How to Start a Career in Web Development
Are you looking to start a career as a web developer? If so, you found the perfect blog post. We delve into what is web development, highlight the lucrative salaries, and what lies in the future. The best part, however, is you enjoying a successful web dev career with the tips we share today.
This article comes in handy whether you are just starting out, already hold a salaried job, or looking to revive your freelance web development career. Pick areas you need to improve, and get to work. Do you think you need more education? Go get it. Do you need to market yourself more? Just do it.
You’re awesome, and deserve the best job and life, so if that sounds great, walk with me.
What is Web Development?
If you’re the perfect beginner, you might be wondering what web development is all about. Well, web development is all about building websites. Simple as that. It doesn’t matter what the website does, but if you can build a usable website, you’re a web developer.
The most employable web developer is the person who can take a mere idea and convert it into a functional website. As such, a web developer is the guy (or girl) who has the passion, skills and capability to transmute the client’s dream website into reality.
What if you aren’t an absolute beginner?
Can you install WordPress (or any other CMS) and create a remarkable website using a theme and plugins? If so, you’re a web developer. Can you code a monstrous website from the ground up without using platforms such as WordPress? Of course, you’re a web developer.
As long as you can build a usable website, you’re a web developer. Let nobody tell you otherwise. If you’d like to specialize in programming languages, well and good. But in today’s world, where you don’t need coding knowledge to build a website, anybody can be a web developer!
But you aren’t here because you want to be a mere web developer. You here because you want to be the best web developer of them all, and create a successful career while at it. If we are on the same page, let us talk about the money.
How Much Do Web Developers Make?
How much you rake in as a web developer depends on your character, skills and experience. If you suck as a person, your skills and experience won’t help you keep the job. If you’re a great person, but lack the skills and experience, somebody else will take your job.
Still, how much do professional web developers make? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, web developers earn a median salary of about $70,000 per annum. That offers you a nice picture of what the industry offers, keeping in mind the highest 10% of web devs make more than $125,000 per year.
But before you do the money dance dreaming how you will hold up or throw stacks of money, do you have what it takes to become a successful web developer? What skills do you need, and how do you go from zero to hero in web development? That’s why we are here, isn’t it? See you in the next section ?
Best Tips to a Successful Web Development Career
The world is full of self-taught freelance web developers, and they are killing it, but to rise up the ranks in a salaried job, you must take a different route. Still, at the end of the day, there are steps you can take to start, revive and grow a web development career, whether you freelance or work for the man.
Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, let us hear the drum roll.
Get the Right Education
Whether you’re a freelancer or employed, getting the right education is one of the simplest ways of starting and building a successful career in web development. You can self-teach yourself into a fantastic web development career, but let’s be honest, formal education gives you an upper hand.
Or as Maryville University puts it, “It’s an exciting time to build a future in the global design industry. Every advancement in technology changes the way creative professionals think and work — and pushes designers to new heights of sophistication. That means the design and digital media field is shifting to appeal to evolving sensibilities, and businesses are looking to build the modern aesthetic to thrive.”
In other words, an online degree in web development or a related field helps you to build a strong knowledge foundation in a structured setting. This quintessential foundation is vital when learning new skills to adapt to a changing work environment.
Recruiters are infamous for always asking if you have the experience for the job. If you have a couple of web projects under the belt, you can prove your expertise. What if you’re starting out, and have zero work experience? What do you do?
It’s easy, work on personal projects. Create your own website and get it going. Volunteer in your local community to help out charitable organizations. Work on side projects on your free time. Just practice amigo.
Eat, drink and live web development. Clearly you have the passion, but what is holding you back from gaining valuable experience by working on personal and side projects? If you want to work in an office, apply for internships and get the experience.
Don’t just sit there doing nothing living a dream in your head. Instead, get to work whether you’re getting paid or not. Provided you have the tools (which is usually a computer), start building your own websites, and learning from your mistakes. In simpler terms, work on your skills daily.
That’s the only way you gain experience; by hours and hours of practice. This reminds me of the 10,000-hour rule that’s discussed in the Outliers book by Malcolm Gladwell. The principle says that if you put 10,000 hours into any endeavor, you’ll be successful.
Create a Portfolio
You create (or will be creating) websites, and nobody can find you online? You must be kidding me. Nowadays, potential employers use the internet to find suitable candidates. Well, and just to be fair, employers use other recruiting channels as well, but the web is somewhere at the top of the list.
Remember all those personal projects you worked on to gain experience? Did you volunteer to create a fabulous website for a cause dear to you? Did you contribute to an open-source project because you’re awesome like that? Post all these websites on your portfolio website.
Then make sure employers know you’re available for work by adding a contact or hire page. Basically, you’re a web developer, so create yourself a fantastic portfolio website to market your skills, which leads us to the next point.
Do you want to grow as a web developer? Then you must be comfortable selling your skills. It doesn’t matter whether you freelance or work a 9-to-5, if you nobody knows what you do, nobody will hire you. Get your name out there whatever the cost. Just don’t be the annoying or spammy guy nobody likes.
Network with fellow web developers offline and online because no man is an island. Attend web development events and webinars, and strive to create your own network. Create an email list too while at it, because – as fellow marketers say – the real money is in the email list.
Make social media marketing, SEO, PPC and other forms of marketing your friend and let potential employers know you exist and excited for more work. Guest blog, print business cards, write press releases or send out snail mail if you must, just get your name out there.
A career in web development is as exciting as it is lucrative. It’s perfect for anybody with the passion, regardless of your current skillset. All you to do is get the right education, gain experience, create an astounding portfolio and market yourself like your livelihood depended on it. See what I did there?
Then be an awesome person and a professional web developer. That means you must work on your interpersonal skills if you’re lacking in that area. Or time and project management. Or budgeting. Or whatever area you must improve. Just be an awesome web developer already; the world needs more.
Let us know your thoughts.
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