Web Development is the work involved in developing a website for the Internet (World Wide Web) or an intranet (a private network) and can range from developing a simple single static page of plain text to complex web applications, electronic businesses, and social network services. In other words, web development is concerned with the process of building accessible interfaces for web and mobile applications. There are approximately 1.3 billion websites on the Internet, and a new one is launched every three seconds. The average web developer in Canada got an average salary of about CAD$55,623, and the Canadian Job Bank projects an estimated 10,400 new job openings (both from expansion demand and replacement demand) for Web designers and developers over the period 2022-2031. It's an exciting time to get into this creative and well-paid profession, so let's pause to look at the career path and areas of specialization you might consider as a web developer.

Web Development Specializations/Career Paths

Front-End Web Development

Front-end developers create the look and feel of a website or application. It is also the front-end developer's job to capture a client's website's brand and vision through code. You'll work with designers and back-end developers to achieve this. You'll manipulate fonts, colours, menus, and interactive components using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (or any other language used within a tech stack) and debug those components.

Skills: Front-end developers specialize in front-end frameworks. We refer to the front end of a website or application as the "client side" because it is the part the clients (end users) interact with.

A front-end developer might know(depending on your organization's tech stack):

Responsive Web Design
React JS
Computer science fundamentals
Testing techniques and tools

Day to day A day in the life of a front-end developer will involve regular meetings with the dev and design teams to discuss new projects, get updates on current projects/tasks, and discuss and break down large tasks into sub-tasks delegated to members or groups. You might answer help desk tickets if your company uses them, spend time coding out your assigned tasks, researching and learning new technologies, debugging code, and doing maintenance work on existing assets.

Most front-end developers work with a team, regardless of whether they're at a startup or a large company. If they freelance, they'll likely work with some kind of team but probably less actively than they might at a company. Freelance front-end developers will add operational and managerial tasks to their daily to-do lists, including networking, marketing, time management, and bookkeeping.

Back-End Web Development

Back-end developers configure the servers and databases that power a website or application. As a back-end developer, you'll work with other developers and designers to power the front end of the website. You'll be the architect behind the beautifully-designed site. You might code based on a plan another developer or designer has created or create it yourself. You should also know enough front-end knowledge to connect the front end to the back. Required skills: A back-end developer specializes in working with databases, logic, and server-side languages. We refer to the back-end of a website or application as the "server-side" because it's the component that communicates with the server.

A back-end developer might know:

Ruby on Rails
Software architecture
Databases and SQL
Testing techniques and tools
Computer Science Fundamentals
SQL Server

Full-Stack Web Development

Full-stack developers are knowledgeable in every web development level: front-end and back-end. This is particularly useful if you are interested in freelancing and for those who enjoy working in smaller firms. As a full-stack developer, you'll work with other developers and designers to create websites or applications. You'll have a hand in each part of the website's design and development. You'll plan, code, coordinate, and/or multi-task depending on where your career leads you.

Required skills: A full-stack developer doesn't have just one specialization. They're multi-talented and a high-level doer and thinker. You may think of a 'stack' in the term "full-stack" as the technical components used to create a complete application. So full-stack developers know and work with each layer of the stack.

A full-stack developer might know: - HTML - CSS - JavaScript - Ruby - ReactJS - Node.js - Ruby on Rails - Babel - Webpack - Computer Science Fundamentals - APIs, Databases, and Servers - MongoDB - Express - Angular - Vue - Symfony - MySQL

Most full-stack developers work with a team, whether they're at a startup or a large company. If they're working freelance, they'll likely be building an entire application, website, or component by themselves. However, they'll still need to communicate with their client as they would a team but in more lay terms. Freelance full-stack developers will also have managerial and operational tasks on their daily to-do lists, including networking, marketing, time management, and bookkeeping. Full-stack developers typically rise through the ranks quickly. They might be put in charge of a small team relatively early on and, depending on their responsibilities at work, can find themselves well-positioned to become a project manager.

The choice of the area of web development to specialize in will come down to your core interests as well as other external factors, such as career opportunities - either in your locality or within your organization. An artistic person with a passion for tech might like to specialize in the front end, while someone with a passion for coding might prefer the back end. Your company might suddenly have an opening for an area you might not have had an interest, and you might feel up to the challenge. The industry is fast-moving, with many exciting opportunities always coming up. Let your passion guide you while also paying attention to developments within the industry.

Skills of a Successful Developer

An impressive portfolio and solid grasp of HTML could land you the job. But there are other qualities that will help propel your career forward, and they can’t be taught in a one-hour Youtube tutorial.

The following four skills will set you up to excel in the field of web development. Maybe these come naturally to you; but if they don’t, you can hone your eye for detail, logical problem-solving, creativity and communication with every site you build.

Attention to detail: Even the most minute typo can lead to a 404. Programmers learn to re-read their code multiple times as they check for errors and look for efficiencies. It takes patience, laser-focus, and an ability to look at your own work with an objective eye.

Logical thinking: Programming languages operate on rules and definitions. If you’re naturally skilled at thinking through problems logically, you’ll pick up these languages much more quickly. As you see them in action, you’ll develop a knack for breaking down statements into their core parts and predicting logical outcomes.

Creativity: Developers are responsible for finding the most elegant solution for the end-user. As you take on more complex projects, you’ll find that there is rarely one answer to a problem: you may have multiple avenues at your disposal, and it takes a creative mind to imagine how they’ll each perform.

Communication: Whether you’re part of an extensive engineering department or going solo as a contractor, you’ll need to communicate to stakeholders or team members throughout your projects. Remain open to ideas from designers, clients, and others on your team, and speak up if you anticipate roadblocks. Promoting open lines of communication will lead to a better finished product, and help you improve as a developer.

Responsibilities of a Developer

The responsibilities of a web developer usually extend beyond writing scripts. Your role could entail any or all of the following duties (in addition to the actual programming part).

Meeting with clients: You may need to meet face-to-face with customers to fully understand what they’re looking for, and communicate with them throughout the project - especially if you work for a small organization or as a freelancer.

Customer research: If your company’s already completed extensive customer research and surveys, you may have to look at this data first-hand to understand the context before you start building out the project.

Partner with other teams: Your company is probably going to be made up of UX designers, data analysts, project managers, and product designers. You will most likely end up working with all of these teams at one point or another to ensure the site is aesthetically appealing and collects the right user data.

Quality testing: Testing is a huge part of the development process. You’ll troubleshoot your own work, check for bugs, and run tests on multiple browsers and devices before your site or app goes live.