It’s undoubtedly a popular career choice these days, and if you are one of the many people currently interested in starting a new career you may want to consider web development.

Why choose a career in web development?

There is strong demand for web developers and it is expected to continue growing for the remainder of this decade. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predict 8% growth by 2029, double the 4% average of other occupations. This increase reflects our growing use of mobile devices and reliance on e-commerce. There can be a lot of diversity for a web developer with jobs available in a range of industries, such as publishing, management consultancy, advertising and marketing. Many web developers are self-employed freelancers, making this career a great choice for anyone looking for a flexible working life.

Different kinds of web developer

There are three main types of web developer, each with their own skill set. Back-end developers work on the server side of websites and are primarily concerned with website functionality. Back-end developers write the code (often PHP, Python and SQL) which allows the site’s database to communicate with the browser. Front-end developers deal with the parts of the website that are seen and used by its visitors so are concerned with layout and navigation, and often use HTML, CSS and Javascript. Finally, full-stack developers do both front and back end development work and as such command the highest developer salaries.

The first step in launching your career

Training is always a sensible first step for anyone planning to start in web development, but if you already know some HTML and Javascript you will be off to a flying start. You need to master numerous libraries and standards to code a modern website professionally but a degree is not essential, in fact there are few degree courses exclusively in web development, most are in general computer science. A-levels, HND, C&G and OCR qualifications are often sufficient and more practical for those planning a career change later in life. Potential employers are most impressed by a good portfolio of work. Fortunately, there are many excellent resources online to help.

Get an online presence

Once you have the right skills under your belt, you can start assembling a portfolio. It is often easier to base your first sites on a content management system like WordPress and gradually learn to code at a deeper level. Dedicate at least one site to showcasing your web development skills.

Another important skill is directing visitors to your website. When you are looking for employment networking sites like LinkedIn can be a real benefit to a fledgling web developer. As well as offering you a platform for displaying your CV and experience, they can also be a way to connect with other web developers, and the companies you would like to work with. You can also find jobs on social media that are not advertised anywhere else.

Building your business

If you need to bulk up your experience look at job board websites like Upwork. This can be a useful way to find jobs regardless of your level of previous experience, and can give you the chance to take on smaller jobs such as bug fixes or coding a particular functionality. The positive reviews and testimonials you collect will stand you in good stead in the future.

Web development can be a rewarding job and is clearly a thriving niche for anyone seeking a future-proof job. With the ever-increasing role of technology in our lives, you may well be able to use your current professional experience to support a new career developing websites within the same sector. With a bit of planning and a commitment to ongoing learning, web development could well be the best career decision you ever make.