How to Become a Web DeveloperOverview Skills, Knowledge, and Attributes Training & Certification Career Paths Work Environment Compensation F.A.Q Explore Courses
How to Become a Web Developer
By: Jon Cook
Last updated: August 26, 2022
It’s nearly impossible to live today without the Internet or at least being touched or interacting with it on some level. Everything is digital, from newspapers to pay stubs. The Internet of Things (IoT) is now a thing and we surf the web without any thought of just how ubiquitous search engines and web pages have become. But someone built those systems, pages, and applications, and they likely got paid to do it.
Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about how to become a web developer, including: the sort of work opportunities and working conditions to expect; the skills, knowledge and personal attributes that are in high-demand; the best learning opportunities across Canada and common pathways into the industry; plus, how developers are compensated for helping “build the Internet.”
Skills, Knowledge, and Attributes
With HTML and CSS expertise and experience in-hand, web developers usually branch out into new programming languages and specialized skills. Popular programming languages today include: Python, SQL, Java, Node.js, Typescript, C++, C#, and PHP among others.
Developers can then build Content Management Systems (CMS) from scratch or design, create and customize websites and webpages within a popular CMS such as WordPress, HubSpot, Squarespace, Shopify, Joomla, or Drupal.
As critical as technical skills are, web developers should also possess other more transferable skills including: communication, problem solving, project management, teamwork, attention to detail, time management, and organization.
Being a web developer requires a steady focus and patient commitment to problem solving, and may entail many hours of solitary work.
Knowledge of how to use coding systems such as Git are also critical for developers. Git is a Version Control System (VCS), which is a platform that allows you to create and store code and track changes so you can go back to previous versions of your code. Microsoft Word is a different kind of VCS, allowing users to see updates and edits to their text. GitHub is a large platform that allows developers using Git to collaborate and share their work. It operates as a community for programmers and is a popular destination for open-source software.
Training & Certification
It used to be that a web developer needed to complete a four-year computer science degree, but today many employers are hiring people with coding bootcamp certificates or similar microcredentials from universities and colleges.
A smaller percentage of web developers are self-taught and find work as contractors and freelancers, which has been aided by the emergence of the gig economy after the 2008 global financial crisis.
Like all digital-economy jobs, web developers need to constantly be upgrading their skills by learning new programming languages and familiarizing themselves with new platforms and databases. In addition, it’s helpful to learn the basics of visual web design and UX as well, with some pursuing UX design courses, as well as possessing an understanding project management and product lifecycles. The broader the skillset, the faster you will rise up the ranks as a web developer into more senior technical or managerial roles.
This six-week course equips students with the fundamental tools of Web Development. You’ll master the concepts of Front and Back-end Web Development, and by the end of the course, you’ll be creating beautiful and responsive web projects. Interested in learning … Continue reading →
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In this program, you’ll learn all the job skills, tools, and processes you need to become a qualified full-stack web developer—with a job guarantee to boot. You’ll receive individualized mentorship through CareerFoundry’s dual mentorship model that pairs you with not … Continue reading →
The program prepares students for a career as a Web Developer, Freelancer, or Entrepreneur. It’s an intensive, collaborative, and rewarding learning experience where no two days are the same, and students apply what is learned in real-time through project-based work. … Continue reading →
An immersive remote learning environment, this 30-week web development program leverages flexibility and convenience to improve accessibility. It gives you the fundamental knowledge, real-world experience, and critical soft skills you need to kickstart a rewarding career as a full-stack developer— … Continue reading →
Web Development is designed to teach students who are new to web development basic web skills. This course will teach both HTML and CSS as well as the Bootstrap framework. By the end of this course, students will have a firm … Continue reading →
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The technology industry is experiencing fast-paced growth, offering numerous opportunities to ambitious individuals. Through this multidisciplinary program, students will become familiar with a range of technical skills including Linux; virtualization and cloud computing; Java and SQL, and much more. In … Continue reading →
General Assembly is accepting applications only from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia. At General Assembly you can get the skills, career advice and networking opportunities needed to make a career change into Software Engineering, in … Continue reading →
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BrainStation’s Python for Data Science training is designed to provide individuals with the Python programming fundamentals needed for a career in data. One of the most widely used programming languages, Python is the language of choice among Back-End Developers, Data … Continue reading →
Work towards a career in blockchain development by participating in experiential learning activities that solve real-world blockchain challenges with this comprehensive, accelerated three-month program. Professionals looking to develop their blockchain development skill set or graduates of full-stack web development programs … Continue reading →
Learn the foundational skills for software application development. This hands-on program covers key topics including a variety of programming languages, web application development, mobile application development, systems analysis, database design, quality assurance testing, technical writing, and communication skills. What You’ll … Continue reading →
The Certificate in Full-stack Web Development is for anyone who wants to learn to build exceptional websites and gain a holistic understanding of how websites are designed to meet business needs. This program is well suited for people with a … Continue reading →
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects web developer jobs will grow by 13 per cent through 2028, making this an attractive career for at least the next decade. In Canada, more than half of the roughly 11,000 web developer job openings expected through 2028 will be new jobs, which is double the rate of all other occupations (27 per cent), according to Job Bank data. Unless they are self-employed, most web developers find work for companies in computer- or web-related fields such as IT and ecommerce. Other work options are in finance, insurance, real estate services, telecommunications, media, and education.
