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How to become a web developer

Web development

Do you dream in code and long to turn your programming fantasies into website realities? Then becoming a web developer — the person who writes computer code allowing websites and applications to function — may be a good fit for you.

But first, you’ll need specific skills and knowledge to land a job, according to Lisa Sims, an online instructor of web development courses  at University of Phoenix. Here are five steps to get you headed in the right direction:


Determine your capacity to embrace change.

To become a web developer, you must be passionate about technology, Sims says, adding that you’ll need to be prepared for lifelong learning.

“You can’t just say, ‘Well, I learned one [computer] language, so I’m good,’” she stresses. “You have to always be reading and learning the latest web technologies, or you will be left behind.”


Get your feet wet.

A key way to determine whether building websites is for you is to take a course in HTML, says Sims, who also is a web developer. “HTML is the most basic web programming language, and you can find free HTML courses and tutorials online at iTunes U or W3Schools.” If you enjoy learning HTML and using complex coding logic, she says, that’s a good sign you’re suited for the work.


Develop core skills.

To gain a solid background in the field, you’ll need to learn how to use select programming languages to build websites with a range of complex functions, Sims says. You’ll also need to learn about user-friendly attributes.

At the elementary level, she notes, core skills include familiarity with HTML 5; experience with a content management system, such as WordPress®; knowledge of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), which help you design visual elements; and being adept in another basic web programming language, such as JavaScript®.


Enhance your soft skills.

Good organization and communication are essential, Sims says. “You may have all the technical ability in the world,” she notes, “but if you spew jargon when you’re communicating with your users, they aren’t going to understand you.”

Those lacking soft skills can take essay courses to learn how to write clearly, or a Toastmasters class to increase verbal skills. You’ll also learn organizational and team-building skills if you’re in an IT degree program.



Once you have the basics, you must choose a programming language or two to master, Sims says. This is a critical decision, she emphasizes, because it can determine the direction your career takes.

Depending on whether you want to develop online apps or work on websites, popular languages today include Objective C — the language of iPhone® apps — MySQL®, PHP and Java®. “To figure out which language to specialize in,” Sims says, “visit a job board to find a specific position you’d like to have, and see which languages the position demands.”

Related article:


WordPress is a registered trademark of WordPress Foundation.
JavaScript and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates.
Toastmasters is a registered trademark of Toastmasters International.
iPhone is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
MySQL is a registered trademark of MySQL AB.

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