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What Does a Web Developer Do?

There are typically two reasons people reach this page. They are either looking to hire a web developer, or they want to learn to program, and they would like to find out more about the field. In this article I try to provide information for both visitors. You will understand who is a web developer, what they do, how to hire one, and how to become one.

"Web Developer" is a broad term describing a collection of job titles. A web developer is someone who creates websites and web apps by utilizing markup, styling, querying and programming languages.

Are you a web developer if you can install a WordPress website and make point-and-click customizations to it? No.

You are a web developer if you know some programming languages that let you work in front-end or back-end development.

We can drill down even further.

Front-end and Back-end Developers

There are front-end developers who can only create a CSS layout. Some people create the interactivity layer with Javascript. Some developers also know popular front-end frameworks like Angular, React and Vue.

In the backend, there is a lot of distinctions to make too. Some developers engage only in database development. Such popular databases are SQL and MongoDB. They are not programming languages in the strictest meaning of the word, but I would still call it backend development.

The server-side program is created by backend developers as well. There is a multitude of server-side programming languages:

  • PHP -- thanks to WordPress, PHP is still the most used programming language on the web.
  • Javascript -- with Nodejs it's making a start on servers.
  • Python -- mostly used in AI related stuff, but people like to use it for automation as well.
  • Golang -- my favorite of all. Not a well-known language, but has some advanced features that make writing in it fun, and the result is speed and scalability. I plan to create a custom CMS for WDJ built on Go and Vue.js.

How can You Hire a Web Developer?

If you don't already work with a developer or company, there are a lot of great places to look at.

  • Fiverr -- suitable for smaller projects, can be very cost-effective.
  • Upwork
  • Freelancer
  • Google -- sometimes searching in Google is the easiest solution.
  • Word of mouth -- do you know someone who already worked with a developer? If they were happy with him, it might be a good idea to contact that developer.

Make sure the company you hire is reputable. They should have an extensive portfolio of projects to showcase. Make sure you don't pay the full amount upfront and have a contract with every detail of the app you need with timelines.

How to Become a Web Developer?

The old school way of becoming a web developer is getting a computer science degree. Nowadays college degrees are not essential. In recent news, Google made headlines by not requiring degrees from developers anymore.

There are alternative ways to become a web developer.


Bootcamps are very popular, and they are growing in number like weed. Some are excellent, and some are just a ripoff.

A bootcamp is a 2-6 months long coding course. Usually, students study eight hours a day. By the end of the course, they know enough that a company would hire them.

I would choose one that guarantees employment at the end of the course. There are fewer of these nowadays, but they are the more reputable ones.

Online Courses

There are free websites online (e.g., Codecademy) that teach programming. There are also a lot of video courses on Lynda, Pluralsight, Udemy and a bunch of others.

Lynda and Pluralsight courses are all high-quality production-wise. They are rarely go in-depth though.

Udemy has excellent in-depth courses, but the quality of the production varies greatly. Some instructors are difficult to understand (because their native language is not English). I still prefer Udemy whenever I want to learn something new. You just have to be a bit picky about the instructor.