How to Start a Career in Web Development

How to Start a Career in Web Development

Now that more individuals and businesses use digital platforms, web developers are becoming one of the most in-demand professionals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics even pointed out that the employment of web developers is expected to rise by 13% within the decade. Apart from that, web developers also earned a median annual wage of $77,200 in 2020.

Based on the BLS’ data, it seems that a career in web development has much to offer in terms of pay and opportunities. If this sounds like it’s up your alley, here’s how you can kickstart your web development career.

Find a web development specialization that suits you

There are many career options within the web development industry, so the first step you need to take is to find which specialization aligns with your interests. This crucial step will help you identify your career direction, as well as the fundamental skills that you need to master.

To illustrate, a web designer focuses on planning and creating web pages, so they’ll need to be skilled in coding and visual design. On the other hand, programmers translate service or application ideas into functional solutions on websites, which is why they’ll need to be proficient in a range of programming languages, planning software programs, and coding.

Learn the necessary skills for web development

After deciding on the specialization that you want to pursue, you need to work on cultivating the fundamental skills needed for the role. This ensures that you can carry out the necessary tasks for your daily work.

Case in point: web developers are expected to be proficient in the most popular programming languages. One of these is JavaScript, which allows you to create content, animations, and media to make interactive web pages. CSS is also a fundamental programming language that allows you to edit the aesthetics of webpages, while Python helps in website development, task automation, and data analysis.

Build up your experience through internships or gigs

Once you’ve learned the fundamental skills, you have to focus on building up your professional experience. This is a great way to master the harder web development skills. Plus, it also allows you to learn important soft skills as you start developing websites professionally.

You can try applying for internships through job boards, like LinkedIn, Indeed, or ZipRecruiter to start with. You can also opt to work independently by looking for freelance projects on websites like Upwork, Flexjobs, Fiverr, and TopTal. While these do sound like humble beginnings, you can eventually pick up skills and establish great working relationships with different clients.

Open up career opportunities by networking

As you’re building up your professional experience through internships and freelance work, you should take the opportunity to foster good working relationships with your clients. Building a professional network is vital as you’re starting out, since this can open up many opportunities with prospective employers.

However, it’s not just enough to stay in touch with people within the industry. You have to maximize your networking connections by introducing industry trends, sharing professional projects, or publicly discussing the best practices and new developments in the industry. By showing your depth of knowledge, your network can confidently recommend you to new clients as a valuable and experienced web developer.

Show off your skills by creating a portfolio site

Aside from networking, you can also gain potential clients by building your very own portfolio website. This website is not only a demonstration of your skills, it can also make it easier for potential clients to learn about how they contact you.

While creating your portfolio website, ensure that you have the necessary information that can promote your proficiency. For instance, you need to display your best work samples for homepages, custom 404 pages, CMS templates, and more. Furthermore, you need to have an “about me” page where you can display your educational and professional background as well as your contact information.

A career in web development can guarantee job stability and good pay, as long as you put in the effort. While every web developer’s journey is different, the above tips are a great strategy for developing your skills and network for a long and fruitful career.