The internet is huge. It has over 1.5 billion websites, with more getting added everyday. What’s more, it is only going to get bigger, as business comes online, which means there is always going to be a demand for people to help build it.
If you are interested in building a career riding this wave, a job in web development may be the right fit for you. This is valid across the world, but especially true for New Zealand where lack of skilled professionals in technology makes this a highly lucrative career choice to pursue.
What is more, getting started in web development is easy; all you require is a good internet connection and some learning up your sleeve, and you are good to go.
But, what is web development and how do you get started? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. From what exactly constitutes web development to what you need to do in order to become one, and even the scope of job opportunities that lie ahead, we have created an exhaustive resource to help answer all questions you may have about pivoting to this career choice.
Let’s dive right into it!
Q: What is a web developer?
Simply put, web developers are individuals who take a static visual design or an idea and turn it into a functional website that people can visit and engage with.
In terms of process, there are three different ones at play:
- Back end web development: Back end web development involves managing the parts of the website that users don’t see. This involves managing the server, different applications and databases, to ensure each component interacts smoothly with another.
- Full Stack Development: Combine the skills of front end development and back end development, and you end up with full stack development, a process that involves building and managing a website in its entirety.
Q: What doe a web developer do?
While working on a website, it’s a developer’s job to turn the clients vision into reality. A typical role and responsibilities roster of a website developer may look something like this:
- Meeting clients to understand the needs of a website
- Creating responsive web applications
- Write code for the website, using programming languages such as HTML or XML
- Developing server-side of the software
- Work with other team members to determine what information the site will contain
- Work with designers to determine the website’s layout
Q: How do I get there? What are the first steps to becoming a web developer?
From the three processes mentioned above, it is upto you to decide which path excites you the most. We would , however, recommend acing the front end fundamentals first.
The absolute first step to that end would be to start learning two coding languages —HTML and CSS. While HTML or Hypertext Markup Language is the standard markup language for making webpages, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets,) is a style sheet language a style sheet language used for describing the presentation of a document written in a markup language like HTML.
Once you have learnt these languages, you can then look at widening the scope of your learning. For example, if you are interested in back development, you may want to learn Python, or PHP. A good working knowledge of design and graphics can also help a web developer take their work to the next well.
Q: How much time will it take to learn these skills?
Begin with investing your time in the basic skills we mentioned and technically speaking, the process of becoming a developer can be accomplished in a few months.
Q: Do I need to have a degree in computer science to be a web developer?
Having a degree can be useful, but since web development is largely dependent on skills, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t get hired without one, if you take the time to learn the skills necessary.
What’s more, New Zealand currently has a talent shortage vis a vis jobs in technology, design and science, and to close this gap, more than a hundred companies have signed an open letter written, where they have committed to hiring skilled talent who may not have a degree, but possess the requisite skills.
So, if you are really interested in pursuing this line of work, we would recommend ditching the degree route (unless you have 2-4 years at your disposal) and getting started on learning. The internet has many online tutorials that you could get started with, or you could consider joining tech accelerators like the one we run at Mission Ready HQ where you’ll not just learn the requisite skills, but be certified and job ready in 3 months.
Q: How much can I hope to earn once I have acquired these skills?
Like all tech jobs, job opportunities in web development are slated to grow 13 percent over the next ten years, much faster than the average for all occupations, on account of rising popularity of mobile phone usage and e-commerce.
According to payscale.com, an early career web developer with less than 1 year experience can expect to earn an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of NZ$46,345. This usually rises to NZ$53,832 per year for those with more than a year of experience.
It’s also worth remembering that salaries usually vary with respect to experience, location, skills etc. So, in order to estimate what you can hope to make, we would also recommend using a tool like Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth took, where you can calculate this based on your own situation.