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9 Tips and Lessons from Web Developers

Mara Calvello
Mara Calvello  |  May 30, 2019

When it comes to the tech industry, you can’t deny how important a well-rounded web developer is to your company and its website.

It isn’t easy to become a web developer, especially when you consider how much there is to know about the website building process. If you’re interested in a career developing websites, but are unsure what goes into the daily demand of the role, you’re not alone.

To find out if being a web developer is right for you, and what goes into the role, just keep reading.

What it means to be a web developer

For those interested in making a career change or just starting out as a web developer, we asked those seasoned in the field for some advice. From what they’ve learned along the way to tips they’d like to pass along, here’s what they had to say!

1. Be ready to evolve

“Since the start of my career, coding has evolved greatly. When I started out, most websites were much smaller in scope and functionality. Responsive web design was not part of the standard workflow. The front-end and back-end development was considerably more basic. The front-end consisted of HTML tables and the backend was either static or running custom ASP/PHP backends. Mobile was not even a thought. Now we must build all frontend platforms fully responsive so they adapt perfectly to every device. We must also ensure that every aspect of the website is editable via the backend. This requires a lot of custom coding for each project.”

- Andrew Olesko, Director of Web Development at PaperStreet

Related: Don't waste anymore time, learn to code today!

2. Always work as a team

“As a web developer at WebMechanix I support our awesome marketing team every day by configuring, testing and troubleshooting tracking, building landing pages, implementing API integrations between clients' sites and CRMs, and most fun of all-- developing beautiful, accessible, responsive, conversion-driven, 100%-custom WordPress websites from the ground up that truly help our clients get and keep quality leads.”

- Walt Irby, Lead Web Developer at WebMechanix

3. Improvement is necessary

“During my time as a web developer, I have learned Single Sign-On Applications, User Payment Permissions, and how to change every aspect of a website, all the way down to the color of a button. I have also learned how to make a base template for the web portals that I build with the newest code. This allows me to then go in a customize each brand’s page to their brand standards. With that, I continue improving my skills and knowledge of JavaScript and Angular. This allows me to create more complicated, custom applications for our clients.”

- Kevin Chambers, Lead Web Developer at Thumbprint

4. Ask the dumb question

“Over my 15 years as a web developer, the most important thing that I’ve learned is that it’s okay to ask ‘dumb’ questions. Learning within the tech industry never stops and questions always arise. It’s important to feel comfortable asking for answers to those questions regardless of whether or not the answer might be obvious. It may seem surprising, but in addition to the core web technologies I’ve found that being very comfortable with Excel can have many advantages and makes the work much easier.”

- Christian Aquino, Director of Development at VerticalScope Inc.

Web Developer Tip

5. Don’t underestimate the power of design skills

“As a web developer, I would love to improve the design side of my development talents. I don't often work on customer websites where a designer hands off a design and the developer makes a pixel perfect website from start to finish. If I were to master that it would help me reach my goal of being a full-stack developer. Right now, I typically focus on back-end development on the server side and front-end development with Javascript. I still do styling almost daily, but not at the level a developer building a brand new site from a design comp.”

- Adam Sentner, Senior Product Architect at Walk West

Related: Find out if you have what it takes to become a web designer!

6. Work closely with your customers

“After years in web development, I have come to the conclusion that the success of any web project resides in close and consistent communication of web developers with the extended web development team or even direct cooperation with customers. The reason is that a lot depends on thorough clarification of requirements, especially functional and UI ones, as well as careful consideration of third-party APIs and dependencies with other systems.”

- Aliaksandr Vahura, Senior PHP Developer at ScienceSoft

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7. Go beyond just writing code

“I have learned that Web Development or Software Development, in general, is more than just writing code. Don’t get me wrong, I still had to master Java, Python, HTML and CSS, JavaScript, and many more. But, to be successful, it is more important to be a great problem solver and learner. Once you are able to solve a problem, translating it to code is the easy part. Additionally, communication, collaboration, creativity are required to be a good Web Developer.”

- Uchi Uchibeke, Web Developer at Shopify 

8. Pay close attention to the architecture

“Architecture is always the toughest part of the web development - you decide how the new code will interact with the elements of the existing system. You need your code to interact with the current system in such a way that it doesn't introduce new bugs or security flaws so that it can be easily extended or modified in the future. You can't afford to make mistakes in the architecture - once you start implementing it, it will be tough to change it.”

- Sveta Oksen, CEO and Web Developer at MexBS 

9. Consider accessibility

“A key requirement for web applications and web developers is globalization, as we need to know how to structure our applications so that users all over the world can use these applications as needed. Accessibility and enabling web applications for users with disabilities is required and web developers need to be aware of implementing accessible applications.”

- Daniel Jebaraj, Vice President at Syncfusion

For freelance Web developers

Thinking of starting your own business as a freelance web developer? Here are seven tips for setting up taxes, marketing yourself, acquiring clients, sustaining success, and widening your skillset.

Get your to-do list ready

There’s a lot that needs to be done when you’re a web developer, more than you probably thought. Before diving into a career as a web developer, consider these tips and lessons from those already within the field. If you feel like you’re up for the challenge, don’t waste any time on upping your skills, especially coding for websites.

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Mara Calvello
Author

Mara Calvello

Mara is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at G2. In her spare time, she's typically at the gym polishing off a run, reading a book from her overcrowded bookshelf, or right in the middle of a Netflix binge. Obsessions include the Chicago Cubs, Harry Potter, and all of the Italian food imaginable. (she/her/hers)