Web development is the process of designing and building websites. Websites can be developed as both personal and business sites. It’s a specialized area, with programming skills required to do the job well (PHP, HTML & CSS at a minimum). To put it another way: web development is more than just “making” something; it requires consideration of user interface design, usability and accessibility among other things.
If you’re interested in becoming a web developer start by learning how to program with languages like PHP or Python (both perfect for beginners).
The job of a web developer is to design, build and maintain websites for customers. You need to know about the development lifecycle and be well versed in different programming languages (PHP, Python or Java if you have clients who want you to build their site). As a web developer, you can get yourself hired by different clients depending on your unique skills/experience. Some employers will want someone with 3+ years in the industry already though.
To put it simply: Web Development is the process of designing and building websites.
What Kind Of Experience Do You Need?
The value of a portfolio showing what you can do is far more important than years experience under your belt. A portfolio is a simple way to show off what you have produced in a form that you can share with anyone who may be interested. A portfolio also lets potential employers know where to find you should they want to hire you (or recruit other developers like yourself). The key word here is simple—having been an architect for many years I know that nothing beats a well laid out presentation for getting one’s point across!
PHP & HTML / CSS are the two most popular languages used to build web pages. If you are just beginning with web development and want to learn how to build a website, I suggest using W3Schools’ tutorials for PHP, HTML & CSS.
PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is a server-side scripting language that enables to dynamically create and modify HTML documents within a web browser. It was originally designed as an easy language to learn; but has become quite powerful as developers have continued building software using it. The official specification can be found at the PHP website. It’s also worth learning that you can develop with both procedural and object-oriented programming styles in PHP. There are two main versions of PHP: version 5 (current) and version 4. (A lot more info can be found in my article: The Differences Between PHP 4 & 5 )
Python is a widely used programming language and is very easy to learn. Python’s syntax has been designed to be simple. As such, Python programs are easily readable and maintainable. The official specification for Python can be found at the python website and there are some excellent tutorials available for beginners. For most beginners, however, something like W3Schools’ tutorial on learning Python will get you started with little effort. For more experienced coders who want something a bit more advanced (and simple), check out Why You Should Learn Python .
When To Learn Web Development?
A quick word on certificates: I know a lot of people who say that the only way to guarantee yourself a job as a web developer is by having a “certificate” from an accredited training program that brings you face-to-face with the latest and greatest in web programming and design techniques/methodologies.
My experience has been that employers don’t care if you’ve “gone through a certification program” or not. Even if you have, this is not the time to write off your past training—it’s your future that counts.
On the other hand, learning how to code does not have to be confined to a particular, often expensive, program. You can learn how to code on your own by starting with HTML & CSS tutorials and PHP tutorials and building up from there. There are websites that will maintain coding practice for free (they even ask for feedback in exchange for their offer) and there are also programs that will give you (for free) access to different programming languages like PHP, Java and C++.