapting them to their tasks, this speeds up the development process.
  6. Registration and active participation in the communities of professionals necessarily, communication with like-minded, professionals positively affect the development of the specialist.


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