Mastering the Web: What Every Web Developer Needs to Know
As the software development industry grows and approaches an estimated worth of $1.4 trillion in 2025 with an annual growth rate of 11%, it's more important than ever for developers to adapt and improve their abilities accordingly.
However, as positive as this sounds, this presents a more ominous issue for developers: staying abreast of all new changes and growing your skills.
It’s easy; continuous learning of new skills.
But with so many skills out there, which ones should you prioritize?
Today, we will dive deep into the essential skills and what every web developer should know to grow their craft, including:
- Web development frameworks
- Version control systems
- Soft skills
- Programming languages
- Web design principles
Programming Languages Every Web Developer Should Know
Many employers prefer an all-around and polyglot developer who can write code in different languages. Even more interesting is that to land a senior role today, it’s almost mandatory for a developer to learn more than one language.
Some of the more popular programming languages include:
Data scientists, machine learning developers, AI professionals, as well as those who build back-end applications often employ Python to build back-end applications thanks to its simplicity of reading code. Python supports the Django framework, which is ideal for building complex backend systems.
Java is a powerful language employed in various use cases, including mobile application development, web development, and enterprise applications. Thanks to its symmetric compatibility and performance with all operating systems, Java is a must-learn language for developers.
Developed in 1995 by Yukihiro Matsumoto, Ruby offers developers a more human-friendly syntax. It’s easy to learn, even for beginners, and even better, it has a large and active developer community that can offer support and help when stuck.
Note: To specialize in a specific development area, we recommend learning one programming language very well. This allows you to become an expert in your field and build robust software.
Web Design Principles
To keep users invested in a website, businesses must prioritize its visual appeal, feel, and responsiveness; these elements are crucial in making their online presence felt.
Web design requires creative discipline hence understanding core concepts can help developers achieve harmony between creativity and functionality while ensuring content is clear-cut yet organized with intuitive navigation from page to page.
Below are the web design principles developers need to learn.
As of 2022, mobile devices accounted for around 60% of global internet traffic. This makes mobile-friendliness a core web design principle every developer needs to learn. In addition, it allows for easy use of websites and web applications on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.
Web design needs to be consistent throughout a site. The colors, fonts, and design must be consistent from page to page.
Content clarity hinges on contrast—any mismatch might cause difficulty while reading or scanning through content on sites. Incorporating varying text colors from those of both links (hovered over or not) and backgrounds go a long way towards solving this problem altogether.
Web Development Frameworks
Requirements surrounding web applications are constantly changing, and for this reason, web development frameworks are an essential building block. For many years, thousands of developers have endorsed frameworks for offering a clear and sensible approach to building, scaling, and managing web applications.
In his informative video on Web Development Framework Pros & Cons, Brad Traversy emphasizes that different programming languages (including Java, Python, etc.) have frameworks suited to their individual use cases. However, choosing one depends on each project's specific requirements and the capabilities each framework provides.
That said, web applications have a backend (server-side) and front-end (client-side), and we’ll discuss ideal frameworks for either scenario.
Best Front-End Frameworks to Learn
React stands out as a popular library often used today for creating speedy yet scalable applications with ease. By leveraging its unique features and building blocks covered extensively in the Complete Web Developer bootcamp course, you'll be better prepared to tackle any project.
Angular is a TypeScript-based web framework to build single-page and enterprise-level web applications. Angular is known for its robust tooling, large community, and thorough documentation. There’s so much to do and learn in Angular, and if you push its limits, you’ll quickly realize how it allows developers to write clean and maintainable code.
Best Backend Frameworks to Learn
If you're looking to build a career in web development, mastering a backend framework is essential. Two of the most popular options on the market right now are Django and Ruby on Rails.
As a Python-based server-side framework, learning Django equips you with solid backend skills to build high-performance and reliable web applications. Django is also the engine behind popular websites, including Instagram and Pinterest.
Ruby on Rails
Learning Ruby on Rails puts you ahead of the pack in the software development market. This Ruby-based framework is known for its productivity, has an active community, and is an excellent choice for developers who want to build web applications easily.
Of course, these aren't the only backend frameworks worth knowing. Other core backend frameworks to learn include Laravel, Flask, Spring, and Spring Boot (a lightweight version of Spring) which are based on Python and Java.
The 21st-century web developer needs more than technical skills to succeed in the workplace. To truly excel as a web developer—and advance your career—cultivating soft skills is just as important as mastering technical ones. Some essential soft skills every developer should develop include:
Strong communication skills are essential for developers who want to succeed. Effective communication can be the key to building solid relationships at work, from explaining technical concepts clearly to listening attentively during meetings with colleagues or clients.
As a developer, how you solve and identify problems matters to clients and employers. You need to think creatively and critically and present your solutions in an easy-to-understand manner.
Since the tech industry constantly evolves, you must adapt to new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, and be open to changing your approach.
As a developer, you must learn to work effectively with others and learn to manage your emotions and the emotions of others.
Is learning version control systems critical as a web developer?
Yes. Version Control Systems such as Git, CVS, and Apache Subversion allow you to collaborate on projects quickly and track changes to your code.
What are the best resources for learning as a web developer?
Books, online courses/tutorials, or joining a bootcamp are excellent resources for growing your developer skills.
How can I improve my chances of landing a job as a web developer?
We recommend building a portfolio, attending meetups and conferences, and contributing extensively to open-source projects.
There you have it. We’ve covered what a web developer should know. To become a successful developer, you must employ soft, creative, and technical skills. You can build highly functional software that meets your clients and users' needs by mastering web development frameworks and programming languages.
Remember, the software development industry evolves constantly. So being adaptable, open to learning, and exploring new things keeps you ahead of the game. Finally, take breaks, have fun, and always contact developer communities for help when stuck.