how to become a website developer

What does a Website Developer do?

A website developer designs and creates websites. They may work on the website only until it goes live, or they may maintain all of the website’s technical aspects to include growing the site’s traffic. These developers may also create or manage their client’s web content to meet business goals. Ensuring websites are optimized for search engines is also important so they would be knowledgable of page load speed, content delivery networks, and conduct quality tests to ensure peak performance.

Watch a video to learn what a website developer does:

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How to Become a Website Developer

Though not necessary, an associate’s degree in web design or degree in a similar field is helpful to gain a position as a website developer. However, gaining a bachelor’s degree may increase your chances of landing a job as almost 50% of website developers reported having earned a bachelor’s degree. Almost 20% had earned a certification after high school and almost 20% earned an associate’s degree.

You would want to choose a degree program that would teach you how to code as well as design graphics. Though some website developers may be tasked to only code, it is more desirable to employers if a developer can do both. Most community colleges and even trade schools have programs and certifications for web designers.

Job Description of a Website Developer

A website developer designs visually appealing websites. Their goal is to get a client’s website rapidly seen or promoted online. A developer is also skilled in writing custom scripts for their clients using various scripting languages. They would have an understanding of HTML, CSS, and programming languages such as Javascript, PHP, or SQL. Knowing the foundations of coding is essential as employers may require specific programming language knowledge for their projects.

A website developer would likely create the entire website. Therefore, they would design the functional components, to include all the pages and the site layout. A skilled developer designs their client’s website with consideration to a specific market and creates innovative ways to showcase their customer’s services or products. The web developer assists their clients by suggesting ideas that may provide advantages over competitors websites. Because they help their clients grow their business or brand, they must also have the ability to build relationships with their clients.

A web developer designs websites to be easily assessable as well and should check their design and code to ensure it is accessible to all. Intuitive design is just as important as having quality code. Website developers usually work full time. However, their schedule could be flexible. These professionals may work as contractors on many projects, own their own small business developing sites for their own clients, or work for a design and development firm with a team of people.

Watch a video interview with a front end developer:

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Free Resources for Teachers and Students

The World Wide Web Consortium (also known as the W3C) offers a free course on called HTML5 and CSS Fundamentals (link opens in a new tab) to get you started in web design. This course is also part of the W3C’s “Front-End Web Developer” Professional Certificate. The W3C also offers another free course on called Introduction to Web Accessibility (link opens in a new tab). This course will help you learn how to “make your websites and apps work well for people with disabilities, meet international standards, and provide a better user experience for everyone.”

Video Transcript with Elaine Kamlley

[Elaine] What really impacts the most is the things we use every day, our phones, applications, technology, websites. Someone is building this and the people building it look like me or other people. They look like a diverse community. A developer is someone that takes coding languages and build websites and applications. I am a front end developer.

I’m working now on HTML and CSS and really trying to improve the way that the website I’m working on shows up on the Internet. Other times I am sitting on my computer trying to fix bugs, trying to center a column, or make a button look pretty. There is a ton to do. I really love it and also feel overwhelmed sometimes about that amount of work. If you really think that building the way that you access websites is really exciting for you then stick with it. I think it is a very rewarding job, to be able to show the world like, ‘hey look, I made this!’

Web Developer Career Video Transcript (top video)

Web developers have the unusual ability to think creatively while working with very structured information. If you enjoy exploring websites and want to work with both design and technical skills, web development may be the career for you. Web developers design the look and function of a website. They may develop content and work with customers or company leaders to define a website’s purpose, audience, and the needs it should meet. They often work in teams to determine how to organize and layout the website.

Developers use programming languages to build the website and integrate graphics, audio, and video. Some developers handle all aspects of a website’s construction, while others specialize in a certain aspect of it. Specialized web developers include web architects, who create the basic framework of the site and ensure that it provides users with the intended experience; web designers, who create the site’s layout and integrate graphics, applications; and webmasters, who ensure that websites function correctly and keep them updated.

Most web developers enter the field with an associate’s degree in web design or a related field, but skills in programming languages may be more important to employers than education credentials. Throughout their career, web developers must keep up to date on new tools and computer languages. A significant percentage of web developers are self-employed.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Web Developers.

National Center for O*NET Development. 15-1134.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

Interview with a Front End Developer: The career video is in the Public Domain and originally hosted on which is now, an interagency product administered by USAGov, a division of the U.S. General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Service.

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