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Becoming a web developer

TL;DR: Web development is not that mysterious, and it’s not rocket science either!

Web development refers to the work done to build websites or web applications.

It might sound like rocket science when you hear about it for the first time, though.

At least that was the case for me.

And if you don’t have programming experience or a computer science background, you might turn around and walk the other way.

But wait!

You can easily fix that knowledge gap.

Most programming-related courses leave the responsibility of learning the prerequisite knowledge to you.

They are kind of like “Come back when you’re ready!”.

And sometimes they don’t even mention the prerequisites, and let you be confused for a while and learn it the hard way.

Decoding Web Development aims to help you fix the knowledge gap and provide you the background to understand those complex-looking topics.

It’ll help you draw the whole picture in your mind, and understand the advanced topics along the way.

The First Steps

Why you should consider web development

I assume you’ve already set out to step into this unknown and “mysterious” world. However, to pump you up, let’s begin with a few reasons to be a web developer today.

Job market

Web development is quite hot these days, and it seems it will be for a long time.

There are growing lists of open positions on various job boards, awaiting talented developers to get them.

At the same time, the gap between “Market Needs” and the availability of qualified candidates is widening.

This is a big challenge for recruiters and companies who need people.

Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the web developer job market experiences an 8% growth between 2019 and 2029.

If you are curious about the average growth rate for other professions, it is 5%!

Salaries

According to Glassdoor, the average base pay of a full-time back-end developer in the United States is $101,619 a year. It can go up to $160k a year, depending on the role and experience.

The average salary of a full-time front-end developer is $76,929 a year in the United States, going up to $131K a year.

Web developer salaries also differ based on the responsibility, experience, and geographical location.

To get more information on web developer salaries, you can check out Glassdoor’s salary page.

Remote work

Technically, a web developer can work from anywhere as far as the internet works.

Remote work (remixed), Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

When Covid-19 hit the world at the beginning of 2020, many tech companies, such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook, told the employees they could work from home indefinitely.

These rules might change at some point, but it’s a good sign.

You can bring your ideas to life

Even if you don’t want to be a full-time employee or a freelancer, you can work on your own business ideas.

Many people had interesting ideas but never got the chance to make it happen because either they couldn’t do it themselves or couldn’t find a partner.

It can change your life.

You don’t need a university degree

Having a Bachelor’s degree is becoming a “preferred” qualification by many reputable employers and is no longer a requirement.

The web industry is evolving outside of the academic space; It’s happening in startups, high-tech companies, and open-source communities.

Besides, universities aren’t technically able to update their subjects with cutting-edge technologies (probably owing to their internal bureaucracy).

It’s one of the reasons universities are becoming interested in offering online courses (certificates included) on educational platforms, such as Coursera.

When you apply for a web developer role, having an online portfolio or related experience is equivalent to having a university degree.

In an interview, especially if you’ve made it to the technical round, what you have to say works better than any paper qualifications.

How long does it take to learn web development?

There’s no finish line in the computer industry.

It’s about using the little you know to make great products.

Nobody is expected to know everything, and nobody does anyway.

Plus, You don’t have to master every feature of a tool to use it. 

Things you don’t use, you’ll likely forget, so it’s better to invest in learning what you need now.

If you understand the fundamental concepts, and you know where to look for details, you know enough.

Do you still need some numbers?

Well, you can make a simple web page in a day and a simple yet fully functional website in less than a month.

The question is, how much do you need to learn.

Topics I cover throughout this guide have a similar structure; I briefly introduce a concept, then I use technical terms to improve your technical vocabulary. Don’t fear the tech jargon. though. 

It’s just to spark your curiosity and get your ears familiar with those terms and increase your confidence at the same time.

Some topics have code samples. However, you don’t have to understand every bit of it. This is not a programming book, after all!

Are you ready?

Let’s dive in.

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