Web Development Roadmap: How to become a Web Developer?
By Vivek Mannotra, Community Contributor - August 14, 2023
The scope of web development in 2023-2024 is diverse, encompassing various industries, technologies, and specializations.
From traditional web design and development to emerging fields like online gaming, Web3, IOT, and AI integration, there are numerous avenues for aspiring and experienced web developers. Starting a web developer career in 2023 is especially difficult because AI-based coding systems are available in the market that can do the job of many developers at once.
However, the need for developers has remained the same but only shifted the focus of hiring folks to people who can command control of these new tools to gain technical leverage.
- What is Web Development? (Roles and Specialization)
- Overview of a Typical Web Development Roadmap
- Front-End vs. Back-End vs. Full-Stack Development
- Web Development Roadmap in 2023
- 1. Learning Core Web Technologies
- 2. Learn about types of Web Applications
- 3. Building Tool Stacks for Web
- 4. Testing
- 5. Deployment
What is Web Development? (Roles and Specialization)
Web Development refers to a broad set of activities related to programming, testing, deploying, and maintaining websites and web apps. The term is used most frequently as a job role in a context where a company, institution, or individual is developing a website.
A web developer is a professional responsible for designing, coding, and modifying websites or web applications, tailoring them to a client’s requirements, and ensuring functionality, usability, and accessibility.
The roles, salary, and type of work for web developers may vary based on their specialization, location, experience, education, and the type of company. It can include:
Web Developers can find work in specialized areas based on their skills in areas such as:
- UX/UI Design: Focus on user experience and interface design.
- SEO: Understand search engine optimization.
- Web Accessibility: Study the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
- Internationalization and Localization: Managing content on the website and helping make it more relevant for a language or area.
Web development has a more approachable learning curve when compared to other application development paradigms. As a result, the barrier to entry for starting a career in Web Development is relatively low.
However, more than learning the basics of web development is needed to secure a high-paying job in the job market, which is highly competitive and constantly changing.
Overview of a Typical Web Development Roadmap
Web development is an extensive area of work, especially because web-based solutions help manage systems and processes across all industries using the internet. This openness can be attractive and daunting at the same time.
To help grasp the role better, here is a typical journey that a web developer will take over their career:
- Education: A degree in Computer Science or equivalent technical background is nice but optional. Many web developers get started with online courses, tutorials, and self-guided learning.
- Building a Portfolio: Creating a personal portfolio by working on small personal projects, or contributing to open-source initiatives, demonstrates skills and can make a candidate more attractive to employers.
- Entry-Level Position: Starting as a junior web developer, a new professional will likely work under the guidance of a more experienced developer, learning best practices and beginning to contribute to real-world projects.
- Specialization: As skills grow, a developer may specialize in a certain area, such as Front-End Development, Back-End Development, or Full-Stack Development.
- Mid-Level Development: With experience, a web developer may move into a mid-level position, taking on more responsibilities, leading smaller projects, and mentoring junior team members.
- Networking and Community Involvement: Engaging with local or online developer communities, attending conferences, and contributing to industry discussions can lead to personal growth and new opportunities.
- Senior-Level and Leadership Roles: As a senior developer, leadership in technical decision-making, architecture design, and team management become integral parts of the role.
- Continuous Learning and Adaptation: Web development is a constantly evolving field. Successful developers often dedicate time to learn new technologies, methodologies, and best practices to stay current and competitive.
- Potential Career Transitions: Some web developers eventually move into related fields such as project management, product management, UX/UI design, or even start their own development agency or tech start-up.
- Optional Certifications: While not necessary, obtaining certifications in specific technologies or methodologies can enhance credibility and demonstrate expertise in a specialized area.
There is no threshold time limit required for you to learn web development, however, different job roles will have different criteria for the level of experience needed for a role.
In the best-case scenario, it is possible to learn the basics of web development, create some basic projects and land an entry-level job within a few months. However, most job interviewers will ask in-depth technical questions that might cover deeper concepts that take more work to grasp quickly.
Breaking down the Web Development Roadmap further can make it more approachable for beginners.
Front-End vs. Back-End vs. Full-Stack Development
Your web application lives inside a suitable host environment, from where it is delivered to a client environment over TCP/IP in the following steps :
- Client or the “Front-End” makes an HTTP request to the host domain/IP with a request URL and some meta-data in form of HTTP headers.
- Server or “Back-End” receives the request and decides what type of response and metadata to send back to the client.
- The client receives a response and renders it as a webpage inside the browser tab.
So in the loading of a single webpage, the client initiates the transaction, the server validates the request and decides how to fulfill it, and finally, the client receives a response with which the data transaction is completed.
This separation of systems into Front-End and Back-End is the basis of understanding the Internet’s development, delivery, performance, and security landscape. Both in technical and conceptual terms.
The three types of web development are derived from this:
- Back-End Development: Developing the core system that can receive requests, access databases, perform computation, and handle multiple clients simultaneously. It could be a static, dynamic, or hybrid system.
- Front-End Development: This involves coding the responses received by clients, usually in the form of HTML pages with multiple dependencies, UI elements, hyperlinks, etc. It focuses on building an instance of the website/application that can be consumed in the client environment.
- Full-Stack Developmen : Full-Stack Development refers to the comprehensive handling of both front-end and back-end development. A Full-Stack Developer has the skills to work on both the client-side and server side of the application, managing the complete data flow between the user and the server.