Key technological changes, like Blockchain and virtual reality, will also continue to stoke demand for web developers, as rapid innovation forces firms to adapt quickly and upgrade their IT infrastructure and websites. In addition, the growth of e-commerce and the further integration of data science and analytics as well as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and automation will require web developers to augment their skills to meet increased client expectations.
Most web developers begin in junior roles working mostly on the front-end, public-facing parts of websites, primarily employing HTML programming skills. From there they can work their way into more senior positions, likely working on the back end of websites or becoming full-stack developers. As your role becomes more senior, you will likely manage teams of less experienced developers or even transition to an executive role such as a chief technology officer (CTO), where you’ll be responsible for creating policies, procedures, and goals for the development teams and guiding your company’s development of and investment in new technology.
These developers work on the parts of websites, apps or programs that users interact with, which includes the layout, design, and interactive components.
These developers create and maintain the website’s infrastructure or parts that are behind the scenes such as databases, servers, networks, and platforms or anything that supports the website or app.
This role combines both front-end and back-end web development, which means these developers require a broader skillset and knowledge of programming languages. A full-stack developer course can help immensely, but this role will require considerable on-the-job training.
Data Scientist or Machine Learning Specialist
This job is a natural progression from web development as it requires programming skills and the ability to mine, compile, organize, and present large sets of data in user-friendly formats. Python has recently become one of the most popular programming languages among data scientists.
With online retail exploding during the pandemic, developers who build ecommerce platforms are in high demand. These developers usually have similar skills to full-stack developers, but also include more marketing and SEO knowledge.
As development teams have grown, so has demand for IT professionals who can oversee software developers and production staff to ensure code updates, releases and deployments are managed smoothly and efficiently. DevOps engineers or specialists are in-demand technical experts with project management and operations know-how that will help them demand high salaries in the future.
These workers design security systems to protect an organization’s network and servers from attacks from hackers and other groups or individuals, which requires extensive knowledge of how websites are build and function. (Read our in-depth guide on cybersecurity careers for more.)
Chief Technology Officer
These executive roles have become increasingly important with the rise of the internet and the acceleration of technological advancements over the past 25 years. A CTO is responsible for an organization’s technology needs and ensures the IT infrastructure supports business and product goals.
Web developers typically work in offices as part of technology teams with other developers. Common employers are tech and IT firms, banks, telecommunications companies, startups, ecommerce sites, media and entertainment organizations, and social media companies.
Developers also freelance, often working from home for clients in these same spaces. The hours tend to be long and concentrated around projects such as launching websites or new tech platforms. About 10 per cent of Canadian web developers freelance, according to a Brookfield Institute report. As a rising international tech hub, Canada has seen an explosion in startups in the past decade, which has increased demand for web developers. About 15 per cent of developers work for startups, according to the same Brookfield report, as doing meaningful work and growing with a company were cited as key career objectives.
Good time management and organizational skills will lead to better job experiences and help avoid burnout, as the remote nature of the job can be socially isolating at times. If you are employed by a web development shop you might be supporting a global clientele, who will expect you to work outside normal business hours, often in different time zones.
In Canada, web developers earn an average annual pre-tax salary of more than $79,000 based on a 35-hour work week, or a median salary of $55,000 according to Job Bank data. However, government statistics tend to be more conservative and often lag current conditions, especially in such a rapidly evolving sector.
ZipRecruiter pegs the average U.S. web developer salary considerably higher at US $75,000, with top developers earning more than U.S. $130,000. The average salaries for related web developer jobs such as web methods developer, Python web developer, and web applications engineer, tend to be even higher, ranging from US$120,000-$130,000.
Salaries also tend to be higher in major Canadian cities such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver where demand is greater. About 60 per cent of Canadian web developers are located in those three cities, according to a Brookfield Institute report.
The following are median annual salaries for various types of developer jobs, according to StackOverflow’s annual Developer Survey (all figures in US dollars):
|CTO (Chief Technology Officer)||$126,897|