The world of web development offers exceptional opportunities for junior web developers.
With every line of code you write, you can expect transformative impacts happening within this broad sphere.
Overall, this gives you an enormous potential for realization. Though intimidating, you can succeed as a junior web developer if highly dedicated to personal skills growth.
But where does one begin?
How does one navigate through this professional landscape?
This article guides you through a step-by-step approach to becoming a junior web developer.
Let’s dive in. But first, let’s understand who is a junior web developer.
Who/What is a Junior Web Developer?
A junior web developer is an entry-level professional in the web development field. Usually, a junior web developer has foundational skills and knowledge and is gradually acquiring more experience and expertise as they grow in their area.
A junior web developer typically works under the guidance of more experienced developers. While they can’t handle complex tasks, they’re generally well-equipped to handle tasks such as:
- Assist in web application development: Junior web developers contribute to the building and maintenance of web applications and websites. They closely work with senior developers and teammates to write code, implement design elements, and ensure the efficient functionality of websites or web applications.
- Documentation: A junior web developer participates in project documentation, including code comments, user guides, and technical specifications.
- Team collaboration: Junior web developers typically collaborate with other teammates, such as designers, senior developers, and project managers, to coordinate tasks, exchange ideas, and work towards project goals.
- Project support: In a typical working setup, junior web developers can manage small projects and take up small tasks such as adding or improving a feature to an existing project.
As they gain more skills—and with enough experience, which can take several years to achieve—junior web developers ultimately take on more complex and independent projects and finally transition into more senior roles.
Which Tech Skills Do Junior Web Developers Need to Know?
Various tech skills can assist you in succeeding as a junior web developer. They include:
Knowledge of Fundamental Programming Languages
Understanding of Front-End and Back-End Web Development
Proficiency in front- and back-end web development makes you a well-rounded skill set. The benefit is that you can contribute effectively to different stages of a web development project.
Ultimately, this versatility fosters better communication and collaboration with the different stakeholders of a project.
The flexibility that front and back-end web development offers allow a junior web developer to choose from various career paths. Depending on your career preferences, you can specialize in a single domain or pursue full-stack development.
Git and GitHub
Git and GitHub are essential core tools for web development. Git is a version control system that allows you to track changes to your code, while GitHub is a web-based hosting service for Git repositories.
These two tools allow for easy collaboration when working on projects. You’ll usually work on a shared repository where other developers can contribute to the same project. In addition to this, knowing Git and GitHub also makes you a more attractive candidate to potential employers.
Other Useful Skills
Besides the technical programming languages, junior web developers must also master one or all of the following skills.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization): SEO is vital in improving a website’s visibility in search engine results. To help junior web developers improve website rankings on search engines, learning about SEO can be highly beneficial but not mandatory.
- Soft skills: This is typically an area that developers don’t like. However, soft skills are just as crucial as tech skills. And even though in your position, the critical skill is writing code, there’s much more behind it, and skills such as teamwork, communication, teamwork, and empathy, among others, will help you progress quickly in your career.
Other valuable skills to learn include accessibility, web design, and testing.
Steps to Become a Junior Web Developer
Choose a Learning Path
Now that you’ve learned who a junior web developer is and the technical skills required to become one, let's understand the most crucial step—education.
When choosing your suitable learning path, it’s easy to get fazed by many options. They include:
- Self-study: Many web developers start their web development journeys through self-study by leveraging online resources such as blogs, online tutorials, and tutorials. This learning path requires lots of discipline and commitment to succeed.
- Bootcamps: Bootcamps are designed to be short and intensive and offer structured web development programs to equip you with the skills you need to become a junior web developer. Their curriculum provides an immersive and hands-on approach to learning front and back-end web development, frameworks, databases, and other technologies. Bootcamps usually range from a few weeks to several months in duration.
- University or college: A computer science, software engineering, or IT-related degree offers a good foundation for a career in web development. These institutions provide a more detailed curriculum that covers programming languages, data structures, algorithms, and software development principles. A college or university program ranges between 3–4 years in duration.
- Online coding schools: Online institutions such as Flatiron School and Bloom Institute of Technology (formerly Lambda School) offer paid web development programs that merge the flexibility of online learning with mentorship and a comprehensive curriculum. They’re ideal for beginners in web development and more experienced professionals.
Grow Your Portfolio: Build Open-Source and Personal Projects
Focusing on expanding your portfolio is crucial to further advance in your junior web development journey. This step holds significant importance since potential clients and employers often want to assess your skills and capabilities through tangible examples of your work.
Since you’re an entry-level professional, people/companies who hire you aren’t looking for expertise or a very experienced person.
They’re interested in your effort, passion, and how far you can push yourself to learn alone.
If you’re hosting your projects on GitHub, ensure to:
- Document them with clear-to-follow README files
- Continuously improve them
- Integrate new technologies
- Blog about them (if possible. This demonstrates passion, capacity, and energy)
To get some ideas for your projects, look at projects from other developers and draw inspiration from them.
In the same breath, look out for beginner-friendly open-source projects you can contribute to.
Pursue an Internship/Apprenticeship
Following completion of your studies, you may pursue career opportunities. In most cases, you’ll likely start with an internship.
To get started with internships or apprenticeships, consider exploring various avenues such as online job portals, company websites, or networking platforms specific to your industry. Reach out to potential employers and express your interest in learning from them through an internship or apprenticeship. Tailor your application materials, such as your resume and cover letter, to highlight relevant coursework, projects, and any relevant skills or certifications you have obtained.
Internships are an excellent way to gain experience and build your technical knowledge. In addition, internships can boost your resume and help you stand out from other candidates seeking junior developer jobs.
Apply for Jobs and Prep for Interviews
Now comes the most tedious work—job preparation.
Typically the first step is to create a web developer resume. You can add the projects you’ve built, languages and technologies you know, and your education. We highly recommend reviewing a job description and tweaking your resume to fit into it before applying for a job.
When you start applying for roles, remember to familiarize yourself with the common interview questions for junior web developers asked in interviews. Prospective employers will expect to see your proficiency in programming and performing basic web development tasks in front-end or back-end development.
The journey of a thousand miles always begins with one step. And in your case, being a junior web developer is the first step of many you’ll make in your career trajectory.
Now that you’re ready to start your journey, we hope this article has offered a more comprehensive approach to how to become a junior web developer.
Finally, don’t forget to keep learning. The web development field evolves constantly. If you enjoy solving software problems, you’ll enjoy keeping up with new technology.