Each web development area has unique characteristics, advantages, and challenges. Choosing between Front-End, Back-End, or Full-Stack development depends on your project needs, career goals, or team structure.
- If you are more inclined toward visual design and user interaction, Front-End development might be for you.
- If you enjoy working on logical problems, handling data, web servers and server-side operations, Back-End development may be a suitable path.
- Full-Stack development offers that opportunity if you want to handle both aspects and comprehensively view the entire web development process.
Follow-Up Read: DevOps Engineer vs Full Stack Developer: Differences
Web Development Roadmap in 2023
If you’re looking to become a web developer, having a clear roadmap is essential to guide you through the myriad technologies and concepts you’ll need to understand.
All web developers have some things in common, but they’re also unique based on the problem they are working on and their approach to solving it.
Here are the common steps in a typical Web Development journey roadmap:
1. Learning Core Web Technologies
The first step is to learn the underlying core technologies that make up the world wide web and its contents. It includes:
- Core Web Languages i.e. HTML, CSS and JS
- Protocols like TCP/IP, HTTP/HTTPS, FTP, SMTP etc.
- Basics of Web Semantics, Accessibility, and Usability
2. Learn about types of Web Applications
Learn what types of applications are suitable for your use case, or if you are a student, understand the most commonly deployed types of applications on the web like:
- Static HTML pages: Web pages that have fixed content and display the same information to every visitor without any real-time interaction or updates.
- Server-Side Apps: Applications that run on the server and dynamically generate content, typically using languages like PHP, Python, or Java, which is sent to the client’s browser.
- Single Page Apps: Web applications that load a single HTML page and dynamically update content as the user interacts with the app, offering a smoother user experience.
- Progressive Web Apps: Web applications that provide a native-app-like experience on the web, with features like offline access, push notifications, and fast loading times.
- Hybrid Apps: Mobile applications built using web technologies that can run both on web browsers and as native apps on various mobile platforms, offering a blend of web and native functionalities.
3. Building Tool Stacks for Web
Since the web is a decentralized platform, it offers numerous ways to do the same thing, with many libraries, frameworks, and other assistive technologies available to ease any complex task.
A web developer requires enough knowledge to be able to plan tool stacks that can be used to tackle the challenge at hand appropriately. For example, some popular tools are used for various web dev tasks:
- Frameworks and Libraries: React, Angular, Vue.js, etc., help build dynamic, responsive designs.
- CSS Pre-processors: Tools like Sass and Less make styling more maintainable.
- Package Managers: NPM, PIP or Yarn for managing libraries and dependencies.
- Build Tools: Webpack, Gulp, or Grunt for automating tasks and optimizing code.
- Testing Tools: Jest, Mocha, and Jasmine for unit and integration testing.
- Developer Tools: Browsers’ built-in developer tools for debugging and performance tuning.
- Programming Languages: Java, Python, PHP, Ruby, and more.
- Frameworks: Spring, Django, Express.js for rapid development.
- Database Solutions: SQL databases like MySQL or PostgreSQL; NoSQL databases like MongoDB.
- Web Servers: Nginx, Apache for handling HTTP requests and managing static content.
- Authentication Tools: OAuth, JWT for security and user authentication.
- API Tools: Tools for creating and testing RESTful or GraphQL APIs.
Thorough testing ensures that the code runs smoothly and meets quality standards.
- Unit Testing: Using frameworks like Jest, Mocha, or Jasmine to test individual components.
- Integration Testing: Running locally or on BrowserStack Live to test interactions between different application parts.
- End-to-End Testing: Selenium, Cypress, BrowserStack Automate and Percy for simulating user behavior and testing the whole flow.
- Responsiveness Testing: Testing adaptability across various devices, browsers, and user conditions using tools like BrowserStack Live, and Responsive.
- Accessibility Testing: Testing for compatibility with screen readers, web crawlers, and other assistive modes.
- Performance Testing: Tools like BrowserStack App Performance to test the application’s performance under load.
includes everything required to get the application live online.
- Version Control: Learn Git to manage code versions and contributions across branches.
- Containerization: Docker to package the application with all its dependencies.
- Orchestration Tools: Kubernetes for managing containerized applications.
- CI/CD: Jenkins, GitLab CI, Travis CI for automating the build, test, and deploy process.
- Cloud Providers: AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud to host the application.
- Monitoring and Analytics: Tools like Prometheus and Google Analytics for tracking performance and user engagement.
Please note that the technologies mentioned here are popular suggestions; there are many more options for you to explore.
Becoming a web developer is a journey that requires a blend of technical expertise, creativity, problem-solving, and continuous learning.
A great portfolio is the best way to ensure your skills and aspirations are properly communicated to the hiring professionals. Here is how to get started:
- Create personal or freelance projects to showcase your skills.
- Collaborate and contribute to exciting projects on GitHub.
- Create a decent Resume/CV, or even better, an online webpage as a dynamic profile.
- If you live in an area with companies, you can try networking and attending meetups, conferences, and workshops.
- For online applications, tailor your resume and apply for positions based on your preferred style, like job portals, freelance projects, research-based projects etc.
Aspiring web developers can build a successful career in this dynamic and ever-growing field by focusing on the fundamentals, choosing the right path, mastering the necessary languages and frameworks, and adhering to industry best practices.
It’s not just about the tools you learn but how you apply them, adapt to changes, and continually strive to improve that defines success in web development.
Follow-Up Read: Top 12 Skills Every Mobile Application Tester Needs